[DX9] calling all intel gma owners

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by TheMysteriousStranger, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Or write a SIGTERM handler that pops a window mentioning from where to download (with clickable links) the latest drivers, directx and whatever else your game depends on. I think it's a better choice because you'll always have users get the latest stuff (the one you redistribute might contain a bug that is only exposed in hardware you haven't tested but might be fixed in a future version available directly from Microsoft).
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I've never really gotten this one myself either, but have ammended my view based on weight of opinion from people around here:

    Users are more likely to bin the game and download another one than try to get your demo running by installing other bits and pieces.

    What finally turned it for me was watching my missus go through this so we could play a multiplayer game together.
     
  3. TheMysteriousStranger

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    Yeah, I have to agree with Applewood on the general laziness and/or indifference of the layperson. As techies, downloading drivers for us is second nature. For the layperson who gets regularly bombarded with warnings about horrible viruses that will rape your puppy and spit on your grandmas corpse, they dislike anything that tells them to open a new link and download something they don't understand. If they see something they don't like, on a free game demo that took all of 5 minutes to download, they'll just shitcan it and move on to the next one.

    I may choose to go the full redistributable route yet, I haven't fully decided. Web distributable seems like the best idea right now, with the only drawback being any users that might try and install the game on a computer without web access. The web installer will always get the latest components, so in theory should be the best drivers for the job. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time an obscure bug in a new version broke something in old software :)
     
  4. Bad Sector

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    I think that was about stuff like Java, .NET and XNA runtimes. If this is an exceptional case (some badly configured GMAs) which appears after installation and after the user has invested a bit of his time in the game, i think he'll be more likely to go through this extra step. I mean, he'll going to install it anyway if he needs it and the alternative would be to send a support email (as mentioned above) which is more work from his part.

    Besides, distributing the DirectX libraries doesn't fully solve the issue of bugs exposed only in hardware you haven't tested.

    Also i think that the above recommendation was mostly for casual gamers. I haven't tried TheMysteriousStranger's game (my only GMA machine is a netbook with ubuntu), so i don't know what kind of game it is though.
     
  5. JarkkoL

    JarkkoL New Member

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    Full redistributable of latest DX end-user runtime is ~100MB not 10MB, so it's significant addition to the downloadable size (web installer is only ~300KB). I have thought of this myself as well (+ I need to add PhysX system software as well which is ~50MB), and was thinking of providing two versions, one which has only the game (for tech savvy users) and another which has DX+PhysX bundled with additional 150MB.
     
  6. LateNight

    LateNight New Member

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    But how do you stop the non-tech-savvy users from downloading the minimal version? By their very nature, non-tech-savvy users do things that make you want to smack them, such as downloading the minimal version because it's smaller and they're not online for long/have a download limit/think they're more tech savvy than they are. I used to spend a lot of time in a live tech support chatroom to get a better idea of just how much trouble the non-tech-savvy users really are, and they're a lot of trouble. You'd be amazed how many of them come in with smug stories of their "retarded" friends and family who have no idea about technology at the same time as they're wiring their cable modem up to the phone line and letting the cat play with the router.
     
  7. JarkkoL

    JarkkoL New Member

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    You will just make a link like: "Download Full Version (also includes DX End-User runtime + PhysX system software)" and "Download version without DX & PhysX" or something. Sure some people will still download the version without DX & PhysX, but if they got problems, first thing you do is to check which one they got and then tell them to download the full version if not. The game can tell during installation anyway if you got the recent enough version of DX & PhysX and tell you to download full version if not with also download links to DX & PhysX.
     
  8. TheMysteriousStranger

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    The problem I have is that the user needs the D3DX component installed on their system, and it has to be the same version (or newer) the shaders/game were compiled with in order to be able to use gpu shaders. This component does not come with the standard install of any version of windows, so you need to get the user to install it. The simplest way is to run a dx redistrubutable at game installation time. Or to save space in the download, run the web redistributable which does the exact same thing, but the user only downloads the components that need updating.

    As for hardware problems - I don't think it's worth trying to second guess what craziness the gpu vendors will try next to break your game. It makes more sense to get the game running on a wide range of normal hardware, then if you learn about some weird incompatibility, decide if it's worth the time to fix it there and then.

    You don't need to include ALL the cab files, only the ones from your sdk - eg if you use the August2009 SDK, only include those cabs. That gets you down to around 10MB. I've heard it's possible, if you have the know how, to pick and choose precisely what you need and can get away with around 5MB of files, but I don't think I know enough to be able to safely do that.

    F--- me - 50MB for a physics package?! Can I ask, why are you using Physx with a 50MB install, when there are other free physics middlewares with far smaller footprints?
     
  9. JarkkoL

    JarkkoL New Member

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    Erm, I'm not talking about ripping stuff from the SDK but the latest end-user runtime installation which you can d/l from MS site. "This download provides the DirectX end-user redistributable that developers can include with their product".

    Because it's a proven physics engine in high profile games unlike those other free physics middlewares. I checked that it's actually 32MB, but anyway.
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'll take your word for it. The slimline redist is 10 meg only. If you want proof, download my defender game linked below.

    There was a lot about this on the DX list a while ago, for which I kept careful notes.
     
  11. TheMysteriousStranger

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    Scroll down this page:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee416805%28VS.85%29.aspx

    to the section titled 'Small Installation Packages' for info on how to make a small redistrutable for your installer. In short, you don't need to go the full 100MB route any more as 99% of your audience will not need the full install, only an update.
     
  12. JarkkoL

    JarkkoL New Member

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    I actually just checked it :) That's good to know.
     

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