Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

This is not a story that will make all people happy.

In War of Magic, we had a requirement that the game would work on netbooks. And the good news was, it did.  But it came at a price: Pixel Shader 2.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with graphic tech, video cards support various types of on-chip programs with the best known one called Pixel Shader.

Pixel Shader 2 will work on really old machines going all the way back to the Radeon 9800 series and the Geforce FX cards and those crappy old Intel embedded cards. There were a lot of visual downsides, particularly in terms of lighting and shadowing. But the biggest had to do with memory consumption.

Because most modern video cards have lots and lots of memory on board (those would be cards that support Pixel Shader 4 and 5), when those cards had to go into Pixel Shader 2 mode, a lot of graphics got doubled up in memory because of the way we had to manually cache things in main memory to keep performance high.

The ironic result is that people with newer hardware ended up running out of memory. The better your video card, the faster it would happen.  It was a case of trying to be all things to all people. People with older video cards ended up with a much better experience.

With Fallen Enchantress, we bit the bullet and went with Pixel Shader 3. This not only gave us a lot of new lighting and shadowing options but largely eliminated the doubling of memory issue we had with Pixel Shader 2. The net result is that, voila, our memory use was halved. But it comes at a price. You need a much better video card to play Fallen Enchantress than you did War of Magic.

Now, bear in mind, what I mean by much is still a relatively low end video card. It just has to support DirectX 9c. So for instance a Radeon X1300 or a Geforce 7 series would now be the low end.  Put another way, if your video card has less than 512MB of memory on it, you will probably have problems.

A rule of thumb is, if your video card is older than 5 years…it’s probably time to upgrade it if you want to play Fallen Enchantress.


Comments (Page 2)
on Oct 26, 2011

Won't buy a minicomputer that only plays games, but doesn't it have an option to hook in a keyboard and mouse?

on Oct 27, 2011

Good decision.

Curious though, what would be needed in the way of graphicscards to max Fallen Enchantress ?

 

Also remember a long time ago when you mentioned that there would be some Pixel Shader 4 and/or 5 stuff in Elemental. That's coming to Fallen Enchantress ?

on Oct 28, 2011

Campaigner
Good decision.

Curious though, what would be needed in the way of graphicscards to max Fallen Enchantress ?

 

Also remember a long time ago when you mentioned that there would be some Pixel Shader 4 and/or 5 stuff in Elemental. That's coming to Fallen Enchantress ?

Good question. Will there be alternate rendering paths if the right hardware is on-board?

 

on Oct 28, 2011

Oh I've missed mentions of Pixel Shader 4 and 5. Intersting, maybe that has been canned?

on Oct 29, 2011

Heavenfall
I'm glad the decision was taken. Although I won't be able to play on my netbook any more, I much prefer a better experience when I play on my real rig.

 

Ironically, I will still be able to on mine. MUHAHAHAHAH

 

2 years ago I found a blank (no OS) netbook for 400 bucks on newegg that had a 4650 Radeon card.

on Nov 06, 2011

Actually I think it was GeForce 6 series that added support for Shader Model 3.0 (NVIDIA was first to add it).

on Nov 06, 2011

Sir_Linque


Oh I've missed mentions of Pixel Shader 4 and 5. Intersting, maybe that has been canned?

That is for DX10 and later.

on Nov 06, 2011

WhiteElk


Bummer I've got 256MB (Radeon HD 2400 Pro).  Hard work just isn't paying enough.

Radeon HD 2xxx support DX10, so should work.

on Nov 06, 2011

And on netbooks, the next-gen Atom should be coming soon which will support DX10.1.

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