Weekend Open Forum: Have PC games improved in terms of system requirements?

By on November 14, 2008, 6:30 PM
When Crysis was released last year on the PC platform it merely reinforced a fact that was becoming more evident game release after game release, shooter after shooter. Pushing the graphics envelope should no longer be the target at large for a new 3d shooter title.

There were the Dooms, the Quakes, the Half-Lifes and the Unreals, all of them blockbusters for outdoing their rivals in terms of gameplay, but never doing without breathtaking visuals that at the time represented a major investment from PC gamers to get the latest hardware to run the titles comfortably.


Crysis still ended up a pretty popular game, and its success was further proven this year by its well regarded successor Crysis Warhead. Nevertheless, it has now become a generalized consensus that for future releases developers will have to play nice with gamers and not just think about the hardcore fan base. Last year many preferred to skip over Crysis and play some of the other great new titles like The Orange Box and Call of Duty 4, both of which carried great visuals - though not quite up there with Crysis - but were much more hardware friendly.

With consoles being such a threat to PC gaming nowadays, more than a one initiative has been spurred, yet clear results have not come forward as of today. But that's not to say we are not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Some of this season's PC game releases like Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 have backed down considerably in terms of hardware requirements, so odds are that if you've upgraded over the last year or two, you should be well covered already.

But will that be enough to keep the PC alive as a true gaming platform? Have you noticed a trend of developers becoming more conscious about hardware requirements as of late? What other games you believe are perfect examples of this positive trend? (Not limited to FPS games) Have you become frustrated in the past for not being able to run PC titles well using your still decent computer setup?

Discuss.




User Comments: 14

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captain828 said:
typo: [url=]initiative[/url] someone is hungry today...> Have you noticed a trend of developers becoming more conscious about hardware requirements as of late? The requirements they post are usually off if not way off what is required to run the game at an acceptable IQ/performance ratio. The devs have learned from Crytek's "fault" that creating a game that requires so much juice for it's time is a bad financial move; sure, Crysis has sold pretty well overall but nowhere near COD4, for eg. Even today, you would require two current gen high-end GPUs in a multi GPU setup in order to run with all settings at their highest setting on a high rez display. > What other games you believe are perfect examples of this positive trend? All recently launched games (COD5, Dead Space, FC2, Fallout 3 etc.) do not require a bleeding edge system to run at max details. Even Crysis Warhead doesn't require that much, mostly because a new gen of GPUs was launched since Crysis. > Have you become frustrated in the past for not being able to run PC titles well using your still decent computer setup? No. I'm well aware when my PC needs to be upgraded; I'm not the type to complain that a new game doesn't run well on my old hardware. Crysis was an exception... you needed 3x 8800 Ultras to run it (pretty) smoothly in 1920x1200 ;)[Edited by captain828 on 2008-11-14 06:51:22]
Julio said:
Thanks for pointing that out.BTW, if you want to check more comparison screenshots like the one above you can go here:[url]http://www.incrysis.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=84
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Xempler said:
Call of Duty Modern Warfare is another example. Even my gimp system with a P4, 1GB memory, ATI 9800PRO hardware was able to run it.It's expensive to be a PC gamer these days so it's no surprise everyone is moving to console...especially now that the graphics on it are decent and has online play.I'd buy a PS3/360 myself if I didn't hate the controllers so much. If you could play mouse/keyboard on a console I'd buy it in a second.
captain828 said:
@Julio: some of those pics are... well, pretty darn realistic I believe the next revolution will arrive when the manufacturers start adding a ray-tracing engine on their GPUs ;)
Rage_3k_Moiz said:
The real question I believe is: Are games increasing in quality so as to justify the increased hardware requirements?I don't think so, since aside from CoD4, Fallout 3, BioShock and a few others, I have not found many games to look very good and have phenomenal gameplay and an excellent story to boot. Crysis may have looked good, but the story wasn't that great. Same deal with Gears of War.
Erik said:
I'll take great gameplay over graphics every time. One of the best examples I can think of is World of Warcraft, a graphically simple game that has 11 million subscribers that pay $15 every month just to play and believe me it's worth every penny. Minimum requirements for WoW: Intel Pentium® III 800 MHz or AMD Athlon 800 MHz512 MB or more of RAM32 MB 3D graphics card with Hardware Transform and LightingDirectX® 9.0c (included) and latest video drivers6.0 GB available HD space4x CD-ROM drive
benken2202001 said:
[b]Originally posted by Rage_3k_Moiz:[/b][quote]The real question I believe is: Are games increasing in quality so as to justify the increased hardware requirements?I agree completely. However, I don't think that companies are creating games to push the envelope or to force people to buy new equipment. I feel that games are being pushed to the market for sales, and that strategy requires games simply be fun to play.We look at WoW, a game that has completely crushed all others in its genre, yet its requirements are the same today as they were 4 years ago.I think companies saw Crysis as an example. A superb quality game, but the requirements made the sales department cringe. This is the reason why their requirements took a backseat in Warhead. Its also the reason why Farcry2 isn't pushing any envelopes (also the engine used is slightly outdated).This tactic is fine with me as it gets closer and closer to companies making more high quality games for more people.
viperpfl said:
I think the game companies increasing the graphics and hardware requirements failed to take into account the casual gamer. If a person just bought a computer at Best Buy, they expect it to play a came like Crysis. They don't want to hear that the $1,000 computer they just bought won't play Crysis due to hardware requirements. The graphics on Crysis is awesome. We have come a long way to mimic real life. Graphics is only one part of the equation and being able to play the game is another.
Rage_3k_Moiz said:
[quote=benken202001]However, I don't think that companies are creating games to push the envelope or to force people to buy new equipment. I feel that games are being pushed to the market for sales, and that strategy requires games simply be fun to play.[/quote]A bit of contradiction there innit? Game developers need to make money off of their games, and for games with new proprietary engines like UT3 and Far Cry 2, the developers usually have marketing campaigns with hardware vendors who proclaim that their hardware "Runs the game best".So they do push users to upgrade in that respect. Other ways are to not allow older systems to run the game at all, or to give the impression that this is so by not including older video cards etc in the list of supported hardware.The majority of games nowadays focus more on the graphics, and less on actual gameplay. I miss LucasArts' older adventure games, since they used an excellent mix of graphics and gameplay to tell their stories. Games like Grim Fandango and Monkey Island are and will remain one of the greatest games of all time, and I'd take them over Crysis any day.
howzz1854 said:
Crysis and Warhead have been way overhyped by game distribution companies and graphic card manufacturers. ESPECIALLY graphic card manufacturers. of all the reviews you see today about Crysis or Warhead, none mentioned a thing about the game's technical integrity, to put it bluntly, no one mentioned anything about the problematic bugs and memory leaks that plagued the performance issues across the board. it's not hard to see that from game review sites, to graphic manufacturers, games like Crysis and Warhead are created to help graphic manufacturers and computer makers to sell more parts. you take away the best/highest image quality setting from the game, Crysis simply cannot stand on its own against other shooters at an acceptable common setting. or at least at a setting that most public can play the game smoothly, Crysis looks like an age old DX7 game that you tossed away a long time ago while the storyline itself or linear gameplay is nothing to write home about. i think there're lots of room left in the tweaking room with Crysis that the developers are not willing to go through.
Tbolt said:
I think Crysis and the related engine certainly pushed the system requirements to the edge. For some (like myself) they used that as a catalyst to build a better computer. That being said, if that was a marketing strategy from Crytek, it failed. For me, as I am in a position to upgrade when I want and need, stiff system requirements aren't much of a hinderence. However, I believe the largest population of PC users and owners are casual "enthusists" with mid-range rigs. The high end users / hardcore enthusists are a smaller population...they can really appreciate what the engine has to offer but certainly aren't enough economically to provide revenue that in turn makes the technology mainstream. I must admit...Crysis looks absolutely stunning on high res with (at minimum) all "HIGH" settings. But, if you want true success, you must cater to the largest user population base. A game isn't going to cause a large enough part of the mid-range PC population to run right out and spend several hundred bones in upgrades just to play one game (which by the way, IMHO, gameplay wasn't all that great - it was primarily a platform to showcase the tech). The evidence - releases around the same timeframe whose sales and use blew away and continue to blow away Crysis whose respective system requirements were manageable by the majority of PC users while still looking good (CoD4 for example). The upside? Tech like the Crytek2 engine will contine to evolve, become better optimsed thereby running smoother on mid-range rigs, opening the door to better gaming for the bigger population. Hopefully, other factors (like piracy, console popularity, etc.) won't stifle the PC gaming production for too long.[Edited by Tbolt on 2008-11-14 17:54:40][Edited by Tbolt on 2008-11-14 17:58:06]
Wendig0 said:
[b]Originally posted by Xempler:[/b][quote]I'd buy a PS3/360 myself if I didn't hate the controllers so much. If you could play mouse/keyboard on a console I'd buy it in a second.[/quote]PS3 has supported keyboard and mouse for, well, at least 2 years. I have no problem using a keyboard and mouse on mine, though I prefer the dualshock 3.
mrtraver said:
Crysis has always seemed to me to be a poorly-optimized tech demo. They got what they wanted if it was to be the goal hardcore gamers strive for, but at the expense of the mainstream. Gameplay and name recognition are not the only reasons The Sims outsell most FPS games; it is the fact that The Sims will run on a student's laptop or your parents' Dell with crappy integrated graphics. I would like to see more companies follow the lead of Stardock with Sins of a Solar Empire: it was designed purposely to run on low-end (i.e. mainstream) machines, but scale up nicely if you have the horsepower. (BTW, this is not sour grapes talking - i have an E8500, 4 GB of fast memory, and a GTX260 with only a 1280x1024 monitor, so i think I could probably run Crysis at some decent settings)
Schmapdi said:
I think if you throw FPS shooter's aside you'll find most other PC games much more forgiving. It's just an overly obsessive subsection of the market. I've found (happily) that my p4 3.0ghz has held up very well over the last 4-5 years and that I'm still able to play most new games at medium/low settings. I've said it before - but really I think the best thing that could ever happen to the pc gaming community would be for Nvidia/Ati to just chill out for a year or two and stop trying to outdo each other for the fastest card that 3% of gamers will ever have. This I believe would have two very beneficial effects:1) Software developers would have time to catch up to the hardware. And would be able to write cleaner, better optimised code - instead of just relying on this seasons newest cards to muscle their way through. Look at what developers were able to do on the original Gameboy once they had 10 years to work on it. 2) Hardware guys - instead of focusing on the top 3% could focus on making entry level and mid-range cards cheaper and better performing. Reaching the market of people who aren't going to pay 300 - 600 dollars for a videocard (or two or four), which incidentally - is a much bigger market. This also has the happy side effect of trickling down the industry so you have a much tighter range of specs to code for (i.e - you know most of the market has between a 3.0 Ghz and 4.Ghz processor, instead of now where the range is 500mhz - 4Ghz quad core).Good luck convincing them to do it of course. But it would be the best thing in the world for the pc gaming industry.That said - good art direction and aiming for midrange specs (while having upwards scalability for cutting edge/future hardware) would be like a close 3rd best thing.
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