Sys reqs going up too fast...

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Dr. McKay, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I have a very modest iMac, by today's standards anyway, a 24" 2.8Ghz Core2Duo with 4Gb of RAM and a 256Mb ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro video card, running OS X.6.8.

    I run Wow on Fair to low settings, same for the SC2 demo (recommended settings), on the native 1920x1080 resolution.

    And then I see browser games like Quake live, which runs fullscreen in the browser at the same resolution with all settings on maximum. And the game looks smashing.

    Agreed, the 3D engine from Wow and SC2 is a lot more advanced, with higher resolution textures and higher polygon counts, but when games like Quake live look this good without stressing out your system, I wonder if game developers aren't taking the easy way out and just coding games to run on the latest hardware instead of trying to optimise them to run on more modest systems.
     
  2. edddeduck, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2011

    edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #2
    It would be nice but not really Quake live has a low poly count, no high end shader effects and physics not to mention the lack of game AI as it is multiplayer and does not need one.

    If you look at the screenshots side by side you will notice the difference in the graphics is quite a lot more than you first mentioned.

    Quake Live!
    [​IMG]

    StarCraft 2
    [​IMG]

    Apart from the textures and models being a lot higher, look closely at the shadows, the effects around the lasers and other subtle dust effects (I missed lots of others like animation, sound quality etc etc). These effects are not a massive individually but all together they create an atmosphere that is missing in the simpler rendered games.

    Unfortunately these effects take a lot of CPU and GPU power so they cannot run on older machines. To counter that you will find a lot of classic games get release or re-released to cover this market. For example Feral (who I work for) released a bunch of games under the Legends banner, they are older AAA games from yesteryear that can now be played on older Mac with high settings.

    When it gets down to it new games try and push the limits of what is possible so they always will be wanting and needing more power, quite the opposite from getting lazy often the biggest task a team will have is getting all the graphics and effects to draw smoothly even on these high end machines.

    To use a famous quote "man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" that being the case new games always are trying to be that bit better in all aspects and that needs more power to do so.

    Edwin
     
  3. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I can see the difference between the two screenshots, it's obvious. But turning down the settings in SC2 makes it look worse than Quake Live. Ok , there's the AI, but that's more the CPU's task and not the GPU.

    PC and Mac game makers should take a look at console developers. A console's life cycle is 6 years or more and that's the hardware they'll have to work with. And when you compare titles that were released near the end of a machine's life cycle and launch games, then the difference is sometimes huge, and this all on the same hardware. They just learned to optimise a game for that specific hardware.
    I know it's comparing pears with apples (no pun intended) but I still think sys reqs are going up way too fast...
     
  4. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    But Starcraft still has a lot more graphical effects running, more polygons, higher res textures etc. And consoles only run at 1280x720, sometimes less, except for some arcade games. And it would be almost impossibly to optimise games on a PC/Mac like they do on a console. A console has one set of hardware, no more, so they optimise it for those parts specifically. They could not do this on a PC/Mac as there are thousands of different combinations of CPU's, GPU's etc.
     
  5. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #5
    I get your point but a few counter points for you in the spirt of debate:

    1. The same is true for computers as consoles. A top of the line Mac from 6 years ago could play Fable TLC for example as a modern game that same machine now can play Starcraft 2.
    2. Consoles are dedicated hardware where you can over time get more speed and power if you need it by writing more and more code at the low level. However at the same time modern OS's are taking more and more power run run (never mind run a game as well) and at the same time are denying access to the low level for very good reasons of security and stability as computers are designed to run multiple applications at once.
    3. Consoles run at 720p (in most cases, Halo 3 ran even lower than that). As you even stated yourself you run your mac at a much higher resolution (over 1080p). Consoles don't have to do this. The difference in the number of pixels is a lot 1080p is drawing over a 100% more pixels on the screen at once! Yes over double the amount of calculations.
    4. Consoles look worse than the latest PC when compared side by side. Borderlands for example looks a lot more crisp on the Mac/PC compared to the 360/PS3. See below.

    Here is the Head of Gearbox about Borderlands
    From a personal point of view we do make sure all the games we work at Feral on are supported on as many machines as possible (apart from being the right thing to do it also means more potential customers) but sometimes the hardware is just no longer capable of the calculations required and have to be dropped.

    Edwin
     
  6. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #6
    You have to build for what most gamers have. At least that's how I approach it. Up until May this year I was still developing games on a 2006 iMac, but that was limiting what kind of games I could produce. I upgraded to a new model to make a more contemporary game and bam, hit the jackpot.

    And even as a game player I think that's right. In a few years time my iMac won't be running new games at native res and max settings - but that's fine. So long that I can run them even on lowest settings, and it's a good game, I'll be happy.
    (I say this as a Left4Dead and TF2 addict who has thrown possibly thousands of hours into each game whilst happily running both at 1024*640 at lowest settings for years!)
     
  7. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    As I've said, it's comparing pears with apples. What I want to say really, is that it's sometimes frustrating when a "not-so-old" machine like mine cannot even run new games the way they're supposed to run.
    My mac is only three years old and every other app runs smooth like butter, just to say that it's not a slow computer and it doesn't feel like it needs replacing yet.
    Wow is another thing, still. I could run Wow (trial back then) on good settings overal BEFORE the cataclysm update. Now the SAME game runs slower on the SAME machine (only difference is that I now have snow leopard, compared to leopard before, but as I understand, it should even run better on SL).

    It may seem like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I've accepted it and the way Wow looks is good enough for me (only thing I manually upped is the viewing distance, it's now on good instead of fair).
    Other games like Bioshock run surprisingly well, though that's not really the newest of games.

    In any case, if you buy a new computer, say a mid-range to high-end imac, you're good for 6 months to 1 year max if you want to play the latest games. After that, you'll have to lower your settings one way or the other. And sometimes, because of that, you're missing out on some stuff, unless you're prepared to (or able to) buy a new computer every year...
     
  8. Pinkiy macrumors regular

    Pinkiy

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    #8
    i play wow on my mid 2010 13"mbp, 4gb of 1033 ram, 2.4 duo? and the crappy intergrated graphics, all while plugged into my 22" 1920x1080 monitor. i also have another desktop running for chrome and skype etc so i can control-arrow when in fullscreen window mode.

    Anyway my point is that i do all that and have the settings on default to high and my game runs fine :S

    i mean apple isnt a gaming machine and i have the same complaints as yourself to a degree. but you should be able to play wow on better settings that you are.
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #9
    As you said, that's the same for any computer. Although it does depend on the engine used. Unreal+Source games are very highly optimised (apart from some minor Portal 2 problems) and even my 6 year old iMac was running Portal 2 quite well.

    I imagine the latest iMacs will last a bit longer. The 6790 is a terrific card. I'm still surprised that Apple splurged on those.

    You're not really missing out though. As I said I went for years with games on their lowest. Yeah when I got my new machine it was incredible to play them at super high resolutions, everything at max and a constant 60fps. It just looked better. The tension from L4D1 was still there on low, the silliness of TF2 was still there. I guess it depends on what games you play.
     
  10. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I have tried changing the settings. But putting it on Good all round makes the frame rate drop tremendously, on Leopard and on SL it's the same (after a clean install).
    Apparently, the HD2600 Pro is one of the crappiest cards around (just my luck). Anyhow, most of my settings in Wow are one Low, some on fair and only the viewing distance is good. Any higher than that and it's jerk-a-tron.
     
  11. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #11
    Nowhere near your card might be a little weak but it is a solid performer when you don't try and use newer shader features :)

    The Nvidia 7000 series, Intel HD3000, GMA 950 and X3100 and the Nvidia 9400M are all weaker/have more driver problems in my experience.

    Edwin
     
  12. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Those are all integrated graphics (except for the nvidia 7000 series I believe) so even if my card is more powerful than the aforementioned, that's not saying much...
     
  13. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #13
    Correct 7000 series was a dedicated card. All those cards I mentioned are newer than your card. For it's age the ATI 2600 is a good card on that Mac. Not saying it is not old just it is not "crap".
     
  14. Ronald Williams, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011

    Ronald Williams macrumors member

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    #14
    pc games are obviously graphics heavy because if a hardware is allowing game makers to put in some fancy graphics that will appeal to users then they will definitely go for it. Also PCs can have a lot more variety as compared to consoles or online games and can have many different hardwares....so to optimize for all that possible variations is simply not worth the effort.
     
  15. smali macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2010
    #15
    This is only a real problem with all mac users kept ones with a mac pro maybe. PC users just upgrade the graphics card in their tower when they start having problems with the newer games.

    My bro finally had to upgrade to play so he just bought a motherboard,processor, graphics card upgrade (just reuse all the other previous components) and he's good for another 3 years and it cost him half the price of a base mac mini.

    Ofc you can sell your mac and buy a new one to keep up but you'll still be paying a lot more.
     
  16. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16

    It IS a problem.
    You know, I'm in doubt. My Mac is over three years old and it doesn't feel slow at all for all my other tasks (surfing the web, photo-editing, some light movie-editing, etc.). Except for gaming.
    I'll be in the market for a new one next year. I'm thinking 21.5 inch iMac. I have a 24" now, so the resolution will remain the same ; a top-of-the-line 27" will be more powerful, but it is too big for me AND it is just not affordable.
    Mac's have pretty good resell value so taking this into account, I will be paying as much for a new iMac as I would for a potent gaming pc with monitor, keyboard and mouse. But for the same price the PC would give me monster power, whereas the iMac would give me mid range performance at best.
    Plus the fact that I just love OS X, but I've come to love Win7 as well (I have a Dell laptop running win7 - very nice but no gaming machine in any way). But I think I'd miss OS X too much.
    Ideally : top of the line Mac Pro with two HD dual boot OS X and Windows. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, unless I win the lottery.
     
  17. Hastings101 macrumors 68020

    Hastings101

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    #17
    I think the best thing for you would be to save up for a desktop PC. As long as you get something with an i5 processor and a recent mid-range card (ATI 5770/6870 or Nvidia GTX 460/560) you'll be playing games just fine. Then you can upgrade your graphics card as system requirements go up. Then maybe get a Mac Mini so you can still have OS X?

    Outside of that, or in the Mac world, nothing much you can do but buy a Mac Pro or just live with what you have. It sucks, but at the same time it's a little unreasonable to expect developers to not take advantage of newer technology.
     
  18. Mac_Max macrumors 6502

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    #18
    You're complaining about modern games being slow on a four year old mid ranged card... thats pretty much the norm. Most serious gamers upgrade their video cards every year and realistically if you want to run high resolution 3D games you need to upgrade every other year, bare minimum.

    If I recall correctly, the video card on that iMac is an MXM type card and could be upgraded assuming you get the right type of MXM card (they come in different classes/sizes).

    My advice is just to run the game at 720 resolution and turn up the AA/AF as necessary.
     
  19. MasterTick macrumors 6502

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    #19
    You probably should just build a PC, you won't miss OS X much when you're playing Skyrim on max setting :)
     
  20. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    The problem here is the lack of GPU upgradability innate to most Macs, something that's particularly telling in a gaming context with every passing year. But that card (HD 2600 Pro) was decent enough when iMacs first had them.

    Before my iMac fried, I had the same card, but in a lower-specced 20" iMac, 2.4 GHz, with only 2GB RAM. It ran most games of the time more than adequately.

    For eg. Age of Empires 3 & both expansion packs, which could get fairly demanding when the action was all-out, I always played with everything at the highest settings, inc. anti-aliasing. Those games ran smooth, never stuttered or crashed. I doubt some of those aforementioned integrated cards would even get near to those settings without major loss of performance.
     
  21. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

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    #21
    face it, OP. pc gaming ins't cheap and the 2600 card wasn't an amazing card to begin with when it came out. get a custom built tower pc for gaming. there is no other way around it without something like OnLive.
     
  22. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #22
    Did you just cut and paste a comment from the beginning of the thread? :) As a few people have pointed out this is a flawed argument.

    For starters I have a MacPro which is 5 years old now it could run games from 5 years ago and it also runs Borderlands (at a much higher resolution and quality than the console).

    So if you compare the games released when an Mac/PC is new and when it is 6 years old you will also see a huge improvement in the quality of the graphics you can play.

    There are a lot of other reasons like how a console is optimised for one task (gaming) unlike a Mac/PC which has to run increasingly complex OS's while also getting more complex games.

    Anyway to summarise Mac/PC has just a big a jump in the quality of games over the lifetime of the machine it's just you normally don't notice as PC/Mac's are treated differently to consoles. Consoles users tend to keep the collection of game disks together so you see the progression from the first game to the last however with your computer you tend to forget how basic games actually looked 6 years back or you don't play them anymore due to compatibility issues etc.

    Edwin
     
  23. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    #23
    My gaming rig is soonish 3 years old hardware.
    Core 2 Duo E8500, clocked at 3.67GHz, nvidia GTX 285 and a OCZ Vertex Turbo.
    This was top of the line late 2008/ early 2009 and it still holds its own against the newest games.

    To be honest, a top of the line 2006 rig with C2Duo E6600 and Geforce 8800GTX would still be able to play all the newest games at high settings. In 2006, you could not play anything of the newest games with a 2001 rig.
    A maxed 2001 rig would have a Pentium 3 and Geforce 3.

    I'd say since the introduction of consoles like playstation and xbox, the game developement slowed down in terms of hardware reqs.
     
  24. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816

    Nightarchaon

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    #24
    Simple answer .

    If you think the system reqs for any game is going up to fast for you ,

    Buy a games console .
     

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