Awesome! Battlefield2 is for DX9.0+ ONLY

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by wazoo, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. wazoo

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    http://www.populartechnology.net/

    Yay!

    I consider it a great thing...for the indie guys. Let the AAA push requirements into the stratosphere. And who says most AAA companies are focusing too much on graphics rather than gameplay? ;)

    Now more than ever it might help create an even bigger gap for the indie crowd to fill in nicely.
     
  2. Spaceman Spiff

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    Remember that a Windows PC with DirectX9 installed is one thing, and a video card that is considered DX9 Capable is another.

    DirectX9 is the latest version of the DirectX APIs, which includes the legacy interfaces such as IDirectDraw7 (DX7 DirectDraw).

    A DirectX9 level video card, typically is one that includes support for shader model 2.0 and up (vertex and pixel shaders).

    In the case of Battlefield2, it is actually requiring a fully capable DirectX 8.1+ Videocard (i.e. Pixel Shader 1.4 or greater, and by extension vertex shader 1.1 or greater). Pixel Shader 1.4 is ATI's DirectX extension that supports up to 6 textures and "doubles" the maximum length of a pixel shader (which at 8 instructs is pretty darn small) by a psuedo "second pass" mechanism.

    I would have a hard time arguing that any video card it completely DirectX9 capable – Even GeForce 6800’s don’t include 100% of the DX9 features in hardware, but that’s really another issue – what exactly is you minimum spec machine.
     
  3. soniCron

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    Bah. You think this is going to be the trend? No. It's simply poor engine design.
     
  4. Lerc

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    When Battlefield came out I felt it was actually an example of a AAA game that was favoring gameplay over graphics. Although it had quite high system requirements for the time the graphics wern't anything special. Seeing it played on my friends (then steaming-hot-off-the-press) geForce 3 really surprised me because of the modest frame rate.

    It did however become a major player in the online gaming world because it was fun. The above mentioned friend wasted many a day on battlefield.
     
  5. impossible

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    BF2 is still a lot of fun. For this title they obviously wanted to have very high quality gameplay and graphics, no shame in that...
     
  6. Abscissa

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    It's already been the trend for a long time. How many PC's out there are unable to run games based on the Doom 3 engine? A lot. Heck, not even mine can do that, and I'm a hardcore gamer, not a casual gamer. Even before Doom 3, pretty much anything still expected an ATI or NVidia card with updated drivers. As indie developers, we all know how much of an audience that abandons. Big Kahuna Reef came out this year and runs on a 400MHz CPU with no 2D or 3D graphics acceleration at all. When was the last time a AAA game did that? It's already the trend and has been for years.

    I think the best thing about it is that the minimum driver version required by Battlefield 2 completely breaks another game: Lego Star Wars.

    http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=58087
    So you actually have to switch drivers in order to switch which game you want to play! Ha ha ha! Way to go, AAA industry! :D
     
    #6 Abscissa, Jul 5, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2005
  7. mwtb

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    You guys appear to have invented a new definition of AAA that I'm not familiar with. It was always used as a rough categorisation of lead titles in publishing line-ups, those that get the biggest marketing push. Since when was there a AAA industry and how do I get into it?

    As for the PC games dev side pushing tech forward... and? Consumers want flashy titles, publishers want flashy titles, marketing types want the flashy titles and developers want to create flashy titles. That most consumers are actually using hardware that is somewhat behind the breaking wave is why most games will have significant fall-back potential.

    AAA games don't run on 5 year old tech because that game by definition wouldn't be worthy of AAA treatment. I'm not really following what the hoop-la is, as we're talking about different market segments -- the guy who pumps a thousand dollars into his PC isn't doing it to play games that can run on a PIII with on-board graphics and EA isn't looking enviously at that market and wishing they could find someone to write a match-3 puzzle game.
     
  8. electronicStar

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    I disagree with the original post

    Batlefield 2 will help push the specs on the computers of the hardcore gamers[/b] but the pool of office or grandparents or soccermoms computers who make for a great part of the casual consumers aren't going to buy and install a new vidcard because of that.
     
  9. Hiro_Antagonist

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    There are *tons* of commercial games that require DX 9.0, and have been for many, many months.

    Battlefield is just yet another the does -- it's nothing special in that regard.

    In fact, our game, Land of Legends, uses DirectX 9.0. We have no choice, because only DX 9.0 has .NET compliance. We include it transparently in our installer, so it's no big deal.

    -Hiro_Antagonist
     
  10. ManuelFLara

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    It's just that BF2 requires a full DX9 compatible graphic card, so you can't even get into the menu with a GF4 Ti 4600 card.
     
  11. soniCron

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    Requiring a GeForce 3 minimum and requiring a >= GeForce FX in the space of 7 months is not a smooth transition. Half-Life 2 can run on a DX 8 card. Battlefield 2 cannot. More on this in a second...

    @mwtb: Just like the bastardization of "genre" in video games, "AAA" has also been corrupted. (Just ask a film aficionado what "genre" means!)

    @Hiro and Abscissa: I think that people are getting confused by DirectX version requirements. There are two categories:
    • DirectX driver compatability
    • DirectX pixel shader compatability
    While you may compile your code with DirectX 9.0c, if you're not using DirectX 9.0c pixel shaders (Pixel Shader 2.0), then all you need is the DirectX 9.0c runtime installed. If you are using Pixel Shader 2.0, then you also need a DirectX 9 compatible video card, with full compatability with Pixel Shader 2.0.

    In this case, the issue arrises because ATI came up with Pixel Shader 1.4, which nVidia refused to adopt. (I'm not sure why. I guess they didn't like it.) DirectX 8.0 uses Pixel Shader 1.3. GeForce 4 supports 1.3. DirectX 8.1 uses Pixel Shader 1.4. No nVidia card supports Pixel Shader 1.4 (at least, not one that also doesn't support 2.0.) So, the minimum spec nVidia card that can be used: Pixel Shader 2.0, even though Battlefield uses Pixel Shader 1.4.

    Thus, a bad engine design. Leaving out ~half your audience because you want to use 1.4, when a whole subsection of video cards intentionally didn't support 1.4. Bad developer. Bad!
     
  12. Abscissa

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    You misread the original post. He wasn't saying "It will get people to upgrade". He was saying "It will turn more people away from mainstream games, thus increasing the indie audience."

    I agree it's bad engine design. Likely bad business too (At least I would hope). All I was disagreeing with was when you said "You think this is going to be the trend? No." I was just saying that the whole general case of "bad design by way of high system requirements" is already a trend.

    I wasn't referring to any version of DirectX either, mainly just the hardware.
     
  13. Robert Cummings

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    Battlefield 2 is one game, and only appeals to hardcore fps enthusiasts, who will never touch a casual/shareware/indie game. They would rather upgrade.

    DX9 only games have ZERO effects on us. Neither short nor long term, as the markets are entirely different. You guys can't even make an *entire* DX7 game that competes with the visuals of Quake2 let alone anything else, so lets stay realistic.

    Our future is all about reaching as many people as we can with solid games that these people enjoy - and thats obviously not going to be the hardcore crowd.
     
  14. soniCron

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    What I'm saying is that Battlefield 2 is overstepping the "upgrade bar". Upgrades to play the latest and greatest will probably always be with us. (At least, until we get to the level of super-realism!) But the upgrade cycle has always been a pretty gradual curve, albeit faster than most of us would like. ;) However, with Battlefield 2 comes a huge jump in computing resource requirements that I don't know we've ever seen before. wazoo's original post suggested that it might become common to find such jumps in the mainstream PC game market. I don't think it will. I think they simply made a bad choice when designing the engine. Upgrades will always be the trend, but upgrades of this stature probably won't be.
     
  15. Hiro_Antagonist

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    Ah, that's interesting. You're right, that's a bit more restrictive than what I was thinking.

    Interestingly enough, even our game *says* we require a full DX9-compatable card, but in reality we support a lot of systems. It's just that certain 3d accellorators (usually the integrated graphics chips) cause our D3D sprite-drawing engine to either display unintended visual artifacts/lines, and/or not work at all.

    I assume that *all* games that require DirectX9 say they require a DX9-compatable machine, like our game does. I'm just surprised there's a game that locks you out if you don't hit that bar, since most games will still work on the vast majority of fairly recent cards/machines.

    -Hiro_Antagonist
     
  16. milo

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    I don't think they are going to leave that much business on the table by requiring a DX9 video card. Most of the people who play online shooters have good hardware already, and most of the rest would be willing to upgrade in order to play any given title they are likely to buy. The number of people who would purchase BF2 if only it supported an older generation of video cards is probably small but vocal. Even those people will just upgrade in six or eight months when prices drop again.

    --milo
    http://www.starshatter.com
     
  17. dislekcia

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    Personally, I think it's a good thing for indies that the high end titles are pushing the upgrade curve this fast. One of the main outputs of the update cycle (at least in my house) seems to be old PCs that get farmed off to various relatives or friends who never bought a PC but will gladly accept one if it's free or really cheap. The last three PCs that I've passed on to others have become mostly casual gaming stations that can send the odd email... If that isn't market growth for indies, then I don't know what is.

    I'm also all for technical advancement in game graphics because it means that we get to use more interesting effects that are becoming more and more optimised in our games. There's no sense competing with the AAA titles' graphics, but we can lift the quicker effects that some of them are using without needing to focus too much on hardware.

    -Danny Day
     
  18. soniCron

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    Unless, of course, they are patented. :mad:
     
  19. Omega

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    Let's put this discussion to rest

    I bought my current computer specifically so I could be able to run Battlefield 1. It was exactly 3 years old at the time and the demo barely ran.

    Now, my computer is 2 1/2 years old. This week, I tried the BF 2 demo. My video card that came with this computer is DX 9 compatible....

    After the game loads the map, it crashes. The end.
     
  20. soniCron

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    Which video card have you?
     

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