Welcome to the IndieDen, home of the SP Ent Team Blogs. Here you can find a growing body of writings from various members of SP Ent. on many subjects, including game dev, games, and entertainment. Our blogs are organized into Dens, for instance, the ArtDen, and, the CodeDen. There are also two special blogs: Paw Prints, which contains writings and musings about development and running an indie company from our Executive Director and Executive Producer Chris McKillip, and The Periwinkle Paw, which contains the written perspective of indie wife, Lead editor, and assistant producer, KC McKillip. Please read, comment, and enjoy.

A Limited Budget Approach to Backward Compatibility Part 2
Chris McKillip
/ Categories: Paw Prints

A Limited Budget Approach to Backward Compatibility Part 2

How to approach game backward compatibility on an indie budget, part 2

In the last Paw Print, which can be read here, I started to expand on an article I wrote about backward compatibility in game design, which you may read here if you would like. I spoke about how we approach backward compatibility with an extremely limited budget and how that makes us instantly a bit backward compatible. Now, the dark side of this limited budget approach means that we are usually not sure where the low end of our backward compatibility sits as we cannot afford a large range of devices to test on. Generally, our limited budget means that we test on a set of high mid-range to low high-range devices and see how our titles perform there. We then apply a bit of technical knowledge and research into how lower end hardware performs, and then we sort of make an educated guess as to where our low end of backward compatibility will be. Finally, we look at what technologies we are pushing on the software end and check for support in lower end hardware. If we are just beyond a certain range of hardware, we make tweaks so that we can reach that lower end without giving up much, if anything, on the high end. Then we test away. If the title performs very smoothly on our test beds, then we know that the high end is generally covered, and we have a very good idea where the low end sits. After that we hit up a few friends and acquaintances who have higher and lower end devices and have them give us feedback on how we did.

And there you have it, backward compatibility without spending much if anything on the process. We have found that this process generally works well for us. There are times we miss the mark because we simply don’t have the budget to test wide; this is when we end up scrambling for the update and fixing the issue after release. But that is a subject for another set of posts. Until next time, thanks for hitting the Paws Button. Type at you later.

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Chris McKillip

Chris McKillipChris McKillip

SP Ent. Executive Director

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Executive Director at SP Entertainment, he runs the show.

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