The DirectX 10 Cri/ysis

By Alec Meer on October 30th, 2007 at 1:11 pm.

Yes, we know we’re horribly behind most of the rest of the internet in this (and in fact didn’t bother to mention it previously for just that reason), but hell, if we ever want to be the biggest PC gaming website in the world we should probably make the effort. I’ve compensated for our tardiness by adding several hundred words of bonus ranting to it.

Skip to the end if you can’t be bothered with me waffling on about Microsoft conspiracy theories and just want to find out how to make the Crysis demo look way better under hoary old Windows XP. Otherwise, don your finest head-fitting tinfoil and read on.

DirectX 10, then. A colossal balls-up, what? The idiocy began when Microsoft announced that the next iteration of the software that defines the graphical capabilities of Windows games would be available in Vista only. XP may have been over half a decade behind it, but that doesn’t mean there’s any concrete justification why it can’t do the most pertinent parts of DX10 (plenty of non-concrete ones were given). It smacked of artificially creating reasons to make people who otherwise wouldn’t bother upgrade to Vista, and hopefully the megabrains working on hacking it out to work in XP will soon accomplish their grand goals, thus throwing egg on the requisite stern corporate faces.

The slim catalogue of DX 10 games thus far has only made the people who did splash out on Vista and a DX10 graphics card feel more ashamed of themselves. Lost Planet? a) A bit shitty b) Didn’t look or perform any better in DX10. Bioshock? a) A bit shitty. Awesome, if more traditional than hoped b) The water looks a bit better and the shadowing a little sharper in DX10. Or does it? Oh, my failing eyes. World in Conflict? Nice lighting, actually. Company of Heroes (thanks to a recent patch)? Again, no really significant difference.

At the very least, performance in DX10 vs DX9 for supported games should have been better. It wasn’t. Early graphics card drivers have been blamed for that and for the overall slight framerate toll Vista takes on most games, but as NVIDIA and ATI’s software becomes more mature as the months go by, it’s increasingly hard to claim that Vista’s resource hunger and general inefficiency doesn’t play a part. It’s offensive enough that Microsoft is squeezing the hand that’s had a chokehold around PC gaming’s neck for so long even harder; it’s more offensive still that it hasn’t done anyone any good.

Through all this, Crysis remained the light at the end of this sluggish train’s tunnel. The first true DX10 game. And lordy-lord did the screenshots look good. £250-£300 on a new graphics card and a new operating system didn’t seem too stinging a price to pay for such eyeball-fondling wonder.

Alarm bells really started ringing for me a couple of months ago, with the revelation that physics and day/night cycles wouldn’t be available in Crysis multiplayer in DirectX 9 (and thus in XP), meaning DX10 players would have to play on seperate servers to DX9 players if they wanted the full woo-yeah experience.

I could possibly stomach a claim that Crysis’ hot tree dismemberment wouldn’t be available at all in DX 9, but just the multiplayer? I’m flailing around in the dark to a certain extent on the tech reasoning, but it seems to me that such effects are handled by the client, not the server. Players’ hardware shouldn’t affect what the server’s capable of to that extent, especially when we now know the effects in question are available in DX9 Crysis singleplayer. There’s every chance there really is a genuine technical explanation why this has to be the case, but if there is it hasn’t been well-expressed. [Taps tinfoil hat knowingly]. I call shenanigans. If anything, it sounds like a cynical excuse for DX9/DX10 segregation online, those who haven’t paid the Vista tithe contrivedly rendered desperate to ascend to tree-shattering, sunset-swathed DX10 valhalla.

And now this. While Crysis in Vista and with a DirectX 10 graphics card is indeed rendered in the supposedly faster-performing DX10, its maximum visual wow is not unavailable to XP. DX9 can do most of what DX10 can, just (theoretically) not as efficiently. It’s just that Crytek, or EA, or Microsoft, or some jiffy-bag-full-of-money agreement betwixt all three, have artificially locked out the ‘Very High’ graphical detail setting in XP. A simple config file tweak reactivates it, and Crysis can then look as beautiful as it does in DX10 with maximum detail in DX9.

Here’s how, courtesy of a clever Actiontrip forumite.

Browse to C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\Crytek\Crysis SP Demo\Game\Config\CVarGroups, and open one of the .cfg files therein in notepad or whatever (make backups first). The first paragraph is the Vista-exclusive Very High settings; the last paragraph is High. So, copy the contents of the first paragraph over the contents of the last paragraph. Repeat this for all the cfg files, and then load up the demo. Selecting High settings will in fact activate Very High. If you’re confused, there’s more help in this thread.

Of course, you’ll still need a monster rig to reach anything like a playable framerate, though some folk are reporting maxed-out Crysis actually runs faster in XP than Vista.

More importantly, it reveals that there’s certain skullduggery at play in terms of Crysis and DirectX10. It may be pretty, but it’s not the major technological sea-change we’ve been led to believe it might be. Now we know for sure that DX10-level visuals do not require DX10 and Vista. Can anything ever convince us that’s the case again? I patiently await the full version of Crysis being hacked to allow physics and day/night cycles in DX9 multiplayer.

(For the record, I run Vista as my main operating system and play the vast majority of my games on it. Some of my best friends are Vistas. Sure, it often annoys me, but that’s been true of any version of Windows. I have no great problem with the OS, though I do with some of the marketing decisions behind it).

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76 Comments »

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  1. Thiefsie says:

    This is great, but the thing I’m worried about now is MS muscling Crytek to take out these cvars for the full thing so it can’t be done – ie properly disabling ‘very high’ mode in DX9

    I suppose if that happens though everyone will scream bloody murder

  2. MisterBritish says:

    I was under the impression that Crysis would run better on Vista (either DX9 or DX10) becuase it had been specifically designed to run on it.

    Though the latest info on the demo seems to show that it is just more MS/Vista bullcrap.

  3. Thiefsie says:

    Also it should probably be noted that not everything DX10 can be done in DX9, such as object blurring (singular object that is) as opposed to entire screen blurring.

    The whole multiplayer segregation is a load of ass, and pure vista justification at it’s finest, most bullshit level. Physics are a bandwidth/server limitation, and being available in single player proves that DX9 can handle it in my eyes. I hardly believe DX10 improves the network pipelines significantly enough to warrant castrating the dx9 online experience.

    Either way you look at it this segregation is bad for the game… it effectively splits the online crowd in two, halving the active community – not good for the longevity of a game.

  4. Alexander says:

    Well, honestly, if you want a good reason for not incenerating your tinfoil hat companion:

    Because I recently reinstalled DirectX I had the pleasure of encountering the following website on Google. Which is in fact Microsofts own ‘games for Windows’ website, dedicated to promotion of the ‘we will conquer the world because gamers are stupid anyway’ hypothesis.

    I hope this makes you feel a little awkward in the stomach.

  5. Cigol says:

    Microsoft have too much control over gaming on the PC, and with the XBOX being so successful in the west it makes it even more scarier what the future holds. Publishers and developers aren’t going to give a shit and they’ll go where the money and support is.

  6. Andrew says:

    Alexander, that page is hilarious.

    Truly hilarious.

  7. Solario says:

    Since you put out a little exclaimer, I’ll just go ahead and say what everyone who is running Vista is thinking: It fucking blows. If I could switch back to XP I would. Not only have I had more problems with it than I had with ME, but now I can’t update my Nvidia graphic driver, because it fucks over my system so badly that when I start a game I only see horizontal stripes. I’ve been told that I can overcloak myself out of it, but Vista is denying me access to do so.

    Eh. Sorry. Vista makes me want to cry blood.

  8. Feet says:

    Good grief. The benefits section….

  9. Ben Abraham says:

    Woah! That website that Alexander posted, the GFW propaganda site (Seriously! Check it out!) is ridiculous! I mean, comparing Halo 1 (their example of DX9b) vs. Crysis (DX10)… I mean, how about you pick something that WASN’T made 4 years ago! Compare HL2 models with Crysis instead, if you want a decent comparison!

    Thankfully, no gamer with even the SLIGHTEST inking of a clue about graphics and graphics cards would be fooled by this rubbish. GG Microsoft on trying to pull the wool over unsuspecting grandma’s eyes, cause they are the only ones going to be fooled by this. Microsoft, you officially horrify me.

  10. Feet says:

    DX-10: Handle-bar moustaches are now a reality.

  11. Hobbes says:

    I’ve had a sneak peak at the latest Dx10 propaganda… Headline reads:

    “You really should get Dx10. The GFX in Dx10 games are way better than Pong”

  12. AbyssUK says:

    I bought windows XP x64 professional…. so I know how the poor vista people feel…

  13. Robin says:

    DirectX would never have gotten off the ground if the Brainsteins behind the DX10/Vista scam had been in charge back then.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Devs just don’t bother to make DirectX10 games for years, until Vista has muscled it’s way to the top? Or perhaps an OpenGL renaissance?

  14. saru-sama says:

    I upgraded to the latest beta nvidia drivers, which contains tweaks specifically for Crysis, and it did noticeably improve performance.

    I’ve heard rumors that Crysis supports 64-bit chips. Does anyone have an idea of whether running it in Vista64 makes a difference, performance-wise?

  15. weego says:

    installed and tried the demo this morning on what is easily good enough to run bioshock full guns blazing and it runs like a lame dog in anything but ‘can’t tell the difference between the trees and the koreans’ mode.

    being pre-release i can’t expect too much, but jebus.

  16. Brant says:

    As long as we’re talking about conspiracy theories, I might as well bring up the Halo 2 PC/Shadowrun Vista-exclusivity thing. Both are DX9, both refuse to install/run on XP, yet can be coerced into doing so with minor patching.

    This says nothing about Crytek of course, but it certainly shows that Microsoft isn’t above this sort of behavior.

  17. Alec Meer says:

    Yeah, that was super-lame (as were both games). I was gonna mention it, but thought I’d best stick to DX10 specifically.

  18. Kieron Gillen says:

    Shadowrun was fun, just not thirty-quid plus fun.

    KG

  19. Monkfish says:

    It’s a pity that some of the nicer DX9 effects got bundled into the Very High option category, which is teasingly out of reach of us XP owners (the option being there, but greyed-out). I can see how it’s easy to come to the conclusion of there being a conspiracy – the differences between DX9 and DX10 visuals simply wouldn’t have been stark enough to generate the incentive to buy Vista. To that end, it does seem that Crytek may have been under a degree of political pressure to deliver something that made a Vista “upgrade” a more attractive proposition.

    I wonder, actually, if Crytek had hoped that the PC gaming community would discover these tweaks for themselves – they’re not exactly well hidden. Obviously, they can’t admit to it, especially if there has been any contractual pressure from sponsors, but I can’t help imagining Crytek smiling to themselves over this.

  20. Flibster says:

    hmm.. I think that DX10 site needs a quick photoshop…

    http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/4739/gamesforwindowsxpke9.jpg

  21. Alec Meer says:

    (Applauds)

  22. Andrew says:

    Very nicely done.

  23. Kieron Gillen says:

    Someone should do one with a rogue-u-like.

    KG

  24. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i’m actually pretty sick of people moaning about DX10/Vista to a degree, the fact is that a version of DX10 that would run on XP would take time and money to impliment, is it not enough that microsoft went to the effort of making a completly new OS and API from the ground up and work together. the fact is a version of DX10 could have been written for XP, but why should microsft bother they are after all in the buisness of selling a product, the best product they’ve ever produced from scratch i might add.

    In context, XP was an add on for windows NT 4 like Episode 2 was an add on for half life 2, it done well cause it was built on an already solid OS, and for the record there are some massively glaring issues with the XP kernal that’ve existed since start to finish, like broken network compatability i.e. something that was working properly in all prior revsions of the OS.
    whereas Vista is like ID Tech 4 built from scratch with the best design principals of the day included in the core code base and everything adhering to a security centric development model.

    sure it’s not teribly amasing right now but it’s early days, i’d like to see anyone who posts comments about vista being shoddy compete with the highly talented enginears who write it, it’s a basis for the future as is DX10 microsoft don’t owe you anything & you’re lucky to get what they do give you and most intelligent informed software enginears agree it’s a good move technically speaking on microsofts part, any stategy which forces indiviuals down this path is corporate strategy, if you want a democratic OS model go with open source the options there.

    bottem line to design DX10 with XP compatability in mind would have forced compromises on the system microsoft weren’t prepaired to compromise your future for the present.
    (there’s always OGL 2.0)

  25. JP says:

    Hear that? It’s PC gaming being slowly throttled to death – AGAIN – by Microsoft and the various companies who are riding their hype train.

    First, they released the original Xbox, which caused a massive exodus of PC developers, who created a generation of mostly terrible, still-getting-the-hang-of-console-development games.

    A few years later, they realize this. And they know Vista has almost nothing to offer apart from new UI chrome (whoopee). So they try to make gaming a primary selling point – because lord knows PC gamers are used to paying stupid amounts of money for insubstantial increases in performance and fidelity – and strategically make DX10 Vista-exclusive.

    After that, they realize that good art running on good engines is what actually makes games look better, not APIs. But at this point they’re just grasping at straws. They operate on pure spin, trying to imply that any game with DX10 support is Vista-exclusive – I’ve seen countless people ask of titles like Bioshock “isn’t that Vista exclusive?”

    MS has always operated by convincing people they don’t have options. L337 rig PC gamers are particularly susceptible to this because they’re desperate for ways to justify their purchases.

    Now you’ve got this situation where you can’t disentangle technical limitations, corporate strategy and marketing disinformation. Thank god I’m not actually interested in Crysis, I have no idea what sort of experience I’d have access to with a DX9 video card and XP.

    PC gaming really needs to wean itself off games that are tech-centric because they really just drive us further into an expensive, isolated niche. We’re also horribly overdependent on Microsoft but that’s just part of their larger OS dominance.

  26. Ghiest says:

    Crysis is a nice looking game on either dx9/10 but to be honest it sucks balls multiplayer. Stupidly big maps, crap guns and dodgy vehicles make it really no fun at all.

    I tried to like it … but it’s abysmal after the offerings of things like Tf2/Halo3/Cod4/unr3

  27. Darren T says:

    I seem to remember reading in Edge a few months ago that the split between DX9 and DX10 on mutliplayer was to try and level the playing field. I think they were worried that all the pretty volumetric fog/tree chopping/shinyness would give an advantage to one of the DX’s.

    Seems fair enough really, no?

  28. Cigol says:

    JP for president.

  29. Alexander says:

    Vista has most definitely not been developed from ‘scratch’ as Sombrero Kid implied; in fact it is a furthering of the Windows 2003 codebase, and before that the XP codebase. The security centric model is nothing special to Vista, in fact it already existed in NT and predecessors (XP had account separation as well). Microsoft just poorly executed this in XP, not allowing ‘run as administrator’ commands and thus every single XP user runs in Admin all the time, which is the main problem of window’s security concerns. All this derived from the Wikipedia.org pages Microsoft spinned.

    Comparing all these games with an operating system just makes no sense anyway.

    I am not in favor of calling something a ‘corporate strategy’ when it can be more plainly described as ‘abuse of influence’ (the exact reason not a single political or economical system works). In fact I don’t care if it’s politicians or corporations, strategy or simply exploitation, if humanity cannot tell the difference between right or wrong without absurdities as bibles, laws or monarchic rule; we are just animals and get what we deserve: violent butseqs.

    As conclusion to my retort, let’s just simply stop the self-deception. We presently understand that real democracy, freedom etc means there is no big money to be made anywhere. Money is based on transportation and ownership. The latter being ultimately hilarious in this day and age and a primitive understanding of the universe. The first becoming more and more absurd with the existence of internet and over 4 billion people on this planet capable of transporting something either physically or virtually.

    So we live ‘in the name of’ freedom, which has become merely an empty ironic slogan for the restrictions we impose upon this world to maintain thus necessary inequalities.

    To simply put all this; I love to see a king being pwned by his jester.

    [/ omg. I just wanted to say something about games]

  30. Chis says:

    All I’m going to say is, now you all know how I felt when I heard Bioshock “wouldn’t run” under Windows 2000 (a fully DirectX9 capable OS). Not long after release, a patch was made, and the game runs flawlessly on 2K.

    Okay, I have since built a new gaming rig running XP (and XP is all that’s bloody well going on there), but still… dontcha just love MS? Pulling the same rotten stunts every time they release a new mainstream OS.

  31. Homunculus says:

    Also worth a mention in this context is the recent rumour that Direct X 10.1 won’t work on extant Direct X 10 graphics cards. If credible, it’d constitute the turd topping of the whole cake o’ excrement.

  32. JP says:

    So the cake is a lie, is what you’re saying? 8|

  33. Ferrous Buller says:

    “DirectX would never have gotten off the ground if the Brainsteins behind the DX10/Vista scam had been in charge back then.”

    For better or for worse, this is hardly the first time MS has tied HW support to a new OS: e.g., DirectX was originally tied to Win95; we didn’t get “real” USB support until Win98. And OS obsolescence eventually does become a factor: MS has basically stopped supporting everything pre-XP. WinXP has had a good run, but after 5+ years, I am not adverse to putting it out to pasture.

    That said, Vista is not the OS I would want to replace it with: like a lot of MS updates in recent years, it suffers from too much chrome, not enough finish, IMHO. [Like, say, adding avatar icons before a damn "Preview" button?] And DX10 has had a terrible launch: subpar performance, driver issues, and a lack of any killer titles to show off what it’s capable of has pretty much soured whatever enthusiasm the gaming community had for it a year ago. DX10 can do things DX9 can’t, but no one’s really put it through its paces yet.

    Granted, some of that is typical growing pains which accompanies any major OS or HW transition. Still reflects badly on MS and their master plan, though.

    But it probably doesn’t matter: people bitched about XP when it first came out, but it gradually displaced everything else; in the end, we’ll all switch to Vista or give up PC gaming.

    “Vista: Why Delay the Inevitable?”

  34. JP says:

    in the end, we’ll all switch to Vista or give up PC gaming.

    Or use Linux for everything but gaming and hang on to 2K/XP until they pry it from our cold, dead fingers.

    If Valve’s hardware surveys are to be believed, the day Vista becomes dominant may be further off than MS wants everyone to believe.

  35. Monkfish says:

    The sad thing is that I genuinely thought that Crysis was going to be the game that would make me want to switch to Vista, just to drink in all the DX10 goodness.

    That’s all changed. I’m now more than content to stick with XP for Crysis, safe in the knowledge that I’m not really missing anything except being able to shoot some trees down in multiplayer. Whoop-de-doo. ;)

  36. Andrew Doull says:

    ‘nother site related question: Are we allowed to talk OS/X gaming or Linux gaming here? Or just PC, PC…

  37. Alec Meer says:

    Where it’s fun/interesting that’s fine. If anyone’s thinking of My Platform’s Better Than Yours stuff we’ll probably frown, though. There’s plenty of other places for that on the internets.

  38. Tom says:

    I think it’s important to clarify that 2003 and Vista are both built from scratch. 2003 and Vista both started on the same new code base and branched off in to two separate products somewhere down the line. But there is absolutely nothing of XP in either Vista or 2003. A huge line was drawn after XP and thank god. Same goes for DX10.

    Every one’s bitching and moaning at MS, but like Sombrero Kid, I’m also sick to death of listening to it because I’ve yet to see an argument put forward that doesn’t smack of geekish bitching and bias, or sound like it was written by a snobbish Mac user. And lets face it, 90% of Mac users don’t know where software starts and hardware finishes due to the very nature of their system of choice.
    The only reason MS allowed Dell and others to continue selling systems with XP is because of public perception, not reality.
    People were walking into Dell shops requesting XP over Vista because of what they had read on the Internet – an excellent source of unbiased, objective criticism.
    I’ve been using Vista x64 (yep, x64, so if anything, and if you believe what you read on the internet, i should have been bombarded with problems) since it was released and the only real issues i could find that I thought would affect the average user was some slight networking problems, large file issues (as in a gig+, what average user deals with files on that scale?) and incorrect memory management during graphically intense apps – something that has since been fixed. And a little note: have any of you ever opened up your task manager and taken a look at the performance tab to check out the memory usage directly before and directly after playing a game? I suggest you do so, you’ll be surprised. I certainly was. Vista’s memory management can be very impressive and some voices out there in the ether go as far as to say Vista has by far and away the most advanced memory management of ANY OS.

    You know what the real problem here is, the reason for all the criticism: elitist geeks will f**king bitch and moan about anything, and MAC based reviewers will cling to anything to help support their own rhetoric. Perfect example: the twats who started screaming to high heavens about the removal of the HL2 Black Box option, claiming they were being forced to pay for HL2 and Ep1 all over again. I’m sure if someone did the maths they’d find the price of HL2 and Ep1 in the O-Box being less than a £1 if not nothing at all. They gave it so little thought that they completely missed what Valve were really doing: giving their back catalogue away for free. What eventually happens when they bitch and moan long enough is that it trickles down in to general perception, and those MAC based reviewers start saying things like ‘these issues have been well voiced in many forums across the internet’ etc… whoever it was above who said DX10 hardware is incompatible with DX10.1 is kinda an example of this. I’d like to know where you heard this and doubt i’ll be surprised. Current DX10 hardware is entirely compatible with DX10.1 and from what i can gather the only major change between DX10 and 10.1 is a minimum of 2x FSAA becoming mandatory in 10.1 based games, everything else is subtler and under the hood. (So hang on… if i understand this correctly, MS are forcing devs to produce higher quality games??? Bastards!) It’s true that there’s some DX10 and 10.1 features that aren’t supported by current gen hardware, but again that’s been the case with just about every release of DirectX. And suppose I’m completely wrong about 10/10.1 and current DX10 hardware is incompatible. By the time DX10.1 becomes common place do they seriously think there’ll still be a GF8800 plugged in their PCs? Then what is it they’re moaning about? Or do they just like the sound of their own text?

    Personally I say god bless MS; warts, mistakes, and all, for everything they’ve enabled us to do. My sincere and heartfelt gratitude goes out to you. Without you, I’d probably be using Linux (and MAC wouldn’t even exist (fact)), and very bored.

    P.s: Funnily enough the first game to make use of DirectX4 (the first revision if i remember correctly) was Doom 2! And DirectX was mandatory for the game to run! hardy ha ha. Good ol’ Carmack, he was on MS looooong time ago. Of course this was back in the early MS Evil Empire days. (sounds like a u-turn I know, but I don’t believe MS were ever the evil empire they were made out to be. The market way just very young and unstable and MS still had a lot to learn – thank god they had the balls to go for it though, hey!?)
    And all this was reported in PC Gamer many moons ago in what was (again, if memory serves) a very short preview… and it wasn’t exactly warmly welcomed.
    The PC Gamer previewers comments went something along of the lines of:

    “I wouldn’t care even if this had been plucked by Bill Gates himself from a bucket of virgins saliva, I don’t want to HAVE TO install this in order to play”

    To be fair though, DirectX was a pile of shite back then.

    As the tune goes: It’s all just a little bit of history repeating… only this time in HD.

    oh, and there was a valid reason for separating DX9 and 10 servers, detailed by Cevat Yerli somewhere, i just can’t remember where. Something to do with how each api handles physics calls amongst other things. DX9 and 10 are as different as Linux and Windows.

  39. Tom says:

    And as much as love that dude living in the San Diego area to succeed purely for his own sense of accomplishment, i sincerely believe he’s taken on an impossible task. As he says himself: “As announced in the very beginning, this is a monumental effort and will take a great deal of time to implement properly. We hope to have a fully functioning demo in two months or so.”
    Backwards compatibility is one thing, but forwards..?
    Can any one show an example (not necessarily graphical, just in general)?

  40. Cargo Cult says:

    Funnily enough the first game to make use of DirectX4 (the first revision if i remember correctly) was Doom 2! And DirectX was mandatory for the game to run! hardy ha ha. Good ol’ Carmack, he was on MS looooong time ago.

    I seem to recall Doom and its sequel being released for DOS – after being developed on NeXT machines, running NeXTSTEP.

    NeXTSTEP is still around – although it’s now pretending to be an Apple operating system in the guise of Mac OS X. No, really.

    Something to do with being designed to last?

  41. The Sombrero Kid says:

    kudos to Tom i wouldn’t be surprised if you were a programmer, you put what i wanted to put but better than i could cause i was in wrok :S and am a bit rubbish at the english, suffice to say i’ve spent more time than most following the code development of 2k3 & vista ad know more about the inner workings than was possible about any other MS OS at this stage of development yet, and any one who says it’s just a graphical update is very wrong i assure you, microsoft were very very right to take fixed function pipelines out and shoot them and anyone who says otherwise is wrong and can use the mess that is Open GL, the reason that microsoft had to break the backwards compatability was for this reason, and in breaking the backwards compatability for DX10 they didn’t see any reason why they should bother porting it to the dead OS that is XP, since it would actually mean retarding it somewhat for an OS that people couldn’t afford to keep using it, it is the biggest security hole in any system and I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT USER ACCOUNT CONTROL i mean on a code level, and Vista was the first Code Base to be coded with new coding principles integrated to the low level code design process and this is why it’s much more secure!

    Microsoft will not abandon it (they’ve invested a lot of money and man hours of some of the most intelegent people in the world) therefore you wont get over it.

    & to demand better is being a bit rude imo.

  42. JP says:

    I think it’s important to clarify that 2003 and Vista are both built from scratch. 2003 and Vista both started on the same new code base and branched off in to two separate products somewhere down the line.

    Not exactly. When MS rebooted Vista’s development in 2004 they started from the Server 2003 codebase, but that base in turn derives from XP and Server 2000. Millions of lines of code were reused, so it’s incorrect to say it was some kind of blank slate. The version numbers reflect this, Vista and 2003 use version 5.2 of the NT kernel.

    If MS ever really did a full rewrite OS it would take a decade. Agility is not one of their strengths.

    90% of Mac users don’t know where software starts and hardware finishes due to the very nature of their system of choice.

    This would have been very true 10 years ago, but OSX is very nerd friendly. It’s based on Unix / Nextstep, has a terminal, and is a great development environment. Pretty much all the non-game-industry programmers I know are Mac guys.

    I can’t even believe you just made me stick up for Apple.

    Funnily enough the first game to make use of DirectX4 (the first revision if i remember correctly) was Doom 2! And DirectX was mandatory for the game to run! hardy ha ha. Good ol’ Carmack, he was on MS looooong time ago.

    I seem to recall Doom and its sequel being released for DOS – after being developed on NeXT machines, running NeXTSTEP.

    Cargo Cult is correct. DirectX hadn’t seen its first release when Doom2 came out. DirectX4 specifically never launched. You may be thinking of the Win95 Doom port that MS commissioned to show off their new OS’s gaming capabilities – another half-baked marketing initiative that took years to actually materialize. History repeating indeed.

    John Carmack has always been very progressive, releasing his older engine source and pushing OpenGL and other open standards that aren’t owned by a single company.

    I really don’t want to turn this into a “my platform is better” flamewar, but there is an interesting discussion worth having implied by the RPS charter:

    The PC is the only truly free gaming format.

    If one company has the platform’s metaphorical nuts in such a tight vice, can we honestly say that the PC is a “free” platform? The Crysis thing is just one issue in a larger front over the destiny of the platform.

    Personally, I think the open-ness of the PC is well-complemented by open standards, quirky ideas, low barriers to entry for indies, and cutting edge hardware. All these things together give developers a range of creative options that are patently nonexistent in the walled gardens of console development. I’ll admit I have a vested interest in keeping those options open.

    MS being relatively unconcerned with the bonanza of development that went into their platform in the DOS and Win9X days is the reason they command the market share they do today. Now they’re trying to re-assert control of the platform they always killed off with the Xbox. I do not think this reclamation of “ownership” is in anyone else’s interest long term.

    So I don’t want to sound like I’m ripping on you for defending MS, they have indeed advanced the PC a great deal. But complacency and insularity are what kills a scene/hobby, and that’s why I have to rage against statements like “in the end, we’ll all switch to Vista or give up PC gaming.” There is always another option. The first step is admitting that companies don’t always act in the interests of you, the gamer.

  43. JP says:

    Now they’re trying to re-assert control of the platform they always killed off with the Xbox.

    Oops, “always” should read “almost”.

  44. Garth says:

    “I’ve been using Vista x64 (yep, x64, so if anything, and if you believe what you read on the internet, i should have been bombarded with problems)”

    And I have XP-pro and don’t have any problems either. Why should I get Vista (and DX10) if it could very well work on my OS as well? I seriously doubt Vista does anything that makes DX10 work solely on it, and not on XP.

    I will admit, I really didn’t want to use XP from 2000. However, my friend is a tech support guy, and pointed out that XP Pro was far less terrible than the version I had experience with.

    I have one friend who has Vista, and it’s constantly screwing up on him. It doesn’t do anything I need that XP doesn’t. It might work fine for you, but I don’t need it, and chances are that few (if any) do need it.

  45. Alexander says:

    In case this whole thing turns into a flame, I just want to declare you win.

    I prefer factual information over ‘if you don’t believe it you are stupid’ argumentation. There’s just one thing I’d like to point out to Sombrero Kid, namely the weird proposition that graphics acceleration is the most potent security flaw in any system. This is pretty absurd, it improves stability sure, but not what we define as security (setting aside badly programmed drivers bugs allowing a buffer overflow etc). Besides I highly doubt anyone here is a programmer, let alone understand the technical aspects of what we’re dealing with, but of course you could refute this showing me where credit due on your work as programmer or by quoting sources with at least some authority on the subject (alas the PC Gamer is not one of them).

    What they did with the display driver model is take it out of the kernel space (UMDF, user mode driver framework), this means the driver can be stopped/started/paused without messing with the kernel itself. This generally makes for a more stable window compositor (the thing that makes the windows appear) and graphical user environment in general. It is the difference between blue screen and system reset or just a quick restart of the graphical interface.
    (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480220.aspx)

    This is the main reason DirectX 10 differs from 9, because there is an additional layer of communication between the kernel, the driver and the hardware itself. The comparison between windows and linux is funny, because it’s really valid, but not as you would expect it to be; namely in linux the graphics layer (X11) has never been part of the kernel (even though the kernel is primarily monolithic, whereas most drivers run in kernel space), for the same reason as it now isn’t part of vista’s kernel. Funny enough there is some talk about moving them back into the linux kernel.
    (http://blogs.sun.com/alanc/entry/moving_x86_video_drivers_into)

    If the real functioning of DirectX interested you, there are plenty of ways to really understand how it works; but I guess you only need to have heard tales of the cream topping to argument that the cake is real.

    I don’t want to get into all the horrible non sequitor, most of it is complete fallacy or even just plain stupid (XP is dead, what are you Nietschze?) argumentation that makes up the girth of Tom and Sk’s postings. Maybe I am too direct, but I have to confront you with your incredible personal defense bias while you hilariously run with someone tagging someone else as biased.

    I have no interest in defending or attacking any company nor product, all I care about is pure reasoning and objectivity and distilling the problem. I am the owner and user of any of these products, and besides this first hand experience, I happen to be quite well informed on most technical aspects.

    Why I initially posted to this item is that I love to stand, laugh and watch when stupid people (/companies/corporations/governments) shoot themselves in the foot, a little acknowledgment they shouldn’t have had the gun in the first place. And as such, I might be a little biased, towards my own sadistic pleasures, but hey, that’s why I like computer games.

  46. Hobbes says:

    Well, I AM going to get all childish.

    MS write complete rubbish. Really, truly, deeply, rubbish.
    Yes, RUBBISH I tell you, and then they use their enormous clout/pile of cash to force it down our throats and for some people, inexplicably, make them like it.

    And before you come back at me, I AM a software engineer, and I think that I CAN and DO do better than a lot of the folk at Microsoft on a regular basis.

    Plus expecting better of the people who shape our lives without any genuine input from us is not rude, its absolutely fair enough.

  47. The Sombrero Kid says:

    if you’ve got a problem with microsofts approach there’s a free alternative, which if you think you can do better can contribute to!

    if you think XP is going to be a feasible OS in the next five years, your wrong primarily because it’s Microsofts and if they don’t want you using it all they need to do is expose the many vulnerabilities to make it completely insecure or leak some key source and force anyone who cares about personal security off it.

    I think the videos at channel 9 on the vista kernal are a good start to get an idea for the work that went into Vista and why Microsoft will not abandon it like WinME, WinME was always meant to be a patch up of 98 till they could get 2000/XP in shape and was designed to be abandoned when XP shipped, Microsoft have no such plans for Vista, it is the OS that Microsoft want people to migrate to.

    *i’m partially so biased because i hate XP i always have, i used 2000 until it became a hindrance which was a much better version of the OS and i feel if Microsoft had put the weight they put behind XP behind 2000, it would’ve been the best OS ever seen!!!!!! :D

  48. malkav11 says:

    All they need to do to eventually force you to switch to Vista is to stop supporting XP. Just try using Windows 95 (or I assume 98, by now.) in this modern age. It isn’t going to happen.

    But I’m still not seeing any particular need to make that transition just yet.

  49. Theory says:

    Add one more happy Vista user to the pile here. It’s faster than or no different to XP on my system (including in games), handles memory infinitely better, defrags my hard drive in the background, and is far better for accessing data. Every time I use XP I feel like I have the third arm Vista gives me tied behind my back.

    It’s also prettier, which for something you stare at for long periods is a bigger benefit than is usually admitted.

    I still don’t buy the “DX10 could have come to XP” thing. Of course it’s possible, but it’s just unreasonable to expect so much to be backported. There’s a whole new driver model! That kind of thing doesn’t just appear. If the guys trying to backport DX10 to XP ever do manage it, and that would surprise me, it’ll be by duplicating a hell of a lot of Vista’s internal workings.

    Also worth a mention in this context is the recent rumour that Direct X 10.1 won’t work on extant Direct X 10 graphics cards. If credible, it’d constitute the turd topping of the whole cake o’ excrement.

    DX10.1 code won’t run on DX10.0 hardware, but the difference is so small that it’s trivial to make a vanilla DX10 path too. So small in fact that I think all existing DX10 cards are all 10.1 compatible anyway!

    A tip in general: The Inquirer are a tabloid and you should always get an independent source on anything they say.

  50. Theory says:

    Poll: who here considers groups of people (e.g. The Inquirer above) plural?

    I’ve had problems with this on American sites.