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Why are hardware requirements going up?

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November 26, 2012 12:44:40 PM

Hi guys! :hello:  I'm new to TH and mostly a noob as far as technical things are concerned. I was wondering if there has been any significant improvements in the softwares used for making games. Like in the hardware segment the Intel 22nm CPUs that use less power and offer more performance or the new AMD GPUs 7750 and 7770 which offer more performance/watt. So has there been a similar step forward in the software side of things? :heink: 
The hardware requirements for games are going up and not coming down. Is the gaming and hardware industry working together to push the market into a higher price segement? or am i wrong? Can the efforts put into producing realistic graphics not be used for improving the overall quality of the game? Would you guys choose a game with exceptional graphics and ordinary gameplay over a game with ordinary graphics and exceptional gameplay? What are your thoughts?

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November 26, 2012 1:04:06 PM

I think I'd like exceptional both :-) I look at modern games today and I can say honestly that I'm very happy with the current standard of graphics and don't feel a desperate need for more realism. However, I don't doubt I would have said the same thing in 2004, and even in 2000 (the original Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 seemed incredible to me!). Looking back now at that standard of graphics, I'm very grateful that developers have continued to advance graphical realism even if it means spending money on an upgrade every few years.

EDIT: Should also mention though that when I have a blast on something old, even DOS games running in DOSBox, I quickly forget the graphics and just have fun with the game.
November 26, 2012 1:12:14 PM

Hardware requirements are going up because as new hardware is released and becomes the norm, so to do the engines that we've been building on (UE3, Cryengine 3, Frostbite 2.0 etc) start to get more fully explored and more accurately implemented.

As far as what I would prefer? I'd like exceptional both, but I'll always lean toward gameplay over graphics if I have to choose.
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November 26, 2012 1:14:44 PM

sam_p_lay said:
I think I'd like exceptional both :-) I look at modern games today and I can say honestly that I'm very happy with the current standard of graphics and don't feel a desperate need for more realism. However, I don't doubt I would have said the same thing in 2004, and even in 2000 (the original Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 seemed incredible to me!). Looking back now at that standard of graphics, I'm very grateful that developers have continued to advance graphical realism even if it means spending money on an upgrade every few years.

EDIT: Should also mention though that when I have a blast on something old, even DOS games running in DOSBox, I quickly forget the graphics and just have fun with the game.


Yeah..i guess that's true. I mostly play older games and have'nt played any of the most recent games. But games like Limbo and Torchlight seem to work on almost anything and are really good games.
November 26, 2012 1:27:43 PM

casualcolors said:
Hardware requirements are going up because as new hardware is released and becomes the norm, so to do the engines that we've been building on (UE3, Cryengine 3, Frostbite 2.0 etc) start to get more fully explored and more accurately implemented.

As far as what I would prefer? I'd like exceptional both, but I'll always lean toward gameplay over graphics if I have to choose.



K..So the engines are optimized according to the hardware available and not the other way around? And I don't know how to put this properly but what i wanted to know is if the graphics quality/ hardware (like performance/watt) has imrpoved?

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November 26, 2012 1:31:04 PM
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That's a tricky question to answer because it's difficult to quantify visual quality. One (very crude) method would be to plot it against polygon count, but that doesn't factor in texture resolution, lighting/particle/transform effects etc or place any kind of weighting on these factors. Considering the extent performance per watt has improved, it's a pretty safe bet that quality per watt has also improved.
November 26, 2012 1:38:56 PM

nix327 said:
K..So the engines are optimized according to the hardware available and not the other way around? And I don't know how to put this properly but what i wanted to know is if the graphics quality/ hardware (like performance/watt) has imrpoved?


Sam_P's response to the latter part of your question.

As to the former, it's not just as simple as graphics improving according to hardware availability. You also have to account for the fact that developers get more experienced every time they make a new game.
November 26, 2012 1:50:08 PM

sam_p_lay said:
They do look like good games - really nice visual style. I hear really good things about Mark of the Ninja also, which doesn't look like something to bring your system to its knees. Had a blast on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander_Keen and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomenace the other day - used to love those games :-)


Yeah..looks like fun. I used play games like these as a kid too. Back then i was leaning more towards fighting games like Killer Instinct and the TMNT games. Now i play almost anything except for turn based strategy.
November 26, 2012 1:51:56 PM

Speaking of Mark of the Ninja, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up. It seems like 21rst century Shinobi. :cry: 
November 26, 2012 1:54:34 PM

Why no RTS? I absolutely adored C&C Red Alert 2 and Generals (and the Zero Hour addon). The C&C games released since that have had beautiful visuals, though not quite as fun (still good though). Looking forward to Star Citizen - going to have a blast on DarkStar One I think. Been playing Borderlands 2 for over two months now and starting to get a bit tired of it. I'll finish up DLC2 and then leave it at that. Dishonoured is supposed to be pretty awesome, so might give that a look.

EDIT: I just noticed you said 'turn-based'. Agreed! ;-)
November 26, 2012 1:56:54 PM

casualcolors said:
Speaking of Mark of the Ninja, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up. It seems like 21rst century Shinobi. :cry: 


From what I've read, it looks like it's REALLY stealth-based - lots of patience required for this one. Could be an awesome change of pace from the usual Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed etc (not that those games aren't excellent, just not especially unique/interesting).
November 26, 2012 2:03:06 PM

sam_p_lay said:
Why no RTS? I absolutely adored C&C Red Alert 2 and Generals (and the Zero Hour addon). The C&C games released since that have had beautiful visuals, though not quite as fun (still good though). Looking forward to Star Citizen - going to have a blast on DarkStar One I think. Been playing Borderlands 2 for over two months now and starting to get a bit tired of it. I'll finish up DLC2 and then leave it at that. Dishonoured is supposed to be pretty awesome, so might give that a look.

EDIT: I just noticed you said 'turn-based'. Agreed! ;-)


What about turn-based combat in an RPG?! Because Shining Force 2 :love: 
November 26, 2012 2:05:31 PM

casualcolors said:
Sam_P's response to the latter part of your question.

As to the former, it's not just as simple as graphics improving according to hardware availability. You also have to account for the fact that developers get more experienced every time they make a new game.


I understand what you mean. Sometimes when you play the sequel of a game before the original on older games the original does'nt seem as fun to play as the sequel.We have already got used to the gameplay of the sequel which the developers would have used the experiences from the original to make it better.
November 26, 2012 2:13:20 PM

sam_p_lay said:
Why no RTS? I absolutely adored C&C Red Alert 2 and Generals (and the Zero Hour addon). The C&C games released since that have had beautiful visuals, though not quite as fun (still good though). Looking forward to Star Citizen - going to have a blast on DarkStar One I think. Been playing Borderlands 2 for over two months now and starting to get a bit tired of it. I'll finish up DLC2 and then leave it at that. Dishonoured is supposed to be pretty awesome, so might give that a look.

EDIT: I just noticed you said 'turn-based'. Agreed! ;-)


Yeah..I don't like to wait around for the AI to do something..sort of ruins the flow of the game..I'm building a budget gaming pc in a couple of months for playing the more recent games. I'm looking forward to playing those games.
November 26, 2012 2:15:50 PM

What kind of hardware are you looking at? It always surprises me how much you can get on a small budget. And then surprises me how fast it becomes a fairly large budget as I make adjustments to it :-)
November 26, 2012 2:22:11 PM

Good talk :-) Have fun with the new setup.
November 26, 2012 2:27:47 PM

sam_p_lay said:
What kind of hardware are you looking at? It always surprises me how much you can get on a small budget. And then surprises me how fast it becomes a fairly large budget as I make adjustments to it :-)


I was going for a setup that can play games at high settings at 1366*768. I've started a thread on it here- http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/372307-31-time-budget...
November 27, 2012 10:14:26 AM

Best answer selected by nix327.
March 13, 2014 2:08:53 AM

Look as far as i know i played most of the modern games (DMC 5,Skyrim,Dead Spance 2 and 3,Just Cause 2, Resident Evil 5, And Lot Of Others) smoothly on + 35fps which is well optimized with my old hardwares (C2D 2.13ghz + gt220).

I wonder why the games developer are not working hard to optimize the games, even when i reach the recommended requirements of some games with my new rig but i can't play it smoothly...

So, i am thought the game developers and hardware companies are working together to reach maximum income from users...

Take some examples of consoles like xbox 360, they optimize the games so that it can run on 7 years old hardware but the same game i can't play smoothly with my hardware (C2D E8600 3.33ghz + Radeon HD 7750 1GB) i beleive i got the hardware somewhat better than xbox 360. but can't play games like xbox 360 did..

sorry guys for the bad english...i just need the answer... i wondering why game developers just incresing their games demand and requirements when they just nicely optimize game to run smoothly on low-end systems like DMC 5 and Dishonoured look at their requirements and i wonder that games runing on the hardware which even can't reached their minimum requirements...
March 13, 2014 11:43:44 AM

This is an old thread, but things have changed since it started. There are new consoles out, and games are going to be designed more around them than the 8 year old Xbox 360. This means system requirements are going to be going up a lot in the near future. The games that run well on your system like Dishonored or DMC, are pretty much straight console ports with few visual enhancements for the PC version. They are decently well optimized at least, so credit is due to those developers. Some developers just don't care about their PC releases, or outsource the PC porting job to another company that is not particularly competent, and that's when we get the really badly optimized ports. Whether it can be attributed to laziness, or as some sort of passive-aggressive retaliation against a platform that these devs see as filled with pirates, and few paying customers, I don't know.

You do also have to take into account that the console releases of a lot of games made in the past few years have had to cut a lot of corners to get the games to even run acceptably on the Xbox 360 and PS3. As a result you see lots of games running at very low resolutions, often below 720p, and barely maintaining 30FPS. For FPS games you have very narrow Fields of View so they can draw less on the screen to improve performance. The console versions of Battlefield 3 had a severely reduced player count per match compared to the PC version due to lack of processing power, along with severely reduced visuals.
March 13, 2014 2:42:31 PM

Hmmm..make sense...i willl not forget that moment when i see someone running far cry 3 on xbox 360 and i really appreciate that my system play it more decently..not smoothly like on 60fps..i recently got new rig not that high-end...but im happy that recent games are more optimized on pc like max payne 3...

I hope future games are optimized well....
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