I am not working on my primary machine though, which maybe why I’ve never noticed this before. I am working on a machine that is just used for Continuous Integration and serving up SVN. So it’s not powerful at all. I’ll explain in my next post while I’m not using my primary machine.
This machine: 1.7Ghz Intel i386 with 1GB of RAM (DDR type1 probably)
Primary machine: Dual Core AMD 4200 64bit (32bit OS) with 2GB of 800mhz DDR2 RAM
Personally I think web-applications should be transparent and I realise I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’m hardly covering new ground. Web-applications are hard to develop properly (super-easy to do poorly… I know, I’ve written a few), you have a bunch of major platforms you need to support and you don’t have the luxury of building a binary/distribution package to suite each one. I built www.icnh-games.com myself (well not entirely, I had a separate company do the style-sheet and layout, non-programmer-art, ftw) and I wrote Perl scripts to dynamically build the content from in-game xml-documents. However, it took us about two months after it was completed to iron out all the cross platform bugs (and I’m sure there are still some in there hiding… a testers job is rarely allowed to be done).
I will post a blog (in a month or so once I’ve got all the bugs ironed out and can take comparative screenshots) that illustrates the multiple paths through the ICNH Games Framework. We support Windows (XP, Vista), Apple (10.4, 10.5 and I’m doing some checks as we speak to find out if we can support 10.3 as well… I knows it’s old but I have a 10.3 box right here) and Linux (Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Fedora, OpenSUSE, MEPIS and PC Linux OS, potentially more but not tested). On top of that we provide distributions for i386, x86_64 (Intel or AMD), PowerPC 32 and 64 bit as well as there hardware features combinations of MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3.1 and SSE4 and 3DNOW. At the GPU level we have paths through our rendering engine that range from no-shaders, no-multitexture and no-VBOs to full-shader support, high dynamic range rendering with countless texture slots (my GPU supports 128 texture units apparently… I’ve never tested it) and batching algorithms to squeeze as much performance out of the machine as I know how to. I won’t say as much as possible, as I know I’m not great at assembly, I’m only good at designing for performance and not getting down into the assembly level code and tweaking it further. One day a clever dev will come in and make it faster than it was before and I’ll be happier.
All this being said the visual experience provided to low-end users (like my laptop with the awesome integrated graphics card) is not going to be mind-blowingly awesome, but for No Horizons and potentially other games, users will still be able to play the game. I’m will always play a game I like that looks bad over a game that looks awesome and is just a bit rubbish. That is pretty much our number point at ICNH Games: How many people can we get to play this game? Equal with it is: Is the game fun?
This was only possible because at the start we wrote down that we wanted to support all users, not just those running triple SLI. If you plan to support multiple environment configurations then you are going to get a lot closer to supporting them all then you are by tacking the support on at the end. Refactoring architectural solutions to support user XYZ is only going to make you resent them.
I’m not sure if Google’s Blogger is designed to run on all browser configurations. I’m sure they have tested it, but have they tested it running a crappy old PC box? Moore’s law has the speed of computers doubling every 18 months. This just means that the percentage of crappy computers is steadily increasing.
Before I go, I don’t want to turn this into a gripe-blog but a few things have been bothering me of late and I never sleep much so that can’t help. Is it that they’ve always bothered me and that starting my blog is just a way to vent existing frustrations or are all these recent occurrences of discontent purely anomalies in a generally happy and thoroughly enjoyable life?
This could be an interesting research topic; “Does starting a blog cause one to complain more frequently (or just more openly) than what they did before?”. I’m sure than anonymity of the interwub certainly helps here. Perhaps it’s the fact that blogging can be very cynical (not all of it is, but I’ve sure read a few cynical blogs in my time) and therefore bitching on a blog is more acceptable than bitching in person. It certainly allows one the escape of the social stigma associated with their gender. For instance the act of complaining in a male-oriented “traditional” Australian society is frequently met with responses like “dry your eyes Princess” and “harden the fuck up”. This isn’t all bad of course (fyi, nothing is ever all-bad or all-good) as Australian’s tend to be good at putting up with the crap and getting on with the hard work.
I won’t get into a discussion on Australian culture (which for the most part I love). For those who have already done the research or are doing it. Drop me a line, I find research topics fascinating.
|Ryan Boucher is a Software Inquisitor and is passionate about it. You can find a whole raft of articles and anecdotes about software testing and other topics he gets excited about.|