DrawCallMonitor is a tool that can help you to evaluate how well optimised your MDL object is for good performance. For some background information on how drawcalls and texture vertices affect the performance, please read this article.
This manual discusses how to install and use the tool. Besides that it will list some of the limitations that you might notice.
The latest version comes together with the latest ModelConverterX version. So check the details on how to download this recent version.
The installation of DrawCallMonitor is quite simple. All you need to do is unzip the ZIP file you downloaded to a folder of your own choice. All the files needed to run the tool are included. If you ever want to remove it again, simple delete this folder.
There are three ways to open a model into the tool for analysis:
- Use the Open button at the top of the screen and locate the MDL file you want to open
- Drag and drop the MDL file you want to open onto the DrawCallMonitor form
- Provide them as a command line argument when you start DrawCallMonitor (or drop them onto the executable)
Once you have opened the file you want, the statistics of that object will appear on screen. Figure 1 shows an example of how these statistics can look. If the screen remains blank it could be that the tool failed to load this model. If so please report this as a bug.
What you see if an overview of all the levels of details (LODs) in your model and for each of them the number of drawcalls, texture vertices and triangles is given. The amount of drawcalls is the parameter that you probably want to minimize as much as you can. But the amount of texture vertices and triangles used also give a good idea of the complexity. Especially how this is distributed over your LODs is very important, as the lower LODs should use less triangles, texture vertices and drawcalls.
With the show details button at the top you can display even more detailed statistics. When this option is selected the amount of triangles and texture vertices will be displayed for each drawcall. Besides this also the texture name used by that drawcall is given (if a texture is used of course). This might help you to identify which parts of your model can use further optimizing. Figure 2 shows an example of how these extra details can look.
If you click on any of the columns, then the parts in each LOD will be sorted according to that column. So clicking on the triangles column will sort the parts in each LOD to increasing triangle count.
This is an overview of some of the issues that have been reported for this tool:
- When comparing the statistics given by DrawCallMonitor to the statistics given in the ModelConverterX Object Information form there can be a difference. This is because DrawCallMonitor shows what is currently in the MDL file. ModelConverterX imports the MDL file into its own internal format. It shows the statistics you would get if you export it again from ModelConverterX. Sometimes ModelConverterX will optimize the object during import and export.
- The tool only works with FSX MDL files. The older MDL files have a different structure, so the performance information can not be extracted so easily. You can use the ModelConverterX Object Information form to still get an idea of their statistics.
If you have any problems while using the tool or if you have suggestions and other feedback to improve the tool, please let me know. You can either contact me directly or visit the ModelConverterX subforum at FSDeveloper.com.