08.21.12

Game Makers Form Collective Backlash Against Vista 8

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dissatisfied with Windows

Angry cat

Summary: Gaming advantages of Vista 8 are strongly doubted by more and more developers

VALVE was not the only game maker to complain about Vista 8. Minecraft's maker did so too and here comes another game developer who complains: “Chris Delay, Creative Director of Introversion Software and Designer of Uplink, Defcon, Darwinia and Multiwinia, said on a Reddit thread:

‘“If Microsoft manage to close Windows and get to the point where every app has to be approved and certified by them, it’s game over for a lot of indies including Introversion.”’

The list of annoyed game makers is growing. This has the potential to drive them to the platform which is everyone is free to download and install free of charge.

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4 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    August 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Gravatar

    Games will become increasingly problematic to the duopoly. The physics calculations are not trivial, and both the phyisics and graphics are pushing gamers’ systems ever harder. Windows’ bloat has always been a problem. When Diablo 2 came out, I had to defrag the computer at least every week, or the game was unplayable; being Windows, it was loaded with bloatware, so the system had to be as tuned and as fresh as possible.

    Then, there is Mojang’s decision to write Minecraft in Java. I love the game, my kids love it, and my brother is now hooked, too, but the decision to write it in Java… COME ON! Writing in a nonperformance language like Java adds another monster load onto the CPU. There is a severe antagonistic effect to running both Minecraft’s client and server simultaneously on a computer, where a CPU is maxed out by running two pieces of software that are normally low loads. Even now, with Ubuntu (still haven’t made the change which distro to use instead), performance is great with KDE or Enlightenment, but GNOME makes the game unplayable. The point is that Ubuntu with GNOME is still far lighter than any of the Vista versions, and it has much, much better hardware support.

    My brother has long suspected collusion between MS, in particular, and the gaming industry to keep popular titles off of FOSS. A lack of games has been a long-running reason to not switch to FOSS, and I move after deciding that having a reliable PC was more important than Diablo. Although there were some efforts, like Loki, that didn’t succeed, few startups succeed. I really wonder why companies like EA didn’t release titles for Linux, when it would take so little to port from BSD. Maybe my brother is right.

    An economic pressure has built, and I think we are starting to see the inevitable release. Valve is at the vanguard, and I will be supporting them with purchases, if only out of loyalty (although the Orange Box does look like a lot of fun).

    Versatility is also important, which is another area where FOSS leaves the duopoly in the dust. Once more, the situation with Ubuntu/Unity is a great contrast with Windows_8/Metro. If you don’t like Metro and you stay with Windows, you’re gonna have a bad time. If you don’t like Unity and you stay with ‘buntu, changing the interface is trivial.

    People that are into their games are often also into their hardware, which will really be a problem with MS and Apple. MS’ hardware support really started to drop off with XP, and it is poor, at best now. Apple, on the other hand, has no hardware support, and hardware support is a matter of whether you can run whichever combination of hard drive, graphics card, motherboard, and CPU you want. In other words, Apple’s hardware support is within a rounding error of zero.

    NotZed Reply:

    Java with hotspot on x86* is within about 10% of C for performance if you write it properly (and ‘properly’ is pretty much the same way one needs to write C for good performance). And that’s for cpu-intensive number crunching in single-threaded code. If you’re doing a lot of dynamic memory work it’s possibly going to be faster (java’s memory allocation is fast), and using threads is much easier in java. It does take about 2x the memory compared to good C (and less than that for C++), but memory is rather cheap these days, and few people know how to write good C anyway.

    The only reason game publishers are scared is they don’t want to have to give M$ a cut for every sale they make – as they would have to with other closed markets like the google play shop or apple. That is part of what ‘it’s not metro’ is all about – locking down the platform, having a ‘m$ $tore’, etc.

    Of course, microsoft was never a truly open platform to begin with (I recently noticed valve saying they were worried that m$ were closing the platform). As we’ve all seen … dr dos, netscape, xbox, zune etc – it’s about friggan time these ISV’s got the hint that they aren’t competing on a level playing field here, and they’d be a bit thick not to look into alternatives.

    mcinsand Reply:

    You are right in that MS was never truly open, but, back in the ’80′s, interoperability was a top priority. Part of this was embracing (no accidental use of that word) the hardware supplies to get MS-DOS onto the clones, as well as the overpriced IBM PC’s. MS actually used to participate to industry test events to make sure that hardware, software, OS, etc. played well together. ‘Embracing’ interoperability was also key to getting the then nascent Word and Excel established as alternatives to WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3. I will have to admit to being an MS fanboy back then. Word handled WP files better than WP did, and Word did not make me play Twister with my fingers to use special functions (only decades later did I read that this part of Word’s interface was taken from EMACS). On my old 286, in the early 1990′s, Excel on Win 3.1, a combo deemed too large for a 286, ran far better than Lotus 1-2-3 with DOS 3.3.

    Then, the ‘embrace’ phase ended. MS broke compatability between DR-DOS and Win 3.1, as well as compatability between office suites. Where they had used interoperability to gain market share, they started shutting it off to suffocate the other companies. The mid ’90′s marked a sharp end to MS’ ‘embrace’ stage of the market. Windows 95. MS couldn’t compete on a performance basis against DR-DOS or GEOWORKS (not sure if I have the name correct). This was the end of open-ness. What had made the PC so attractive and the Mac repulsive to many of us was that the PC had so much more freedom and choice. Being able to pick and choose between OS package, desktop manager, and many other add-ons ended. Furthermore, you no longer picked between Excel and 1-2-3 or WP versus Word, you had to buy a bundled office suite.

    Granted, the PC is still far more open than Apple, but that is because Windows has such much better hardware support. It may not be as reliable, but you can be pretty well assured that you can use Windows with any whitebox that you assemble or purchase from TigerDirect, NewEgg, etc.

    Anyway, the open-ness we enjoyed may have been false. To be Honest, I don’t think that MS’ EEE strategy was intentional from the beginning; I just don’t think that they’re that competent. They stumbled on it for getting market share followed by exterminating competition, and then they stuck with it.

    I will admit to being one of the few that had great luck with Windows 95 for reliability. At the same time, I wasn’t happy with it. It was too much like a Macintoy environment, with all of the freedom of a straightjacket. Things haven’t gotten better, since.

    I do agree with valve in that MS is ‘closing the platform,’ especially with things like UEFI. However, this is a process that has been going on for a couple of decades now. If the DOJ had a pair at all, they would wake up and strike down much of the illegal bundling that MS and Apple have gotten away with for so long.

    Right now, there is only one truly open software market, there is only one truly innovative software market, and it is FOSS. BSD still has something to offer, but, because of the GPL’s guarantee of intellectual reinvestment, Linux is advancing far, far faster.

    In a way, this is very ironic. In the days of MS’ greater open-ness, Unix, Xenix, BSD, etc. operating systems were closed, but mainly due to economic reasons. If I remember correctly, licenses for HPUX or DGUX were around $500. Even if you could afford the license fee, who could afford the hardware. Again, it’s ironic, because we can thank MS incompetence and inefficiency for much of what got us here today. In the late ’80′s, there was an internal conflict in DG, where the UNIX people wanted the PC group to push DGUX on the 386. The PC group fought back and won on the argument that the PC community was happy with MS-DOS, and they would never accept an operating system that required 10MB of hardware space and needed 4MB of RAM to run. By 1992 or so, you needed that to run Win 3.x.

    MS created an unbeatable opponent by fighting open-ness in other ways. They made this a competition that they cannot win by integrating Windows and Windows applications so tightly and so completely. Security and reliability are not practically possible with a Windows environment anymore. Granted, social security risks will always be here, but Windows will only ever be a glass house in stone-throwing cyberspace. For those that cannot accept an operating system that they cannot trust or an operating system so cripplingly limited as OSX, an alternative was bound to evolve. Now, FOSS outperforms both particularly in delivering innovation, choice, realibility, and low TOC. Now, market share is merely a matter of time.

    In comparison, OSX and Windows have merged. Maybe we could call Windows/Vista 8 another name: OS8.

  2. mcinsand said,

    August 24, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Gravatar

    NotZed, great message. I’ll write more a bit later, but I have to share my memories of C and converting software. When I first got out of the university, one of my tasks was to work on adapting freshly-declassified military guided missile software to an industrial optimization. The software was in FORTRAN, and the adaptation was taking about 8-10 hours on a then ~current 386. With the initial conversion to C, it took about an hour. After working on the memory usage, getting a solution was taking around 15 minutes.

    As for MS open-ness, more in a bit.

    Regards,
    Mc

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