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dmikesell

Need help establishing minimum system requirements

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Hi - I'm working on an educational game/simulation and need help determining minimum system requirements. It runs nicely on a 1.8GHz CPU/128MB RAM/32MB Video RAM machine, but on a four year old machine with 8 MB graphics display it crawls. I don't have access to any "middle ground" machines, and that's where I hope you can help. There is a prototype/demo version available for download on my website and I'd greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to try it out and let me know how it works on your machine by taking a short survey. It's Windows only...links to the zip file and survey are below. Thanks to anyone who can help. Demo zip file (1.49 MB) Survey EDIT: Download size -- Dave Mikesell Software [edited by - dmikesell on February 11, 2004 2:10:20 PM]

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The reason you have no access to middle ground machines is because most of them run 56k modems! 7.66mb will only be downloaded if the game looks promissing, not so we can download it to tell you it doesn''t work.

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quote:
Original post by Stan100
The reason you have no access to middle ground machines is because most of them run 56k modems! 7.66mb will only be downloaded if the game looks promissing, not so we can download it to tell you it doesn't work.


What?? You're not going to waste 20 minutes of your time doing my work for free? What is the world coming to!!??



Good point. I link everything statically so I don't force users to endure DLL Hell. I guess everything has tradeoffs.


--
Dave Mikesell Software

[edited by - dmikesell on February 10, 2004 11:25:50 AM]

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I guess your not the type of person that would download linux ISO images from a dial-up modem? Anyways, back on topic. I would download it and try it but my computer is on the higher spectrum of things.

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quote:
but on a four year old machine with 8 MB graphics display it crawls

Unless you are doing something fancy, for simple 3D solar system renderings like in your website's screenshot you should be able to make use of this older kind of hardware. This is worth considering if you are targeting the family PC educational market with your product, and not the hardcore gaming market.

I developed a 3D solar system based action game in 1998 using Direct3D (3D first person asteroids shooter called Close Approach), and used the following tricks to get the game running on slow PCs:
1. smaller textures
2. lower polygon spheres
3. using mesh traingles for stars rather than a star background texture/skybox/panorama
4. decals for distant planets
etc.

[edited by - abstractworlds on February 10, 2004 12:08:54 PM]

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quote:
Original post by abstractworlds
quote:
but on a four year old machine with 8 MB graphics display it crawls

Unless you are doing something fancy, for simple 3D solar system renderings like in your website''s screenshot you should be able to make use of this older kind of hardware. This is worth considering if you are targeting the family PC educational market with your product, and not the hardcore gaming market.

I developed a 3D solar system based action game in 1998 using Direct3D (3D first person asteroids shooter called Close Approach), and used the following tricks to get the game running on slow PCs:
1. smaller textures
2. lower polygon spheres
3. using mesh traingles for stars rather than a star background texture/skybox/panorama
4. decals for distant planets
etc.

[edited by - abstractworlds on February 10, 2004 12:08:54 PM]


Great feedback! I planned on using decals or some other low-res draw method for distant objects, but haven''t implemented it yet as the demo only has Mercury and the Sun. I''ll experiment with smaller textures and lower poly spheres as well.

Can you explain #3 to me? I''m using a simple skybox for my star background. One of the reasons I chose this method was for the low polygon count.

Thanks again...



--
Dave Mikesell Software

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quote:
3. using mesh traingles for stars rather than a star background texture/skybox/panorama
Can you explain #3 to me? I''m using a simple skybox for my star background. One of the reasons I chose this method was for the low polygon count.


I found that on some low end systems, and especially systems without 3D hardware, that a single non-textured mesh with white inwards facing but distant triangular faces, offered better performance than a low-polygon texture mapped skybox. I guess the main reason was texture size, and the fact that the whole of the viewport is taken up with the textured background all the time (a lot of texture rendering required).

I did try pointframe quality meshes (like wireframe but just showing the points), but not all cards supported this at the time so I resorted to a mesh with many triangular solid faces. This technique is still used in the latest version of my game (you can see for yourself if you download the 1.3MB demo, or just look at the screenshots on the website).

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Using smaller textures and lower poly spheres. Also removed some images from the .zip that aren''t necessary in the demo. The download is now only 1.5 MB.

While I''m on the subject, what is the best image format for textures? I''m using targa, but the images are rather large.

--
Dave Mikesell Software

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7 megs is nothing on a 56k modem, dont be a cry baby

Since I have my work laptop with me it will serve as a good min system test bed. The demo ran smooth, but there was a graphical glich on the 2nd stage of the demo, I saw more of a "thick" wireframe of the planet, it happened twice and it seems to have texture to it, but the planet texture went back to normal.

The laptop specs are
CPU 1gig
RAM: 768
VIDEO Intel Controller(sucks) if you want more details its an IBM Thinkpad R31, we just added more ram.

I was also running applications in the background.

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