Comments on Computers, games, browsers and performance


Sure, games are a luxury, not a necessity… so if I’m blind and want to play some games, I can feel free to grow a pair of eyes?

Luckily for blind people, some still make text adventures and maintain MU*s. It would be easy for such games to require OpenGL, but they don’t. Why? Because technologies from 1980 (ANSI terminals and the Z-Machine) still work just fine. “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” can go too far; but in this case it’s a good mentality.

Consider television: modern TV comes with all kinds of goodies: color, stereo sound, 16:9 ratio, teletext… yet if you plug an analog signal into a TV set from 1950 it works just fine, albeit in black&white and with mono sound. Even if the TV set was SECAM and the signal was PAL, you’d still see the image…

Backwards compatibility is important, as Jordan Mechner discovered when he needed the help of world-class experts to extract the source code for Prince of Persia from his old floppy disks.

The real question is where to draw the line. When can you reasonably decide to stop supporting an old technology? I’m simply saying we need to be conservative about it.

-- Felix 2017-09-20 14:02 UTC

Well, backwards compatibility is important, but there is a limit, indeed 😊. The 80’s were a wonderful decade (well, maybe not in our country), but that was… 30 years ago? I would be happy if my own game project runs on 10 years old computers. I don’t claim it will work on 15 years old computers, but I am not unhappy about that either. So, a decent system from 2002 with some 3d acceleration will have no problems running my game. I’d say that is not so bad, is it?

And, using opengl to write a text adventure is taking it a little bit… too far 😀 I could point out my example of using Unreal Engine 3 to write a simple Pong game.

-- Nightwrath 2017-09-20 14:03 UTC