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Game Development Rig


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#1 aspiring newb   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:46 PM

What's a decent rig setup to develop games?

 

I want to build a dedicated PC for developing games.  I have a macbook for personal use, but I want to focus making games on PC with microsoft tools.  I plan on making pet projects while I am still in school so I don't need something that is going to power the next Crysis. Still, I wanted to know if using bootcamp on my macbook would suffice, or if I should just build something separate.

 

I've read that bootcamped Macs essentially are PCs and even have Windows 7 on mine, but there are certain types of software that won't work on it (I am guessing because of the Mac architecture but really have no idea).  If there is anyone that has tried to use bootcamp to develop games of small scope on their macs, have you run into any problems using tools that are built for native Windows Machines?  Will things like differences in keyboard layouts, inputs, and trackpads (really hate using the trackpad on my bootcamp, but I guess I should be using a mouse anyway) affect programming?



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#2 matrisking   Members   -  Reputation: 282

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:13 PM

I've used bootcamp to install Windows and Visual Studio.  Things like the keyboard layout weren't ideal, but other than that it worked fine for me.  This was a little while ago so I was using Windows XP.  I can't imagine you'd encounter substantial problems with Windows 7/8 as long as you're using a legit copy.



#3 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9880

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

I've read that bootcamped Macs essentially are PCs and even have Windows 7 on mine, but there are certain types of software that won't work on it (I am guessing because of the Mac architecture but really have no idea).

There aren't any differences in architecture - a good number of people run bootcamp'd MacBook Pros in preference to PC laptops.

 

The most likely candidate if software won't run is the graphics card. Most of the non-Pro MacBooks from the past few years have a fairly crappy Intel GPU, and it isn't really up to gaming.


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#4 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7127

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:36 PM

There shouldn't be any differences between bootcamp and a dedicated Windows box, you're dual-booting so either Windows or OSXwill have complete control of the hardware. All modern Macs capable of bootcamp run on Intel architecture, the same architecture found in standard PCs. The keyboard layout is atypical, but functional under windows, and as far as trackpads go, Apple's is the hands-down best regardless of what OS the machine is running. If I'm not mistaken, the latest version of bootcamp (with the latest update of the latest OSX) has drivers for Win8.

 

Depending on which macbook you have, you might not have the greatest of video cards, but it won't matter for 2D games or simple-ish 3D games. This would be true of all versions of the macbook, macbook air, 13" macbook unibody and pro, and the 13" Retina macbook, but newer models (those with i-series processors) in this list will fare better than older models (with Core or Core 2-series processors). Any recent 15" macbook pro or Retina, or 17" macbook pro should have some form of dedicated graphics, and will be fine for more-intensive things.


Edited by Ravyne, 21 March 2013 - 04:38 PM.


#5 Aeramor   Members   -  Reputation: 1126

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:04 PM

I have a brand new top of the line macbook pro retina (15") and I can tell you from personal experience this is *not* a development worthy machine. It can run games like Diablo 3 reasonably well (~20fps) but for development you need much more processing power because your games will often not yet be optimized and you will be running with debug flags. 

 

That said a good development machine doesn't have to break the bank, get a decent i5 with ~16+gigs of ram and a 460gtx+ and you'll be fine to develop anything outside of triple A visual quality games.

 

If you do decide to use your mac: disable integrated graphics while debugging (i've noticed it doesn't auto switch as well as with it does with normal games/apps) and also make sure you have a legitimate copy of windows 7, I've seen the pirate copies cause endless headaches for devs :/ Not to mention if you want to be a developer you shouldn't be pirating anything anyway, it robs all of us.


-Aeramor

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#6 aspiring newb   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:31 PM

Thanks to all for the info.

 

@ Ravyne I agree the trackpads are awesome.  It's the primary reason I haven't been able to go back to PC since I converted to Mac!  However, in bootcamp the trackpad doesn't seem as responsive.  I've read lots of forums where people complained about the same things like clicking and dragging when you don't mean to.  I don't know if it's because I have Windows 7 or because I have OS X 10.6.8 (even though I got my computer less than a year before Lion came out, I haven't upgraded because I don't want my Macbook Pro to be a giant iPhone...lemme know if I'm wrong on that assumption), but even though the motions are perfect in OS X, they do cause a headache when they don't work in Windows.  Maybe I have the trackpad configured wrong on the Windows side, I don't know.

 

@ Aeramor Congrats on the new acquisition.  The retinas look nice from what I've seen at stores, but I've gathered that MacBooks weren't ideal for game development.  Also, thank you for the tips on the PC specs as well what to do on my mac.  I am wondering if the latter is applicable to me since all I have is the integrated graphics.  My 13 inch doesn't have a dedicated card like the 15 inch books do.  I really do want to invest in a proper machine, but in the meantime, I think I'll follow the mac advice you gave because I am only starting up and trying to do stuff in my spare time while I go to school.  The stuff I am going to be doing probably won't tax a Super Nintendo.  That is until I get enough experience to jump into more advanced game development (I'm level 0 at the moment and going to school for Computer Science).

 

Also, I do have a legitimate copy of Windows 7.  I bought it thinking my classes would have lots of programming based on Windows tools (like Visual Studio) but they don't.  I'm still early in my degree, but it looks like anything my peers can do on a PC for class, I can do on my Mac.  Still, I felt like I was ripped off paying 300ish dollars for Windows and not having any suite included.  On the flipside, it's like I got 2 computers in one, so the price isn't too outrageous with that consideration.  My school offers licenses for certain things like Office for cheap so I guess I should get myself to IT soon.


Edited by aspiring newb, 21 March 2013 - 07:37 PM.


#7 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4186

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

Instead of buying hardware without knowing if you need it. Try bootcamp first. If someday you think your macbook isnt enough for what you want to do, then you can see what to improve.


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#8 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9880

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:07 AM

get a decent i5 with ~16+gigs of ram and a 460gtx+

So in other words, a less powerful processor than a 15" MacBook Retina, and the same amount of RAM, all to gain a 40% GPU bump?

 

Honestly, unless you are writing the next Crysis (and you probably shouldn't be), a decent MacBook is fine for game development.


Edited by swiftcoder, 22 March 2013 - 07:07 AM.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]





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