Introducing the Graphics Driver Updater utility

by Ashley | 27th, February 2012

We've blogged about graphics card drivers before, but there is still the practical problem that many people have out of date graphics card drivers and probably aren't aware of it. In Construct 2 r80 we've added driver checking in the editor to notify users if they have old drivers. However, it's still a problem for HTML5 gamers: browsers blacklist old, buggy drivers to prevent people's computers crashing as they browse the web, usually reverting to slower software rendering and an inferior game experience. In many cases the problem can be fixed by updating the graphics card driver - but how many ordinary users know how to do that, or even know what their graphics card is?

We've created the Graphics Driver Updater utility to try to help fix this problem.

Graphics card driver updater utility

This is a really simple tool to help ordinary users update their drivers. It may seem a bit patronising to technical folk, but it's designed for people who have never heard of a graphics card.

If you are distributing your HTML5 games and some players complain of poor performance, send them to this tool. Hopefully it makes it straightforward for them to update their drivers. Then the browser should see their driver is up to date, and turn on hardware acceleration. The game should then run a lot faster, improving the gameplay experience.

The fact this problem exists is not HTML5's fault: as our earlier blog post notes, graphics card makers have gotten away with murder making crappy drivers for years. Only recently have web browsers started using hardware acceleration, which creates a real need for reliable drivers. The drivers should have been reliable in the first place, but graphics card makers and those involved in distributing driver updates have been irresponsible. Hopefully this tool provides a temporary solution while the bigger players get their act together. The fact some people have paid good money for a graphics card which then remains unused because the driver is out of date is pretty embarrassing.

Interestingly, this problem is pretty much exclusive to Windows desktop systems. Since Macs, phones and tablets tend to have much more controlled hardware setups it's much simpler to keep drivers up to date. Generally these systems can always use hardware acceleration, providing the browser supports it. It's only due to the myriad manufacturers and vendors involved in putting your Windows PC together and selling it to you that creates the driver problem. So the fact the tool is Windows-only should not be a limitation - it's quite appropriate.

The tool is unbranded, open-source (BSD license) and we're happy for anyone to use it anywhere for any reason uncredited. Getting all Windows users on their latest graphics card drivers benefits everyone, so we'd actually be really happy if other developers or toolmakers started using or recommending it.

The tool can be downloaded here: http://www.scirra.com/graphics-driver-updater.zip. We're happy for any Construct 2 users to link to this directly for their player's benefit, but for bandwidth reasons we would ask others host it themselves.

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Comments

1
Diggetydog 3,818 rep

Thanks for the update..... You guys are on it!

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:42:31 PM
1
Jasper 3,208 rep

Thanks, very useful :)

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:43:26 PM
2
Kyatric 41.2k rep

Thank you for the providing of this tool.
Any person hosting it in return should put the url in those comments so we can have a kind of "mirror's list" that would value every users.

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:57:52 PM
2
GearGames 5,450 rep

I wish you will complete the sprite editor for r81 :D

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:58:19 PM
1
Wastrel 10.9k rep

Useful, thoughtful, and relevant, as usual!

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:59:50 PM
1
roidayan 3,810 rep

thanks for the utility.

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 11:10:59 PM
1
gillenew 12.1k rep

Amazing, thank for this useful tool! :D

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 11:39:27 PM
2
Velojet 16.9k rep

Thanks for this addtional free utility! Nice to get the reassurance that my driver on this machine "appears to be up to date". Now to try my other machines - where I'm guessing the message will be less reassuring.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 1:28:07 AM
1
cacotigon 5,246 rep

Nice addition, very useful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 3:49:47 AM
1
Ingevar 1,965 rep

That is really important to keep drivers updated. Should we wait for the next tool like browser checking? With a message like: "You're using Internet Explorer and it is extremely slow. Try Firefox or Chrome!" :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 5:59:07 AM
0
Zeth 3,147 rep

Yep, this will work! Only thing I need now for complete happiness, would be some sort of client app that would allow me to play HTML 5 games without being "restrained" by UI of the browser. Something like Steam has done with some Flash games such as Realm of the Mad God for example.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:40:06 AM
0
TheJanMan 4,120 rep

Great! I'd need this for some friends who doesn't know/care what drivers they have. =D Thank you!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:14:18 AM
0
Jailson 11.9k rep

I don't know if it's just me, but r80 is crashing all the time with my rotary game, I had to downgrade! Hope next version it will be solved! :(

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:07:21 PM
0
Bigheti 12.6k rep

Cool and more thing to help us! Tks...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:12:08 PM
0
Leaston 4,748 rep

A very useful tool, thanks for including it.

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 11:10:23 AM

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