06 Oct 2004

personal experience with doom3 on linux


tonight, i played doom 3 demo on linux after the binaries became available. so here\'s what i think:

the most common question that gets asked with doom3 is, "can i play it on my hardware?" i can pretty much say "yes" you can play it, but the graphics will be nowhere near as good as the screenshots floating around the web. i played it on a P4-2.4GHz, 512MB, GeForce4 Ti 4200. the distro is a gentoo install running linux 2.6.8.1, glibc 2.3, nvidia 6111 and xorg-x11 6.3.x.

essentially, the graphics is nice, the atmosphere is very nice. you always have to use your flashlight to move around. the lighting is done very well. HOWEVER, even with my machine -- not quite as highly speced as it was 2 years ago, i could only play it under low-quality graphics with 640x480. and even at that, it stutterred a little when the scenes were getting complex, or a video was running. level changes were quite long.

the demo lasted around 1 hour, mainly because i didn\'t know what i was doing and trying to explore everything. multiplayer is not available in the demo. i guess this gives me a taste of how it would play, and what sort of spec\'ed machine i need.

actually, one of the ideas i had while playing (yeah, you can have ideas too while playing mind numbing games) was that it would be fun to write a paper about the feasibility and the HCI merits of UIs inside computers inside games. i could just imagine the title being "What If Game Designers Created Real User Interfaces?", or "Are Game Designers User Interface Fortune Tellers?"

so what you would do is find first/third person shooters, and get screenshots/videos of how they present user interfaces. it would be funny to do it for movies too, about how realistic it would be. for instance, there\'s quite good UI design with some of the panels around in doom3. or even less bizzare would be to look at what would happen if your file browser was a warcraft3 map, or processes modelled as diablo 2 maps.

i honestly think that there are some really sweet UI in some games, i\'ve always wondered whether those UIs would work in the real world. maybe we can try out some of the stuff on the broadband phones. making phones flash red and green seems especially appealing to me.

i guess ultimately, i want life to imitate art!


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