Confused on today's low end spec

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by JGOware, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. JGOware

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    I've been developing my game on my standard dev kit which is the following:

    Intel Celeron 2.93ghz
    512mb ofram
    Intel Onboard 82845G Graphics Controller

    On the above system my game tops out around 90fps. Which is great!

    So I decided to run it on my slightly newer laptop which has the following:

    T2300 1.66 GHZ
    980 Mhz, 1gb of ram
    Intel Mobile 945GM Express Chipset

    So now I'm getting over 300fps and I'm floored to say the least. I'm very hardware challenged, so I don't know if this system is very powerful or represents a typical low end system in "today's" casual market.

    Should I stick with the older system as my target machine or upgrade my thoughts on what a typical low end system in today's casual market is?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I would simply recommend not adding power-hungry features just for the sake of it and aim as low as possible, maybe with optional stuff for more beefy machines.

    Having said that, I've for a long time gone on and on about the fact that the cheapest, nastiest machine you can get from the cruddiest computer shop is mind-blowingly fast. Even on-board/laptop graphics chips are pretty good.

    I would be quite happy insisting on a shader model 2 video card. You'd be hard-pushed to find a machine in use for games that's older than that, regardless of all the people here who will claim all their sales are because they can run on a DX2 66.

    The casual audience buy their computers from office world or similar, and theres no mark-up for those guys selling shite systems. My answer to you specific question would be to fill your game up with enough stuff to make your crap machine run at 20-30fps and give better computers more effects and stuff
     
  3. Backov

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    I was quite surprised when we ran our game (which was developed on pretty good Core 2 Duos with 8800s) on the dinkiest box with an Intel 945 equivalent we could find and it ran at full frame rate. That's using SM2.0 throughout.

    Applewood's quite right, new machines, even the stupidly cheap ones, are fast as hell. Yay commoditization of hardware!
     
  4. vjvj

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    The Intel integrated 900 cards are tons better than the prior 800 cards, both in performance and driver quality.

    Shader Model 2.0 is a great suggestion for a min spec. There was no major shader re-piping involved in the transition from 1.0 to 2.0, so the chips of that era represent solid, mature shader unit design.

    We have an Intel 915 chip that we regularly test stuff on, and so far we haven't been disappointed with its shader perf (we are running OpenGL arbvp1/arbfp1, which is similar to SM 2.0). We'll see in the long run how far we can push it, though :)
     
  5. Pogacha

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    Now, I am confused :/

    A cheap 5 years old computer:

    1/1.6 Ghz - 256/512 mb - 32/64 mb or vram
    Pixel Shader 1.2

    Am I so wrong?
     
  6. Backov

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    That's more like a 7 year old computer.
     
  7. Bad Sector

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    He said "cheap". 7 years ago many stores had still Voodoo cards available.
     
  8. Backov

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    Ya, I suppose. I'm personally not going to lose sleep over not targeting the LCD 5 years ago. :)
     
  9. vjvj

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    Hard to tell what's happening here without knowing what GPU you're running.
     
  10. Pogacha

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    http://guides.macrumors.com/iBook_G4

    October 22, 2003 PPC 7457 G4 - 800 MHz 256 KB 640 MB Combo ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 32MB

    Equivalent to a 1.3 ghz Intel PC. And it wasn't the cheapest computer.

    So, I'm still confused.
     
    #10 Pogacha, Aug 9, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  11. Backov

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    The machine I bought 7 years ago at Future Shop (Best Buy to you Americans) was an AMD 1ghz with 512 mb of ram and I believe it had a GF2 (can't quite remember.) It wasn't expensive and it wasn't top of the line.

    So, Pogacha, your numbers are a bit off.
     
  12. Mattias Gustavsson

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    I think that generally speaking, it's best to aim at as low hardware requirements as you can.

    Using fancy shader technology or lots of special effects are things the AAA guys do. I don't think there's much to gain for small devs to copy that bit.

    Better to throw in a couple more levels, than waste time on newer tech. :cool:
     
  13. Pogacha

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    So ... based on your data.

    7 years old standard desktops ~= 5 years old standard laptops ?

    5 years old laptops were sold at a similar rate as now (laptops sales/ (laptops + desktops sales) ) ? (from 30% to 50%) (this might be really wrong)

    Thinking it this way, between 30% to 50% of computers sold 5 years ago had 1.2ghz - 512mb - 32mb vram and 1.2 Pixel Shader (Ati 9200 / GeForce 2)

    5 year olds computers represent something like a 30% of the market ?

    Any other thoughts?
     
  14. Backov

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    My thought is that it's rather pointless to speculate on made up statistics.
     
  15. Pogacha

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    thanks for your thoughts!
    any other thought?
     
  16. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    My thoughts are that almost every indie game I see announced has a catchy title that makes me click the link and when I get there I see a really nicely polished picture with some really nicely coloured blocks drawn on it. FFS.

    If this is what you want to make, I'd honestly recommend using pure software and blitting that into a DIB for presentation in WM_PAINT. It will be adequate and run on literally anything. (And this is a valid suggestion, not some kind of rant.)

    However, if you want to write a game that looks like it didn't come from 1990, you should really put some effort into these so called AAA effects. Most of these effects are a couple of days worth of work apiece and you'll have em forever. It'd be hard to find a better time investment imo.

    Start with a glow pass. There's so much info on how to do that on the net you should get it going within a couple of hours. And it's something you can optionally turn off without ballsing your game up.

    There is nothing "AAA" about shaders and graphical effects. The AAA games are AAA games because they have 5 millions bucks worth of art and level design in them. Adding some DOF and fake HDR is trivial and largely automated.

    You don't need these for a 2D game, but I'm just highlighting the fact that effects are not the preserve of big studios. When you have glow available, you have more options on how to highlight text for example.
     
  17. Bad Sector

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    You understand that you're giving advice to people who make shiny games how to make them more shiny? :)
     
  18. Applewood

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    PS.

    Is anyone really trying to target a machine that was "cheap" 7 years ago ?

    Why ?

    Do you think that this extra bit of market will make up for all the other people who looked at your screenshot and ran away laughing at it's emptiness ?
     
  19. Pogacha

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    For me this is a really important part of the game sales. If the game doesn't work on a machine the user won't buy it!.

    It is a trade-of good looking/easy development and reach. If you go too far, you will be making a game that won't look as good or to make it look good you will need to invest in other things, if you make a game that needs too much machine you will end with a lot less customers.
     
  20. Mattias Gustavsson

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    The point is, they add nothing to the game, and are easy to spend lots and lots of time on. And they will make your potential market smaller.

    Are you saying that it is impossible to make a good looking game without shaders and advanced graphical effects? :D

    I would say that all the fancy shaders in the world won't help unless you already know how to make it pretty. Just look at that picklejar alien first person shooter a while back...
     

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