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How do game developers know the system requirement to their games?

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What kind of tool do they use to make this decision? Are the system requirements just an estimation? Suppose the end user has slighting below the system requirements, would that be enough to run the game?

 

Do they use a benchmark tool (not sure if these actually existed online or need to be custom made)? 

 

 

 

An example system requirements for a game made using XNA:

 

  • OS: Windows (XP/Vista/7), MacOS X, or Linux
  • Processor: 2ghz+
  • Memory: 512 MB
  • Graphics: Pixel Shader Model 2.0+ 

I only made games in Java so I know it will run on any platforms. But I would not know how good the processor needs to be and how much RAM the end user will need for running games made in Java. I would not even know how good the graphics card needs to be that is required for the game. 

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(where xx + yy + zz < 16.6ms for a 60Hz game, or < 33.3ms for a 30Hz game).
Again, most game engines will have built-in tools to help you measure the number of milliseconds per system per frame.
To discover the minimum requirements, the only real option is empirical testing. Get a bunch of test machines and make observations. If you observe it running at your minimum acceptable framerate in the worst-case part of the game, then that hardware is ok. Repeat until you find hardware that isn't ok...

Everything above is quite true, just note that the common 60Hz and 30Hz come from game console backgrounds and TV screen refresh rates.

Although single-DVI interface cables run at 60Hz on the highest resolutions, 1280x1024@85Hz is a very common spec in competitive gaming.

There are quite a few twitch gameplay styles, especially FPS horror games and competitive arenas, where players expect that a high-end computer can hit 120Hz or even faster. There are many tournaments where people spend fortunes on the newest graphics cards with dual-link DVI monitors just so they can edge out their opponent on twitch response.

In this type of situation a budget of just 8ms or 5ms can seem generously high.

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