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justclaws

Experiences of Windows games running in PC-Mode

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One of the key points about the new VCS over a normal console is that you can run other platforms on it,
via PC-mode. e.g. Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, ChromeOS. Many modern games need Windows 10.

For this thread, Windows games - natively installed, or installed via a service.
The most popular games service is probably Steam, but I shop around for games.
Another option for cheap Windows games is also GOG.com, or via Humble Bundle.
You can't install really old Windows games on Windows 10 directly. It's all 64-bit now.

That PC-mode is a dual-boot function, rather than a virtual machine which may have been the case, with Sandbox.
You install the alternative O/S onto a USB disk (USB 3.1 is fast, but even better if you use an SSD drive of course.)

Here, Atari demonstrated the VCS a few months ago running the ever-popular Fortnite game, under Windows 10.
Of course, one has to buy/install that alternative O/S, and Windows 10 Home is also cheap if you shop around.

Some gamers just prefer to use a keyboard and mouse, and the machine has 2 USB ports under the front edge.
In PC mode any USB device should work, as it supports USB 3.1, and so this opens up a lot of interesting options.
 


* I am not connected to the Atari company in any way.
 

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I look forward to playing City Of Heroes homecoming and Phantasy Star Online under windows on the VCS.  

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This is from an event almost a year ago, though- are there any videos online of backers that received their VCSes that are using this feature?  I'd really like to see how it works where the rubber meets the road.

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25 minutes ago, justclaws said:

There was another video of the game launching from the Windows desktop.

 

which is cool and all, but i'd like to see something from the console release to the backers.  :)  demos are indeed cool, where's the beef? (so to speak)

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18 minutes ago, digdugnate said:

which is cool and all, but i'd like to see something from the console release to the backers.  :)  demos are indeed cool, where's the beef? (so to speak)

Absolutely, and I'm looking forward to several videos in the coming week or two.
Please, go ahead and add a link if you find them, and I will do the same of course, if I have time. 🙂

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This is also from a previous event, but for the record... Rocket League in PC mode.
 

 

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Another interesting video on YouTube, showing PC mode with Linux, and Linux games.

The 2nd half of the video shows games running, but unfortunately also has the VCS doing
the recording as well as running the game, so the frame rate suffers dramatically.
If you listen to the video, he explains that the VCS runs the games fine, when it's not recording.
 

 

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There's a new YouTube video showing Cyberpunk 2077 running on the VCS.

Notably, Cyberpunk 2077 specifications require 8GB RAM, 3GB video-RAM minumum,
but with some work they got it running. It would be more interesting to see it running on
a VCS with more RAM, like 16 GB or 32 GB RAM. Every graphics asset loaded from disk
rather than cached is going to hit the frame rate, so the RAM has a direct impact on that.
However, it is very interesting, and I look forward to seeing it running on a VCS with 16GB+.
 

 

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"running" and "running well" are two very different things.

 

To sum up that video, it demos Cyberpunk 2077 running (after tweaking windows to turn off all non-essential stuff), at:

- 720p, and

- with lowest settings, and

- with resolution scaling enabled (so likely dipping below 720p),

and he still states that it runs worse than on Xbox One S...where it was bad enough on that system that MS is offering refunds to everyone.

 

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For anyone trying to get modern games up and running on the VCS, I'd highly recommend the channel LowSpecGamer on YouTube.


He does a lot of videos on how to configure games for the Athlon 3000G which has a very similar configuration to the Ryzen 1606G - in that it's got two hyperthreaded Zen cores and Vega 3 graphics - so you ought to be able to get similar performance out of games on the VCS.

 

Here's him getting Cyberpunk 2077 running at around 30fps, albeit with Xbox 360-era visuals:

 

 

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Here we have a useful video about running modern Windows games on the VCS.

As he says, it's more powerful in CPU and GPU than the NUC mini-PCS you can buy
around the same price point, but of course there are limits to what we play on this.

There are some good, some bad, but he's just giving helpful advice. The machine
performed in several games, quote: "performs way better than I thought it should".

As he says, you can go and build yourself a gaming PC for similar price by buying
used parts of Ebay, and building it yourself. (You just won't get something so neat.)
 

 

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the problem with the Atari is the low-end Ryzen processor.  It's a Zen1 processor.  I've owned the Ryzen 1800X which was a $500 processor that was the flagship of the Zen1 processors (8 core, 16 thread).

 

the Atari has a dual core (4 thread) processor with a 128-bit memory interface.  And it's not clocked particularly high. 

 

I loved my Ryzen 7 1800X and it's still a great computer (though my main one is now a Ryzen 9 3900X Zen2 processor with 12 cores and 24 threads).  But the biggest problem holding back the first gen Ryzen processors was the memory controllers.  Ryzen has always been extremely dependent on how fast your memory and your memory controller are and on the first-gen Zen1 processors, the memory controller was not good and there was no way you could improve it.  Ryzen is very sensitive to memory clock speeds.  You can't just buy the fastest memory and stick it in.  You have to check compatibility.

 

It's also has a Vega 3 GPU which isn't that good even when that was a new GPU.

 

What would be amazing was if you could convert the Xbox Series S to a PC.  Microsoft is losing so much money on that device.  It has amazing specs that no PC at $299 can even come close, even using old parts.  You're getting an 8-core, 16-thread Zen2 CPU with a full RDNA2 GPU (even PS5 only has an RDNA1 GPU with some RDNA2 features).  It comes with 10 GB of GDDR6 RAM (!!) versus the Atari's DDR4 RAM.  and it comes with a fast 500GB NVMe M.2 SSD instead of the awful eMMC of the Atari

 

don't buy the Atari because you're thinking you're getting a steal of a deal.  get it because of the form factor, the aesthetics, the potential hackability, etc.

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I think you're a bit misinformed on the PS5 specs. RDNA stands for the architecture, not the features. PS5 is RDNA2 architecture. The feature set is not completely the same as what AMD puts on their GFX cards because they replaced things they deemed useless with their own features. MS stayed closer to what AMD and there for PC has/gets, but even so it is not exactly the same. 

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1 hour ago, onlysublime said:

What would be amazing was if you could convert the Xbox Series S to a PC.  Microsoft is losing so much money on that device.  It has amazing specs that no PC at $299 can even come close, even using old parts.  You're getting an 8-core, 16-thread Zen2 CPU with a full RDNA2 GPU (even PS5 only has an RDNA1 GPU with some RDNA2 features).  It comes with 10 GB of GDDR6 RAM (!!) versus the Atari's DDR4 RAM.  and it comes with a fast 500GB NVMe M.2 SSD instead of the awful eMMC of the Atari

 

I absolutely agree. If the Xbox S could run Windows, Linux, I'd absolutely buy one. 299 is great value,
but only if you want to buy and run Xbox games. Yes, $20 a year for a dev-licence for emulation etc.,
if you want to do that, it's fine, but it's not what I want. If one could use it as a PC, it would be great.

The reason one cannot is because it's below cost, a loss-leader, and paid back by software purchases.
Also, people would want to expand it too, like they want to with the VCS, to 16GB RAM, or above. 😕
The whole machine then has a new market and new value proposition. (I hate the white case though.)

When a PC with lesser specifications (new) costs more than the Xbox One/S that's the reasoning.
If Microsoft allows Windows on it, they'll destroy a whole market for PCs from important partners.
I don't think it will ever happen, sadly.

As it is, Windows 10 loads on my VCS in 13 seconds, from a USB SSD, and it plays the games I
bought for it, fine. Ubuntu rather slower, but that's Linux not the SSD. As it is, I already have a
wish-list on the VCS store, so as more games come, I definitely won't be sort of stuff to play. 🙂

I would also not buy an Intellivision Amico and expect it to run Xbox One/X games. I know what
I bought, and what the proposition is. Games targeted at the machine, and some other options.
That's what I'm going to concentrate on.

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A couple of points about that video.   He keeps saying that Atari should have marketed it as a PC, not a console.   I think that's kind of splitting hairs, since you could use it as either and Atari tells you that.   It's hybrid, kinda like the XE Game System,  heh heh.

 

Also he seemed to be shooting for 60fps in all games.   Considering the PS4/XB1 have so many games capped at 30fps and push visuals, and this will likely continue in the new generation as well,  it would have been interesting to see how high he could push the visual quality with the games capped at 30.   That said, a number of the games he tested were multiplayer FPS games which tend to hit 60 on consoles too.

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Some BIOS and OS updates have come as well as controller updates. Lag has reduced since the then on some things, Things are only improving from some of these initial video being posted. Nice quick look at how the VCS is handling emulation of other platforms etc. 

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9 hours ago, Ayreon said:

I think you're a bit misinformed on the PS5 specs. RDNA stands for the architecture, not the features. PS5 is RDNA2 architecture. The feature set is not completely the same as what AMD puts on their GFX cards because they replaced things they deemed useless with their own features. MS stayed closer to what AMD and there for PC has/gets, but even so it is not exactly the same. 

relax...  the ps5 is still a beast machine.

 

a sony engineer admitted that the ps5 is not the full rdna2 architecture.  amd doesn't list the ps5 as a full rdna2 machine.  some features amd wasn't even done with yet by the time the sony dev kits got released.  microsoft was still using their old scorpio dev kits until summer 2020 because AMD wasn't done yet with rdna2.  and microsoft migrated their dev platform from xda to gda which further hampered their platform.

 

in any case, this is about the atari.  if it still bothers you, you can post in a playstation thread.

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18 hours ago, onlysublime said:

relax...  the ps5 is still a beast machine.

 

a sony engineer admitted that the ps5 is not the full rdna2 architecture.  amd doesn't list the ps5 as a full rdna2 machine.  some features amd wasn't even done with yet by the time the sony dev kits got released.  microsoft was still using their old scorpio dev kits until summer 2020 because AMD wasn't done yet with rdna2.  and microsoft migrated their dev platform from xda to gda which further hampered their platform.

 

in any case, this is about the atari.  if it still bothers you, you can post in a playstation thread.

Well played. If you don't like people to question the information you spread, make sure it is up to date and correct.

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I've just been playing Need for Speed, Most Wanted. Full HD. Works very nicely, thank you.
GPU often hits 100%, CPU mostly around 60%. Nothing turned down. It plays really well.

I haven't tuned Windows 10 particularly. I just installed it and installed the new AMD driver.
What's annoying is that to run it in Steam, I also have to login to EA Origin service, as well
as Steam. Great. So now I have another pointless service. Steam keeps putting some kind
of box in the middle of the screen - but only the border. It's fully updated. Grrr to Steam.

The biggest irritation so far. I have to press <6> on the numeric pad at various times. Of

course my wireless keyboard does not have a numeric pad, so I have to use a software one.
Apparently my Xbox compatible controller is not enough. I still have to have to press <6>.

I don't know the FPS. Windows Xbox status box just shows --. As a player, it seems good.
For sure, the game is very playable. I previously played NFS games a lot on the GameCube,
and less often on the Wii (bad choice of controls). Yeah, I'm not really a Windows PC gamer!

Oh, and I'm sorry, but in evading capture for the last 15 minutes, I've trashed about 30
police cars, and my new white porsche is a bit dented. I'm usually a responsible citizen! ;-)

I'd do some video-capture, but I am not sure how well that will work. I have my laptop and
a new USB HDMI video-capture card. We'll see. I really need to use one of my desktops, but
they are in the office, and my VCS is connected to a TV. Some rearranging may be needed!
 

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2 hours ago, justclaws said:

I haven't tuned Windows 10 particularly. I just installed it and installed the new AMD driver.
What's annoying is that to run it in Steam, I also have to login to EA Origin service, as well
as Steam. Great. So now I have another pointless service. Steam keeps putting some kind
of box in the middle of the screen - but only the border. It's fully updated. Grrr to Steam.

You should be able to run this without Steam, or are you using Big picture mode?

 

2 hours ago, justclaws said:

The biggest irritation so far. I have to press <6> on the numeric pad at various times. Of

course my wireless keyboard does not have a numeric pad, so I have to use a software one.
Apparently my Xbox compatible controller is not enough. I still have to have to press <6>.

This is one of the biggest annoyances of gaming in Windows,  even when you are using a gamepad, something will force you to swtich to a keyboard or mouse to complete some function.   I can't remember, does NFS Most Wanted allow you to do custom mappings to map the function to the gamepad?

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14 hours ago, zzip said:

You should be able to run this without Steam, or are you using Big picture mode?

 

This is one of the biggest annoyances of gaming in Windows,  even when you are using a gamepad, something will force you to swtich to a keyboard or mouse to complete some function.   I can't remember, does NFS Most Wanted allow you to do custom mappings to map the function to the gamepad?

I think I need to do a refresher on Steam. It seems to have got a lot more complicated than it used to be. 😕 
I was using it full screen, and yes, I guess, Big Picture because I wanted it to capture the mouse. I'll try again.

It possibly does, but not that I found yet. In the end, I just resorted to use a plug-in 102 key keyboard to play.
I was too p'd off with it in the end and took my frustration out on a lot of pursuing "blue and twos" instead. :-D 

This kind of frustration is why I've always been happy to enjoy console gaming, and skipped gaming on a PC,
and the VCS is my bridge between those things. It's one of the reasons I liked the concept. It will take effort!

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2 hours ago, justclaws said:

I think I need to do a refresher on Steam. It seems to have got a lot more complicated than it used to be. 😕 
I was using it full screen, and yes, I guess, Big Picture because I wanted it to capture the mouse. I'll try again.

It possibly does, but not that I found yet. In the end, I just resorted to use a plug-in 102 key keyboard to play.
I was too p'd off with it in the end and took my frustration out on a lot of pursuing "blue and twos" instead. :-D 

This kind of frustration is why I've always been happy to enjoy console gaming, and skipped gaming on a PC,
and the VCS is my bridge between those things. It's one of the reasons I liked the concept. It will take effort!

It's the same frustration for me gaming on PC.   I started looking for unified game launchers that work with joystick/game-pad only in case I get a VCS.   For Windows,  GoG Galaxy might work https://www.gog.com/galaxy  It aims to unify your library.  It's not clear if you can run it with a gamepad instead of KB/Mouse though. 

 

A lot of games allow you to fully map the gamepad, and ship with reasonable mappings.   There's always going to be some poorly-written ones that force you to use KB/Mouse for some functions, unfortunately.  

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I play a lot of games on Windows but can't recall an instance where I'd be forced to use KBM if the game has native gamepad support (and most - if not all - of the modern AAA ones do).

 

I don't use it personally but have heard that Launchbox has now Steam integration. You can also get one of these little handheld wireless keyboard/touchscreen jobs and keep it close by for when system requires KBM input.

 

Fun fact: on  Dualshock 4 (not sure about other DSs) you can use its touchscreen as the mouse.

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41 minutes ago, youxia said:

I play a lot of games on Windows but can't recall an instance where I'd be forced to use KBM if the game has native gamepad support (and most - if not all - of the modern AAA ones do).

The two that come to mind are The Crew required me to use the mouse in the map, I think.   No Man's Sky had a bug where you could not delete objects with the gamepad, it forced you to used the KB or mouse.   They eventually fixed it, but it was a bug for months.

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