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LordKronos

Selecting Target APIs

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This is perhaps not the most appropriate place to ask this, but I can''t think of another forum better suited to answering this question. Is anyone aware of any statistics indicating what level of DirectX support you can expect from the typical shareware user''s system? If I were targeting hardcore gamers (FPS/RTS/MMORPG/etc) I could probably expect directX 7 or 8 support from most users. However, in thinking about my target market, I picture my typical user would more likely be the more casual gamer: the type who plays 2D and simpler 3D games of the card, puzzle, or platform variety. My perception (and I may be wildy wrong) is that these type of users would not likely be quite so aggressive at downloading the rather-large DirectX installations and keeping up to date on the latest versions, and that they likely dont play the newest hi-tech games (which install DirectX 7 or 8 with it). So the decision I must make is how far back to support directX. If I go back to something like DX5, I would have a much larger target audience, yet the newer versions of DX (7 and 8) are definitely easier to develop for (ie: friendlier APIs and more feature rich). Naturally, I want to choose the best balance between maximizing my target audience and minimizing my development efforts. Does anybody here have any insight into what I could expect such users to have on their systems? Any articles or surveys? Perhaps someone may even have some sort of logs from their existing users?

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Personally, Im just starting the development of my game for the same market and i decided to go with dx 8.1, i struggled with the same questions you did. And i just made a call to leave direct draw in the past. My game won''t likely be completed for another 6 months at least and by that time dx 9 will be out and chances are they may have had to install dx8.1 allready. Also if they spent the time todowlnoad the demo and they dont have DX they''ve allready invested time downloadng and they dont want that to go to waist, so they have some motivation to go get the latest dx drivers. (another justification of mine)

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My recommendation is this: Use the most up-to-date versions you have available, especially if it''s going to be some time before you release.

If your game has a justifiable reason for requiring DirectX 8.1, then your players will understand. And it''s not like they have to install DirectX for every game. Once a version is installed, they have it for every other game that needs it.

On the other hand, if DirectX 8.1 is overkill for your particular product, requiring it would be True Pain (tm).


DavidRM
Samu Games

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Im expecting completion in the next 3-6 months. Currently I am using OpenGL, DirectInput 8, and DirectMusic 8. However, Im just concerned about using such a new version of DirectX. I plan to do electronic delivery exclusively, so I dont want to alienate a large number of potential customers who might not have DX8 already installed and might not be interested in downloading DirectX 8 (12MB), especially when I expect my game to be around a 2-4MB download. I have made my graphics, input, and audio very modular to the point where I could easily replace the implementation. I could probably go back to directX 6 or 7 if it would help increase my market significantly.

As far as what my game needs, for graphics (I plan to add D3D support in addition to OGL) and input, I could probably get away with DX6. Im not sure about audio (not familiar with older DirectMusic) but Im not doing anything dramatic (.mid music with .wav sfx, start & stop playback, adjust volume) so I could probably deal with DX6 there as well. So Im not really doing anything that DEMANDS DirectX8, thats just what my current implementation uses. So Im trying to figure out if I should go back to a previous version or not.

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