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25 December 2007

Finding frame rate tester for Linux?

Breaking from my usual routines on posting Linux internals issues, I post something different right now. Since I am also a (near hardcore) gamer, I always pay attention on recent game releases and development. Well, not so intense like the old days, but I still keep my eyes on it.

And for gamers like me, what's the important thing to watch for? Cool GPU? Of course! Feature rich multimedia library? That's another good score. Free but excellent OS as gaming platform? Of course (actually this is a long way to say Linux has bright future in gaming industry). But, in the end, you need a method to determine the perfomance of those pieces combined into a PC. And that's my friend...is our beloved frame rate tester.

In Windows world, finding such tool isn't too hard. FRAPS is a nice example and I bet is the current standart tool for doing GPU benchmark on Windows. It can do fps (frame per second) calculation (min, max, average), do single frame capture, do continous frame captures and save them as movie (raw AVI if I read the FAQ correctly. Eventually you need to convert it as mpeg or divx one to avoid bloating your precious disk space).

So, how about Linux? Wandering in WWW gave me an answer. Looks like the folks at Anandtech had done the job. Framegetter is a BSD licensed to do more or less what FRAPS does. I can't really judge this tool, but from its short intro article, I think it's enough as basic GPU benchmarking tool. The only thing that made me a bit hesitate to try it is the information that the tool will overwrite(?) the games executables. Hmmm, not so polite IMHO. But maybe, what they mean is probably doing something like external function redirection through LD_PRELOAD trick. In that's case, the information is surely misleading. But all in all, I am happy to see this kind of Linux based tool arise in the surface.

Last note: if you wonder how FRAPS work on Windows, maybe you can check Taksi, an open source tool for frame tester. Take a look on its source code....i am sure it will be a fascinating journey.

regards,

Mulyadi.

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