Hardware Guide

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Walbrigg
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Hardware Guide

Post by Walbrigg »

What level of graphics hardware do you need to get the best out of Oolite?

My kids each have an old on-board intel graphics - the G31 chipset which has been around since 2007. They get a very good framerate, but no support for shaders.

I'm guessing, then, that a more recent intel on-chip processor - I'm looking at a Sandy Bridge i3-2100 which is "HD Graphics 2000", would actually handle the game fairly well, with shaders and the more intricate OXP ships (my netbook with 945GSE on-board graphics gives a poor but just playable framerate, unless I encounter something like a Black Monk Monastery, which overwhelms it).

The only posts in the archive referencing particular graphics hardware are people struggling to get it working (generally when it's new -- I'm looking at 2-year-old CPUs).

What are the experiences? Is the Sandy Bridge on-chip graphics giving decent performance? How about the AMD equivalents (which are supposed to be strongly superior for graphics, though slower for everything else)?

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by another_commander »

The old Intel chipsets like the G31 are marginal. OK if no shaders are used, as you say, but any attempt to run anything modern on them would result in quite dramatic drops in performance. OpenGL is always problematic on these older cards too.

I am running on Intel HD Graphics with full shaders at the moment and my opinion is that the OpenGL support has been improved as far as standard compliance goes, but there is still plenty of space for improving performance. It doesn't take too many entities to start noticing FPS drops. Not sure what the gaming performance of Sandy Bridge is, but if you want a safe bet for the full Oolite experience, I would still recommend recent AMD/ATI or (my personal preference) NVidia cards. AMD/ATI are great, but they seem to have a hard time getting their OpenGL drivers straight.

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Diziet Sma »

another_commander wrote:AMD/ATI are great, but they seem to have a hard time getting their OpenGL drivers straight.
The Commander is being far more diplomatic in his phrasing than I would have been..

Having tried NVidia, I won't go back.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by JeX »

I play on a MacBook 13" mid 2010 with the Nvidia 320M Windows 7 64-bit and have realized that I cannot install any OXPs that use shaders because it will grind the FPS down to 4 everytime I face more than 4 ships. Normal FPS is around 60.
It's a bit of a shame seeing as I have the feeling that the graphics should be able to handle it despite it being outdated.
I would blame the Windows OpenGL drivers though.
Would it perform better if it ran it under Mac OSX?

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Commander McLane »

JeX wrote:Would it perform better if it ran it under Mac OSX?
I would guess so, although that may also depend on how much memory your GPU has.

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Teschnertron »

JeX wrote:I play on a MacBook 13" mid 2010 with the Nvidia 320M Windows 7 64-bit and have realized that I cannot install any OXPs that use shaders because it will grind the FPS down to 4 everytime I face more than 4 ships. Normal FPS is around 60.
It's a bit of a shame seeing as I have the feeling that the graphics should be able to handle it despite it being outdated.
I would blame the Windows OpenGL drivers though.
Would it perform better if it ran it under Mac OSX?
I don't think so. I own an iMac with the Radeon 2600 pro inside. This model is limited to 256 MB of memory. I got the same problems trying for example Griffs normal mapping ships. My conclusion is: Oolite needs more than 256 MB memory for stuff like that . So I avoid OXPs of this sort. But they looks great anyway.

It's offtopic here, but I want to thank all the people bringing me back the best game of my youth.

Martin

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Cody »

Welcome aboard, Teschnertron...
Teschnertron wrote:... for example Griffs normal mapping ships. My conclusion is: Oolite needs more than 256 MB memory for stuff like that . So I avoid OXPs of this sort.
Have you tried the Griff no-shaders shipset? I'll plug it anyway... ideal for low-performance GPUs.

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Teschnertron »

El Viejo wrote:Welcome aboard, Teschnertron...
Have you tried the Griff no-shaders shipset? I'll plug it anyway... ideal for low-performance GPUs.
Of course I've installed them. Cool stuff. 8) I've tried the first link at the wiki "OXP's you must have". Only the "Liners-OXP'" gives me the same trouble. I've kept all this OXP's in storage for 'better days'.

Martin

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by JeX »

El Viejo wrote:Welcome aboard, Teschnertron...
Teschnertron wrote:... for example Griffs normal mapping ships. My conclusion is: Oolite needs more than 256 MB memory for stuff like that . So I avoid OXPs of this sort.
Have you tried the Griff no-shaders shipset? I'll plug it anyway... ideal for low-performance GPUs.
Thank you for this link! Such a saviour for doing this. I have been sniffling all morning because I realised that I would need to uninstall Griff's ships. Now I can keep them without framerate issues *crosses fingers*

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Commander McLane »

Teschnertron wrote:
El Viejo wrote:Welcome aboard, Teschnertron...
Have you tried the Griff no-shaders shipset? I'll plug it anyway... ideal for low-performance GPUs.
Of course I've installed them. Cool stuff. 8) I've tried the first link at the wiki "OXP's you must have". Only the "Liners-OXP'" gives me the same trouble.
Liners OXP uses some pretty big textures (2048x2048), which of course use up a lot of graphics memory. Try resizing them to 1024x1024. You don't lose too much quality, but suddenly you get away with using just a quarter of the original memory. Of course, with downsizing to 512x512 you'd only use 1/16 of the originally required memory, but lose more quality.

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Teschnertron »

Commander McLane wrote: Liners OXP uses some pretty big textures (2048x2048), which of course use up a lot of graphics memory. Try resizing them to 1024x1024. You don't lose too much quality, but suddenly you get away with using just a quarter of the original memory. Of course, with downsizing to 512x512 you'd only use 1/16 of the originally required memory, but lose more quality.
If there's a wonder, it's called McLane. :) Hasso Sigbjoernsen will try to reduce the texture-space.

Martin

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Eric Walch »

Commander McLane wrote:Liners OXP uses some pretty big textures (2048x2048), which of course use up a lot of graphics memory. Try resizing them to 1024x1024.
Or you can look into the hidden settings page and define a maximum for the texture size. Could be useful for low end computers and you don't want to reduce all your textures manually.

On the mac you can use the terminal for this. Launch it and type:
defaults write org.aegidian.oolite max-texture-size 1024
Or paste above line in the terminal. :D You can go as low as 64

You can also read the old value with: defaults read org.aegidian.oolite max-texture-size
(that will throw an error if nothing was specified before)

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Re: Hardware Guide

Post by Walbrigg »

Well, I went ahead and bought the i3-2100 . Cost about £150 for MB + CPU + 4G ram.

In fact, it is more than adequate for oolite. FPS is around 60, and loading up the OXPs that I'd had to drop with older hardware because they slowed the game down too much made no difference. I have just flown all around a Black Monk Monastery, taking in its full shader-rendered glory, and the FPS stayed around 60, rather than dropping from 15 to 2 like I'm used to.

I'm using the "testing" version of Debian ("Wheezy", which had a first installer release-candidate done last week), and needed absolutely no special set-up: all the OpenGL etc. is working straight out of the box.

I'm running a trunk build of Oolite (1.77.1 currently).

I imagine a decent dedicated graphics card would be more awesome in various ways, but this is definitely somewhat awesome.

Edit: discovered one problem, switching from full-screen to window mode causes the game to hang

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