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cwl157

calculating system requirements

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I am wondering how system requirements for games are calculated? I tried search google but couldn't find anything on how the actual requirements are found. Here is an example of what i am talking about. Doom 3 (2004) needed: 3D Hardware Accelerator - 64MB of memory minimum Windows 2000/XP Pentium 4 1.5 GHz or Athlon XP 1500+ processor or higher 384 MB RAM 8x Speed CD-ROM 2.2 GB free hard disk space DirectX 9.0b compatible 16-bit sound card DirectX 9.0b Does anyone know how these numbers are actually calculated so i can calculate them for my own games? Are there automated tools that the software can be passed through that will analyze it and come up with these numbers or are they somehow manually calculated. Thanks.

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As a beginner, you're unlikely to write anything that really needs a system requirements calculation - pretty much anything out there will be powerful enough for your game, although depending on what libraries you use, you might require a specific OS, or DirectX version to be installed, or something like that.

Otherwise, it's pretty much done by trial and error AFAIK. Most games can run on less powerful machines than the spec, anyway; they just aren't as pretty, or run slower, or something like that.

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I know anything i write now will most likely be able to run on any hardware out there, this is just more of a "just curious" type of question in how those requirements are found. So they are mostly found just by trial and error? Like try it on a machine with specs A then try it on a machine with specs B, specs C and so on until the requirements are narrowed down? That sounds like a lot of work?

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Most of these specs can be guestimated with a little knowledge of the program you're writing.

For example, once upon a time (like, in 2004 [smile]) each new generation of GPU had more RAM than the last. So if you're shaders needed shader model 1.2 you could either write "requires 3D Hardware Accelerator supporting shader model 1.2" which nobody understands, or you could write "requires 3D Hardware Accelerator with 64MB RAM" which was a pretty good assumption that any GPU with 64MB RAM supported shader model 1.2.

Harddisk space is easy, see how much it takes up on the harddisk.

CD-ROM speed I guess they just ran their movie clips on different speed drives until they ran smoothly. It is not important any more because games these days usually just installs everything on the harddisk.

RAM is the tricky one, but there are tools that shows how much you have allocated. Set the bar a little higher than that and it's a good enough ball-park figure.

CPU they probably try different configurations and see how well it runs.

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Yea for the HDD i was wondering if it is as simple as just seeing how much space it takes up. Also, for memory requirements, could I just run the program and look at the memory column of windows task manager and see how much memory the game is using that way and then go a little higher then that? Would that produce a pretty accurate estimate?

Thanks.

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for memory look at the requirements of the operating system and then how much memory your program takes up, then find the next closest 256mb mark for the amount you require or some other number that works for you.

xp required like 128mb or something like that when it came out
my game takes up 750mb <-- completely bogus number
750+128 = 878mb next closest 256mb mark 1gb

vista 1024mb + 750mb = 1774mb so on vista 1.75gb or 2gb because its reads easier and ram for new computer seems to come in 1gb increments now =p

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Thanks for all the replies. So it seems like its just making educated guesses and then rounding high for everything. That way if a system that is just below the minimum requirements can run the game it makes the developers look even better :) So its not an exact calculation at all.

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I do have 1 more question though. Lets say a game works on XP, vista, and windows 7 both 32 bit and 64 bit for each OS. Each of those has different memory requirements to run the OS. For a general minimum system requirement is XP used because its a minimum?

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I would assume so... Can you have less than Windows XP? Does your game run on Windows 2000, 98, 95, or ME? If not then I would say Windows XP would be a minimum spec. If your going to say your minimum spec is XP, why would you put the minimum hardware spec of Vista? Just use windows xp. This is all in my opinion of course.

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Usually system requirements: both min-spec and recommended are decided before the game is developed, typically via market research. Then you give most of the people on the team a recommended spec machine to develop on and you pass out a few min-spec and a few ultra-spec machines to the lead engineers. Decisions about what's in and out technologically are made experimentally during development based on how the game performs on the various spec machines.

-me

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