Can't start game on a netbook [with workaround]

I decided to see how well my netbook could handle GSB, but I can’t even get it to load. It looks like a DirectX problem.

The window comes up, but it is blank and doesn’t respond or use CPU. The debug logs said:

----DEBUG FILE----
Windows XP detected
GSB Debug File. App version Beta 1.12
Desktop resolution is 1024 x 600
Initialising Sound Engine
Initialised Sound System with 512 channels

Finished Initialising Sound Engine
Initialising Direct3D


26/9/2009 - 17::3 - WARNING: Desktop Screen Resolution is below 768 pixels
26/9/2009 - 17::3 - D3DERR_INVALIDCALL
26/9/2009 - 17::3 - CreateDevice
26/9/2009 - 17::3 - D3DERR_INVALIDCALL
26/9/2009 - 17::3 - software vertex processing failed


Initialising 3D Engine
Driver : igxprd32.dll
Description : Mobile Intel(R) 945 Express Chipset Family
DeviceName : \\.\DISPLAY1
About to Create 3D Device with width: 1024 and height : 768
Attempting software Vertex Processing

It looks like it’s trying to make a 3D device of 1024x768, even though my display is only 1024x600.

For comparison, my computer starts are:
ASUS Eee PC 1000H
10" 1024x600 LCD display
Intel Atom N270 processor (dual-core 1.6GHz)
Intel 945 Express onboard graphics chipset
160GB SATA hard drvive

This is rather typical for a netbook. I’m hoping to see if a netbook can play this game decently.

I did manage to get it to load by editing “My Documents\My Games\GratuitousSpaceBattles\prefs.ini” and settings the width and height to 1024 and 600.

It works surprisingly well! I had to disable Pitch Shift Sounds or else everything would stutter if I wasn’t at 1x speed, but I was able to keep on all of the other effects, including camera motion blur.

There are a few things that clearly weren’t made for such a small screen:

  • In the Ship Design window, the weapon info is squished up to the point that it’s unreadable.
  • The options window goes a bit over the edges of the screen. It looks like the Windowed option is pushed beyond the bottom of the screen, but all other options work.
  • The battle statistics is far too big, going completely off the edges of the screen. It even covers up the buttons at the bottom, so the only thing you can do is Esc back to the main menu.
  • The challenges window is just a bit too tall. Half of the refresh list button and the two bottom options are off the bottom of the screen.

Other than this, it works fine on an Intel Atom N270 (not at all a powerful chip) and an Intel Express 945 (typical on-board video for laptops and cheap desktops).