A Lamentation for Alt-Tab

By Alec Meer on May 12th, 2008 at 10:50 pm.

Faithful Peggle alt-tabs without complaint. Bless you, Peggle. Bleggle.

Today, a mini-rant, as befits my short stature and general foul temperament.

Or, at least, an open question. Why do so many PC games not support alt-tabbing out?

I can’t count the number of games I’ve had crash on me, or had a torturous five minute think before responding, or have turned everything black or white or technicolour, or have even hung the whole damn PC, just because I dared to press those two accursed keys. I honestly don’t understand why this isn’t one of the first things tested for – the very nature of the PC is a multi-tasking machine, designed for a myriad ways of communication, productivity and telling strangers on the internet that they suck – ideally all at once. To my mind, it’s like forgetting to include keyboard support.

I find games that won’t alt-tab particularly frustrating because I’ve got a dual monitor setup. I can see exactly what I need to get to waiting patiently on the other panel. It’s in reach, calling to me – but no, I daren’t risk it. Alright, striving for rationality, I’ll admit alt-tab isn’t as important as fixing a thousand fatal bugs or polishing the script to a perfect shine or building rock-solid netcode or whatever, but nevertheless, it’s something that’s absolutely fundamental to the nature of a Windows PC.

And it’s been a part of Windows since 1992. I mean, c’mon. Windows is undoubtedly a monster, but you can’t exactly claim ignorance, developers. MMOs, at least, get it, created with an understanding that their audience is one that lives online, that constantly feeds from a dozen different information-tentacles and absolutely must be able to task-switch in the blink of an eye. Damningly, even bloody Xbox 360s can do it now, or at least their squashed mini-menu equivalent (more an overlay than actual task-switching, really – Valve does something similar with its Steam Community shift-tabbing).

Even the Source engine, by now a remarkably mature piece of code, often won’t play nice – I’d planned to be writing up an interesting HL2 mod tonight, but instead I’m staring at a frozen Loading screen on the other monitor because I didn’t manage to stop the reflex action of reaching for The Unholy Buttons when I heard an instant message arrive. (I’ll admit that during a loading screen was a particularly stupid time for me to have attempted an alt-tab, but the waiting time had gotten painful). I’ve taken to running Team Fortress 2 in a window – it brutalises the framerate, but sweet merciful Jeebus, at least that way I can alt-tab without disaster.

Please, developers, won’t you think of the children? The poor, alt-tabbing children…

And don’t even get me started on games that drop to desktop if you accidentally hit the Windows flag key.

/Rant.

(Oh, if any devs fancy chiming in on why alt-tab gets overlooked/is nightmarish to incorporate/whatever, I’d genuinely be interested to hear. I’m not that blinded by rage, honest.)

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79 Comments »

  1. The_B says:

    Hear hear.

    I mean, sometimes I even wonder why Microsoft put Fancy New Alt Tab in Vista given the thing that would most impress me is being able to do that with a game. And the Windows key thing was actually the main selling point for me to get a G15 keyboard (well, that and the screen).

    And lately for me, an odd error is that anything with Source actually crashes when I exit. Not that it inconviences me in anyway, given it only happens when I’m exiting a game and thus was already closing it, but for me to press exit and Windows always saying “HL2 has encountered a problem” is a little perplexing…

  2. feffrey says:

    Some games will let you run a windowed mode. I do this with eve on my tri-mon setup. My right mon is my eve client windowed at 1280×1024 and my other 2 I do work on.
    Not all games support this but it is so nice the ones that do.
    btw someone should make a website dedicated to games and apps that support al-tabbing nicely.

  3. Sam says:

    Wait – you can’t Alt-Tab out of Source engine games?
    It works in Wine – this must be one of the rare moments when Wine/Linux adds functionality over Proper Windows…

  4. cliffski says:

    There are technical reasons for it. Basically full screen games run differently from windowed games, and let directx really truly take over the whole video card. All the video memory used for your windows desktop, taskbar yada yada is all junked and made available to the game. Most big budget games use a LOT of video memory, and many of them create a lot of textures and store the memory addresses of them all the time the game runs.
    If you alt+tab every single memory address is instantly released and set to gibberish, meaning that you need to completely reload all those textures again the minute you tab back.
    So how come some games manage it? Because the engine coders DO actually go to the effort of trapping the release of all that memory, and write code to seamlessly reload it all again when the window returns.
    This is a lot of work, a bit awkward and a bit of a bitch.
    BUT
    I absolutely 100% agree. ALL games should do it. tbh its far more important that using the latest vertex shaders. MMOs have indeed persuaded PC gamers that they should be able to expect such behavior. I applaud your call for more game engine coders to pull their fingers out and do it.
    Fuck it, MY games do it, and I’m a flipping one man band.

  5. The_B says:

    Wait – you can’t Alt-Tab out of Source engine games?

    Well, that’s not entirely accurate, you can do it in theory, but it’s very choppy and you also run the frequent risk of it slowing your entire system down or crashing completely. But rarely, it will work. Results may and do vary.

  6. Theory says:

    Why do the games behave badly, though? Is it something to do with DirectX? Do they all consciously decide to flush a load of their data away when they minimise? Or what?

    Edit: thanks, cliffski!

  7. Pidesco says:

    Generally, I’ve found that Windows just usually has a problem with Alt Tabbing out of system intensive applications. As an example, Infinity engine games had, for me, a very high chance of crashing if I Alt-Tabbed out of them, back when those games were new. Nowadays, as my PC is a lot more powerful that before, I can Alt-Tab out of BG2 whenever I want, without fear of crashing.

    Another example, is Civ IV, which I find is always ok to Alt Tab out of in the early stages of a game. However, in the late game, when a lot more is happening, and my system doesn’t handle the game’s load as it did, if I try to Alt Tab, there’s a mighty chance of the game crashing on me.

    Edit: Ah, Cliffski explains it.

  8. brog says:

    cliffski: Thanks for the explanation. I was just about to post and say “well, my game crashes on alt-tab (though it didn’t on my old pc), and I have no idea why or what to do about it”. But now I have some kind of idea, thank you. So.. how exactly do you detect the alt-tab?

  9. Cargo Cult says:

    Source stuff runs really nicely in a window for me – if anything, faster than when running full-screen, what with having less to render.

    Sodding fantastic when you’re editing materials and textures, and you’re previewing them in-game, without restarting. :-)

    Alt-Tab works fine too, albeit with a bit of a delay when resuming the game. But with cliffski’s explanation, that makes sense also.

    Not a particularly powerful machine, either – Windows XP, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT (apparently), 2GB memory, and nice shiny aluminium case. Apple iMac in running-Windows-games-better-than-many-PCs shocker?

  10. po says:

    I do believe MS deserves it’s share of stout sticking for this problem. DirectX is their baby, and if they can’t document a way to make if behave well with the rest of windows, so that programmers can make use of it without problems, then the parents are to blame. If said documentation is there, then the programmers need to prove that they are worthy of the title by RTFMing.

    On the windows key problem, I’ve got into the habit – no, make that requirement – of using the windows key as prone in FPS games (with ALT as crouch). Every time I start playing a game that doesn’t support mapping the windows key I’m dumped to desktop, right when I wanted to take cover.

    One of the first things I did when I bought a Saitek Eclipse II keyboard was open the thing up, scrape away the traces on the membrane for the left hand windows key, and using a circuit repair pen hook it up to be a second ‘\’ key (I also did a spot of soldering on it so it starts up with the backlight on red instead of blue. I’ve got a black Reserator XT and NZXT Lexa case, and was fed up of switching the color of my keyboard to match them every time I turned my computer on).

    edit: me iz slow at ritin. No posts wen me startud.

    I’m a BF2 server admin/modder, and what I find to be thoroughly annoying, is that the writers of BF2CC decided it would use some component of DirectX that is also needed by the game. I may be able to ALT-TAB out of the game, but if I try and run BF2CC to manage the server, then my system locks up completely as soon as it’s splash screen tries to load.

    @Cargo Cult: My MBP seems to do a better job of running XP than my desktop. Seems to be a known feature of Macs that they are a bit more stable at Windows. At the moment I can get around problems by running a game on the dektop, and modding files remotely on the laptop, but not everyone can throw money at the problem (if we’re doing desktop photo’s, here’s mine).

  11. Smee says:

    The best game to handle this was Psychonauts. Alt-tabbed out perfectly, and when you went back in you were greeted with a cute “Hello. We paused the game while you were away” dialogue. Charming.

  12. surprise says:

    My experience concerning the source engine and alt-tabbing:

    Source will crash if you alt-tab while loading. If you are playing and ingame its slow and takes ages, but it works and you can go on playing after some minutes of wait…

  13. Alec Meer says:

    Thanks Cliffski – very interesting to hear the other side of the story.

  14. aiusepsi says:

    I guess you detect when an alt-tab happens when DirectX starts telling you that you no longer have exclusive control over the display. The problem with DirectX is that it’s powerful, and nobody has yet solved the thorny problem of making something both powerful and user-friendly.

  15. Jonathan Blow says:

    What cliffski said. Windows+DirectX basically makes it a giant pain in the ass to properly handle alt-tab, and the more complicated your game is, the more of a pain in the ass it becomes. The video memory is the biggest issue but it is far from the only one.

  16. Cargo Cult says:

    po: Tried playing the DOS version of Quake at a high-ish resolution on Windows 95 or 98?

    One accidental press of the Windows key or its even-less-useful menu key brother, and the game would crash instantly. Really useful, what with the position of said keys near ‘jump’ and ‘fire’.

    I found myself a really nice, clacky keyboard without said keys after a few instances of that. I’d still be using it now, only my iMac doesn’t seem to provide it with enough power through the necessary chain of adaptors…

    Edit: I read somewhere that OpenGL doesn’t have the same give-up-all-yer-memory design issues as DirectX when alt-tabbing. Anyone able to confirm this?

  17. fluffy bunny says:

    I don’t really understand why, after years and years and years, PCs still can’t do proper multitasking like the Amiga did. For fun, look at this computing show from the eighties:

    Watch what he does at 7:30. Forget Alt-Tab, I want Windows to do that.

  18. Matt says:

    I, too, have The_B’s problem of crashing on exit. For me, it just means that I have to wait longer before I can quit Steam. Rather silly problem, really. I blindly blame Vista, because it’s a reliable scapegoat these days.

  19. wcaypahwat says:

    Yeah, the G15 window key lock is great. Still haven’t really found a use for the macro keys yet. More on topic….. so im the only one not having any trouble switching in and out of source games?

  20. Charles says:

    fluffy bunny: After using a *nix based system that allowed for full push / pop functionality of frames, manipulating frames in Windows becomes simply painful. I had hoped against hope that this would be supported in Vista, but apparently it isn’t. (I know there are 3rd party window management systems to enable support for that kind of thing, but really, I shouldn’t have to do that.)

  21. po says:

    And isn’t it about time Windows stopped using CRLF for ascii line endings? Apple made the change to the Unix standard with OSX, but I guess Windows is all about bloat, so they’re keeping that 1 redundant character per line (Does Windows really need to maintain backward compatability with a teletype machine?). I can just see the scene:

    Windows Developer: “We just got a call from Mr Gates. He says his shares in Seagate are down. Put in more bloat!”.

    I hate copying files to a *nix box and seeing ^M all over the place, or copying them back to windows and seeing one big block of text.

  22. Seniath says:

    I used to run with a dual monitor setup, and this vexed me incredibly. It’d be great if more games could run in the windowed+maximised mode that WoW and EVE (with EVEMon) can. I’m happy to take the slight performance hit if it means being able to check who said what on MSN easily.

    However, I’m back down to one monitor now, so either use the ZaxApps MSN plugin for my G15 or just set my laptop up next to the PC and sign in on that…

  23. Theory says:

    Does Windows really need to maintain backward compatability with a teletype machine?

    I imagine they are more concerned about compatibility with previous versions of Windows. Though since Vista was their big “break backwards compatibility time!” release, it’s odd that they didn’t take the opportunity with it. (Or did they? Are you using Vista?)

  24. thesombrerokid says:

    our games unload all thier resources and load themm back in when you alt tab, it isn’t as fast as keeping hold of all the stuff but our games are relativly small and people are always a lot happier with a loading bar (that actually moves) than a black screen it means you get all your resources for whatever you want to do when you’re tabbed out and don’t have msn chugg away just cause you want to send ‘no’ to your mate who’s doing your nut in.

    for everything else lauch your game from steam as a non-steam game if it uses DX8 steam’ll hook it with it’s community stuff & you can talk to people on that

    Edit: we use Open GL in work & it’s pretty simple to do it the way i just described, but i’ve never done anything like that in DX & propbably wouldn’t bother as i only use it for personal projects

  25. Dinger says:

    On a related note, wouldn’t it be nice to see dual screens properly supported? Why do we have to minimize to accede to that other screen? (ok, Solving desktop issues my not be easy, but you could do it like the Amiga’s “roll down” hi-res screen.

    p.s.: did you mean ‘lamentation?’ Or maybe L.A. Mention, the weekly roundup of names dropped in and around Hollywood.
    p.p.s.: the Amiga’s bus ran at twice the CPU’s clockrate, allowing all sorts of sweetness.

  26. K says:

    Somewhat off-topic. Are there many games which make interesting use of dual monitors? I know it’s probably wasteful for them to implement, but still.

    Uh, yes, no alt-tab is annoying. And if software decides it’s more important than the currently active program and boldly interrupts, stating I should update it or something, causing active program to crash is annoying too.

  27. po says:

    @Theory:

    Vista = #1 reason I switched to OSX.
    Unix (in particular OpenBSD) = #2 reason I switched to OSX.

    It just looks like they made a bit of a cock-up with DOS/Windows (of the 640k/2 characters are OK to store the year variety) when they decided they need both carriage return and line feed. Since when were either DOS or Windows used on mainframes? Unix is the OS for that environment, and it can handle either line ending fine when files are parsed (I just don’t like to be the one writing the parser).

    Linux is the home of the game server , so having to cope with MS’ mistakes is just one more PITA. The other big MS PITA is games that don’t have Linux servers (That need WINE), or the biggest PITA which is game servers that need so much DirectX that they don’t work at all in WINE (Like Freelancer’s FLServer). I’m not forking out £300 for Server 2003 for my game server, so I can make use of all the hardware (cores and RAM) and run more than one server on the OS (which will no doubt crash more than Linux anyway). I can only thank Horace for VMware, so I can use Linux and a nice cheap eBay copy of 2000 on the same box, to have both game servers at once.

  28. yxxxx says:

    it would be nice to alt – tab out and in of games and other software more easily but i doubt it will ever really happen.

    And as far as the windows key goes i have disabled it using a registry hack which is actually on the windows website somewhere.
    A friend of mine took more direct and removed the key completly.

  29. Ozzie says:

    Yeah, Psychonauts is really the only game that had proper support for alt-tab.

    It’s really annoying. I started up Dungeon Lords to play it with someone. But then I considered to alt-tab out of it to surf on the internet while eating (it’s a bit hard to play with only one free hand…). Of course, I couldn’t get back into it, it only left a permanent black box on the screen until I closed it.
    I remember Driver: press one wrong key and you’re out of the game, it closed itself within a second. Well, thanks!!

  30. Corion says:

    This has been a constant frustration for me as well.

    Call of Duty 4 supports alt tab like a beauty.

    Assassin’s Creed seemed to not play nicely with it. It’s quite strange, but a friend told me you can run the game in something like a fullscreen windowed mode and it works fine.

    Another thing that annoys me is how often times games will have loading screens that you can’t possibly cancel, and/or if you alt-tab during them they crash. Also, games which require you to load for a couple minutes to see a basic text-only menu. Awesome.

    These just aren’t very high priority for developers – some developers don’t even prioritize game-crippling bugs, so I usually let these just slide if they get the rest right. But occasionally a game like CoD4 will happily surprise me.

    Windows DirectX basically makes it a giant pain in the ass to properly handle alt-tab

    I really wish gaming would move to Linux. Microsoft has proven they don’t care about gamers with Vista – they want everyone to move to the 360 where they make significant returns on every game sold – right now they don’t see much of anything from other developers’ PC game sales. I’d switch to Linux in less than a heartbeat if it had as much game support as Windows. Developers need to band together and upgrade its gaming graphics capabilities.

    News like this makes me happy:
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=source_linux&num=1

  31. Down Rodeo says:

    I think my home PC can alt-tab in and out of Source. It just takes ages and makes me think ‘crash’.

    A flatmate of mine is able to alt-tab on HG:L with no issues though. I don’t think I know any others that play nicely though. (Sadly this is due in part to performance issues and also due to the wonderfulness of Source leading me to play very few other engines so I don’t know how they go. I will change this though when I get a new computer.)

  32. Arienette says:

    I normally have more of a problem alt-tabbing back into a game than out of it in the first place.

    I agree on the windows button issue completely, I removed mine from my keyboard since you spend a lot of time in guild wars holding down alt and ctrl, fun times when you hit the windows button in the middle of a fight.

  33. Dot says:

    I use Alt-Tab all the time, all it takes is running stuff in windowed mode. I guess it’s the combination of Vista’s GPU-accelerated GUI and the 8800 series’ weird glitch that gets them a small speed boost in windowed mode, but I end up not losing any framerate at all.

  34. Tom says:

    ‘game-flow-design’:
    The worst example I can think of is Dark Messiah (source engine!). Don’t get me wrong, the game is quite fun, it tells it’s story. But why does it do this every bloody time I start it up(…think intro). And for God’s sake I know its from Ubisoft. More generally, why are good games ruined by chucking annoying ads in player’s faces (…think nvidia/publishers/games that have 10x© and 25x® in their titles), not letting players interrupt/pause the game/intro etc?
    I play these games and just wonder, ‘If I were developing this game, I would want it perfect’, and I would definitely not let any marketing spoof come in and ruin everything at the last moment. Its those small things that count too.

  35. Krupo says:

    I, too, have The_B’s problem of crashing on exit. For me, it just means that I have to wait longer before I can quit Steam. Rather silly problem, really. I blindly blame Vista, because it’s a reliable scapegoat these days.

    “Me three” – what’s up with this? Some recent update that bonked things or what?

    Then there’s those advert dealies Tom mentions. I’m actively avoiding EA games for their obligatory EA games intro can’t-skip crap-screens. Fortunately there’s that switch to kill the intro (-intro:off).

    It’s almost as bad as DVDs with unskippable ads for other movies. It’s as if they WANT you to just get the movie from a torrent instead.

    Jerks.

  36. RichPowers says:

    Agreed Tom. The lack of alt-tab support is part of a larger problem: PC games are too monolithic.

    First sit through annoying NVIDIA and EA splash screens. Then wait while your map loads. Hope you enjoy dealing with our embarrassingly bad server browser too! How come so many devs go out of their way to make accessing the game’s content so difficult and/or annoying? Every 20 seconds spent watching splash screens or dealing with poor alt-tab implementation is 20 seconds I could’ve spent enjoying your product.

    PCs are multitasking machines. Most games do not permit efficient multitasking. Battlefield ’42, though, is one of those rare exceptions. It loads quickly (unlike its successors) and will exit instantly simply by using alt-f4.

  37. malkav11 says:

    Fortunately there’s software to skip unskippable ads just as there’s ways of disabling unskippable intros for most games.

    A keyboard that doesn’t have the bloody useless Windows and Menu keys? Where can I get such a wonderful thing? (bonus: getting rid of Caps Lock, which I inadvertently turn on approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more often than I actually use it as intended – I did it once just typing this!)

  38. Al says:

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory cheerfully ignored you pressing Alt+Tab or the Windows key. It didn’t crash, it just did… nothing. To the extent that there’s quite a few “ET Switcher” mini-apps out there, for you to assign hotkeys to before playing. The amazing thing about these? Seamless transition, and no noticable in-game performance issues, from my experience.

  39. Jahkaivah says:

    *Holds alt, presses tab*

    ….

    Anyone else going to admit they had no idea they could do that?

  40. Aquarion says:

    I also have a duel monitor setup (Incidentally, anyone running duel monitors under windows without also running Ultramon is doing it wrong). One of the reasons I stick with City of Heroes above more shiny things is that I’ve been able to spend the last half hour or so running though the new I13 mission content – or some of it – whilst being able to read this thread on the other monitor, tabbing between them to page-down as necessary.

    It would be interesting if the Steam hardware survey thing looked for multi-monitor setups. The current one recognises stretch resolution (Where you effectively have one desktop of 2560 x 1024 or something) but doesn’t note the more usual setup where each monitor is accessed differently (which is better for gaming, as you don’t end up with the centre target line dead on the bezel).

  41. cliffski says:

    The techy crap part #2

    You detect it because windows sends a message to your program called WM_ACTIVATEAPP saying “you just lost it!” which is when you mute your sounds. You get another WM_ACTIVATEAPP later when you get ‘focus’ back, and that’s where you stick your code to reload all your textures and to reset other stuff like vertex buffers, which also get killed when you lose focus.
    The easiest way to do it is have a special ‘smart’ class for an object in the game that contains a pointer to video memory. then when you tab back to the game, you just zap through all those objects and say “time to reload your textures buddy”. Although in a bigger game, obviously its more sensible to only have objects reload their texture if it was lost and they need to get drawn again.
    You have to handle the same problem with input and sound too. Actually one thing that really would help is if game reviewers mentioned a lack of tab support in reviews.

  42. Gloinn says:

    I often get the sticky keys screen. “You pressed the shift button 5 times in a row..do you want to configure sticky keys?” and it freezes my game. Especially annoying in pinball games.

  43. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @cliffski

    thats cool i might start doing it, but probably not, it’s the kind of thing i’d never remember to do.

  44. BrokenSymmetry says:

    In this, and other respects, Guild Wars is a technical marvel. You can alt-tab in and out of it instantly, it has an actual maximize/restore button in the right upper corner to switch between full-screen and windowed mode instantly, etc.

  45. Mike says:

    @ Gloinn:

    Go to control panel, accessibility options and turn off sticky keys.

  46. Valentin Galea says:

    In DirectX games when you alt-tab you get a device_lost message – so when returning you need to rebuild some of your shaders, procedural textures and what not – so some devs are lazy and don’t like to bother with that:) or they do, but with bugs!

  47. parm says:

    To add to what Cliffski said – the other thing is that adding the code to deal with load/release of data really has to be done at the very start of development – if you don’t build a nice object loader that you force everyone to use right from the start, you’re likely to end up with every programmer writing their own resource loading code, and then later when you decide to clean up your prototype code and turn it into a Real Game(tm) you end up having to go through the whole lot, finding every place a resource is loaded and munging support for release/reload in. And that’s a ballache.

    Now, the slightly ridiculous thing here is that DirectX *does* support automatic management of this sort of thing – if you load a resource and stick it in what’s known as the Managed pool, the resource gets loaded into system memory and then DirectX manages copying it to your graphics card as and when needed, evicting old stuff as needed. The upshot of this is that you can merrily alt-tab your way around and DirectX will automagically unload and reload your resources as it sees fit and you don’t have to worry about it. However, this has a couple of issues. Firstly, you take a performance hit, because Windows has to spend time figuring out what should be in graphics memory and what needs evicting, and if you’ve got more resources than can fit in your card’s memory, it’s going to be spending a lot of time loading and unloading textures, which will kill performance. Secondly, you end up with a shadow copy of all your resources in system memory, which eats up RAM.

    So, what most game developers do is use what’s known as the Default pool – this is essentially a way of loading things directly onto the graphics card and bypassing system memory, which means all the automatic management stuff is bypassed and everything runs nice and quick and you know exactly how much memory you’ve got to play with, etc, etc. Unfortunately, it leads to exactly the problem you talk about above – when the application loses the D3D device, everything is unloaded, and it’ll need reloading when you switch back to it.

    It’s wrong, I think, to blame MS for this entirely – the ability to choose performance above convenience for resource management is important, but it does mean that developers need to budget time for writing asset management code, which is deeply unsexy and doesn’t produce the pretty screenshots that publishers like to see, and so tends to get forgotten about or wilfully ignored.

  48. Crispy says:

    One other thing that’s worth mentioning is that, unlike games for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles, PC games have no set of rules that make sure certain things -always- work. There is no ‘submission’ process for PC games: who would you send it off to for approval? This is mainly because no two PC setups are the same, so no one official body can possibly say ‘the game needs to be able to do this’ as a basic requirement. True, some games are released under the ‘Games for Windows’ format, which does specify certain requirements, but one of these requirements is also that the user should be able to use an XBox 360 controller if they so choose, not exactly universal to all PCs and not what I’d consider a basic requirement.

    So it basically comes down to how sympathetic the developer/publisher setup is. Like cliffski says, if the developer can be arsed to pull ther finger out and make it happen, but also ‘does the publisher care more about a deadline than fulfilling the basic set of fundamental requirements for a PC game?’.

    Alt Tab is basically a sign of someone who cares.

  49. Durbin says:

    I found that STALKER alt-tabbed perfectly, kinda ironic when you think about all the other bugs people complained about (although I didn’t find many :o)

  50. cliffski says:

    lets not forget Alt+Enter too. I use this to toggle my games between windowed and fullscreen, like many apps do. Its super handy during development, so I just leave it in.
    I wish more games did.