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  • Simulation slows down when a robot is added because the collision detection and dynamics engines now have work to do.

    • The bottleneck is most likely not ROS plugins. You can always profile the code using valgrind, or some other tool.

    • There is not an easy way to speed up simulation without changing the max_step_size. You can try a newer version of Gazebo (version 2 is over two years old).

As an alternative, you could run multiple simulations in parallel.