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PC Games (Games) Games Hardware

How To Make PC Gaming Better 337

New submitter RMingin writes "Bruno Ferreira at Tech Report has a number of suggestions that he feels could improve PC gaming. Some are quite thought-provoking. For example: 'When technology advanced [in the '90s], the industry came up with a certification specification to ensure punters didn't miss out—and consequently spent more on better PCs. That spec was called MPC, short for Multimedia Personal Computer. The first version of the MPC spec said, in simple terms: Thy computer shalt be blessed with a sound card and speakers. Thou shalt be provided a CD-ROM drive in which to receive silver discs. Thy processor shalt not be completely crap. At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy. Let the powers that be come up with a new baseline specification. Call it MPC-HD or whatever acronym the marketing Nazgûl want to give it. I'm fine with whatever, as long as it gets the job done.' He also calls for an end to the unintuitive model numbers for GPUs and CPUs, and more consistent driver support."
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How To Make PC Gaming Better

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:57PM (#42415299)

    Port everything over to Linux so we can ditch Wine and Windows.

    Someone had to say it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:06PM (#42415403)

      Port everything over to Linux so we can ditch Wine and Windows. Someone had to say it.

      OK. First convert all GPL-based libraries to LGPL so that they are non-viral, sometimes you have to statically link. Someone had to say it.

      • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:10PM (#42415455)

        Port everything over to Linux so we can ditch Wine and Windows. Someone had to say it.

        OK. First convert all GPL-based libraries to LGPL so that they are non-viral, sometimes you have to statically link. Someone had to say it.

        Second, make it so when you install video drivers you are not almost guaranteed to spend some time at a CLI prompt cause gui don't want to start. Someone had to say it.

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          Wow, have you used Linux since 1996?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by armanox ( 826486 )

            If you grab the blob from nvidia's site you have to install at the CLI.

          • by jjjhs ( 2009156 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:26PM (#42416067)
            Every time I try Linux, even recently, I spend more time trying to get everything to work than actually doing what I want to do. Wireless STILL didn't work. A driver was installed but it wouldn't find any networks. Wired LAN randomly didn't work, and for some reason was dependent upon for booting. Most of the time I end up having to compile a newer kernel to sort some things out. I could go on. Eventually I give up because I'm tired of spending my entire time trying to get things to just work.
          • Wow, have you used Linux since 1996?

            I've used Linux since 1991.

            Its improved A LOT.

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:51PM (#42416691)

              True, but so did windows. Linux today gaming wise is probably where windows was back in the days of 98SE. You can install most drivers without having to fuck with the OS, and it's 3D API is starting to emerge as notable enough to use (again)... sort of.

              But it's still crashy both on video drivers and API being badly implemented in it, and you still need fairly deep knowledge of the OS to get stuff properly installed, configured and running.

              • If Windows had improved as much since 1991 as Linux has, I might actually like it now - if it came from a decent company.
                • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

                  That's a rather hard comparison to make, as windows improved in different ways than linux.

                  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:03AM (#42417459) Journal

                    That's a rather hard comparison to make, as windows improved in different ways than linux.

                    That's a rather hard comparison to make, as windows improved in different ways than linux.

                    Not really.

                    In 1991 Linux was a stone bitch requiring high voodoo just to get it to run - and then only on a perfect clone of Linus' box, only at the command line and with an distressingly short subset of unixland apps. The quality, utility and reliability were appalling to someone versed in SVR II/III, and nobody in corporate took it seriously. Now Linux powers watches and the world's largest supercomputer, and everything in between - effortlessly and with grace. Instead of being slow with drivers, Linux driver development now usually starts in the design phase for the device - because it's the thing you can test in a simulator to tweak the features of your device. By this facility device (and processor or architecture) developers can prove their device or architecture change works in the simulator before they do an expensive silicon run. Linux now supports both more devices and more architectures than any other OS ever. You buy a Linux/Android device, turn it on, log in and it automatically has all the apps you paid for ready to reinstall - usually with your data too. In that span Linux has gone from "not useful to anybody, not even Linus" to powering the global Internet economy including Google, Facebook, Twitter - and even Microsoft, providing you universal access to all your apps and data and people - in your pocket. From only being able to run for a few days to being the OS NASA puts in satellites.

                    In 1991 we were already on Windows 3.0, so it already at least had a GUI. So Windows started from a higher level and to have improved as much would need to have become truly outstanding by now. But it hasn't. They still haven't even solved the malware problem yet, and they were five years into it at that time. Windows is the OS that only Iran is dumb enough to run their nuclear research on. It takes 4 hours of expert service to take a Windows machine from "retail" to "usable" condition. After that it takes an indeterminate amount of time and expense to reinstall - and usually re-buy - the apps you used to have in the prior version and recover your data. Only then can you begin to relearn where they've moved the buttons. It's deliberately incompatible with every OS that isn't Windows and all applications that compete with Microsoft's. It has an upgrade treadmill that requires you to replace perfectly serviceable gear and software every time they refresh the OS. It has a built-in fragmentation where it's even not compatible with the oldest versions of itself, and while new features and their own applications like the browser could be backported older versions are not to keep the treadmill moving. And yet for giving up your devices and apps what does this new version give you? A UI that didn't sell on phones, so they're trying to push it to desktops and servers to make it familiar so as to sell the phones that 99% of everybody doesn't want. The client OS is designed to induce dependence on both the server OS and their own-brand apps, and this design is mutual. Apps are built on their platform-of-the-day, so developers have to relearn their entire skillset as often as Microsoft remembers that they lacked forethought and have to burn it all down again and start over. And it's from Microsoft, so knowing their long history I doubt any of these things are going to change ever. It's failtacular. A festival of fail. It's got recursive levels of failure built-in that make it a failure fractal. And yet it's got a cult with selective recurrent amnesia.

                    In '91 Unix with X was technically as far ahead of Windows as Windows was ahead of Linux at that time. And now Unix is pretty much dead: the legacy software stack is owned by Attachmate, who is legendary for making VT-100 terminal emulators that integrate with Microsoft Office

                    • Yes, Linux is great on servers. Or on supercomputers, where they have a programmer team to make it work. However, we are talking about desktop.

                      Linux is also great on desktops. I know, because I've been using it as my primary desktop OS for years. I've also set up Linux desktops for peers seniors, and adolescents. They're not programmers, and neither am I. Many of these setups I never see again after I set them up.

                      Malware problem - Linux is not immune to it, unless it somehow forbids one from running they got in an email attachment.

                      Good theory, but what's the real world infection rate of Windows to Linux? 10^3? 10^4? Even given the bigger install base of around 10^1, that's bad.

                      The only reason why there is little malware on Linux is because Linux has a tiny desktop market share, so it is not worth the effort to create malware for it. However, if the market share increasess there will be malware, just look as MacOS or Android.

                      That's a tired myth. You already know that Linux abounds on servers, and again, we're tal

        • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:26PM (#42416975) Journal

          I'll add get rid of X-Server and give us something better than Pulse which seems to crap itself on update more times than I can count.

          But personally I don't know why anybody would bitch about PC gaming now, if anything I'd say we are in the middle of another golden age. I have NEVER been able to get games as cheaply as I am now under Steam, I'm talking whole catalogs for less than the cost of a single console game (such as the THQ bundle for $30, great set) and the cards and chips? Cheap as cheap can be. When I started if you spent less than 2 grand you were gonna be struggling 6 months after you got it, now I can build a PC for $450 that will play games for years AND make me a profit. Hell you can buy a fully loaded 6 core AMD for like $250 in a Tiger kit, slap a $50 HD4850 and tada! You can play the vast majority of games with plenty of bling. Spend a little more, say $100 for an HD6850 or $120 for an HD6870 and you'll be gaming on it for the next 4 years, no problem.

          So what is there to complain about? The games are cheap, the hardware is cheap, hell you can buy Win 8 for $40 and just use Start8 to kill that Metro crap and have you a cheap gaming PC that will get updates until 2022 and I wouldn't be surprised if the games would all still run on it fine, its rare to see a game require more than a dual core for a minimum even today. These kids just don't realize how good they got get off my lawn!

      • OK. First convert all GPL-based libraries to LGPL so that they are non-viral, sometimes you have to statically link. Someone had to say it.

        Wow Ballmer still spreading that Cancer line is getting old just saying. Humble Bundle 7 has ten games than seem to cope just fine.

        Ironically the bundle before this "THQ bundle" one was controversial because not only had DRM it was unable to provide ports to Linux (and OSX) because of proprietary based libraries. The reality is locking yourself into a single platform is particularly foolish as Android is set to eclipse Windows in a matter of Months.

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          By that logic, linux has long eclipsed windows as its everywhere.

          But on desktop/TV where the high budget games that are interesting to play for more then 10-15 min at a time are? Nope, no android. It's just windows, xbox and PS3 with some Nintendo stuff.

          It does compete quite strongly with 3DS and Vita (which it likely gutted). But android has absolutely nothing in terms of games that are pretty, complex and engaging in long term. And it's unlikely to get any any time soon, as it has found its audience, whic

        • a matter of Months

          Yeah. About -9 months.

    • Bluntly (Score:2, Troll)

      by goldcd ( 587052 )
      If Gaming under Linux is so great, why are we all still using windows?
      Yes, I'm sure Linux is better than it was and I'm sure there are many fine reasons why you prefer Linux over Windows - but to put this as bluntly as I can "Anybody who suggests that linux is a better gaming OS than Windows is a dribbling retard".
      See also OSX - a fine OS, but just not what you should be installing if you want to play games.

      This is one of the topics that repeatedly comes up and just starts me grinding my teeth. You may
  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:59PM (#42415329)
    It's called Tablet App Gaming. Thy computer shalt have no native input device save the screen. You shall not have full control of the device. Some of your data must needs live in the cloud.
    • It's called Tablet App Gaming. Thy computer shalt have no native input device save the screen. You shall not have full control of the device. Some of your data must needs live in the cloud.

      Annoying as one who is really enjoying tablet gaming [and ds gaming], you have to remember that touch-screen is exciting, and even though Windows 8 sucks donkeys balls...touch gaming is great for *some* genres of games. Its not for 3rd Person shooters[keyboard mouse]...or 3dBeaten ups;Platformer;standard shooters[Joypad], but a tablet for is great for racing games[ok not as fun as a real wheel]...for for strategy!! and tower defence/offence and tactile puzzlers touchscreen wins. I will be buying a great big

      • I'm not saying that this is a good standard. It seems to be one that we're being force-fed though, like 3D TVs (although not as blatant as the digital TV switch).
      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        As far as "imperfect control schemes" work, we already know that if you sell it to the masses in the right way, they'll bite. Shooters are a great example. They are horrendously bad on controllers, to the point where a few test runs of games like halo where PC users using mouse+keyboard playing on same servers as controller using console users resulted in bad PC gamers utterly annihilating great console players.

        But it got marketed well, users got separated into servers for consoles and servers for PC and co

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:00PM (#42415333) Journal

    Stop thinking every title needs to be a triple AAA title with millions of dollars in cost, that has to sell a large amount of copies to turn a profit.

    Stop putting crappy DRM on your software, since that only hurts your customers.

    Stop making crappy consoles ports.

    And quit fucking blaming everything on piracy.

    • Kickstarter fixes all these issues for me :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      its not crappy console ports anymore.

      its crappy PC ports of shitty console games.

    • These are so much better than the original article. I have a two year old computer that I put together new for about $500 that can run just about every game I've played on medium-high to high graphics settings with at least 30 fps minimum. While I don't play a lot of modern games, such as Metalfield 428 or Halo 9 or what have you, Planetside 2 is quite beautiful nearly maxed out.

      These are the ways to make PC gaming better. The article has a handful of suggestions for manufacturers to make selecting a PC better, the level of quality being somewhere between obvious and pointless.

      Article demands a spec for hardware. Windows 7 has a rating for hardware. It's called the Experience Index. It sucks, but so does any other spec you'll come up with because specs can't be as simple as "cd-rom drive and SVGA graphics" anymore. Peggle and Crysis won't have the same minimum requirements, ever. Linux does not have something like this because it hasn't been needed, both due to a lack of games and because I can only assume Linux users generally know what the fuck they're doing.

      Article demands a spec for rating (benchmarking) processors. Author hates not knowing if another core is better than an extra 500 megahertz. Great. Problem is that the answer is (and always will be): "It depends."

      Next suggestions are "stop letting the marketing guys name products cause they do it bad", and "drop the suck when you write your drivers". These are both fantastic ideas. Unfortunately, they've been the issue for about the last 10 years, or at least, when ATI first started building cards that required drivers (on the topic of bad drivers) and Nvidia's "Geforce If I have FX in my name, I suck regardless of my number".

      And the crazy thing for me is that I feel like in the last 3-4 years, I've had a lot less fucking around with games/hardware to get them to "just work". For all of it's flaws, Steam is pretty magical. I feel like if this article would have come out years ago, I'd have agreed wholeheartedly. Now I just shake my head at Captain Obvious.
      • What does Steam have to do with this?
        Steam is just a library of games, lots of them don't work. Steam does not bother to do anything but provide the latest patch. Many games on Steam need you to fiddle with the compatibility settings, update your drivers, or do other normal stuff; Just like if you downloaded it yourself. In fact I am sure there are games on Steam that are more broken then if you downloaded them yourself, because sometimes you do not want to install the latest patch, sometimes the latest pat

    • Stop thinking every title needs to be a triple AAA title with millions of dollars in cost, that has to sell a large amount of copies to turn a profit.Stop putting crappy DRM on your software, since that only hurts your customers.Stop making crappy consoles ports.And quit fucking blaming everything on piracy.

      Indie gaming [and open source gaming] is all of those things, and has a better community. Apart from team meat...but they have Super Meat Boy so they get to be dicks.

    • by Altanar ( 56809 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:01PM (#42416279)

      A game that costs $100,000 to make, but sells at $2/game has to sell over 50,000 copies to make a profit. A game that costs $2,500,000 but sells at $50 has to sell the same. Your first point is only valid if you're willing to pay a higher percentage of the cost.

      Dear Indie Game Devs:

      • Your game isn't intrinsically better than others because it looks like a SNES game.
      • Stop making games that think that difficulty for difficulty sake is the best mechanic a game can have.
      • Stop making clones of games from the early 1990s.
      • Stop refusing to sell your game on marketplaces like Steam, Origin, and the Windows Store. You are not hurting "the Man"; you are hurting gamers and yourself.

      PC Gamers:

      • Buy games that you like.
      • If a game is worth playing, it's worth paying for. No excuses.
      • The *only* point made when you pirate a game is that the PC has a pirating problem. You are not hurting "the Man"; you are hurting gamers and yourself.
    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      Stop putting crappy DRM on your software

      100% agree, with the emphasis on crappy, I don't mind an initial CD check, but once the game's installed you should be given the option of check CD *or* check via internet, once at the load of the game only.

      And clean up the installer: GTA-IV is a nightmare, Dotnet.x.x games for windows live, media player version x, social club, etc I don't mind these things being needed but streamline the installation FFS and make it work because it took multiple install attempts of this stuff to get the game to work, it u

  • by irwiss ( 1122399 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:02PM (#42415351)

    Those who finds model numbers unintuitive usually asks one of their geek friends to build a PC for them, those who don't even bother looking at model number but rather look up the benchmarks don't care about the model numbers.

    The real issue with PC gaming is that a lot of games these days are shitty console ports with atrocious controls, awful camera and graphics that are still stuck on xbox360/ps3 level which are already outdated by just about any discrete video card, and there's no incentive for companies to change their "make console game -> port to pc to milk" agenda.

  • by TheGoodNamesWereGone ( 1844118 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:03PM (#42415359)
    There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's miles better than any console. An I5/I7 paired with a midrange graphics card blows them out of the water. The problem isn't the hardware, it's the software writers who write for consoles and then port that back to PCs... Case in point, Skyrim, which has about the most awful interface ever inflcited on the keyboard & mouse using public ever. More first-person shooters that all look the same. No innovation any more. No, the problem is the game companies and their crap.
    • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:24PM (#42415613) Homepage Journal

      Actually the problem is gamers who keep buying the crap made by game companies. Said companies are making fistfulls of dollars so what is their incentive to improve the crap they put out?

      I do tend to differ with you on Skyrim though. I found the interface quite easy to use on my PC. I've never played any of the console versions though.

      • Strangely enough I love Skyrim on the PC and I play it using a 360 controller. I find it very relaxing to play that game with a controller. It works well and plays well.

        I think I have about 70 mods installed for the game including the DLC released so far.

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          To each their own. Granted, as long as you're using weapons that do not need accurate aiming, and as long as you focus on exploring things where you literally walk over the enemies, controller will do just fine.

          But if you ramp up the difficulty until you actually need to land those magic shots from a distance, controller playing will become exceptionally stressful because you'll keep dying to missing all the time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bad example. The Skyrim engine is a modified version of the engine used in Oblivion, which itself is a (heavily) modified version of the Morrowind engine. It is not a console port. Yes, the UI was clearly desinged with consoles in mind, but under the hood it is the console versions that are the second-rate ports. Just look at how much trouble Bethesda is having trying to get the Dawnguard and Hearthfire DLCs running on the PS3.

      All that aside, it's an Elder Scrolls game... if you don't like something about i

    • Interestingly enough, on a general-purpose PC you can often configure alternative input devices -- something you can't do on the consoles. For a game like oblivion, you can use any number of controllers (including the 360/ps3 controllers, if either suits your fancy) that you feel are best. For Civilization or WoW, keyboard & mouse might be preferable.

      This alone is a good reason to chose the PC as a platform.

  • by WilliamGeorge ( 816305 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:03PM (#42415363)

    I've been using computers since the late 80s, and I don't recall this term at all. I do remember people talking about "Multimedia PCs", which must be the verbal expression of that (just saying the letters MPC seems odd - makes me think of the MCP from Tron). But I don't recall it being a big deal... at least not as a home user in middle school and high school, building my own computers (and some for friends). Maybe it was a bigger deal among the major brands at the time?

    Anyways, as a professional who helps folks figure out what they need in a computer today, I don't see how this would be all that helpful. Maybe as a guide for those who know nothing about specs, have no interest in learning, and are buying from a source where they cannot get decent advice... but there is such a wide range of specs and performance these days that a simple label would have a hard time encapsulating enough info. All modern computers (save some servers) have audio, some level of 3D performance, etc - and while not all have optical drives that isn't always a big deal, since the advent of Steam and similar services.

    On the other hand, if you want to ensure decent game performance then you have wildly different specs to aim for depending on the game, the resolution the user will be running, the quality and FPS settings that they consider reasonable, and future-proofing. I don't think that can all be covered by one arbitrary standard, personally.

    • Maybe as a guide for those who know nothing about specs, have no interest in learning, and are buying from a source where they cannot get decent advice

      In other words, anyone inside a Best Buy or Walmart store.

      All modern computers (save some servers) have audio, some level of 3D performance, etc

      But only recently (circa Ivy Bridge []) did Intel integrated graphics come to equal the graphics of a 2005-spec console like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

      On the other hand, if you want to ensure decent game performance then you have wildly different specs to aim for depending on the game

      Should the industry get behind this new proposed son-of-MPC, game developers will target a particular MPC level just as they targeted the original MPC spec. That's what the Vista-era "Windows experience index" was for, but it ended up not catching on.

      the resolution the user will be running

      With LCD panels having standardized on 1920x1080 be

      • It is indeed a pity that the associates - especially at 'tech' stores, like BestBuy - aren't better able to help folks out. Having done a stint at Circuit City myself, many years ago, I know first-hand how little quality training they get about the real important stuff inside computers. Sometimes you get lucky and find a knowledgeable person, though, and really there is vastly more info available just surfing the online websites for those companies (thanks to customer parts reviews and the like now).

        WEI w

    • I remember the MPC 'spec', and I've been using computers for maybe a decade longer than you. It was in the early 90's or so I think, an attempt at a 'standard' spec so that people knew their PC's were 'multimedia' ready.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      no one really knew about it, it was just another sticker next to intel inside that poped up on the front of pc sold in places like sams or sears for a little while, and quickly vanished

      it meant nothing to people, it meant nothing to developers:ie "our product requires a 486DX/33 with 4 megs minimum, thats too high for MPC2 and too low for MPC3, if MPC3 happened to exist at the time ... so why bother with it throw a 4 line system requirements sticker on the box like we have for over a decade"

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      It is modded funny so I am not sure if it is a joke or not. But in the 90's "multimedia PC" was the most ridiculously used keyword about computers. I did not actually know there was a "specification". Note: I was in France in the 90's, maybe the term wasnot used in the US?

  • Don't forget about PSU's some systems and cases with a free PSU come with carp ones.

  • How does this solve the basic problem, namely that hardware vendors and game makers have two opposing interests:

    Hardware vendors want to sell new stuff, and forcedly raising minimum specs is therefore in their advantage.

    Games vendors want to sell as many copies as possible to a biggest possible potential audience, and keep the specs at the minimum necessary, and might even want to do extra work to achieve this (like providing different binaries for different versions of DirectX).

    And finally then there is Mi

    • Re:The main problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:20PM (#42416039)

      That happened 30 years ago with consoles. Japanese console manufacturers figured they would corner the market if they adopted a standard console system called MSX. It would be extensible enough for the systems to be used as home computers: []

      Didn't last simply because each manufacturer used the standard as a base level and added their own custom features - extra sound channels, larger screen resolutions, more cartridge memory, extra peripherals like light pens, light guns.

      In the end games designed on one system wouldn't run on others, and the system become forgotten.

  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:07PM (#42415417)

    ... none of the major players give a shit about the PC as a platform. Since Microsoft has abandoned the PC as a gaming platform for Xbox. This leaves a huge opening but unfortunately big companies aren't very bright. Valve sadly has went the data-mining DRM route and is adding more barriers and cluster-fuckery to gaming that doesn't need to be there.

    If I was Intel right now I would see the profits apple is making and attempt to standardize the PC space and prevent bargain basement PC chaos from occurring. When one looks at steam hardware surveys one see's most people have very little clue about their computers and tend to buy the cheapest shit.

    As much hate as intel gets if it was intelligent it would get serious about creating a platform and not pull the software shenanigans like DRM/closed ecosystems like what the big software companies do (ms, valve, etc). Software is becoming hugely inefficient to create because software parts the equivalent of ROADS and SEWERS are being patented and copyrighted/protected.

    Software really needs public R&D investment in 'foundation level' like stuff to get over these barriers and solve these problems, but barring that Intel (one of the biggest hardware companies) doesn't seem to seriously grasp the need for a software ecosystem that drives people to need their stuff. They are too content with idiocy and clusterfuckery of the current batch of software companies.

    If I were intel I would turn into a platform and increase R&D in how to make better games for cheaper as well as invest in better tools to drive down costs. The biggest problem we have today is making complex apps people want costs too much time and money so there need to be serious R&D in tools, software aided-creativity and automation.

  • And it's called the Xbox 360. I just played Crysis 2 the other day and its certainly a console port. It runs amazingly smooth on my modest PC on the second highest setting. Can't say the same for Crysis, though it was a better game. Just about every game that exists for both the Xbox and PC are optimized for the lowest common denominator, the 360. There is your spec.

  • Back in those days sound cards and CD-ROM drives were rather optional, a PC gaming standard made sense.

    What hardware do PCs have now that are so different than PCs from 10 years ago? Built in WiFi? Bluetooth?

    So really what this seems like is that we're trying to understand why a $300 laptop from Walmart can't run the latest games on Ultra-mode? Do we really need a new spec to tell us this? Can't we just ignore those cheap bastards and tell them to go play more Minecraft on their phone?

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      So really what this seems like is that we're trying to understand why a $300 laptop from Walmart can't run the latest games on Ultra-mode? Do we really need a new spec to tell us this?

      Yes. It'll give developers a baseline to choose whether or not to target based on whether or not they want to try selling their product to owners of $300 econo-boxes. Some developers need all the sales they can get, such as indie developers, casual game developers, and indie casual game developers, and they can deliver a game that's less complex graphically to pretty much every PC capable of running Windows 7. Others have the budget to develop AAA titles that demand AAA-capable boxes. It'll also give home u

  • Ignoring the fact that I have never heard of this EVER, or that PC gaming as got so shitty its more about console ports that even a basic PC can cope with anything it has to handle. That stores that deliver your games *electronically* should be able to filter out games that simply won't work like....Android does now. The idea of creating a made up specifications to represent real specifications is the stupidest idea ever. Personally I think that game designers should put effort into providing the best exper

  • Steambox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by J-1000 ( 869558 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:55PM (#42415877)
    The upcoming Steambox will hopefully be the new benchmark for software. It would be nice if they'd release a certification badge upon release that other hardware makers could use. I agree 100% with the comment about GPU/CPU naming conventions. They are even worse than cell phones. If there's one thing we can learn from the iPhone, let it be simple names.
  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:13PM (#42415991) Homepage Journal

    You have (and shall) never hear the term "console port".

    The main problem with a LOT of PC games, nowadays, is they've been dumbed down, and lots of features stripped out or simply never done (or done right) in the first place. Simply to make it easier to share code-bases between a console port and the PC game.

    DCUO is a prime example of this.

    It's so incredibly limited, and the controls for the game absolutely SUCK. Why? Because they designed it with a controller in mind. They limited the game's models and costume options because most consoles just couldn't handle the sheer variety a full-blown costume/model system would have given them.

    As a result, you have a console fighter game masquerading as a PC MMO. And it does NEITHER well.

  • better ideas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:25PM (#42416063)

    #1. Make all games use OpenGL or some other newly invented standard that is cross platform.
    #2. Have congress declare that "virtual goods" or whatever you want to call them are no more than poker chips. Selling items in game is probably the most detrimental change in the history of gaming as it leads to developers intentionally making the game un-fun and grindy so you'll sink real money to obtain imaginary items to make your play easier. Also... they really are poker chips... it's wrong that they are sold to children.
    #3. Games that are online and can not work without the servers provided by the publisher should be required by law to provide service for a certain period of time after you buy the game. A certain portion of the proceeds of the sale of the game should go into a 3rd party account to pay for the continued operation of the servers even if the original producers of the game go out of business. At least someone buying the game could be guaranteed a certain about of play before it just stopped working all together. But better yet, hopefully producers of games would not want to have to put money into a trust and instead would open up the server platform to the players.

    • Re:better ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qwak23 ( 1862090 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:34PM (#42416545)

      #1 - Don't make me obligatory xkcd you! ;) yeah, one solid standard is nice assuming it can be maintained properly. Unfortunately the latter part of that is pretty rare. Either not everyone adopts updates to the standard, or the standard stagnates, 2 or 3 potential replacements arise to take the torch and we're back to competing standards for awhile. Standards are awesome, but without a walled garden approach (and even then...), I have a feeling this will always be a problem.

      #2 - I have mixed opinions on this. I'm not a big fan "virtual goods" sold by the service provider that make game play easier or progress faster as that gives the company incentive to do just as you describe, however I don't really have a problem with a player driven market exchanging virtual goods for real world cash as in most circumstances I've seen this in (MMO's mostly) it really doesn't affect my game play experience if I choose to not take part.

      #3 - I totally agree, though I'm not really sure it would be feasible. I think a better option would just be a stipulation that if you are going to provide such services, that should you go out of business or suspend services you allow private entities (individuals, other companies, etc) access to the server side software and code so people may choose to keep the game going at their own expense if they choose and if the server side houses all player records, that those records be made available to the player so they can readily transfer them to a private server if they choose. Of course, re-reading your post, you do seem to mention this option ;)

      • #1 - Don't make me obligatory xkcd you!

        I think you need to look at the joke again. Its about creating a new standard to replace multiple incompatible standards. His comment is about reducing control of a de-facto standard on one ecosystem by a conflicted monopolist...and doing so using an *existing standard* that arguable is better, and is cross platform used on the majority of computing platforms [Ok no quite]. The reality is the massive growth of Android/iOS has but a massive dent in DirectX, and OpenGL has been moving and shaking after years

        • by qwak23 ( 1862090 )

          I realize the joke isn't exact, but it still applies. His comment states to use one cross platform existing standard, or a new cross platform standard (which is directly relevent to the joke). Either way, even if benefits are gained from having a single common standard, it's unlikely to happen, especially in the realm of graphics/gaming. Enforcing the standard requires either control by a single entity, or mutual agreement by multiple entities. It's feasible when there is not much pressure to change or

  • Show them the difference. Show them how well your machine runs, and how theirs is crap. Then offer to build them a desktop for a set fee, or offer an inexpensive consult on a laptop.

    The average computer user finds the whole thing confusing. They are expected to acquire skills which are both required by their job and considered nerdy. This, of course, creates a conflict for most people, as being popular / going with the crowd is more important to them than getting ahead in life.

  • Romanticize about it all you want but to the consumer it was just another meaningless computer acronym.

    The major problem with it was it only gave you a hint at what the absolute minimum requirements might be... if you even knew what the damn thing meant. MPC 1 was a 386sx25 with 2 megs of ram, sure your program might run, but just in the basic sense that it ran, not that it was playable or useable. SO instantly you are going back to the requirements list. It was meaningless and did nothing but add another d

  • Any decent game machine is going to need an add-in card, not an Intel GPU. I'm not sure if they'd be okay with something that mandates competitors' products. And if not, would they try to kill it? Given the hold they have on the PC market and how much money they can and do throw around to try to move the market (ultrabooks!) it could be tough if they did.

    But perhaps they'd grudgingly go with it just to sell more high power desktop CPUs and motherboards.

  • by asmkm22 ( 1902712 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:21AM (#42417273)

    Stop porting over console games, and start designing them for PC's from the ground up again. As much as it's nice not really ever having to upgrade my video card due to dev's targeting 8 year old console spec's, it's been a real bottleneck for actual innovation. It's not even the graphics that are suffering so much, but the design as well, due to memory limitations.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:45AM (#42418603)

    Don't make multi-player games that can't be played on a LAN or which can't be hosted by players.

    Don't do in-game advertising, purchases of virtual crap for real money and assorted bullshit.

    Don't install spyware or otherwise contact the mothership unless required to fullfill the users request.

    Don't do CD keys, limited activations, professor zorgs guides to alien etiquette or any other such anti-piracy garbage that treats the purchaser as a suspect.

    Don't require the user to wade thru a bunch of bullshit screens before starting the game.

    Never lobobotomize gameplay in order to give noobs a fighting chance.

    Stop making games that are impossible to loose.

    Never remove language or funny shit for political reasons.

    Basically make games that are fun to play again. Things have "evolved" to where this has simply become impossible to do so I no longer bother.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson