It pains me to say it – but not a Mac – Personally I think they’re God’s own computers but they’re really not suitable for game design even with the new M1 chip.
The top end PCs should do the business but you will need a dedicated graphics card with lots of video ram, SSD (solid state drives) and consider the option of two hi res monitors. Not really the kind of thing you get at PC World but there are plenty online paces that cater for this. Deep pockets may be required!
He should wait until his course starts to see which game engine is used, and to ask his fellow students advice. If it is the Unreal or the Unity engine he will need an expensive high spec computer as the computer you develop games on has to have a higher spec than the computer you play the game on.
Another game engine that can be used on lower spec computers is the Godot engine which can be used for creating 2D and 3D games, with the advantage that any games you create with it can be targeted for use with Mac, Windows, Linux computers, web browsers, and Android phones.
A newer game engine is the Flax engine which will run on lower spec computers.
As always with this sort of thing YouTube is probably the best place to start researching for technical reviews.
Get as high a spec as you can afford to increase the longevity of technology that will inevitably be out of date fairly rapidly.
AMD Ryzen series CPU over an Intel CPU
16GB of fast memory is the sweet spot.
Reasonably small (128GB-256GB) Solid State M.2 storage for the operating system
Large (500GB-1TB) Solid State Drive for applications/games/data
The biggest problem you are going to have is with getting hold of a decent GPU (graphics card) without paying a lot for it. The global semi-conductor shortage is causing havoc in the supply chain. Personally, I would shoot for a 30 Series Nvidia GPU to ensure any kind of future-proofing but prices are absurd at the moment (3 times more than they should be!)
Finally, go for a decent display that is at least 1440p capable and runs at 144Hz.
Here is an *example* of a good spec (minus software and display) for sub £1K that will play almost all games on high graphical settings.
– Kolink Stronghold Black Case
– Corsair CX550 550W Power Supply
– AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8Ghz Turbo 4.4Ghz 6 Core 12 Thread CPU
– Stock Manufacturer Heatsink and fan CPU cooler
– 16GB Corsair Vengeance PRO RGB 3200Mhz (2 x 8GB)
– Asus TUF B450-Plus Gaming Motherboard
– Nvidia GeForce® GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB GPU
– 500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 NVME SSD
– Motherboard Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio Sound
– Motherboard Integrated 10/100/1000MBPS Network
– 2 x Cooler Master MasterFan 120
It doesn’t stop at hardware though. You will need to buy a licence for the operating system (and should be choosing Windows 10 for games dev) as well as any other applications he may need (such as photoshop)
Chances are he will be using either Unity and/or Unreal as the engine and he will be able to use a lot of other free/open source applications like Blender etc.
There are a lot of online resources for games devs online to help get into it. Your Son almost certainly knows about Reddit, tell him to check out /rgamedev.
Good luck and prepare your credit card!
*Note. Not a games Dev but work in the software industry and know indie games, developers
If you are building a desktop PC for general development and 3D modeling,
1.Get a decent ATX mid-tower case. Easier to work with. Smaller cases are annoying, so only use a smaller case if you don’t have much space or if you have a good idea of what you want.
2. 32 GB RAM.
4. CPU: any reasonable mid-range desktop CPU is fine.
5. GPU: anything recent, budget GPUs are fine.
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