Low system requirements

What do you want to see in Armagetron soon? Any new feature ideas? Let's ponder these ground breaking ideas...
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Goose
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Low system requirements

Post by Goose »

Congratulations. The current Armagetron runs on Windows 98. I've tested it on a Pentium 2 from 1999, disabling all the animations and graphics. Network play is astonishingly well too. Not many games can claim to connect old scrap with new scrap and run a nice online match between them.
Actually performancewise, the "worst" thing are the menu lists, that scroll up and down when have like 10 items. The scrolling is a bit choppy and the reaction time is not the best. Maybe this could be improved through throwing the animations on the menus out of the window competly? As a performance option of course.

I'd like to know if there are actually disadvantages of keeping support for the old 32-bit systems for tiny little Armagetron. Is there any need to move on to a newer engine (e.g. if the game wouldn't run anymore on new Linux and Windows 10 for example)?
Just wanted to say "thank you" for having kept at least Armagetron in this easy fashion. And having all those options to reduce the graphics to a bunch of vectors basically.
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Z-Man
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Re: Low system requirements

Post by Z-Man »

Thanks for the feedback. By animation, I assume you mean the smooth scrolling? We don't have much else going on :) While an option to toggle those is probably not in the cards (the 0.1% of people who need it would certainly not find it), we could just automatically disable it if the FPS in the menu get too low.
Currently, there is no pressure to move to 64 bit exclusivity on Windows. That would only happen if Microsoft decides to drop support for running 32 bit application on modern systems, which I don't expect anytime soon. However, compatibility with anything older than whatever is still supported with security updates by Microsoft is purely accidental and a product of laziness. It may break anytime for the stupidest reason. For example, we might decide to use a different API to decide where user configuration is stored, and that API is then only available on XP and up. We are using an SDK from 2013 for the official builds. Also, bigger upheavals could happen, for example the switch to using the Godot Engine for rendering; that is still available for 32 bit, but does not even support XP. Never has, apparently.
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Goose
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Re: Low system requirements

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The FPS rate is an unstable thing. If a big MOD music file loads in the background, Armagetron begins to stutter for example (no problems with 95% of the MOD music files, that are smaller than 600 KB for example). Doesn't that waste too much computer power for checking the FPS constantly and reacting to that?

Then I wish you big lazyness on Armagetron!
But it any case, hoepfully the game performance would profit from keeping the low-res graphics. It would probably still run on old Linux computers, should a big update hit the fan.
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Z-Man
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Re: Low system requirements

Post by Z-Man »

Goose wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 9:22 amDoesn't that waste too much computer power for checking the FPS constantly and reacting to that?
It already has the frame time, that is required to do the smooth animation, and a little check costs almost nothing. A real problem could be if the framerate really is fluctuating much, because then it might decide one second to do smooth animation, the next to do hard jumps. There is a standard precaution against that that I'm already employing, hysteresis: Activate smooth animation if the FPS is 30 or higher, deactivate it only if it is 15 or lower (or thereabouts). That guarantees that medium fluctuations don't cause erratic behavior. Large ones would need additional precautions.
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Goose
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Re: Low system requirements

Post by Goose »

The FPS counter shows around 120 FPS in network games here. Altough that doesn't arrive on the screen I'd say. Maybe the 16 MB graphics chip loses some frames somewhere. Armagetron definetly looks smoother on a modern computer.

Maybe if the FPS rate is jumping too much, an option to disable smooth scrolling alltogether would be the best. But you're right, not many users would make use of such an option. Although, consider some old, but still supported Linux computers out there with their sometimes abyssmal graphics card support. At least they would have an 3D online game too that way.

Something else: What about some sound volume settings? Little Armagetron is too quiet in comparison to other programs. The sounds definetly are part of the atmosphere in the game, the cyber cycle noise, the crash explosions...
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Z-Man
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Re: Low system requirements

Post by Z-Man »

Yeah, unless you have a monitor that specifically has a higher refresh rate (most recent gaming monitors do) and is configured to use it, those 120 fps is not going to reach your eye. But if you do get drops below 60 fps in gamepley and don't mind the tearing, I recommend you leave the configuration as it is; with vsync enabled, which would be by general recommendation, you get uneven stuttering when the drops hit.
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