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Norman Barrows

Member Since 04 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 01:51 AM

#5293381 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 25 May 2016 - 09:41 AM

>> IIRC Dell's 8900 series has a 460 watt power supply and every now and then you can get a coupon on them that saves you a good amount of cash.


so far, i've seen some gtx cards that recommend 600w, and some boxes with 500w, but no 600w.


odds are i'll end up with a PNY GTX 970. i've had a number of PNY GTX cards in the past and have always been pleased with them. 


but it seems there are more fundamental questions to be resolved first. such as does a given title even require an "average PC".  not all games are skyrim.

#5293333 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 25 May 2016 - 06:09 AM

>> As far as the PC you found did you see how big the PS was? Usually pre-built systems come with 300Watt power supplies.


yes, this is a concern. i may end up having to build my own for maximum value, or buy more than just a cheap case with a 6th gen i7 in it.

#5293191 How should I develop this game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 24 May 2016 - 06:00 AM

most games engines let you write scripts or code.  usually in a custom language, but sometimes a standard one like c#.  when running, the game engine calls this code. this lets you modify the behavior of the engine (or define it in the first place).


writing a RPG of any significance in just month is a tall order unless you use an engine you don't have to mod, are skilled with it (2+ years experience), and only use pre-made assets. even then it would be very hard, and you would not sleep much. there's just so much to an rpg.  first you need all the things a shooter has, levels and monsters and weapons and combat, then you need classes / skills / perks, magic / techno / artifacts, inventory systems, dialog systems, quest systems, the list goes on....


pong you can do in one man-month.  skyrim is measured in hundreds of man-years (IE about 500 man-years to build skyrim: 100 people and 5 years. or about 2000*500 = 1,000,000 hours of labor - and that's just working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year. you know the folks at bethesda (like all gamedevs) work longer hours than that. 


at their best, a single dev can only average 15 hours a day after sleep, showers, meals, and bathroom stops - no work, no school, no family, no friends, no taking breaks - just game development. that's just 105 hours a week. or 5475 hours a year. while that's not bad compared to the ~2000 hours a year for a 9-5 with vacation, it would still take you 182 years to write skyrim. and that's only if writing skyrim was all you did except eat, shower, sh*t, and sleep. IE if you had no life.

#5293187 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 24 May 2016 - 05:21 AM

>> If you've designed the game to run on a single core, with 1.3GHz I doubt you need to worry about the system's other processes.


that just happens to be the minimum spec at the moment, and i haven't "cranked up the volume" yet.


from taking a look at steam, it seems the average PC right now is 4 cores at 3+ Ghz, and 2-4 gig vram with a nvidia 900 series or AMD r9 series GPU.


and the next step will be 4 cores at 4+ Ghz, and 4-8 gig vram.


and the step after that will be 6+ cores at 4+ Ghz and 8-16 or 32 gig vram.


so far i've found a 6th gen i7 6700 box at $700 (lenovo - newegg, as i recall - just goto cdw.com - best supplier on the planet), and vidcards are of two basic types: good (GTX 970) for $200-300, and very good (Ti's and other hot stuff) for about twice as much.  the average game ready rig has a "good" card, but not a killer one.


so for Caveman 3.0, recommended should be 3+ Ghz, not 1.3+. and a vidcard comparable in speed to a decent GTX 900 or 700 series GPU, with 2+ gig of vram, not an AMD HD 6310 with 1 gig.


and for the game after that, it should be 3+ Ghz (or maybe 4+), GTX 1080,  and 4gig vram (or maybe 8?).


i need to check the recommended specs for current games again. those numbers may still be low when it comes to vram.


i was surprised to find the 1080 wasn't that much faster with today's games - then again, they aren't designed for it.


as for extra cores and users running multiple apps - that's their problem, not mine.  i really have yet to find a good use for extra cores. you can't really use them for mission critical stuff, which means they're really only useful for BS chrome. and i'll spend dev time on gameplay before chrome - every time. its a better long term value to the customer.

#5293027 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 23 May 2016 - 04:58 AM

>> Personally I don't believe in CPUs with less than 6 cores. I figure 4 cores for the game, and 2 for the system and background/idle applications.


so if i'm fullscreen dx, and have no background processes running  - not even anti virus - you're saying windows 10 will still be trying to do stuff in the background? so i should get extra cores? and so should my users? i know OS overhead tends to get worse, not better, but it can't have gotten that bad - has it?.


its seems to me that if its just windows and the game running, windows would grab a timeslice from time to time, check the job queue, see there's nothing else that needs doing, and return control to the game.

#5293025 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 23 May 2016 - 04:53 AM

BTW - are you only going to have recommended spec or min specs as well?




if you define minimum spec as "less than this and its not really playable or wont run at all" - then all games have a minimum spec.


you have the spec the game is designed for, and then you have how much the game can be dialed down and still provide the same basic experience - the minimum spec.


on my current project Caveman 3.0,  i'm in a rather unusual position. the game is largely done except final graphics. so release is within 1 year for sure. so today's mid-range would be the recommended spec.  but right now the recommended spec is just one core at 1.3Ghz and a Dx9 GPU. odds are the minimum spec right now is about the same. not only that, but my target FPS is just 15, not 30, 60 or as fast as possible. a rock solid 15 fps is all that's required for a simulation to be sufficiently responsive. everything else is just smoother animation.  

#5292828 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 22 May 2016 - 01:08 AM

>> During dev, a game requires much more power because it hasn't been optimized yet, and you may have any number of quick and dirty hacks to get things done.


i always try to keep the framerate at an acceptable speed at all times on the target PC. so i optimize as i go along, as needed, when needed.  in Caveman i only really had to deal with pairwise range checks for target section from hundreds of entities in close proximity (round robin to the rescue), and writing a data oriented render queue.  as the game grows, you get a feel for which bits are probably eventually going to need optimization. when that framerate starts dropping, you take a time out, fix the problem, then move on. this tends to reduce or eliminate last minute optimization during crunch time, allowing you to concentrate on getting as many of those final features in as possible before going gold. right now, realtime collision map and terrain chunk generation are the only two things that look like they may need some attention before all is said and done. and they're not quit bad enough to make me do anything about it yet. so its still wait and see.

#5292825 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 22 May 2016 - 12:46 AM

>> Do you care for accelerating your compile time?  If so look into 6 or 8 core intel cpu's. 


first i want to determine what i need for testing and development, then i can consider what i want and can afford beyond that for enhanced development.


>>  I would suggest a 500W power supply minimum but 600 watts to be safe especially if you get an AMD video card and get one of the more expensive ones.


yes, i think it was the r9 and fury and fruy x that recommended 600w, and i've only found PCs with 500w so far.


>> Also a good idea would be to check out the steam hardware survey to help you decide on your recommended specs.


one really needs the survey results from 2 to 4 years from now, not from right now - assuming a game with a longer development cycle.  if you're just going to bang out something in six months in unity - sure you can just look at steam to see whats up  today - no problem. it won't change that much by the time you release. for bigger games you have to start with where the market is now (steam survey), and estimate (guess) when the game will be released, and where the market will be at that point in time, as far as what is the "average.game capable PC" when it comes to processor speed, cache speed and size, number of cores, total ram, GPU, and GPU ram.

#5292824 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 22 May 2016 - 12:41 AM

>> Cache is part of the CPU and cannot be purchased separately.


but different chips have different cache sizes, cache ram types, and cache memory speeds. i've been looking at all kinds of chips from 4 core i7 6700's to 8 core 4th gen EX chips.


>> If you want to build a PC from parts, this is the process I use:


that's the same one i use. my last two PCs wre store bought. the one before that was custom built for me, and all the ones before those,except my very first one (an XT), i built myself just as you describe.


>> - Take all benchmarks with a grain of salt;


oh definitely. they only prove what they actually test.


>> I have had a perfect time with AMD processors even though they look terrible according to benchmarks.


i've always liked AMD for the price to performance ratio they provide. probably 80% of my rigs have been amd rigs. my current one is.  i might just hold out for their new chip coming out soon. herd some good things about it.


>> For game development, buy midrange GPUs of both brands so you can tune your performance and cater to a larger audience.


that would be "midrange by the time the game is released" right? so if you were starting a new project today with a 2 year estimate (that would likely grow to 4 years), you'd want a higher than midrange GPU, so it would be "merely midrange" by the time the game cane out. same deal for the CPU, with respect to clock speeds and number of available cores. you need to use what will be "tomorrow's midrange" - not use today's midrange GPU. todays midrange will be old hardware by the time the game comes out.  its the old problem of having to anticipate (perhaps years in advance) what the average system spec will be when the game is released, before you really even start it - as the spec will limit the possible scope of the game.

#5292676 how much PC do you need to build a given game?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 20 May 2016 - 01:14 PM

how much PC do you need to build a given game?


its getting time for me to get a new dev pc.  so the question is how much pc does one need?


when a game is released, some set of system specs will be the "average" game-capable PC at that time.  it seems that set of specs should be the recommended specs for that game. does that make sense?


so to test the game during development, you'll need a PC that at least meets those recommended specs.   and you can draw less on slower PCs, and draw more on faster ones.  you could also do a similar thing for update with a cap for max active entities (more entities on faster CPUs and fewer on slower ones). and for DX games, WARP could be used to test graphics beyond recommended specs that your card couldn't do. does all this sound right?


i'm not doing anything crazy like pre-computing all the possibly visible surfaces in quake on a mips alpha running 24 by 7 for an entire month, so the recommended specs should be good enough for development as well as testing. granted - a better PC would speed development, but for the moment i'm figuring out what i need at a minimum, not what would be nice. 


so would it be safe to say that at any given time, you should be developing for - and testing on - a PC that will be "average" when the game is released?


so far i've spent an entire day looking at recommended system specs for new games, i7 6700 series chips, fury x cards, r9 cards, cache size, type, and speed, benchmarks, and stuff like that (til my brain turned to mush!).


seems there are 6 parts to consider: CPU, vidcard, ram, cache, HD size, and a power supply big enough for the vidcard.

#5292670 which model import lib to use?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 20 May 2016 - 12:30 PM

looks like some folks take exception to your colorful language.  :o


dx uses a left hand system


ogl uses a right hand system.


sounds like fbx uses a right hand system.


assimp is an import only library not a format conversion library. IE it reads many formats into its own proprietary format in memory, from which you are supposed to copy out the data into whatever format you choose. so it imports many formats, and exports none  (supposedly - i don't use it myself)


for what you're trying to do, i'd import the fbx into blender or truespace, export to .x format, then use Dx code to load the .x file - of course that gets it into a directx game, not a custom game which just happens to have a  left hand system like Dx does.  


for a custom left hand system, you'll need to write code to either copy the assimp data to your data structures in memory at load time (IE use assimp as your load routine) , or use assimp to write a custom conversion tool that reads fbx (or whatever) and writes out whatever format you want to use to load data into your game - including possibly your own custom format.


its quite common for folks to find all the exiting formats lacking and to use their own for a game. that's where assimp is really useful.


to use a custom format, you have to convert data from standard formats used by modeling tools. using assimp, the import half of the work is already done for you - and that's the hard half. all you have to do is write export code for your custom format, which should be easy, cause it will be a simple and efficient format that does just exactly what the game needs and nothing more.


generally speaking, getting data out of a modeling package and into a custom game engine seems to be non-trivial.  i used Dx code to avoid the entire issue to the maximum extent possible. it ain't pretty, but at least it works. it was the closest thing i could find to a turn-key solution for a dx based game.

#5292668 About resouce files

Posted by Norman Barrows on 20 May 2016 - 12:19 PM

if the code you're using to load a resource does not include the format or filename (from which you can figure out the format), then you'll have to store that information separately, your self, somehow.

#5292647 Which games should I try?

Posted by Norman Barrows on 20 May 2016 - 10:33 AM

>>  these should ideally be mechanics that would also apply to tabletop games, so that when I teach those, I know what principles to focus on and carry through to the video game making part of the curriculum later in the year.


the mechanics of table top games are really rather limited:

1. rolling dice

2. moving board pieces

3. drawing or playing cards

4. saying what you do or some other form of talking / communication with other player / participants..

5. looking up rules in books, or consulting charts for results.

6. that kind of stuff.


as you can see, there's little or nothing in common with video / computer game mechanics.


>> Are there basic mechanics for different genres (i.e. fps, fighting games, racing games, etc.)? And what should I be looking for as I play?\


most definitely.  fighting games are about combo move mechanics. racing games are about turning , acceleration, and braking mechanics, and so on...


try as many games as you can, to get a feel for how they work, and what the basic idea of the game is.


then follow valrus' recommendation and just start checking stuff out.

#5292454 Need mentorship from a veteran programmer

Posted by Norman Barrows on 19 May 2016 - 04:32 AM

work experience should come first - newest to oldest - not oldest to newest.

give the name of the company and title(s) you worked on.


list of titles should come second - might include all titles both self published and those from work in order from newest to oldest.


you mention downloads but not sales. so either your games didn't sell well - which makes you not a good prospect - or they did, and you may leave tomorrow to start your own indie studio - which again makes you a risk.  you may want to claim the experience, but not the entrepreneurship. IE drop the sales info entirely.


skills should come third.

for each platform, OS, language, and tool, list the number of years of programming experience.


education should come fourth - newest to oldest. you should list the basic game related subjects studied, such as languages, data structures & algos, graphics classes, AI, math and physics background etc.


i'd drop awards altogether - nothing there really worth bragging about when it comes to game development - MS thanked you for writing a win8.1 game - that's nice. it might even be a minus given the win8 record of success - it may even indicate lack of sense where the market is going that you spent time on a win8.1 game. 


sometimes its as important what you don't say as what you do.  an awful lot can be read between the lines.  and its whats between the lines that really forms the final judgement. 


team lead (waving resume): "reading between the lines, here we have a guy that can do X, Y, Z, and W, but has potential issues A, B, and C.. do we want him - yes or no?"





more detail:



skills section:

none of the stuff under skills/knowledge is special - lose it all - all gamedevs do that.  that's probably not what one expects to see under skills.   skills are years of experience with platforms, OS's, languages, tools, and particular types of coding such as 2D graphics, 3D graphics, AI , network, or audio.

OS's:  how many years coding on each?  

languages: how many years of coding in each?


hint: if you don't have a solid year in something, you really shouldn't list it at all.


if you can't say something impressive, do not say anything.




every game programmer uses a compiler. don't list visual studio. it a rather "no duh! don't we all?" situation.

same idea for eclipse. its just a java IDE. i would think the ability to use ANY IDE would be assumed on the part of any game shop.

same for subversion eclipse version control. the ability to use version control software would be assumed.

same for GIT.

in general it would be assumed you could use the basic tools of the game coding trade: iDE, compiler, linker, debugger, profiler, version control, etc.

HTML5 is a programming language - not a tool. HTML5 = hyper text markup language version 5.0.

likewise, javascript is a language - not a tool.

the andriod SDK is an API. its should be listed under skills with years of android development. i mean - you can't develop for andriod wthout the SDK can you? so adding the sdk as a tool is just "stuffing" your resume to make it look fuller by technically listing things twice. folks look at that and say "either he's trying to fool somebody or he didn't even proof his resume enough to notice he listed the same basic thing twice in two different places - either way - he doesn't make the cut."

XCODE looks to be yet another IDE. IDEs don't count for squat.

UE4 - ok, now THERES a tool finally - how many years? what did you make? is it online? can i see it? whats the link?

Unity3D - another true tool. again - how many years? what did you make? is it online? can i see it? whats the link?

XMI is probably better classified as a language or API/library, not a tool.

Json is another library/API, not a tool.  

JSP is another language extension / library / API - not a tool. library or language? your call.

tools are things like UE5, 3DSMAX, SoundForge, etc. IE they're basically apps. game engines are really just highly configurable apps.



you may want to add a separate section for APIs and libraries you know, such as android SDK, Json, winAPI, or something like bullet or havok, or dx12, etc. its a little clearer than having to infer it from other sections (IE 2 years android development under the OS's section implies 2 years android SDK experience).


your number of years of experience in languages, specialized types of coding (3D, AI, physics, etc), tools, and APIs will be the quick measure of your worth.





so what would that look like?




Y games (name of company, titles worked on, position title, start and end date) y comes first, as its your most recent job.

what you did:  (reading between the lines)

you published 5 mobile games - what kind? can i see them? whats the link? your game on the bosses computer is the best darn resume you could ever fricking have. i'll bet every team lead wishes they could just get a link, download and run the game and go "Wow! hire this guy! NOW!'.

the remaining activities listed under Y games (optimization, marketing, and metrics) can all more or less be assumed on the course of self publishing 5 mobile games.

reading between the lines - you had a lot of downloads, but don't mention sales, so perhaps there's something wrong with the games. you also provide no links. where are these games? where's your proof? are you going to make me google everything? (APIs and IDEs and other stuff you mention that the reader may not be familiar with if all they use is frostbite for example)




X games (name of company, titles worked on, position title, start and end date)

what you did:  (reading between the lines)

* you wrote a screen scaler. ok, a little 2d graphics experience there - we all learn the basic algo to scale a bitmap at some point. also some cross platform development experience - always a good thing - it demonstrates flexibility and adaptability.

* you did some web development - it was for a game, but it wasn't technically game development - it  was just web development.

* AI programming - ok, now we're getting somewhere. FYI, in american english its a "decision tree" not a "decider tree".  remember what i said about reading between the lines? correct and precise terminology is an absolute must! - or you'll look like you don't exactly know what you're talking about. but AI programming is definitely good.

* prototyping - what? what did you implement? if its prototyping, it should be cutting edge, this is the true measure of what you've done and can do.


TITLES WORKED ON  (newest to oldest)

game name, game type, what you did on the project.  if the game sold well, you can mention it. otherwise don't. downloads don't mean sh*t. its all about your download to sales conversion rate, with 1% considered good. if the game was free with adware, say so. if it made money, say so. otherwise don't say anything.  again, downloads don't mean sh*t - dollars are what matters.   provide a link to a playable version if possible.


as mentioned in other posts to this thread, when you're the sole developer, you want to list what was cool and unique and ground breaking and cutting edge about your games - IE the cool features.  this is the time to brag about your work. <g>.   "its does this and that and the other thing and no other game ever did it before and now they all do!" -  that kind of stuff. for games where you weren't the sole coder, list the features you did. without links,


i have no idea what kind of games these are. but i can tell you that mobile limits what you can do - IE you can't clone skyrim onto a mobile, due to hardware limitations as to just how much game you can make. you may need more than a mobile game to impress a company that makes the likes of skyrim. or maybe not - back ops 3 worked just fine on a nintendo ds. are you building that caliber of game - or something somewhat less than that?  what is impressive all depends on one's point of view, and what one has already accomplished themselves. and you're trying to impress some rather accomplished people. game development can be one of the most complex software engineering exercises on the planet - right up there with implementing entire OS's and WAN systems from scratch.  so it tends to have many of the best and brightest, who sacrifice a bit of job security for the chance to do cool stuff. needles to say, they will be a little harder to impress than your typical HR bureaucrat. studios want extraordinary people with extraordinary skills and talents.



Os's:   windows, linux, mac, andriod. how many years of coding for each? less than one good year doesn't count at all.

langauges: how many years of each? HTML5 and such go here too!

tools: UE4 and unity, how many years of each?  might want to get UE5 on there to keep current.

APIs: winSDK? andriod SDK.  any directX? OGL? how many years with each one?

libraries: Json, XMI, etc. how many years with each one?



University X    game programming degree       (not completed)  include the GTA and GDC stuff, its good.  the reputation of the shcool will matter. list what you have learned and will learn: graphics, AI, etc.

University Y   CS degree (non-engineering).

you may want to go into your education as far as math and physics goes. do you know analytic geometry? trig? linear? numerical methods? discrete mathematics? how many years of physics have you taken?


ok, now for devils advocate



i'm a team lead, on a big project (total budget in the millions). somehow i get a hold of this resume. 


i see c++, c#, XML, cross-platform, basic 2 graphics, a little AI, good enough to be a teacher's aid in algos and data structures - that's got to count for something. practically no experience in the AAA industry though it seems.  looks like the job at company Y is self employed - which really doesn't count unless you'e written a hit (or two or more). unfortunately these days, writing 5 mobile apps with unity is nothing really special. writing a hit is something different.  without game titles and links i can't judge the work. (but the portfolio link should handle that - haven't taken a look yet). i see little in the way of lower level API experience. no directX, no Ogl, not even bullet physics, much less havoc. unless your games are something like black ops 3 for mobile, i'd have to say its "just another guy writing simple mobile apps with unity". given how flooded that market is, odds are it'll be hard to do an outstanding game that would impress the likes of an EA or Bethesda.or Rockstar.


i'll take a look at the portfolio.- ah, no can do. its not a real link. i'll just assume its your typical unity mobile app fair. frankly that wouldn't even impress me. and i'm just an indie.



bottom line: if you want to impress somebody, you have to do something impressive. have you done that yet? without seeing your games, so far it does't look like you have (from a team lead frostbite user's point of view).


most of the things are simply related to writing good resumes. you can find lots of info online about that.


but it also looks like you're only about half way though collecting a list of accomplishments that would impress a AAA studio.  its really hard to say without seeming the games, but i suspect you need to take your game development to the next level - IE build something more impressive than you have to date.

#5292453 Understanding Peer 2 Peer

Posted by Norman Barrows on 19 May 2016 - 04:16 AM

>>  (P2P = Hacking/Cheating/abuse is inevitable), 100%?


ANY networked software - not just games - is vulnerable to abuse.


in network computing overall, a client-server model probably is easier to secure than a peer-peer model - as you can usually at least secure the server side pretty well.


false transmissions, data sniffing, and data destruction are things all networked systems which someone might potentially abuse must deal with.