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System Info - deekpyro - May 11, 2002 09:44 AM

I need to figure out how to get the system info of a persons computer (Processor speed + type, and system Bus). Is their a good place I can learn how to do this in Cocoa?

System Info - OneSadCookie - May 11, 2002 02:27 PM

Some of this information may be available from the Mach kernel. Number of processors certainly is... Look at the documentation either on Apple's site or for the HURD operating system. Don't try and read the headers, it's hopeless Wink

Some of it may be available from Gestalt. It's a Carbon function (but that's no problem). I'm pretty sure you can at least get the CPU type this way.

But now you've made me curious... why would a game need to know all this?

System Info - deekpyro - May 11, 2002 05:29 PM

To check and make sure their system meets the system requirements. (and display them on a page comparing what they need and what they have)

System Info - OneSadCookie - May 11, 2002 08:43 PM

Just make sure that you let people play the game regardless of whether they meet your "minimum requirements" or not -- often people are more than happy to play a game that way!

Personally, I wouldn't bother -- I'd just list them on the box or in the readme, and let people discover for themselves whether their configuration is good enough.

It strikes me that once you're getting down to the level of bus speed and CPU model you're probably getting to the point where you can't sensibly correlate the variables -- for example, the 800MHz iMac with GeForce2 may actually be worse for 2D performance than a single 500MHz tower with Rage128, simply because the tower has a 133MHz bus... can you really be sure to test on sufficient configurations to make sure you're giving the right answers?

System Info - ibullard - May 14, 2002 11:09 PM

It's common on Windoze systems to get all this info and give a list of what the game expects and what you have to give the user an idea of possible problems. It's necessary because of the seemingly infinite combinations of hardware. You need to be able to scale to hardware and tell the user if their machine is too old.

I've noticed on the Mac that it's much more laid back. "G3 with Rage 128 or better" (or something similar) is all I'll see listed for most games and they don't seem to check at all. I think this is because, correct me if I'm wrong, there are so few different types of machines that you can say something like "Firewire G3 or better" and most people know right off the bat if their machine can handle it.

Just a thought.

System Info - OneSadCookie - May 15, 2002 03:59 AM

Well, I don't know about Windows users, but most Mac users don't even know they have a bus, and would probably start looking for public transport if you told them to upgrade.

I think most hardcore gamers could manage their processor speed, graphics card model and amount of physical memory, but even that might be pushing it for some.

And who are you to say your game can't run? If it's a technical limitation (such as an OpenGL extension not available on a Rage128), fair enough -- but just because their CPU / physical RAM / whatever doesn't match your expectations doesn't mean that your game won't perform acceptably in the user's opinion.

I've been playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein very happily on my iMac 600 / Rage 128, which is well below the minimum specs for the game. Sure, I get 2FPS from time to time, but it hasn't stopped me yet. I'd have been seriously annoyed if it had told me to sod off until I bought a new Mac just for the GeForce2MX!

If they have your game, the user will very quickly discover whether their hardware is sufficient for their needs. They don't need some bossy program telling them. As for the box, that's the appropriate place for that information. People can read it and make their own decision as to whether they're willing to risk poor performance.

Why deliberately exclude (potential) customers?

System Info - CMagicPoker - May 15, 2002 12:40 PM

What would be cool is a program that configure the game based on the system to make the game run fast as expected by the developer (60fps, etc).
Like UT does.

System Info - ibullard - May 15, 2002 04:54 PM

It isn't excluding customers, it's warning them that their HW isn't at the minimum spec for the game. "Player Beware" sort of thing so when the game does run at 2fps it isn't the developer's fault.


System Info - Josh - May 15, 2002 06:57 PM

Quote:Originally posted by ibullard
It isn't excluding customers, it's warning them that their HW isn't at the minimum spec for the game. "Player Beware" sort of thing so when the game does run at 2fps it isn't the developer's fault.
Personally, I still don't see the point. Besides, in games that tell me that, I usually just blow them off. After all, what do programmers know? Rasp

System Info - OneSadCookie - May 15, 2002 07:14 PM

If the game does run at 2FPS the user is soon going to figure out that they need a newer computer.

I'm not advocating the lack of "minimum system specs", just saying that the place for those minimum specs is the readme, the manual or the box, not an intrusive dialog thrown up by an over-bossy game.

System Info - henryj - May 16, 2002 03:18 PM

Don't listen to OneSadCookie

Any app should advise the user in plain english if there is a reason that the app can't run as expected. The user SHOULD NOT be expected to go hunting for a Readme or worse, the box to find this information. Note I said plain english. An example of this is OpenGL on OS9. If the user doesn't have openGL the finder will bring up a cryptic message about the dynamic linker not being able to find a symbol. This is BAD programming especially as it is so easy for the app to find this information and advise the user that "You need Open GL to use this application. Visit to download Open GL"

This is one problem with OSX. We are going to get Next and Unix developers who have no idea about the Human Interface or what makes the MAC user experience what it is. These guys think silently exiting is a good way of telling the user that the app can't run!

This extends beyond configuration information. There used to be a mythical document called the Human Interface Guidelines. It spelled out how your application should behave for it to provide the best experience for the user. Apparently Steve doesn't think we need it anymore. Take Project Builder. It has the worse interface since Microsoft Visual Studio. And just because your writing a game doesn't mean you can ignore this stuff.


System Info - OneSadCookie - May 16, 2002 04:37 PM

If the program actually isn't going to work, sure, you should produce an informative error message. That's not what this discussion was about, though.

This discussion was about the program saying "I need at least 256MB of physical RAM, at least a 600MHz G3 or 500MHz G4 processor, at least a 133MHz system bus, at least an ATI Rage128 graphics card, and at least a 7200RPM hard disk to run so I'm going to quit now".

That's not plain English, nor is it user-friendly.

The reality is, with those requirements, there's no reason why it shouldn't attempt to run anyway, and the chances are that even on some "unsupported" configurations, the performance would be acceptable.

I have no problem with an application bringing up a dialog the first time it's run saying something like "I have noticed that your system does not meet the suggested minimum requirements for this game, you might like to consider upgrading to a machine with at least the following specs: (insert text from readme/box). I will attempt to run anyway, but performance may not be good enough".

If it refuses to run, though, or brings up the dialog every time it's run, that's not good HI.

System Info - Josh - May 16, 2002 07:42 PM

Quote:Originally posted by OneSadCookie
If it refuses to run, though, or brings up the dialog every time it's run, that's not good HI.
I agree. Don't rub the fact that I have an old and slow computer in my face. DO tell me if it won't run at all, but if it will crawl, at least let me see for myself.

System Info - CMagicPoker - May 16, 2002 10:58 PM

I suppose the expectations of the system should be created upon the technical expectations of the game, not the artificial paradygm the programmer temp to establish.

If the game needs opengl, if it's "weak linked" it has to check if opengl is present. btw, or to 'weak link' a library?

The game should ask for a reasonably minimal amount of ram in which it can run without crashing, on classic mode. Or inform the user of the average ram it consume in OSX when running with low textures.

If the game uses Altivec and crashes on the G3 because of that, that shoulb be investigated too. IMHO, one's should make some efforts to make a game running on the computers of its audience, if he/she really want to see his/her game being played broadly, IMO.

If you feel that your game sucks below 60fps, fine. But some people would probably be delighted to play it, even at 20fps on mach64. Give a thought to that, please.
Im a Startrek fan, but can't play well the Elite force demo because my iMac, with a RagePro, doesn't like mipmapping, and Im too lazy to check the gl.h header, and to change the tag in the file :-(

System Info - Jeff Binder - May 17, 2002 07:06 AM

If you need a certain GL feature, or a certain amount of VRAM, it's OK to check. But for plain minimum specs, just let the user decide. Chances are there's someone who won't mind the performance on a system 50MHz below your minimum.

Quote:Originally posted by CMagicPoker
Im a Startrek fan, but can't play well the Elite force demo because my iMac, with a RagePro, doesn't like mipmapping, and Im too lazy to check the gl.h header, and to change the tag in the file :-(

Well, you'd need to recompile Elite Force for any changes in header files to take effect. Anyway, the flag for mipmapping in your gl.h should be set already, because it indicates what the implementation of GL supports, not what your hardware supports. Everyone with the same version of GL gets the same gl.h (if any, I don't think OS 9 includes the header files by default). Elite Force probably checks for mipmapping support with glGet(), and even if you could convince EF that you have mipmapping, it wouldn't work without it.

Yet another time when cracking isn't the solution to lack of funds Wink .