Rust Console Edition: Launch and Beyond.
©Double11 Console Developers
Good evening everyone! A lot of you have been asking questions about some of the features present in Rust PC and why they are not present in our version of the game yet. Today’s blog post aims to answer all of your questions, and give an exclusive insider peek on what we’ve been working on during the past 3 years, as well as some of the challenges we had to face and overcome in order to bring this game to the console audience!
So what is Rust Console Edition?
Rust Console Edition is based on the PC version of the game, designed and optimised for a completely separate and unique console player experience.
Rust is and forever will be the baby and brainchild of Facepunch and we’re extremely grateful to be able to take what they’ve done and create our own version of their game. Rust Console Edition is certainly Rust as people know it, but under the hood where we’ve spent the last few years, we’ve created a completely different beast designed for consoles and their respective players.
We first started talking to Facepunch in 2016 about the idea of creating a Console version of Rust and how that could work. We knew early on that the two games would need to be in separate universes given that the PC edition can expand as it needed to, and performance would be maintained so long as people continued to upgrade their hardware, while consoles on the other hand have finite resources that need to be more closely managed.
Rust is a big, beautiful game built for PC and the challenge to us as a developer was if we could create an experience on console that was performant for all consoles, not just next gen. Survival games have historically proven to be very challenging and if we were going to do it, we needed to do it right!
Not only because Rust is a big IP in and of itself but also because we respect and admire the community that has grown and evolved over the years through a love of this game. Making sure this was the best version we could possibly create of Rust on console became our main focus and we knew we’d have to take a different strategy to PC going forward.
Performance and optimisation.
Performance was the team’s biggest and most demanding challenge. The Steam page for Rust boasts a minimum requirement of 10 gigabytes of RAM (plus 2-3GB video memory depending on GPU vendor), and recommends 16 for an optimal experience (plug 4gb video memory, totally 20gb). The target consoles, after taking into account operating system and shared graphics memory, demand that we squeeze the game into just 4.5 gigabytes of RAM.
In addition to the memory challenge, the CPU’s of the early models of PS4 and Xbox One are comparable with those found in a 2013 MacBook Pro, which is well below the minimum requirements for Rust.
To accommodate the game on these systems, some light optimisations wouldn’t cut it! So the team needed to rip apart and rewrite major engine subsystems within Unity. Some of the systems we designed and refactored helped us a lot, improving the performance of the game over on consoles.
Another big issue was loading time. When we first had Rust up and running on console, the initial load took up to 45 minutes to read and decompress the enormous procedural map and its assets into memory. We implemented a whole new bootstrap system, capable of loading multiple Unity scenes and asset bundles simultaneously, and in a manner more suited to the mechanical hard disks of these machines. After a lot of work, the game now loads in around one minute give or take.
In order to reengineer how the entire game worked, we started by picking a point in time of Facepunch’s code base where we felt it was safest to start building the foundations on which the console versions would be based. Some of the more recent additions to the game piled on the complexity by orders of magnitude, so we instead opted to focus on Rust’s core experience and rebuild some of the more advanced features once we had a solid base on which to build.
We’re very pleased with the results over the past three years. When we started development, we spoke anecdotally in seconds per frame given the age of the hardware, but after getting the game running for the first time it was no longer an office joke; achieving usable framerates in Rust Console Edition was going to be a challenge, but the team was determined to accomplish our objective.
Today we’ve been able to achieve just that, and overall we could not be more happy with the results. We have got to a level of performance and stability that the majority of our beta testers seem to be happy with, and we are in the background striving to make it better every day!
What can you expect from Rust Console Edition in the future?
Much like the PC version, the Console Editions will be updated regularly over time with existing and new content created by Facepunch as well as our own improvements, however the way we update will be different.
The Console Editions will follow their own update roadmap from launch that we believe will provide an optimal player experience while gradually introducing players to the vast amount of game play and content that makes Rust an incredible experience.
We believe Rust is where it is today partly because Facepunch was able to test out new features and improve the game over the years, fixing issues as they came up and iteratively building a better and better game. We’re taking a similar approach with the Console Editions, expanding the game incrementally while working within tight memory restrictions, testing, getting feedback and working with the console community to create the best possible edition of Rust, uniquely for a console audience.
We look forward to sharing some of the roadmap with you once we get closer to the release of the game!
Are you looking for a group in Rust? Our Rust LFG Discord is the largest server to find people to play with on Console or PC.