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Gaming Post-Vista — Myths and Realities

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the gonna-be-shiny dept.

57

Ant writes "An article at Ten Ton Hammer answers personal computer/PC gamers' question on what's coming their way with Microsoft's newest operating system/OS, Windows Vista. With the PC primed to be the primary distribution platform for certain gaming categories (MMOGs in particular) for many years to come, it's important to know exactly what we're getting into when Vista rolls out worldwide on January 30, 2007. Jeff 'Ethec' Woleslagle offers a quick, non-technical rebuttal to several of the more ambitious PC gaming rumors cropping up around the internet." From the article: "Games which seek to take advantage of DirectX 10 high-end features like Shader Model 4.0 (which the graphically revamped version of EVE Online will aspire to use) will require a computer fully compatible with DirectX 10. This in turn requires a GPU fully optimized to work with DX 10 (such as the first-to-market NVidia 8800). The Microsoft requirements for a DX10 'optimized' GNU and system are fairly strict, so jaded gamers take note: this phrase is more than a marketing maneuver. For those among you that can't afford a major hardware upgrade anytime soon, don't fret (yet). Microsoft's XNA framework enables developers to easily develop parallel versions of a game for DX 9 and DX 10. Here's hoping that developers and publishers will be equally accommodating in releasing XP / Vista compatible games in the same box."

cancel ×

57 comments

Article error (4, Funny)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898684)

"a DX10 "optimized" GNU (sic)."

Try GPU. Are there no editors anywhere?

Re:Article error (1)

MK_CSGuy (953563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899422)

Are there no editors anywhere?

You must be-
ooh, the heck with it

Re:Article error (1)

urbanradar (1001140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16901512)

I dunno, I prefer to stick to DX10 optimized buffalos, myself.

Re:Article error (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16901834)

Freudian slip, perhaps?

OpenGL - Where's OpenGL? (1)

abandonment (739466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16902250)

All of this crap is just marketig BS from Microsoft - 'is dx10 backwards compatible, blah blah'

The ONLY important question on Vista is - WHEN DO WE GET REAL OPENGL SUPPORT

As is, OpenGL support is flat-out broken on Vista. Boycott Vista until they provide REAL openGL support.

Re:OpenGL - Where's OpenGL? (2, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16903844)

WHEN DO WE GET REAL OPENGL SUPPORT

When you install the card manufacturer's drivers? Vista only uses the OpenGL->DirectX translation layer with the out-of-the-box drivers. Installing manufacturer drivers will give you proper OpenGL support.

At least in the short-term. (1)

Dasein (6110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898694)

Here's hoping that developers and publishers will be equally accommodating in releasing XP / Vista compatible games in the same box.

Let's see. WoW still supports Windows 2000. Eve-Online just stopped supporting Win98. I think, if this is any indication, that we'll be okay if we don't upgrade rights away.

Re:At least in the short-term. (3, Interesting)

big4ared (1029122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900240)

Generally, the more units the game sells, the more platforms that will be supported. So even if only 1% of WoW's users use Win2k, it still makes sense to support it. So the huge cash-cow games like WoW will support everything. The question is what will the smaller games do?

Bad analogy (1)

Generic Player (1014797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16901476)

Win2k and XP are the same, so you don't have to do anything to support them both if you support either of them. Since directx 10 is vista only, its extra work to support XP/2k if you are using it. There's already vista only games announced.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

SP33doh (930735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905948)

true, granted, how difficult is it to actually get a DX10 game to use DX9 instead?
I'm under the belief that the the announced vista-only games are just marketing tools to get people to upgrade.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

dootbran (467662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16908746)

Fair enough, what about WoW supporting OS X and Windows in the same box though? If the publisher wants to target both platforms in a single box then will find a way to do it.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

Generic Player (1014797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16908994)

You can certainly make multiplatform games. But most developers are tards and make windows only directx games. Those tards are likely to make directx 10 only games, and some have already said that's what they are doing. Good developers won't have any extra work, since they will just keep using opengl anyways.

GNU? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898698)

DX10 "optimized" GNU?

Is this part of the MS acquisition of SuSE?

Shader Model 4.0 in EVE (1)

Old School Saturn Fa (575758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898714)

This will be great for when I am mining Veldspar in Jita :P. Seriously though, this is exciting. Can't wait to pew-pew rocks in space with all kinds of fancy sparks shooting off them and whatnot. Now if only CCP could build robust nodes to handle all the large fleet engagements and POS wars in the south I would truly be a happy camper.

Re:Shader Model 4.0 in EVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898934)

FUUUUUCK GOOOOOOOONNNSS

DX10 'optimized' GNU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898750)

Is that like a regular GNU modulo the RMS?

Minimum requirements (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898790)

I keep hearing more and more that most games are now being designed with today's $500 PC in mind rather than tomorow's $2000 PC; the reason for this is that the number of people who are spending massive ammounts of money upgrading their PC is declining (as is the rate of upgrades). I can't imagine that many developers are really all that focused on taking advantage of Shader-Model 4.0, so I don't really see that much of a push to switch to Vista.

BTW. I'm not saying that no developers are interested in the fancy new features, but that developers who can not bank on having 1 Million people upgrade their PC to play their game are not that interested in the fancy new features. The Unreal/Doom engines will probably be modified to take advantage of DirectX 10, but (many) developers will probably stick to the Unreal 2/Doom 3 engine until they can justify the upgrade.

Re:Minimum requirements (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898940)

Games do spur hardware upgrades, though. True, big game companies outside of Microsoft probably won't be jumping to Vista-only in the first year. After that, though, I wouldn't be shocked to see some smaller titles being developed for Vista only, and after about 2 years seeing some major Vista-only titles.

Of course, with Microsoft being the publishing warhorse for many gaming companies, you can bet there will be pressure on game studios to at least use the features, but not require Vista.

Side note: despite there being support for DirectX 9.0c in .NET, are there any games that actually show comparable "98%" speed versus native code? The only game that I know makes heavy use of .NET is Caesar IV, whose performance is downright terrible.

Re:Minimum requirements (4, Informative)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898960)

In my 8 years in the video game industry (1995 - 2003) minimum requirements were always a tricky issue all-around. The first company I worked for (R.I.P. Access Software Inc.) had a habit of pushing the limit of hardware - forcing customers to upgrade to play the newest version of the game. Since I started in Tech Support, I got to hear a surprisingly large number of calls from 80-year old farts who had heard we were coming out with a new version of Links (golf game) and wondering what they needed to buy to run it.

A couple of years later as a tester with a very large publisher, I got stuck with the job of verifying (and helping to set) minimum specs. The marketing guys had all kinds of statistics on average machine and how doubling the minimum RAM reduced our target market by X%, etc etc etc

Very rarely did any technology less than 3 years old even figure into the discussion on what the minimum hardware was that we absolutely HAD to support to have a chance of selling enough games to keep the studio afloat. And there was a lot of pushback from the developers to try and add any technology (rendering, sound, etc) that wasn't supported on the minimum machine just because that meant there was all kinds of complexity involved (essentially they wound up writing two complete, parallel games - Software Renderers vs. Hardware Renderers for 3d is one fine example)

MS has lined up a couple of high-profile "exclusives" to try and hype gaming on Vista. But I'd be willing to bet that most video game developers/publishers are going to continue to target WinXP/2k users for years to come, simply to maximize their market.

Re:Minimum requirements (2, Interesting)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905490)

I've always wondered, seeing as it's the only hardware survey I really have access to; how representative is the Valve hardware survey? Did the numbers you worked with compare or where there large differences?

Re:Minimum requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16907848)



Since I started in Tech Support ...
... A couple of years later as a tester ...
The marketing guys had all kinds of statistics ...
And there was a lot of pushback from the developers ...

You certainly sound like an industry mover and shaker. From what I can gather you were the guy who puts the disc in the box right before shipping, right?


Re:Minimum requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16899028)

BTW. I'm not saying that no developers are interested in the fancy new features, but that developers who can not bank on having 1 Million people upgrade their PC to play their game are not that interested in the fancy new features.

Er, yeah. That would be why the article says: "Microsoft's XNA framework enables developers to easily develop parallel versions of a game for DX 9 and DX 10."

Let's hope it's actually true.

Re:Minimum requirements (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899102)

I could be wrong but even if that is true, I don't think that developers would use it in the way (many) people would think that it would be used ...

If there was a speed (or quality) increase by running different versions of a game (that used all the same game assets) then I'm positive that developers would produce 2 versions of the exact same game (which would involve re-writing a small portion of the engine) inorder to take advantage of the benefits.

On the other hand if there is little benefit of producing a Direct X 10 game that uses the same assets as you're currently using on the Direct X 9 version of the game I'm positive that (most) developers would stick to producing the Direct X 9 version of the game because it would be useable on the most systems.

Re:Minimum requirements (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16902684)

BTW. I'm not saying that no developers are interested in the fancy new features,

Hah!

In my experience, as a system administrator, developers are *only* interested in fancy new features...

(And are the bane of my existance, especially since our systems are primarily Debian).

Hey, I just offended developers *and* Debian fan-boys in a *single* posting :) and they arn't a disjoint set either. W00t!

I can do without games that..... (2)

saur2004 (801688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898886)

require DX10, that is of course until Wine [winehq.org] gets DX10 compatibility. ;P

IMHO by 2008 we get Vista only games (2, Insightful)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898944)

Pretty soon, several games will be Vista only - Halo 2 comes to mind. I'd say by 2008 most stuios will start being Vista only or XP but with reduced settings. This is ok - serious gamers tend to upgrade hardware much more frequently than the average Joe user - every 1.5 years I thinkis about right. New games are pretty high priced so pretty much only serious gamers are buying them anyways - the average Joes wait a while until the price goes down. My only concern is that Vista is supposed to divert all system resources towards games when in play - wether it will actually work before a few dozen patches is a concern - and Vista consumes a crap load of resources even to run in the background - how much of a dent will that be on performance?

Re:IMHO by 2008 we get Vista only games (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16899112)

You are a stupid loser. Halo 2 is a Microsoft game, and an old shit, to say the least. A FPS designed for a game-pad. How stupid and crap can it be.
No real PC-FPS fan will ever buy this piece of shit.

I think you'll need to wait until 2009/2010 to get some REAL games that truly improves the gameplay and graphics with DX10.
Crysis, for example, is NOT a pure DX10 game, it will includes some goodies when it's done but nothing that will make it much better than the dx9 version.
Most major game engines will be dx9 in 2008. The Unreal Engine 3.0, and that's a very big release, won't be a true dx10 game engine. And UE3 will last long like all the old Unreal Engine releases. When one goes in production, that's not for 3 months.

Re:IMHO by 2008 we get Vista only games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16907536)

Gamers upgrade components, not computers. I get a new graphics card every couple of years, but I'm still using windows 2000.

And yeah, Microsoft game studios might be producing Vista-only games, but no other publishers will for a looong time.

Vista? Direct X 10? (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899406)

If anything, developpers should stop, take a good look, and switch to Open GL (which works on Windows, OS X and Linux/BSD AFAIK) instead of getting even more dependent on Microsoft proprietary "solutions".

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (3, Interesting)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899766)

That would work, and games could be ported easily to everything except the Xboxes. Even in 10 years time it'll be simple to port a classic game to a mobile phone to maximize revenue. I'm interested to know why large developers tend to go for DirectX solutions when they have to port it to openGL anyway for the Playstations and the last two Nintendo consoles.

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900812)

Most modern mobiles now come with an OpenGL ES implementation, so using OpenGL gives you a much larger potential market than DirectX even now. Of course, most mobiles have a software OpenGL stack, or a very slow GPU, so you won't get great performance. On the other hand, you don't need a very fast implementation for a 3" screen...

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (1, Informative)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16903272)

How many times does it have to be said? OpenGL is for 3D graphics only, DirectX is a solution for writing multimedia applications, including 3D graphics, sound, controllers, networking, animation, etc.

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16904130)

And, how many times does it need to be said that there's alternatives to each piece. In fact, the big studios don't use much of ANY of DirectX' stuff directly- because they're anticipating a port to a console. So they use Miles, FMOD, or OpenAL for sound. They typically have rolled their own network stack code, but now, there's TNL, RakNet, and Grapple (It's not portable yet, but that's on my plate, so it's soon...). There's little reason to be even USING their DirectX APIs because they LIMIT you (And in some cases, MS has deprecated them- DirectPlay, the network layer, for example...)- and in many cases, things like Miles works MUCH better than the DirectFoo equivalent and plugs into the same low-level hooks in the OS.

Unless you're targeting X-Box, there's little need for using DirectX. If you plan on targeting X-Box, you're better off making a rendering
abstraction layer that insulates the game from the choice of either, picking other things for sound like Miles or OpenAL, and then grabbing
a license for TNL/RakNet or rolling your own or grabbing Grapple and finishing the minimal work to make it run under Windows.

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16912248)

And how many times it need to be said that the alternatives are far inferior to what DirectX offers? DirectX is far superior than the libraries you mention, and studios want integrated solutions and not a mash of APIs all in different styles that have to be manually maintained.

And we are talking about computers here, not consoles. Each console has its own development system, so studios that want to write their games for every platform use various solutions, and certainly not one that involves various open source libraries that are more trouble than what they worth.

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924700)

If that were the case, why is NWN2 so inferior to the predecessor in overall performance. Sure it looks nice, but it's framerate sucks compared to the older game. It's all been converted over to DirectX... Heh... You know little of what you speak of- programmer productivity is only one piece and it's debateable that DirectX brings any of that.

Re:Vista? Direct X 10? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927968)

One bad game does not prove DirectX is bad. It only proves programmers are bad. There are lots of other games programmed with DirectX that are tremendously fast. And the hardware you run a game plays a significant role.

As for programmer's productivity, it is the #1 problem in today's programming world, either in business, scientific or multimedia applications.

OpenGL? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16899416)

I don't understand why doesn't the game industry use more OpenGL? There are success stories from it and using OpenGL allows easy porting to Linux and Mac. If also using SDL or similar, the game might require virtually no changes to be cross-platform.

Re:OpenGL? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900118)

Probably because the game industry is incredibly cuttroath, and time to market is an issue to the point that every day count. If programmers find themselves even -slightly- more comfortable with Direct X, or that it is even -slightly- easier/faster to pull something off in DX, they'll do it. Simple as that.

I'm no graphic programmer myself, but at first glance, it does seem like DX would be easier to use, so if real game programmers feel that way too, that would explain it right there.

Re:OpenGL? (2, Interesting)

big4ared (1029122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900180)

Very few people use opengl for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that in order to do anything useful, you have to use a ton of extensions. That, and opengl is still getting it's act together. Microsoft finished their API for next-gen graphics (DX10) as well as providing a reference rasterizer last December. Right now, Kronos group just has some proposals for things like geometry shaders and stream out, but nothing definite. So if you're developing a Vista-only game, the choice is pretty obvious. In terms of cross-platform compatibility, the number of units that a typical game would expect to sell for Linux or Mac is so small that it's not worth the cost. What most games are more concerned about is PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii, generally in that order.

Re:OpenGL? (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900506)

And the PS3 and Wii uses what for graphics exactly? Wait... wait... its on the tip of my tongue...

Re:OpenGL? (1)

big4ared (1029122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900630)

It was announced at GDC that the ps3 supports both PSGL which is the high-level language, and libgcm which is the low level language. The console is a closed system that you more that likely have to optimize the hell out of (just ask anyone who programmed for the ps2). It's a good bet that most people will go libgcm.

http://www.motherboardpoint.com/t87377-technical-p s2-info-from-gdc--rsx-based-on-nv47.html [motherboardpoint.com]

Re:OpenGL? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16904004)

Well.. the ps2 isn't quite the same as the ps3.
If you're saying nobody's using opengl for their Playstation 3 games and rather write to the hardware because of optimization (because we all know we can't optimize our games if we using opengl.. right...) you're saying nobody's gonna use direct3d for the xbox360.
And stop spreading fud about opengl... "opengl is still getting it's act together".. ffs!

If you're doing a vista-only game you bend over to get a hard pounding and nothing else... gladly not everybody acts like a whore in this industry.

Re:OpenGL? (2)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900696)

"What most games are more concerned about is PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii, generally in that order."

Not according to a previous slashdot article linking to gamasutra - the order should be Wii, Xbox 360, PS3.

Re:OpenGL? (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905584)

"Very few people use opengl for a variety of reasons"

Not true. Most people use OpenGL...it's just that it's the enterprise users who do. Big CAD/CAM/automotive/aerospace etc etc etc all use OpenGL.

Re:OpenGL? (-1, Redundant)

Alphager (957739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16900324)

OpenGL takes care of the graphics. DirectX takes care of: -graphics -network -sound -mouse -keyboard -analog inputs aka joysticks

Re:OpenGL? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16901730)

Just so you know why you're being Redundant, go look up what libSDL does.

On Windows, SDL uses DirectX.

Redundancy (-1, Redundant)

MK_CSGuy (953563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899450)

An article at Ten Ton Hammer answers personal computer/PC gamers' question on what's coming their way with Microsoft's newest operating system/OS, Windows Vista.

Welcome to the Redundancy Department of Redundancy!

Forget Graphics, Think Audio (4, Interesting)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899746)

It's not the graphical changes that gamers should be worried about with Vista, it's the changes to the audio subsystem. MS completely rebuilt that subsystem for Vista, it's now a black-box for all intents and purposes that takes program inputs and dumps fully processed audio streams that just need to be hit with a DAC to be presented. The problem with this is that it means that audio cards can no longer bind to the audio subsystem at anywhere other than this endpoint, which breaks a lot of 3D audio features such as EAX and some HRTF's(for simulating 3D audio from directions where there are no speakers) since these cards need the raw data from the games and not the fully processed streams.

OpenAL bypasses this limitation, but anything that uses DirectSound3D(which is most older games and some modern games) now gets neutered on systems with high-end audio cards. Of course this mainly screws over Creative since EAX3+ is a closed spec anyhow(and you won't find much love for that), but since no one is or will be working on a competing standard anyhow, it's just going to make things harder for everyone since it breaks the only modern standard.

The graphical changes due to DX10 won't cause much trouble, MS has thought this through both forwards and back, but there are going to be a lot of angry EAX users once Vista comes out.

Re:Forget Graphics, Think Audio (-1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899814)

So all of the people who like speed up they get with there XFI card as going have to deal with the slow down in vista why to go M$!

Re:Forget Graphics, Think Audio (2)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16908606)

what the HELL are you saying?

Re:Forget Graphics, Think Audio (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16908622)

That might be a problem if EAX was ever reliable to begin with. I've never been able to turn it on for more than 5 minutes without it crashing something. Whats really amusing is when it crashes, gets stuck on, and all your system noises sound like they're in a cave.

Hmmm (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899768)

From the looks of things, Microsoft are trying to seperate PC gaming and console gaming even (while trying to favour the latter with more dedication to products and software development) at the same time as merging them together. With the whole inclusion of Media Center on Vista, MS are making the package of having an Xbox 360 hooked up to your home network a lot more enticing, but at the same time they are adding some features to the new OS that are making it look tough for games to emerge and be enjoyable from, at least until a lot of gamers upgrade and fully prepare their systems. Something tells me that although PC gaming will remain a strong force, with these extremely powerful consoles that are becoming more intertwined with what a PC can do (Wifi, Browsing, Media playing, Demo & Video etc downloading, IM, Email etc) that we might just see a decline in the extremely casual PC using people who decide that their console is a more fun way to do some things, without constant upgrades, costs, monitors etc - especially gaming.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905558)

"...who decide that their console is a more fun way to do some things, without constant upgrades, costs, monitors etc - especially gaming."

Cute, but that's no longer a valid point. Consoles have ceased to be simple, plug the disc in and it just plays machines.
Nowadays, consoles come in different configurations, have or don't have HD's, need expensive ass monitors (and all the differences in 480/1080/i/p isn't helping), the games need patches, the conoles get bricked (hard crashes) and you have to navigate an awkward menu system to just play a game.

Console manufacutrors have fucked up; their strongest point was the single configuration, absolutely no-hassle playing of games....but they've turned that experience into the exact same one as pc gaming...without the upgadability and flexibility of pc's.

Re:Hmmm (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16908050)

No, what they're trying to do is drive people towards console - ie, Xbox - gaming and way from PC gaming. Make PC game development as difficult, costly, and contrary as possible for the 'next' system upgrade, but make Xbox development easier and more acessible.

File this in the "Who-the-F-cares" department (1)

VictimOfGrief (979985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899966)

computers get better, Microsoft says their software gets better. terminology changes, people don't care. what it boils down to is the users experience. if it doesn't meet the criteria of: - I enjoy it - It's easy to use - The graphics look great then no one is th wiser. And yes, the GNU is an article mistake.

Re:File this in the "Who-the-F-cares" department (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16901124)

And yes, the GNU is an article mistake.

Don't believe that! GNU's Not Unintentional. GNUs are very deliberate, indeed.

I'll pass. (2, Insightful)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914740)

"it's important to know exactly what we're getting into when Vista rolls out"

Who says we're going to get into it, Zonk? What I find amusing is that Microsoft tries to say it will be better/faster/stronger/smarter. Faster? Definitely not. If you want to run games on it, you'll be running the game AND Aeros. I heard something about Vista possibly disabling Aeros while you're playing a game. Um, no. I'd like to play online games while windowed so I can do other things too, and that would require both to be fully running. Just because they want to cram DRM into the kernel so it can monitor me means I need to run out and buy a box with 2 gigs RAM and a 256 meg graphics card to support their bloated OS? Pass.

Programmers are going to have to start making games for Linux if they want my money, I'm done with Microshaft.

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