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Hello Beginners!

I was wondering what exact computer setup would allow for the best game making experience. Im not asking for a build as I know how to build comouters, so this will be easier to answer. I more want to know what should be focussed on more than the other part. Is development more CPU or GPU intensive. What are my best ways to go about building a good development computer. Budget is ideally high hundreds, trting to stay below 1000. Mostly use Blender, Unity, UE, and photoshop. Thanks!

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Development is quite CPU and memory intensive, so get the best/most that you can afford there. The GPU is barely used during development, but obviously quite essential during testing and actual play - and obviously you need to be running and testing your game while you work on it. So there isn't really anything you can skimp on, sadly.

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If I were building a new rig, I would focus on lots of RAM and a big HDD first and foremost.  You want a decent GPU, but it doesn't need to be top of the line.  I don't think the CPU should be much of a concern.

My experience is skewed toward content creation as opposed to programming, hence my differing hardware concerns.  Which brings up a good point - are you focusing on programming, game design, or game art?  I think it would change your priorities.

Edited by missionctrl

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Blender, UE, and photoshop?  Any mainstream CPU and GPU will do.

Focus on the best pair of monitors and the best keyboard you can afford.  The rest of the hardware is going to spend 99.9999% of its time waiting as you stare at the screen, so make sure your screens are top quality.  A good keyboard with a feel you like is next in importance, because that's your primary tactile interaction with the computer and you're going to associate that sensation with doing development.

Seriously, today's average compute power is more than enough (and if you're smart you'll offload most processing to a cloud anyway).  Focus on the HMI side because your challenge in game development is not going to be waiting for a build, it's going to be finding motivation to finish the game.  Everything you can do to help the latter, even at the expense of the former, is a win.

Edited by Bregma
accidentally a word

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For any game that an individual or small team is going to create, any off-the-shelf computer made in the past few years will be good enough.As an individual or small team you won't be making programs that seriously tax either the CPU or the GPU, unless you have written a serious bug that would be a problem on all devices.

Some areas are better to give more money, if you want. It is not necessary, but an SSD drive is faster than a spindle disk and can speed up some slow tasks. It is not necessary, but multiple monitors dramatically improve development speed, most professionals have two monitors. It is not necessary, but faster or higher-numbered processors can improve some processing speed. It is not necessary, but if you have many programs large running simultaneously more memory can help avoid swapping. 

None of the tools you mentioned are very taxing. They can run an any reasonably modern machine. Blender's current requirements are at least a Pentium 4 (16 years old),  2GB memory, and OpenGL 2.1 (11 years old), and Windows Vista (11 years old).   Photoshop requires Windows 7 (8 years old), at least a Pentium 4 (16 years old), 2 GB memory, and OpenGL 2.0 (13 years old); critically, nearly everything in Photoshop only uses a single core. UE4 recommends at least a quad-core Core2 processor (11 years old) , at least 4GB memory, a DirectX 11 graphics card (8 years old) and 64-bit version of at least Windows 7 (8 years old).  

If you've purchased your machine in the last five years or so, all the programs you listed should run well.

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In my experience UE4 is definitely the biggest performance hog. You definitely want it on an SSD (and the projects as well). I'm running a quad core 3.8GHz with 8GB of RAM and a GTX 750 Ti (which is now considered "old" by most). UE4 runs acceptably on that as long as the project is on the SSD, everything else (PS, Blender, Unity, VS) cooks along pretty nicely.

You should be able to put together a better machine than mine for under $500 US, assuming you already have monitor/keyboard/desk/etc.

Edited by Khatharr

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Hey, thanks for the comments guys, I will keep these in mind, I don't plan on doing barely any taxing work on any of the platforms, just a few small games here and there for now. Things to get me started basically, I just didn't want the problem of trying to go a little bigger and reaching a bog down on my system because I don't have the right equipment for the job. Again, thanks guys.

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On 7/7/2017 at 5:51 PM, Bregma said:

(and if you're smart you'll offload most processing to a cloud anyway).

How do you do that? I know what cloud is and everyone keeps talking about it, but I still haven't really got a perfect idea of what cloud can be used for.

Edited by newtechnology

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1 hour ago, newtechnology said:

How do you do that? I know what cloud is and everyone keeps talking about it, but I still haven't really got a perfect idea of what cloud can be used for.

Unless you're working on a "BIG" project, compiling code in the cloud isn't required assuming you're not running a toaster for a machine. This can and will save you time for sure, but the requirement has to be there to make it worth investing the money for the servers. You can pretty much set up as many servers as you need, and sleep them until you need to compile code, ect... If you're working with many different moving parts, different departments can send their code to the cloud to compile and render your build files for you without touching your local computer resources, less your internet bandwidth. Your only issue in dealing with Cloud Computing is connection speeds for your Upload and Download.

My personal "opinion" is that we're in a fad phase with the "cloud". Indie developers don't need to worry about this. I would sooner put the money into an PC upgrade than server costs.

To answer the OP question about a rig, to be honest you should fully load up on the best CPU you can afford, and Ram. Your graphics card will depend on if you're making 2D or 3D games, and what tools you're using. I'm working off a rig with 32gb of Ram, and 4+Ghz i7 CPU, with a so so GeForce but I haven't hit a bottleneck yet and use a lot of video, and photo editing, and modeling software. I believe I spend around $2200 for the custom rig (I was able to port some stuff over thankfully), but coming from experience you really cannot skimp out on specs. Your other option is to build as you go, but you need to be careful about what motherboard you pick so you can upgrade the ram in future, and cpu. You'll want a very new motherboard that supports the latest cpu chipsets for intel or amd, and ram.

You'll benefit by waiting it out and saving some more money before building the custom rig. Keep in mind, technology is already dated before it hits the shelves, so figure out what requirements you would need for a few years in future, and build based on that.

Edited by Rutin

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22 hours ago, newtechnology said:

How do you do that? I know what cloud is and everyone keeps talking about it, but I still haven't really got a perfect idea of what cloud can be used for.

Well, here's a common setup.

(1) You have an off-site DVCS host (for example GitHub) to which you push you code from time to time.  This gives you an off-site code backup, make the code available to team members if you're cooperating with others, and gives you a public portfolio if you're looking for paid work.  This is also known as 'keeping a copy in the cloud'.

(2) A commit hook on your source server causes a build to get kicked off on a build server somewhere (for example, Travis-CI).  The build server checks out a pristine copy of your source and builds it in a clean environment.  This ensures that your code builds from source in a clean environment, which is important if you lose your personal dev environment (which you will, at some point) and is also important if you;re working with a team or shipping software  The end result should be an installable package with your software that you or your testers can install and verify.. This is also known as 'building in the cloud'.

This is a process known as "continuous integration" and is a good habit to help maintain proper development hygiene.  You get off-site backups, you get proof your code compiles, you get simplified distribution of you software, and you can actually get it all for free if you don't mind your work being open.  You also offload a lot of processing because you can just do incremental builds locally for development testing.  Of course, you need to follow good habits for it to work, and if you want to keep everything obscured for an illusion of security you'll need to either pay for the cloud services or set it up yourself either on your own local servers or on rented metal somewhere.

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