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Old Hardware

October 2, 2013 | Dukus | 72 Comments

As sometimes happens, the SNES got taken out of the attic for some old school gaming this past weekend. It's pretty amazing that a 23 year old piece of gaming hardware still works flawlessly, and that all the buttons on both controllers are still responsive. It's also amazing that the video signal that comes out of it is still supported as well. My HDTV still has good old A/V inputs.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for software. I can't run Banished on hardware that's over 20 years old, but I did get a chance to try an older machine that I used for development around ten years ago. I dusted off a machine I built in 2004. It's a single core Pentium 4 at 3Ghz with an Nvidia 6600GT and 2G of RAM. Strangely, while I could find 9 mice, 13 power cords, 5 VGA cables, 3 DVD drives, 6 video cards, 3 motherboards and 200 feet of Ethernet cord - I somehow don't have a single extra keyboard. For a second I thought about using some software I wrote back in college to send keyboard and mouse input over the network from another machine. But I was thwarted early on by the hilarious BIOS error 'No keyboard attached, press F1 to continue.'

While I've been touting that the game will run on older operating systems, it's been more than a few months since I personally tried my game on a Windows XP system. I had faith it would still run as I haven't changed too many low level interfaces except for the recent video changes. I expected some debugging time for things I overlooked, but I've apparently read the documentation correctly as to what API calls are supported and only had to modify a single Windows API call to get the game engine running on XP again.

With the game running, this nearly ten year old machine runs the game just fine. It has to run with lowered graphics settings, but it can still have dynamic shadows at a resolution of 1024x768. It runs between 20 and 40 FPS. Not bad. It's not going to be a silky smooth experience, and I'm definitely recommending a machine with a beefier card than a 6600 GT, but if you don't mind the lower graphics settings, it's certainly a possibility.

Being that a video card that old runs the game at a playable rate, it's really frustrating that there are newer Intel integrated chips around that support the 3D acceleration feature set, but can't match that performance of a 10 year old video card. I can't do much for users of those types of systems. The game starts, but the performance just isn't there. Banished definitely requires a dedicated Nvidia or AMD/ATI 3D accelerator.

Beyond hardware tests, I'm still working on in game tutorials. They're taking a bit more time to get right than I wanted, but they are definitely needed for an introduction and to lower the learning curve for the game.

With the SNES in use this weekend, I realized I haven't played any other games in about ten months in an effort to speed development of my game. The backlog of games I want to play is getting fairly long. Is it time for a break yet?

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72 comments on “Old Hardware”

  1. Whilst I would like the game to be ASAP, the last thing you want to do is burn yourself out from development and possibly end up resenting the game.

  2. Hi Dave,

    still amzing what you think about it, but i think most of the old machines are not running in their old config. My Pc has been updatet several times with newer components, now theirs an dualcore@3,6ghz with an nvidia 460gtx running on xp, and most of the newer games runs well.

    So, take your breake, it will be well deserved ๐Ÿ™‚

    Klabautermann of the AnnoZone

  3. Ya, man, take a break. When this game is done...

    Just saying, you could release Banished now and just have bugfixes and more content down the road. I think that would be great, personally.

  4. I'm with Ben on this. You need a break, and I need the beta. Civ V: BNW is just sitting there waiting for you (she says, as if beta testing every gave any developer any kind of actual "break").

  5. Don't burn yourself out, take a break. Take a week of and enjoy some family and personal time. Play some games, hang out with some friends, get away a bit. Then come back to the game with renewed fervor. I find that I sometimes need a break when working in long projects. And when I come back, roadblocks that I had are now open and I have new ideas.

    Take some time to enjoy life. We'll all be here when you get back, eagerly awaiting your return. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Are you using hardware instancing by any chance?

    I've heard some integrated cards emulate it in software, resulting in great slowdowns instead of expected speedup.

  7. Definitely take a break, Play some games, Come back and finish up your tutorials
    you still have 2 months before your deadline you set (Remember you can always push it up a month or two if needed)

  8. I've had (having?) a very busy day, yet I know that tonight when I go home I'll have some games waiting for me (cracked open Splinter Cell recently).

    It's important not to just live with one thing, take a couple hours off once in a while to just relax and do something different, it isn't going anywhere ey ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Definatly take some time off if you feel like it. It can only improve the game in the longrun if you ask me. Great to read this blog about the development of Banished.

  10. You can have a break anytime you like, but before you take that break just chuck us a download of the game so we can have the break we want to ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. I've been checking up on this site weekly and cant wait for the release, however 10 months strait is a long time with just a single focus. Take some time to do what you love to do, clear your mind and when you come back you will have a fresh perspective

  12. You have to do whatever is necessary to gain energy. But please! Just finish before XMas, 'cause I want to play with my Brother. Enlighted by glowing candles, mumbling some stuff, eating cake, hugging the cat.

    So much fun to read your posts throughout the year ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep on, keepin on! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXNpHQWsdcw

  13. Once you finish the game, you can take a break and play some other games while the money rolls in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. For me, the perfect mini-vacation is a couple of hours playing FTL. Nothing clears your mind like your own little personal space tragedy.

    I (and I think most other people as well) support whatever you need to know the game is as good as it deserves. The earnestness of the community which as grown up around this game is reflective of the appreciation they have for you putting so much effort into making something that dedicated video game fans could love.

  15. meh, it's not like people who run an integrated Intel chip bought those systems to play games, and if they did, then their beef should be with the salesmen not you.

    also, take a few days off man, start up again next Monday, you'll feel better for it. chances are you'll spend the whole time thinking about banished and come back with a dozen beautifully crafted scripts just busting to be implemented. you may not be able to switch off, but at least you can use the time to get your head around things.

  16. Take some time, let your mind relax for a bit. It definitely helps me out to step back once and a while. I'd certainly second the recommendation of FTL by building_man up there.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of graphics settings are you planning to have available? Different resolutions, obviously, and it sounds like shadows will be disablable (pretty please!), but are you planning to let us reduce texture resolution or render distance? Even good computers sometimes need to crank down the settings.

  17. No Break! Nose to grindstone until it's DUN..you might stop and never pick it up again if you get involved in something else, then where would us drooling, tongues-hanging-out, can't-wait-to-get-it-into-our-hot-little-hands gang of keenly anticipating watchers be?... oh, well, maybe just a short one..

  18. Hey,

    Really enjoying all the updates on your blog. Keep them coming.

    Also I am curious which games are on your backlog?

    All the best.

  19. This is obviously a work of art and a labor of love.

    From the amount of care and strategic thinking that has gone into this whole process i'm going to have to trust that it's ready when he says it is.

    Don't listen to anyone, including me.

  20. I have P/S2 keyboards coming out of my ears here at the shop, I will send you one!

    Love this update, truly is impressive to see how well made the old consoles were and how well they hold up over time.

    Keep up the good work! Really excited to see how the game runs on older PCs too as I would like to get a copy for my niece and nephew as their first PC game! And don't worry nothing world shattering has come out game wise in the past 10 months ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Take a break...make it worthwhile but quick...teehee.
    Are you still planning to release late 2013?

  22. The best productive is of course to take a break BUT before, you should send us an alpha copy to find bug and after a week of a very cool break you have made 3 very nice things :

    1/ you are rested
    2/ you made us very happy
    3/ you have a nice fresh list of bug clearly identified by fans ๐Ÿ™‚

    it's productive and good ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Sure you can have a break.

    Just as soon as you charge us and ship the game!! Feel free to play whatever you want AFTER that!


  24. Am I the only one who hummed your list of found old hardware to the tune of the twelve days of Christmas? Thank God you didn't find the partridge in the pear tree! LMAO

    But seriously, fantastic job but yes, take a break. We are all waiting impatiently but we will wait!

  25. Yes it's break time! You can't give us a great game if you're burnt out and you can always borrow inspiration from someone else's game just by the fun you have playing it. That said, I'm so ready to be playing Banished.

  26. Sorry, no breaks, you have a deadline to keep. It was due yesterday so youre running behind already. Now get back to work!

  27. That Bios is funny ๐Ÿ˜€ And take a break just to witness how godly is your game compated to others ๐Ÿ™‚ And if not you can still make it a lot better, but I don't think you'll need to ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. I agree with Anthony - "meh, itโ€™s not like people who run an integrated Intel chip bought those systems to play games, and if they did, then their beef should be with the salesmen not you."

    Can't wait to play this game man! You must be almost there if you are working on tutorials. Take a short break to play some games, and like others said, take a nice vaca after initial release and enjoy the $ coming in!

  29. Holy smokes, nobody here suggested Synergy? (Synergy - http://www.synergy-foss.org i think) - is a fantastic application for Windows, Linux, and OSX that lets you share a keyboard/mouse between two systems, and works 'seamlessly' in that it feels like a dual-monitor setup. (Move the mouse off the left of system A, appears on ther ight of system B's monitor.)

    It also lets you 'lock' the cursor to one screen via Scroll Lock, which is totally neccesary for games.

    Setup was a little hairy in the older versions, but seems to be fine in the newer releases.

    I do wish the Intel performance was better, but hey - I've got a decent NVidia card on my main system, and I have a feeling I'm going to WANT to be playing this at 2560x1600 anyway. =]

    (Please, please be smart about resolutions, and enumerate them from the graphics subsystem, or at least allow custom ones!)

  30. Are those tutorials optional?

    I myself want to learn to play the "right" way, by playing, not using tutorials! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. For those who don't know.... It is 2013. Give up XP already. New PCs are so cheap now so having a decade old OS and machine is ridiculous.

  32. I'm a computer addict, and I saved up for 6 months before I could buy my current computer. That was 2 years ago, and I am likely to use it for another 8 years or so. No everyone is able to buy a new computer every few years. If I'm a computer addict, just imagine those that are not and are more likely to put their hard earned money on other stuff.

    Beside, it should be noted that computers haven't evolved that much in the last decades. Many limits had been reached by then, and current development have been more about patching stuff in order to progress around the limits (multi-core isn't a sudden ingenious idea, it's really a way to get around the fact that processors cannot in fact gain more speed anymore -- so use more processors).

    Finally, the current trend of overconsumption must eventually come to an end. Swapping a perfectly good phone every 6 months because, hey, there are better ones out there. Does that sound a bell? Despite being a computer addict, I have and will always continue to run my computers until there is smoke coming of the.

    It's good to have good old conscious programmers around, making sure that computers don't have to be changed more often than they should. Hardware and software don't get deprecated, only marketing make it appear as so.

    As for Intel chipsets... these are the worst you could get. A chipset will never be as good as a full-fledged dedicated card, but nVidia chipsets, for instance, are great. Intel should do what they are good at and leave the rest to the pros. That said, thanks to you, people on a budget can also enjoy video games.

    And thanks for not releasing this game during the summer, so I could enjoy the sun. Take a break (you are not even payed by the hour), and release the game just in time so I don't have to enjoy the snow. Mid-November will be perfect for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. no break yet! not until you have given us the game and we have given you are money! >:O
    whips will be implemented shortly.

    But seriously, nice knowing that it works well on older hardware!

  34. I've been working on my own electrical invention / discovery!

    By making mods to the power supply PSU, I am able to get the DVD drive to read a scratched disc that it wouldn't normally be able to play. I have also been able to get the graphics card to run 4% faster. Made further mods to the DVD drive today and can get it to read a (failed) reconditioned CD. The reconditioning process obviously didn't work for this CD because most drives cannot play it - but the modded drive can!

    Soldered two 200uF caps inside the DVD drive which seems to help significantly. Can't tell you about the rest of my intellectual property though!

    The problem with computers, and other circuits, is that the power arrangements are "sticky". This is one of the bottlenecks to performance and I'm the only person on the planet who seems to know about it!

    Like I said, "intellectual property"!

  35. hey can you tell me will this support multiple screens as in eyefinity or this is only designed to be played on 1 screen

  36. Post release is unlikely to be "easy streets".

    Setup a closed beta. Wait one day "for can't start it problems". Then tell the testers you are going to take a week off, and not to send any reports for the first part of the week.

    If it's near ready, I'd probably try release before December, otherwise you might get side-checked by season sales.

  37. No keyboard compatabity huh? Does that mean you aren't going to have Hot Keys?

    Hot Keys, at least for me, is such a faster way to navigate a game menu. Take a well-deserved break, play some other games' tutorials for inspiration and give hot keys a thought.

  38. No tutotrials! Old SNES games didnt have them and you had learn everything hard way! That was hardcore :>

    Anyway, you made me want to play Dizzy :3

  39. For me, I'm enjoying the posts regarding the game development about as much as I anticipate enjoying the game itself.

    Take all the time you need, and do things your way. Don't listen to all these people who want a beta tomorrow.

    You're a very inspiring individual, and I wish you the best of luck with Banished. If it takes another year for you to get it polished, then so be it. I'll still be buying it on day one.

    I know I get tied up in long projects and don't let myself relax. That's just not a healthy way to live life. The work will always be there, but you may not. Take some time off and enjoy yourself.

    I'd say you've earned it.

  40. I'm glad to read that you're working on a tutorial. I really enjoy a good, comprehensive, and gradual tutorial. It certainly reduces the frustration later in the game.

  41. Dude, take a break and play GTA5. Trust me, it's worth while. Or watch some YouTube. But mostly have a lot of
    family time. But when you get back, ya better work overtime. XD

  42. Productivity drops the longer you go without a break, so stop now or the game will start to suffer because of it.

  43. Take a break man, take your time. It's looking great so far. People who support you won't even care if the game comes out later as planned.
    Keep up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Take a rest, play with some other games, so development will go better later and you gain some ideas from other games. Try Godus or Castle Story.

  45. Sooo if I was the "proud" owner of a intel chipset in need a video card, what requirements would I want for Banished? What would be the minimum and what could be considered overkill. I think I am going to need to save up for it.

    Can't wait to get my hands on this game!

  46. @Dave (From the Wiki)
    "I donโ€™t have exact requirements yet. Iโ€™d like the requirements to be as low as possible, so that a lot of people can play. The game will run on a machine that has a DX9/Shader Model 2.0 level video card, and it only uses a single CPU core. It takes about 250-350M RAM. My development system is a i7 920 @ 2.67GHz with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280. This setup runs the game at 60 FPS. There are graphics options to dial back the quality for speed. "
    I'd Suggest no worse then a GeForce GTX280

  47. QUOTE: Polimerjones
    "For those who donโ€™t knowโ€ฆ. It is 2013. Give up XP already. New PCs are so cheap now so having a decade old OS and machine is ridiculous."

    Hey man where do you live so that computers are so cheap?
    Here in my country I need to pay half my paycheck (350โ‚ฌ) to get the basic desktop computer, but for gaming computer I need to pay even more (550โ‚ฌ for basic gamming computer, 800โ‚ฌ for more serious gamming computer).

    QUOTE: Yin
    "By making mods to the power supply PSU, I am able to get the DVD drive to read a scratched disc that it wouldnโ€™t normally be able to play."

    Messing with power suply for achieving this is verry dangerous. Why? Becouse when you are messing with PSU you are messing with power for all computer components.
    I would suggest that you rather mees up with your DVD drive only.
    I remember a few years ago (actually it as already about 15 years ago) when I was mesing around with one of my CD drives which was having problems with reading of scratched CD's. So I opened it up cleared the lens and when checking out it circuits I actually found that laser emmiter power is fed throuhgh a minituarised potentiometer.
    So I messed up a bit with it and managed to raise the power to the laser and thus making it a bit stronger. This alowed CD drive to be even able to read those scratched CD's.
    But eventually it lead to frying out the laser emmiter. SO I actually destroyed my CD drive.
    But now I have an old TEAC CD rewriter with 4X speed which is able to read even seriosly scratched CD's.
    As for DVD's I just use my TEAC DVD rewriter with combination of Nero DiscSpeed tool to lower it's reading speed.

    As for game running more smothly on old computer than on newer computer with Integrated Intel Graphic card:
    Are you sure the graphic card is the botleneck for slow performance?
    The fact is that many old Single core CPU's can outperform a single core of newer Multicore CPU's. This is mainly due to many newer Multicore CPU's having lower frequency.
    If you can install athleast Windows Vista on this computer with Integrated Intel Graphic card you can quickly check this with Process Explorer
    Process Explorer is realy nice program for monitoring system processes.
    On Windows XP you can monitor CPU usage, memory usage, I/O usage, etc. for each process running.
    But on Windows Vista and newer you can also monitor GPU usage, Graphical Memory usage, Network usage, and many things more.
    I have used Process Explorer for finding performance botlenecks for many Indie games and of course relayed my information to the developers.

    Other than that go take a short break if you feel you need it. Don't stress yourself to much.
    That is the advantage of being Indie game developer. You are not bound by fixed release dates as in gamming industry. But you already know that as you have previous expirience from gaming industry.

  48. I guess you could take a break... its not like I can't wait any longer... anyway, I will be waiting for you to launch this game on a Mac... so that could take a little longer... good luck!!!

  49. Fuck yeah, take a week or two man. There's a reason why people should take vacations (if they can get them), they need a break, and when they return to work they have a renewed energy and work far better.

    Hell, so many of us have waited for a good city building game for years (sans Anno 2070, but Simcity was broken and Stronghold 3 wasn't any better), I think we can wait an extra week or so.

  50. QUOTE: SilverWarior
    QUOTE: Polimerjones
    โ€œFor those who donโ€™t knowโ€ฆ. It is 2013. Give up XP already. New PCs are so cheap now so having a decade old OS and machine is ridiculous.โ€

    Hey man where do you live so that computers are so cheap?
    Here in my country I need to pay half my paycheck (350โ‚ฌ) to get the basic desktop computer, but for gaming computer I need to pay even more (550โ‚ฌ for basic gamming computer, 800โ‚ฌ for more serious gamming computer).

    In my country you need around 1500 for a PC, and many of people earn around 1000. So true, many use still windows XP

  51. Hi,

    In the video: Banished Gameplay #2 (Alpha Build - With Commentary)


    0:30 to 0:35 you can clearly see a villager passing through an antilope or some similar animal. More over, the animal is not even scared !!!

    Do not get discouraged though, you have some pretty good stuff out there and I enjoyed so far what I have seen. This was just inn case you misinterpret it a constructive comment which I think could add a realistic aspect to your game.

    As for the break, we do all need to take brakes, I think sometimes we need to relax a cut-off pressure.

    I must add, in general I tend to look for games by renowned company such as relic, blizzard and so on, but this game is different.

    I see it similar to civilization without the fighting aspect which I think is great, a game does not need to have violence in order to be good in my honest opinion.

    I can tell you I would be more than happy to encourage you by buying your game when you will have a release date, great job I must admit ;).


  52. As much as I want the game immediately, you should take a break. Just don't lose motivation whilst on break. ๐Ÿ˜›

    @Mark, there are some really great indie games out there. You're doing yourself a disservice if you only look out for big name releases. My favourite games right now are indie and you generally have more peace of mind that they'll deliver what they promise since they can't afford to overhype their games and then rest back on their franchises name.

  53. @Person012345

    Yes that is true, especially considering this game. The matter is I saw some Indie game out there on the market such as super meat boy and do not get me wrong these games are great, I could not even do 0,1% of it in terms of programming.

    The thing is I am searching for games a bit more developped and with meat around the bone like this one. Starforge is a great game I bought from an independant studio too and so on.

    Overall though I must admit you are right about the overhype thing and about the indie developpers delevering what they promise ;).


  54. Yikes! People love their XP... I agree with you guys though. We should definitely hold back progress so we can include everyone. I mean, why should we make cars that can run on garbage when some countries can't even afford cars. I have an old Packard-Bell that runs windows 95. I hope this can be included too. I take this desktop with me on business trips to do work and it would be nice to have a game to play besides solitaire.

  55. Take a break goddamnit! You are complete boss! Working basically alone on this game for so long. I do hope we might see a beta very soon. You can always fix some bugs later on!

  56. heh heh heh 69 comments. I am really impressed at this game seen as it is made by one person and it is a really high quality well done

  57. Off-topic, but I noticed every house continuously has smoke billowing out of the chimney.

    Any plans to make this a bit more random (i.e. not all houses at once) and/or to maybe have it adjust per season...like during winter most houses do vs. summer where hardly any do (with the exception of meal time!)

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