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Reach vs. HiDef

Today I received a new laptop - a ThinkPad Edge 14, which I was hoping to make a second primary development environment. I installed all of the necessary applications and opened up my project, which thankfully didn’t encounter any errors… until I tried to run it. I was met with an error - “Oh boy,” I thought, but just the same, “No big deal.”

An error message from Visual Studio stating that no suitable graphics card could be found.

But then I found out that the HiDef XNA profile I was using for my project had bigger implications than I realized. My original thought was that the HiDef profile meant “not Windows Phone compatible,” but what it actually means is a bit more - texture sizes, and most importantly, shader model - Reach uses 2.0, and HiDef uses 3.0. My lighting system was utilizing 3.0, so to get it to run on my new laptop I had to cut out the lighting code. This was painful, although it’s still extremely early in the project so I did it, and thankfully that took care of the issue.

Honestly it’s good that I found out about this now rather than later, because I do want to reach as many platforms as possible - I don’t want to limit my already limited audience by utilizing technology only present in newer graphics cards. They were nice effects, but for the lighting that I hope to accomplish I think that I can do it another way with similar results. I found out about a project called Krypton XNA, which attempts to offer a lighting solution for 2D XNA games. The creator just posted today that s/he is porting the project to XNA 4.0, so I’ll definitely have my eye on it to see if it’s something that I can use - I already asked if it will support the Reach profile or just the HiDef profile, and am awaiting an answer. In the meantime, I will try to create a player component so that I’ll be able to do some more complex testing with the physics engine, and if too much time goes by I’ll either try to port the project myself, depending on how big it is, or create my own lighting solution from scratch.