Intel representatives presented Intel’s Laptop Gaming TDK, and what was shown was impressive.
The Laptop Gaming TDK is a development kit for game designers to use to basically target notebook gamers. The notebook market has grown tremendously over the past few years while the gaming community has largely ignored it. Gaming notebooks have been released and since ATI’s ground-breaking Mobility Radeon 9600 gaming on the notebook has been seen as a possibility, but Intel is looking to differentiate it.
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The Laptop Gaming TDK aims to allow developers to optimize games for play on notebooks, specifically on the battery and wireless internet connections.
It does this by focusing on what the major drains on the battery are and the impact software can have on battery life. Since most of the optimization that can be done on the hardware level has been, they suggested a move to more efficient games.
The TDK is not Intel-specific, but is free and open to use on any vendor’s hardware. It allows the developer to detect if the hardware the game is running on is a notebook, but beyond that to read battery life, wireless signal strength, CPU load, and more, and to adjust performance on the fly accordingly. This includes reducing resolution, reducing video detail, and making other allowances to maintain playable performance while improving battery life.
What was particularly interesting was the attention to wireless signal strength. Understanding that notebooks are used chiefly on the battery – and without a hard network connection – the wireless connection quality becomes essential when playing online games. The presenters suggested games that could automatically save your progress if the battery was going low or if the wireless signal was dropping rapidly.
Laptop Gaming TDK at work in Half Life 2 Mobile Mod (view large image)
Intel demonstrated examples of their toolkit, including the Mobile Mod for Half-Life 2, as well as the battery life monitor in RoboBlitz (running on Unreal Engine 3), and Garage Games’ Torque game engine. The Korean MMORPG Silkroad also makes use of the toolkit, letting the user know when the battery is below 30%. According to the presenters, integrating the toolkit into Valve’s Source engine took just three hours.
Korean game Silkroad using Laptop Gaming TDK (view large image)
This bodes very well for us as notebook gamers. While there’s generally a stigma attached to gaming on the battery, Intel is taking us seriously with this toolkit and their G965, and widespread adoption of the toolkit can only be positive.
Laptop Gaming TDK at work in Race Driver 3 Mobile Mod (view large image)
An amusing aside to the presentation was Windows Vista’s presence. In their three game tests checking CPU load and battery life, one of the games refused to run in Vista. More than that, Vista’s power draw in games was consistently higher than XP’s. Where XP gave a lot of latitude for improving battery life, Vista gave substantially less.
If you would like more information on the Laptop Gaming TDK you can visit Intel’s site here to download the presentation given today at the GDC 2007 conference.