As some of you might know Perpetuum currently is running completely on shader model 2.0 shaders. This decision has been made a long while ago, when we only started out on the game, for several reasons:

  • We wanted to target as many people as we can.
  • We wanted to keep the required PC specs as low as we can.
  • We didn't have much experience with DirectX and wanted to start working in a smaller sandbox first.
  • With some work we managed to put everything we wanted visually into shader model 2.0 in the end.

We've reached the limits of shader model 2.0 a while ago, and the game really looks better than we would have ever thought. However at this point there's no real option for real visual upgrades without either switching to a higher shader model or going through significant hacks that reduce client performance and mess up the codebase.

This post is advance warning that we'll be changing the minimum requirement for Perpetuum from shader model 2.0 to shader model 3*. As the vast majority of you have hardware that supports SM3, the change will only affect a handful of players.

Do note that changing shader models isn't a silver bullet that will make the game look better magically overnight. This change is necessary in order for us to move the 3D engine forward to more current visual techniques and will take effect when we roll out the first such change, about a month from now to give proper warning. Initially the changes will focus on client performance as opposed to visual upgrades, and we'll gradually move to making things look better when we feel the client is performing well enough.

* For those who are not that tech-savvy, shader model 3 is supported by GPUs manufactured since around 2005, specifically the AMD/ATI X1000 series and above, and the nVidia GeForce 6 series and above. While the Intel GMA series GPUs do have SM3.0 to some extent, they are not officially supported.

Comments for this post

1 Sam Silarn

Considering the way the game looks now, its not that bad. Once even better 3d gets added then things like the rockets trails and weapon effects will look even better and the scenery will really jump out at you.Its true that 3.0 shader has been around a while, and most of us have that already and for those that dont, a card with 3.0 on it isn't expensive anymore, so the result will be minimal at worst.

2 Steeldragonz

yea, with what you have managed to get out of 2.0 its great. So 3.0 should be nice given future developments and some beats from zoom and boyc. True it should really be only 2% or so of the playerbase if that that end up affected, with the systems an average player is using right now. Hopefully people can use this as a good excuse to spend a half a handful on a new gfx card. [not many apg users left out there with 2.0 only cards anyway]

3 Zex Maxwell

One thing that set you appart from eve is you are starting to work on SM3 earilier. althought your game didn't bug me that it was useing SM2, it just meant that my GTX260 was able to run your game on its highests settings with no chugging.... other then the latancy issue from time to time(most of it is my internet, don't feel bad devs).

4 Industrial X

I wonder how this affects me playing 15 accounts.

5 DEV BoyC

Making the switch doesn't mean we'll replace every single shader at once. It rather means that we've lifted the limitation and are looking into ways the game can benefit from this. The first focus of this search is improving performance and reducing video memory footprint while maintaining the same visual quality. These first changes will only make the game run better.

6 Industrial X

Sounds good. The one thing I truly hope is that the video memory usage gets limited somehow, with multiple clients that is the only real problem. For me atleast.

7 Winter Solstice

/gets all tech dumb

.. moar pretty? :)

And as Industrial X says, multiclienting, keep in mind when running stress testing. (winces at the magic hatpull "minimum specs was ALWAYS meant for one running client" in games where folks are known to run 2 to over 9000.. :D )

8 Marlona Sky

Sounds good to me! Keep up the good work guys.

9 Obi Wan Kenobi

hmmmmm pretty robots best robots :P

10 Mors Magne

Sounds good to me! I like the continual progress.

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