Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
16 July 2007
Why does Blizzard agree with me?
I've ranted a bit about the sys reqs for the latest Tomb Raider, particularly how poorly the thing ran on my ATi Xpress 200 integrated graphics system. To be a big hit on the PC would seem to me to require hitting as wide a set of hardware as possible, including, say, recent discrete card-less lap and desktops purchased for soon-to-be college freshmen. Having seen that the graphics on the PS2 aren't all that kick-arse added to my perception that it was some unnecessary, poorly-placed eye candy that was slowing Tomb Raider down on my IGP and the decision to cut off so much of the PC market seemed an avoidable move.

In any event, I was happily surprised to see that Blizzard has started writing code for WoW that takes better use of the main processor for Macs running WoW without a good, discrete video card solution. Most entry-level Macs have Intel's 950 integrated graphics, which suX0rz: the Mini, MacBook, and lowest-end iMac all sport the 950. Rather than (continue?) to cut out these folk, they've leaned harder on the main proc in the newest version.

From the WoW 2.2 PTR Patch Notes:
Additional graphic optimization utilizing AltiVec for PowerPC-Mac and SSE for Intel-Mac. This provides some performance benefit on systems where vertex animation shaders are either unavailable or disabled (recommended on systems with Intel integrated video).

So not just the recent Macs get a boost, so does my long in the tooth iBook G4 with a 32 meg ATI Mobility Radeon 9200.

So buried way down here is my reason for writing: Why bother? Eidos didn't. I realize that WoW's about all that's going outside of The Sims and fps for Macs, but it's still arguably playable on my box as is. Why, in essence, agree with me? Why make your game more playable on woefully inadequate hardware? Why not start mothballing your Mac-specific code and start going to Cider like nearly everyone else? What's the point in wasting dough supporting hardware with one foot in the tar pits?

On an only tangentially related note, I finally made the plunge and upgraded to some DX10 video hardware with MSI's GeForce NX8500GT-TD256E OC (no, no Newegg kickbacks from that link). It's pricer than some other hardware that'll outperform it, like the Sapphire Radeon 1650XT, but does ostensibly do DX10 and sure is a heck of a step up from what I was running.

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--ruffin at 17:32
Comment [ 3 ]

Comments on this post:

Maybe the other companies figure that if you pay a lot of money for a high end graphics card, you'll pay money for their game instead of pirating it. I hope it's not true, and it is pretty silly of me to blame another thing on piracy, but it was the first idea that came to me.

By Blogger aragul, at 16 July, 2007 20:30  

Maybe Blizzard did it because every happy WoW player is a continuous source of money. In a certain light, Mac users could really be seen as funding Mac hardware-related improvements.

Plus Blizzard has generally been better than the rest of the industry when it comes to multi-system support, hasn't it?

By Blogger Baines, at 17 July, 2007 02:48  

Because Blizzard realises something a lot of developers don't:

PC game developers are not in the business to sell hardware.

They're in the business to sell GAMES, and you can't sell many games to people who can't play it due to their low-end PCs.

With consoles it's different- every game released on a console that shows what the console is capable of makes the platform more attractive, but that's not the way it works with PCs. There's too many different configurations.

By Blogger webrunner, at 17 July, 2007 09:45  

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