Minimal requirements

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Evil Juice
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Minimal requirements

Post by Evil Juice »

I'm running Oolite on a 500mhz G3 iBook with only 128 mb of RAM, System is 10.3.9. Oolite is 1.62 PowerPC (slim binary).

In every major dogfight that involves simultaneous generation of lighting effects, particles etc the machine simply hangs.

Moreover i have got to reset the machine after every crash, the application simply refuses to launch (it must mess up a lot with memory) and sometimes i even had to delete the preferences .plist file or reinstall the executable from scratch.

I was wondering if it could be possible to add an option to simplify the gfx even more, maybe removing textures and leaving just the shaders there. I know that Oolite is high-level programmed and uses API such as OpenGl (the original elite had its own drivers for everything) but i refuse to believe that a 500mhz machine w/128 mega of RAM doesn't perform any better than a 7.14 mhz amiga w/2mb chip. (or a BBC, at least the wireframe didn't hang).

I'd like to be able to play this awesome retro title on a slightly retro mac, otherwise i'd have to revert to emulated Atari ST Elite...

Let me know

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Rxke
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Post by Rxke »

Hmmm. Hanging?

That's pretty bad. I run it on a machine w/ 384Mb 350MHz G3, ATI128 card, 10.3.9 and it works fine (slow sometimes, but never hangs the way you describe)

But running OSX w/ 128 Mb is pretty minimal, though, my first-gen iBook runs w/ 192 and that is already dog slow on itself, compared to an identical one my friend has, but w/ more memory. I never tested Oolite on it, because its screen is bad (blew up graphics-processor, kinda, so only bareably useably to type text, Oolite is a murky greyness on it)

If I launch Oolite, it already takes up aprrox 50 Mb, and it climbs steadily, whenever it loads additional models/textures... so I guess that's the problem.

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Post by Evil Juice »

Yeah, i'm sure that memory is the problem, that's why i suggested a stripped-down version for earlier systems. Being a mac user since 1990 and coming from the amiga (which was the ultimate CISC 16 bit platform for Elite, RISC was archie obviously) i felt sorry for years about not being able to play my favourite game on a mac. I like playing on the 12'' iBook which is compact and portable, but the game freezes.

There are times when, given the same situation, instead of freezing the game recovers, albeit soundless (!!!) and THE DOCKING COMPUTER malfunctions!!! This last issue somewhat adds to the gameplay 'cause i've got to revert to manual docking, which is always a thrill.

Apparently the only way to safely kill is an energy bomb, but it's expensive and it's definitely not fun. I'm now competent but if the game didn't hang so much i would be way up the ladder.

EDIT: the onboard graphic controller on my 12" iBook is an ATI RageM3 w/ 8 mb which is really tiny. Maybe i want too much...
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Post by TedJ »

It probably wouldn't take much more memory to improve your situation... I'm running Oolite under linux on a P3 866 with 256MB of ram. Occasional pauses and the recently fixed memory leak aside, it works well. Depends on OS X's overhead I guess.

As to your onboard graphics, an ATI Rage mobility isn't ideal but should do the trick.

Oh, and real men don't need docking computers... :P

Manual docking isn't anywhere as hard as it was on previous versions of Elite I've played. The trick is to head out to the Nav Beacon, come to a complete stop, then turn towards the station. Head straight in at a moderate speed, adjust rotation once you're close and unless you're flying an Anaconda or something, you should be set.

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Post by Rxke »

I have an ATI Rage 128, which as 16 Mb (I always assumed it was 8Mb too, but now that I actually look at it, it says 16 Mb.... It could be the culprit, are you running lots of OXP's? some are memory intensive (non-optimised)

Alternatively, you might try to run your screen in 16 bits (toggle the "Millions of colours" to "thousands of colours" in your Preferences/screens (or monitors(?)) section), not sure this will help w/ Oolite, but the ultra cool breveCreatures screensaver which is also OpenGL based runs exactly twice as fast on my machine in 16 bit screendepth instead of 32.
Last edited by Rxke on Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JensAyton »

Both the memory and VRAM of your system are going to be a problem. Running in 16 bpp should definitely help, and so will avoiding OXPs.

My revised texture system has been set back somewhat by the discovery that it won’t work on Panther in its current form. However, one of the planned features is to have a maximum size for textures; I was intending to set this based solely on the limit of the graphics card, but a user-modifiable limit should be possible, even if it means fiddling with the preferences file.

I also want to have a flushing texture cache, i.e. one that doesn’t keep ever texture that’s ever been used in memory, but this will require a revision of the geometry handling.

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Post by Spooky »

I play on a variety of machines and one of them is an SGI Indigo2 workstation. It has a 195Mhz processor, 512 M of RAM and Maximum Impact graphics set with 27M of framebuffer and 1M of Texture memory (In terms of raw performance numbers far inferior to an original GeForce). It just about manages 15fps when you leave Lave station and I've had it as low as 5fps in dog fights. Regardless of if I run fullscreened or window'ed I get the same performance.

Also I have run it on a 16 x 300 Mhz machine with 13GB of RAM using only 1 processor and with far inferior graphics capabilities and I get 35fps solidly. This would lead me to believe that the graphics overhead is not the main bottleneck. The actual game engine and in particular the AI ssystem in Oolite is monumental by comparison to original elite on your 7.14mhz Amiga, and therefore the memory requirements are biblical by comparison. On my systems it uses around 190M of RAM just on startup.

I understand that SGI hardware and older Mac hardware have very little in common but memory is memory and I think that would be a very good place to start.

Something I want to look at soon is messing about with the OpenGL renderer to detect or by switching allow the toggling of textures, software Z buffers and wireframe drawing (I have some classic Indy's that simply must run Oolite). I'm not entirely sure how realistic or reasonable this is yet but if I make any progess I will post it here.
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Post by TGHC »

TedJ wrote:Manual docking isn't anywhere as hard as it was on previous versions of Elite I've played. The trick is to head out to the Nav Beacon, come to a complete stop, then turn towards the station. Head straight in at a moderate speed, adjust rotation once you're close and unless you're flying an Anaconda or something, you should be set.
Totally agree that manual docking is easier, also when you are close and lined up hit the W key and you'll zip in.
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Post by winston »

A lot of that 190-odd meg of RAM is actually shared if you look closely (at least it is on LInux). The incremental RAM cost of running Oolite is somewhere around 40MB as far as I can make out (and most of this will be texture and sound cache). GNUstep itself doesn't seem to have much of a footprint (obviously this will be better on the Mac since Cocoa is a built in part and will be therefore shared memory).

I've found 3D hardware makes a tremendous difference - on a machine with cheap Intel onboard 3D graphics (it definitely is a hardware renderer according to glxinfo!) and a 2GHz processor, I get only 15-30 fps. On an identical machine with a GeForce 4200ti, I get 100fps pretty much continuously (100fps is the max that Oolite runs at) and at most about 50% CPU utilization. On a 1GHz laptop (circa year 2000) with a rather puny Radeon Mobility, I get 15 to 50 fps - much better than the 2GHz machine!

The difference between the 2GHz and the 1GHz machine really shows if an enormous battle is going on, though. The 2GHz system with the crappy adapter won't slow near as much.

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Post by Spooky »

According to gmemusage and top the 190M is pretty much all for Oolite, with a small shared componant. I guess the architectural differences are greater than I thought.

As for the framerates I'm not entirely sure what to ascribe the differences in performance too... I guess the XBOW / hub based design of the Origin hardware props up the weak graphics performance?

The simple answer is from now on I'll keep schtum rather than give bad advice.

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Post by JensAyton »

Spooky wrote:Also I have run it on a 16 x 300 Mhz machine with 13GB of RAM using only 1 processor and with far inferior graphics capabilities and I get 35fps solidly. This would lead me to believe that the graphics overhead is not the main bottleneck.
Carrying stuff between architectures is always a problem. However, you’re right in that there are CPU-side issues – collision detection in particular. Unlike classic Elite implementations, Oolite runs a fully-detailed simulation of everything going on in the system, which can easily result in hundreds of objects being tracked, with tens of thousands of possible collisions to check; I doubt classic Elite often got above ten, with a hundred potential collisions.

If you’re using a graphics card with little memory and no AGP, you’ll also get significant performance loss when sufficient objects are in drawing range for texture memory to be saturated.

Mac OS X is a very memory-hungry system, and I’d expect constant paging to be going on when doing just about anything with 128 MB of RAM. I say this with experience of a 192-meg system, and even at half a gig I got a lot of paging. Paging slows down pretty much everything. (MenuMeters provides useful meters for, among other things, CPU activity and paging. Red on the CPU meter indicates system activity, which generally means I/O.)

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Post by Evil Juice »

I'll have a try with 16bpp colour when i'm back home, memory is the problem, on my 867 G4 w/1024mb ram it just runs fine (i should say that i'm using the FAT binary)

Renouncing my favourite OXPs will be a pain in the iron ass, but if it's the only way i'll do it...

Nevertheless a textureless version (and with a bitmapped console, i know i'm just being overly retro) would be a fine option...

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Post by aegidian »

Evil Juice wrote:Nevertheless a textureless version (and with a bitmapped console, i know i'm just being overly retro) would be a fine option...
Actually, a texture-light version is possible to implement: the .dat file structure for models actually specifies a colour for each polygon. However because textures were used from nearly the start of the project, all of them are set to a mid-gray and the drawing routines don't use them.

Textures would still have to be used for text display, lights, stars, screen flashes and such, but those wouldn't eat anywhere as much memory as the model textures.

One would need to set a global flag to disable texture loading for models and to tell the drawEntity:: routines to avoid textures, then rewrite the necessary methods, and finally set colours in the basic .dat files for all models (and ask OXP writers to do the same for their models).

If there is a real demand for it, I suppose I could implement this, but it would be several days work in an area I'm not enthusiastic about. What do other people think?
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Post by Rxke »

Running an oldie G3 I of course would love to see this *if* it really makes a difference... I'm getting quite good at pitched battles @ 7-9FPS, (aka slideshowfighting, heh) but still...
OTOH, how much work compared to fraction of users with low specced machines? Maybe more than one would think, if you count the PC users w/ onboard graphics?

BTW: I've seemed to notice when I am in a system where the background is virtually 'naked' instead of one with lots of stars and nebulae, I get slightly better framerates. Wouldn't that be easier to implement (reduced detail stuff)?

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Post by Evil Juice »

Well obviously mine was just a selfish suggestion...
I have to announce that i'm getting 512mb RAM on the old iBook, thus, maybe, ending the issue. (a friend of mine is being very generous...)
I'll let you know if the expansion helps.

Nevertheless i really would have liked the chequered halftone on stations back... Still being too retro

Keep up the good stuff guys, oolite is impressing and it's a breath of fresh air for Eliteaholics like me.

BTW any italians on the forum? I often think to be the only elitehead in italy.
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