PC Gaming Standards

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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I've been brain-storming a bit after considering the difficulties for less than technically brilliant folks to understand PC gaming, more to the point devising a simple system to help them along.

I think a better way than the really complicated current system (for neophytes, obviously most/all of us here are on top of this shit already) would be a dual-layer system :

Maintain a standards group, even of volunteer PC gamers, to admin a web portal that kept up annual standards (for simplicity) for PC hardware and for continual updates for the games. A few benchmarks could be created with general testing (all at 1080p and below) to test systems to classify them as either bronze, silver, gold, or platinum based upon benchmark results and a few things like dual core vs quad core, total system ram, etc. It could also serve to check for GPU driver date, 32 or 64 bit (shocking, but some people have no idea, lol), and whether or not DX is up to date.

People could log into the system, run the tool and get the classification, and then check the games list for minimum/recommended. Like say a Q6600 with GTX260 tests and gets a 'silver' rating, then they look at the link for Deus Ex : HR, which tells them silver required, gold or above recommended. The standards would ensure that common settings would offer at least 30fps for the minimum spec.

Obviously it would come with a lot of disclaimers about YMMV, but done right, I think it could be a pretty simple portal to help manage newcomers to the PC gaming world, and to make it a very simple procedue to find out 'can I run this game with this pc?'. Simple recommendations could be given based on the results of the testing as well. I think it would work a lot better than the WEI has proven to be.

Thoughts?
 

stahlhart

Super Moderator Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Dec 21, 2010
4,273
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91
What about something like that Extreme Outer Vision power supply calculator, where, instead of the recommended PSU wattage, you could punch in all of your current or proposed hardware specs and get the gaming classification?
 

stahlhart

Super Moderator Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Dec 21, 2010
4,273
77
91
I just remembered that there was something like what you described that was available back when Crysis came out -- you'd download it from the site and run it to see if your box was capable. Only difference was that it was specific to Crysis and not a general gaming classification.
 

Lonyo

Lifer
Aug 10, 2002
21,939
6
81
Why not just try and get WEI fixed?
You can't give gold/silver etc ratings, because you would need to keep adding classes above that when new games and new hardware comes out, like WEI index does (kind of).
You idea might be workable for 2 or so years, but then you would need to start again from scratch if you did golds and silvers.
And if you are doing numbers, just piggyback on WEI numbers which already exist.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,645
187
106
Maintain a standards group, even of volunteer PC gamers, to admin a web portal that kept up annual standards (for simplicity) for PC hardware and for continual updates for the games. A few benchmarks could be created with general testing (all at 1080p and below) to test systems to classify them as either bronze, silver, gold, or platinum based upon benchmark results...
The problem with labels like this is how they age over time. Something that is rated gold or platinum today might drop down bronze or silver in a couple of years compared to current hardware. This means that people would have to test their machines every year to get an accurate picture. This leads to another problem.

A retail game comes out and says a gold PC is the recommended spec. Lets also assume the game is popular and hangs around for a few years at least. 3rd year it is out, its recommended spec is now silver. Person that bought a silver rated PC a few years ago and never tested again (now the machine is below bronze) buys it and it doesn't run well. Or the manufacturer never reprints the packaging and it stills says gold is recommended thus possibly limiting the games appeal to people with faster hardware then the game actually needs.

Those a just a couple of problems with such a spec. I am sure there are others. I think the only way such a rating system could be useful would be to have a number value that perpetually increases. So you run the benchmark score now and you computer scores a 50. In 5 years, you run the current version of the benchmark on the same hardware you should still score a 50. Maybe somewhat higher if drivers update for your hardware improve performance. In this example, a newer system might score 100.

How someone would be able to code a benchmark and update it over time to take advantage of new technologies, all the while keeping the scores consistent with previously tested systems, would be a daunting task.

But the main problem is that anyone that has trouble with the current system is simply not going to be able to deal with any other system either. They either can not or will not learn enough to figure things out.

-KeithP
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
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That's a good summary. My idea was to have the site clearly state that the standards are updated every year, and that a 'Silver' rating for 2011 for example will need to be re-tested for 2012 to update to the latest rating.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
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Awesome, I hope it gets more traction. It would help if some more major players got in on this. Activision, EA, Microsoft, Asus, various hardware companies. Particularly if upgrades were carefully suggested for players making queries on systems that were only lacking in one or two areas rather than just a 'this won't work' kind of response.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,912
4,007
136
Those a just a couple of problems with such a spec. I am sure there are others. I think the only way such a rating system could be useful would be to have a number value that perpetually increases. So you run the benchmark score now and you computer scores a 50. In 5 years, you run the current version of the benchmark on the same hardware you should still score a 50. Maybe somewhat higher if drivers update for your hardware improve performance. In this example, a newer system might score 100.

How someone would be able to code a benchmark and update it over time to take advantage of new technologies, all the while keeping the scores consistent with previously tested systems, would be a daunting task.
You don't try to write a benchmark that can do this, you make this score a meta-score for a bunch of modern benchmarks as ran on known configurations. Then your web app does nothing but query what is currently in the system and compare it to a database of already tested systems. Basically you are not trying to get an exact figure, just a basic idea on what the system is capable of. Then you give that a fixed rating. Say a Q6600 + 6950 + 4 gig ram = 50 gamer points, you then get a chart that tells you how well different games run on that combination, and you can see what improvement you would see from an upgrade to a 2500k.

The main thing this would need is a large database of benchmarked machines from trusted users.
Maybe this is something Anandtech could work on, they already have a large benchmark database, and a fairly large group of knowledgeable people. Use a copy of Anandtech's benchmark database as a start, create a sub-forum for submitting and reviewing benchmarks for addition, decide on a numbering system, and we could be started on this very quickly.
 

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