C&C Generals Sneak Peek at GameSpy

I dunno maybe it’s just me, but I’m amazed at this:

To run the preview, your computer MUST be powered by at least a 2 gigahertz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and GeForce4 or more recent Dircet3D-capable video card.

You need a 2 GHz machine?? :shock:

I’m looking forward to this game, but if my Athlon XP 1800 isn’t gonna be good enough, there’s some issues with the development of this game.

I know this is just a preview, and it’s not yet been optimized blah blah blah. But this just strikes me as being very wrong.

Am I out to lunch?

No way. There should be no game asking for 2GHz processors right now. that’s absolutely ridiculous. I’d bet that a lot less people are upgrading their PCs regularly today as there were even two years ago. I’ve got an Athlon 1700+ and I don’t plan to upgrade anytime soon.

–Dave

Ya know, we want games with more eye candy, better pathfinding and better strategic AI.

That takes CPU horsepower.

Check out my column in the latest CGW on the topic. The CPU is the new bottleneck. Since 2GHz is now the entry level, this isn’t a big surprise.

As ever,

Loyd Case

New bottleneck or no…this is what drives people to console gaming. 2GHz, today, now, January 16th, 2003, is patently ridiculous for a minimum requirement. They just shut themselves out of at least 90% of the PC owning market IMO.

Ya know, developers could take a hint from reading the top 10 sales list. Those games don’t require a fucking Cray to run. Hell, Westwood could take a tip from Ensemble and Blizzard because both Warcraft III and Age of Mythology were designed to run very well on low end machines.

Sheesh…even if it means Pentium 4 2GHz, which means my processor is “faster”, that’s still a bit insane.

–Dave

I can’t find the link, but Speakeasy posted a user survey from Counter-Strike players that showed system specs. I think the “sweetspot” was something like an 800 MHz CPU and a GeForce 2 with 256 MB of RAM.

A 2 GHz CPU requirement is totally out of whack with reality.

I received a freshly minted preview beta near the end of December, and the required specs weren’t nearly that high. 1.0 cpu and a gf2, I think. I can’t remember what the memory requirements were. Even at that point, they were apologizing for how unoptimized the code was. Either Gamespy is wrong or they’re reporting on a really old version.

Wow. It sounds just like Strike Commander, and I loved that game!

Oh come on. Everybody knows Duke Nukem Forever is the new Strike Commander.

Counterstrike is what… five years old? Certainly the Half-Life engine is at least that old. My experience, having talked to gaming and computer clubs at several high schools, indicate that Counterstrike is popular because you can run it on low-end hardware, and that many players would happily move beyond it if they could (except for Will O’Neal ;-))

At any rate, the fact that Battlefield 1942 for the Xbox was cancelled is telling. The memory footprint and performance requirements were just too substantial to shoehorn into a console.

Most game developers target for the entry level system that will exist when the game ships, or they’ll target for what the midrange is of typical users. That’s not the same – midrange users today are like most of you guys – Athlon XP 1800’s or equivalent, while the entry level mainstream system is now around 2/2.2GHz P4 or Athlon XP 2200+'s.

If PC games want to be better than console games, they’ll have to take advantage of the better graphics, more memory and CPU horsepower. It’s encouraging that the requirement for Generals seems to be a bit lower in real life than the preview. But I want to see games with thousands of units that look good moving across the battlefield in real time, and doing it all in a reasonably smart manner. That will take more CPU cycles.

As ever,

Loyd Case

I agree with Loyd…

We can’t have it both ways. If we want great AI, eye candy, etc. then technology has to keep moving forward. And it’s not that expensive when talking about upgrading your system. Anybody who’s complainging that they can’t afford a $100 AMD 2000XP processor shouldn’t be PC gaming.

I bet if you looked at the majority of players that are now engaged in CS, you’ll probably find that their ages are between 14-23. They can’t afford a new computer so they play mainly CS. Also… I see the whining of a games system specs in the Gamespy forums all the time.

It’s a catch 22 situation for the game developers. On one hand you have to keep minimum specs down a bit so you can sell your product, but yet on the other hand you’ll get blasted by the hardcore followers and PC gaming magazines for having shoddy graphics and crippled AI because you weren’t able to fully utilize your games code. All because some potential customers don’t have beefy PC’s.

Can someone answer me this…

Isn’t there a technique that game developers can use that when looking at an object from a distance, it looses shape and texture so they can keep frame rates high on older systems? I forgot what it’s called. Shiny used this technique for Sacrfice and it worked pretty well. Why don’t other developers use this technique as well?

I don’t know what kind of system you have, but it must have a magic universal motherboard or something. Every single time I’ve ever upgraded, it involved not just a new processor, but a new mobo that would accept that style/speed of processor, new + more memory, and sometimes other accessories as well, such as the new case I had to get when everybody switched to the AT style.

I might be all wet this time around, because to be honest I don’t remember whether my current mobo will accept a 2 Gig processor or not. If so, then it’s not such a big deal. I’m just saying it’s never been that way for me in the past. Upgrades are typically big-buck exercises, with a sizeable headache investment as well.

Anybody who’s complainging that they can’t afford a $100 AMD 2000XP processor shouldn’t be PC gaming.

They’re actually $80 now. But not a lot of gamers are willing to pop out their old CPU and put a new one in, especially since putting on a cooling fan has such potential for heartache. I’ve had enough of it myself. My recent upgrade was an MWave CPU/mobo pre-assembled and tested deal.

"At any rate, the fact that Battlefield 1942 for the Xbox was cancelled is telling. The memory footprint and performance requirements were just too substantial to shoehorn into a console. "

I still say just because a game liek BF1942 needs that much RAM isn’t becasue the game has to have it. It just may not be that well programmed. There are games with flashy graphics, big levels, and tons of untis(The Total War series) that don’t need a 2 ghz and 512MB of ram to run decently. Yes we need faster stuff and more features to keep moving forward, but don’t discount the diffrences in progamming ability that exists.

Interestingly, I used to have one of the old Dell R400’s. It had a proprietary (to Dell) mobo based on the 440BX chipset. It took slot 1 processors and PC100 SDRAM.

Amazingly, when I finally decided to upgrade my machine, after a little searching I found this amazing site that explained that it was easy to put as much as a 1Ghz PIII slot 1 processor on that board with no adverse effects.

Extrathankfully, many of the top end motherboards have a pretty wide range of processors they’ll support (especially the AMD ones) but Dell quickly stopped making their machines so upgradeable…bad for business.

Hey Matt…

I did basically the same. I ordered a motherboard combo from Monarch Computers and it’s been running very well. No problems. And it’s an AMD XP 2000 on a Gigabyte KT 400 board. The combo w/ heatsink only cost me $240.00 and should last me a good while.

I don’t know what kind of system you have, but it must have a magic universal motherboard or something. Every single time I’ve ever upgraded, it involved not just a new processor, but a new mobo that would accept that style/speed of processor, new + more memory, and sometimes other accessories as well, such as the new case I had to get when everybody switched to the AT style.

I might be all wet this time around, because to be honest I don’t remember whether my current mobo will accept a 2 Gig processor or not. If so, then it’s not such a big deal. I’m just saying it’s never been that way for me in the past. Upgrades are typically big-buck exercises, with a sizeable headache investment as well.[/quote]

Upgrades are much different now then they were in the past. The only regret that I have about my new system is that I should have waited for the new Asus Nforce boards. But my system can handle any game at a high resolution, and that includes bf1942, UT2003 and NoLF 2.

Mip Mapping?

YEA… That might be the technique that they used on Sacrifice. Can someone please clarify that for me. Why don’t other developers use this technique, as it worked pretty well for Sacrifice.

Kinda… Our recent release Hegemonia uses a Level of Detail algorithm that scales back the number of polygons used to draw each ship as you zoom out. It works really well.

Many other games have setting sliders that allow you to tweak the game for optimum performance on your system. Some games even run a quick benchmark on your system and then suggest an optimum setting.