Thursday, 22 December 2011

How-to: Test for Unity Support

Unity 2-D or Unity 3-D? There's been a lot of fear uncertainty and doubt surrounding this one, even more people wondering if the Unity desktop is dramatically raising the minimum graphics hardware requirements?

The honest answer from Canonical is no; Unity tries to take advantage of features that have been specified or released many years ago. What they can't tell you is how many of those supported features you have in your ancient box under your desk.

Canonical has tested Unity on a variety of legacy hardware to identify the minimum specs required for Unity, making reasonable assumptions that newer hardware from AMD, Intel and NVidia will be more capable than the ones in the test rig. Tests are aimed at establishing system stability, as well as responsiveness and graphics rendering performance.

There is a standard test that you can run on any bit of kit (even running an Ubuntu Live CD, so you don't have to install first). In a terminal - yes, it's a good ol command line utility - run:

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p

Here's what I get on my trusty old piece of Dell/Ndivia junk:

robin@d6400:~$ /usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p
OpenGL vendor string:   NVIDIA Corporation
OpenGL renderer string: GeForce Go 7300/PCI/SSE2
OpenGL version string:  2.1.2 NVIDIA 280.13

Not software rendered:    yes
Not blacklisted:          no
GLX fbconfig:             yes
GLX texture from pixmap:  yes
GL npot or rect textures: yes
GL vertex program:        yes
GL fragment program:      yes
GL vertex buffer object:  yes
GL framebuffer object:    yes
GL version is 1.4+:       yes

Unity 3D supported:       no

Looks like it's Unity 2-D for me.

We're hoping that the Wayland graphics rendering engine will provide a simpler, more efficient and less layered response that will support a wider range of hardware. RC