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Croteam on Windows 8 Issues

A post on the Steam Users' Forums from a couple of weeks ago offers a distressing overview of Windows 8 from Croteam (thanks Gamer's Hell), as Alen Ladavac says: "I would very much like to clear this one thing. I think that this is very important as there are 'under the hood' motions related to Windows 8 that are hidden and not well understood even by many developers (yet), and certainly not by most gamers." Saying "Gabe Newel did not overreact," he goes on to describe how "under the hood, the new tiled UI is a means for Microsoft to lock Windows applications into a walled garden, much like the one on iOS." Here's more:

There is this "small detail" that Microsoft is not advertising anywhere, but you can find it dug deep in the developer documentation:

One cannot release a tiled UI application by any other means, but only through Windows Store!

I cannot even begin to stress out just how horrible this idea is! There is no side-loading, except for corporate use inside one company, and that works only on the enterprise edition of Windows 8. Do we all understand what that means? You cannot download an application from the Internet and run it on your computer. You have to get it from Microsoft's store. Even if it is a free app!

If it was just about "being downloaded from Windows store", it would not be a problem. It would be nice to have a common hub to download things from. But to get an app onto that store, it has to be certified by MS. This means bringing the "console experience" onto your desktop. Each app that you will get through the Windows Store will have to adhere to certain requirements imposed by MS. So far, we know that they've banned mature games, like Skyrim, CoD, and Serious Sam.[*] They have forbidden modding. They could very well forbid Open Source if they want. But even if these terms were not there, this is still a certification system. With all of its downsides, including uncertain release dates, rare and late patches, and everything turning out to be more expensive and sucking more.

While, theoretically, desktop applications are exempt from these requirements, it looks more and more like just a foot-in-the-door technique. A large number of developers have expressed their concern with possibility that, probably in Windows 9 or something like that, the ability to get even desktop apps in any other way than through Windows app store may very well be removed. When that happens it will be too late.

I would not invest into supporting the tiled UI apps (which MS now conveniently calls "Windows Store apps" - does that ring a bell?), until MS removes the requirement that they have to be shipped through Windows Store on desktop at least - and thereby remove the requirement of certifying them with MS. Certification is a broken concept and should be abolished.

Now, while in current state Windows 8 do look like they support plain desktop apps seamlessly, the removal of start menu and use of "charms" even on the desktop looks like a pretty blunt attempt to force users to "get used" to the tiled UI. It would be fine by me if it wasn't for the aforementioned certification issue.

So, it is a vicious circle. And not an accidental one. This one was carefully designed to be that way. I say: no thank you, I'll skip on that one.

* (Our footnote, not Alen's): He seems to have missed this story).

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50. Re: Wow... Nov 17, 2012, 20:08 Parallax Abstraction
wtf_man wrote on Nov 17, 2012, 19:19:
Doombringer wrote on Nov 17, 2012, 19:10:
I'm seeing a lot of "gasp!" and "the sky is falling!" regarding Windows 8's "Metro" or RT apps...

I suppose it wouldn't be so shocking if Microsoft said "hey, it's like iOS. Get it?"

Because that's what it is. It's a walled garden. You can't install whatever you'd like on an iOS device, and yet, somehow Apple can't sell enough of them. People are eating them up. Did you think Microsoft *wasn't* going to want a piece of this?

IOS is not OSX.

Apple is not trying to put IOS on Macintosh Desktop computers.

What part of this are you not getting?

Sure, they have added some OPTIONAL IOS-like features to OSX (Mac app store, App launcher that looks like IOS launcher, and access to iCloud) But NONE of that is forced on you, like Metro is with Windows 8. OSX remains to be it's own Desktop OS.

Anyone who thinks this exact kind of thing isn't coming to OS X is kidding themselves. Microsoft may have done it first but make no mistake, Apple wants in on this too. They can wait longer because they have a monopoly on the hardware market for their platform and have managed to convince people to overpay for hardware because tons of people just own Macs because they're fashionable but they want their cut of app sales on every platform just like Microsoft does.

I don't run Windows 8 and don't know if I will but I still think a lot of the hype from the likes of Croteam and Valve is based on pure speculation and not evidence. Anybody remember that article from the New Zealand security researcher that screamed how Windows Vista was full of DRM and was basically going to be an OS that Hollywood would be able to cripple at will and which would severely limit what you could do with it to support DRM? Yeah, remember how that also turned out to be complete bullshit and the guy was shoved into obscurity as a result? Panic without evidence is often unfounded.

Not saying I like Microsoft's direction (which is squarely following something Apple started and has been practically considered heroic for) but I wager if Windows 8 isn't selling (I've seen lots of people saying this without one person linking to an article with actual cited sales data), they will re-evaluate their strategy. I hated Vista too death and so did everyone else but it was the fastest selling version of Windows for its game, though granted, that was before tablets and the Apple fashion trend. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Microsoft or Windows 8, though it probably sounds it. I'm just saying it might be worth laying off the panic until there's something worth panicing about, beyond what a guy like Newell says, who has a vested interest in making sure he controls the PC software market instead of Microsoft. If this gets worse in Windows 9, I'll happily switch to Linux, assuming it isn't still the massive nightmare that it is now.
Parallax Abstraction
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