IntelliSense is faster by an order of 18x with Unreal Engine projects in Visual Studio 2022

Visual Studio 2019 icon

Visual Studio 2022's launch is just around the corner, and since the IDE has already been in preview for both Windows and Mac for the past couple of months, developers have a pretty good idea about what to expect. Visual Studio 2022 comes in a 64-bit flavor, supports .NET 6 and C++ 20, offers better performance for the core debugger, and supports text chat during Live Share sessions. It features more capabilities for the IntelliCode engine, improvements to code search, and better asynchronous collaboration, with new logic related to making commits and reviewing pull requests from platforms like GitHub. On Windows, it packs improvements to the accessibility of the UI, and on Mac, it also features a refreshed UI that takes advantage of the native macOS UI elements.

Now, Microsoft has revealed that it also partnered with Epic Games to enhance the performance of Visual Studio 2022 for Unreal Engine developers. This has been done by making semantic highlighting and IntelliSense launch faster for projects utilizing this technology stack.

Microsoft tested the performance difference between Visual Studio 2019 16.11.5 and Visual Studio 2022 Preview 6. The test was conducted using an Unreal Engine 4.27.1 sample project on a machine powered by a 3GHz Core i7-9700 processor, 64GB of RAM, and an SSD. Four runs were performed and the average of their results can be seen below:

A graph showing performance improvements to IntelliSense launch in Visual Studio 2019 vs 2022
Original image via Microsoft

Microsoft explains that this performance improvement has been achieved by sharing compilation states across translation units. The company has also noted that opening a file and then having IntelliSense ready in 7.2 seconds is an improvement that regular C++ projects will benefit from as well.

Ben Marsh, Lead Programmer at Epic Games, had the following to say about the partnership with Microsoft and the overall benefit:

We’ve always struggled with IntelliSense performance in the Unreal Engine solution, but these changes are a night-and-day improvement. Faster feedback and less waiting help devs stay focused on making amazing games.

If you're utilizing a preview version of Visual Studio 2022, you can head over to Microsoft's blog post here to find out how to enable the performance improvement for your Unreal Engine project.

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