Jaymie — Thank you for checking out the tests, I appreciate the follow up.
On my main desktop I always run with "separate spaces" off, so I tested again with it on and saw no change in performance, except potentially fullscreen mode, which may have performed slightly better (still not great), and it used the "native" MacOS fullscreen method for both the expand button and command-f (makes sense, separate spaces means it doesn't have to use the old style fullscreen in order to keep the other screen usable). Screensaver performance with separate spaces turned on was same/worse.
I've also tested the two final Vuo screensavers (full-res, half-res) on two laptops (retina with Mojave, non-retina with High Sierra). Neither of them were able to render either of the screensavers at an acceptable frame rate. Meanwhile, that same ancient non-retina High Sierra MBP can run significantly more complex Quartz screensavers at a flawless 60fps...so in theory (big caveat, haha) it's not a computer performance issue, nor is it entirely a retina resolution issue...seeing as the non-retina laptop can run the same code (and more complex variations) in Quartz without a hiccup. Of note, I haven't tested Vuo extensively on the laptops outside of the screensaver test; I need to check the app preview performance too and see how that compares.
Today for yet another test I ported everything over to an ISF generator (yay! I get to use input variables again!), and got the same poor performance I had with the ShaderToy node. On the upside, outside of the easily-broken header information, ISF was a lot more pleasant to work with (I could use Sublime Text to edit the module and Vuo + Vuo Preview window would update every time I saved, nice!). Though unfortunately not helpful for actual production work (I can't store hundreds of modules across many different projects in a user library, especially when they have to be saved alongside the project for versioning and archival).
Thanks for the skipped frames test, that's great! That said, even testing it alone without any additional graphics, I can't get it to render smoothly as a screensaver. Completely erratic performance. If I get the time this week, I'll try adding a skipped frames test to the Quartz compositions, then render tests across as many computer setups as I can (but I wouldn't hold my breath...one of my teams is in the middle of a harrowing delivery week on a major mixed reality production!).
Would anyone have some advice on converting the "Big Text Scroll not Smooth.vuo" file so it outputs to an Image Generator for VDMX instead of the Vuo Window. I tried to make the conversion but was unable to do it. The scroller is very smooth on my iMac Pro. Thanks! Randall