Beaverpunk city builder update boosts framerate, crop yields by as much as 80%

Timberborn! The post-apocalyptic city-builder about all the cool hydroengineering sentient beavers will do after we're all dead and they inherit the earth. It's a remarkably chill game, a delightful slow burn colony builder and city builder for those who aren't yet far down the rabbit hole that inevitably leads to Dwarf Fortress. 

Anyway, it just had its fourth major update since its 2021 Early Access launch. Beavers' city districts now operate very differently, with no range limits. The machinery-focused Iron Teeth beaver faction also has entirely new industrial food production chains, complete with new crops and buildings. There are also new monuments, decorations, and a new map.

What most caught my eye though were technical tweaks that increased framerate by as much as 80%—with some players reporting even higher numbers. I put the question to Timberborn's developers: How do you get something like an up to 80% increase in FPS?

"Increasing the framerate and reducing lag spikes, especially in large colonies with hundreds of moving pieces, has been a priority for our coders for the past six months. In the process, we tried different approaches and benchmarked them ad nauseam to see what works without breaking everything else. In the end, we created several custom solutions to replace Unity's default systems. This includes Meshy - an open-source 3D model format, which all our in-game objects now use. We updated the animation systems for both characters and buildings to be less taxing on CPU and GPU, such as during animation transitions. We also optimized Timberborn’s code across the project, with each step gaining us a little something - for example, a tweak to how the game plays sounds reduced RAM usage," they said.

For my part, I'm amazed at the difference. I didn't really think the game ran poorly, just that particular moments would slow down—stuff like batch selecting a ton of trees for logging. I don't see any of that with the updates.

Prior Timberborn updates have included stuff like robots and making water go up. For my part I've found it a lovely little colony builder that lets you build and execute ambitious projects but doesn't punish you very hard for failures.

You can find Timberborn on Steam for $25. You can read the Update 4 Changes on Steam, as well.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.