As you are well aware, we host a Minecraft server here at FleshEatingZipper and we’ve been documenting some of its progress. I play on a three year old desktop and until yesterday, things were going fine, but an update for Java 7 landed and killed Java performance across all of the various things I use it for, primarily Minecraft, but plenty of other web creations, too. Movement response in the game fell to half a second (that is, press key, wait half a second, see the action unfold on the screen) and the game became unplayable. So who do I blame for this?
Earlier this year, I bought a higher-end HP laptop. During E3, it crunched video like a monster, but because of an issue with HP’s drivers and the computer’s ability to utilize the on-board AMD chipset over Intel’s integrated graphics, Minecraft always ran poorly. It was perfectly capable of crunching numbers, but working on Oceana killed it dead, so I kept playing on my desktop. Sadly. Java isn’t a very efficient language, but it’s web-friendly and favored by Notch, who does this kind of thing, and in a widely-reported court case earlier this year, it was determined that trace amounts of Java made it into Android’s core. Over the years, Sun (now Oracle) made a big deal of once-cutting edge games to Java just to show its improvements, but you won’t see Java replicating even the most humble of Xbox 360 titles from seven years ago. Unfortunately, chaining Minecraft’s fate to Java leads to arbitrary performance dips and hardware mismanagement. Sure, you can play the game in a browser, but it throws away so many cycles because it’s such rubbish.
So anyway, I rolled Windows back to a time before Java 7, a mere twenty-four hours previous, and the game wouldn’t run at all. Java was corrupted or something, so Minecraft’s launcher wouldn’t open until I uninstalled and reinstalled Java. I then reinstalled Java, but again, the newest version, and performance was still hit. Even the Java-based Plotz shape generator worked against Chrome performance. Awful. I even tried rolling Minecraft back to 1.3.1 to no gains. Then in command line running a memory tweak, I get the following errors, apparently it has to do with chunk updates slowing the game to a crawl:
Mojang, seriously, Minecraft should run at a thousand frames per second on a calculator, so why is it causing me so much pain? Ditch Java. Your game is seriously unplayable on all of my hardware.