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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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59. Re: Croteam on Windows 8 Issues Nov 17, 2012, 21:20 WaltC
DDI wrote on Nov 17, 2012, 20:02:
So much crazy in here. Windows Desktop environment will not go away for a long time. Even Windows RT still has the desktop environment. The new Start Menu is far faster to navigate than the old one, even with a mouse. There is a shit ton of data to back it up.

DADES loves to spread the FUD. You can run the same exact certification tests before you submit the app so you aren't wasting time waiting for feedback.

The price for an individual to publish apps to the store (which you do not need to install your own apps) is $50 a year. Big fucking deal. If can't swing the $50 then make it a desktop app and get a real fucking job that gives lets you earn more than $50 a year. Apple is $100 year. Microsoft's 30% cut goes down to 20% once your app hits 25k of revenue, unlike Google or Apple where its 30% indefinitely.

In Newell's case, he always has an ulterior reason for some of the crap he spews--he *knows* that Ubuntu 12.04 gaming business will not even come close to supporting Valve--yet he pretends it is some kind of alternative to Windows. Steam has no alternative to Windows--Linux and OS X combined wouldn't put a dent in Steam's bottom line. Take Windows game revenue out of Valve tomorrow and Valve is dead tomorrow. Newell knows this like the back of his hand.

I think what Gabe is really doing, and he rarely does anything in a straightforward manner, is a publicity stunt based on Win8 in trying to attract more OS X and Linux users to Steam. Beating the "Windows will destroy us all" drum is already a drumbeat which Linux and OS X proponents groove on, so Gabe is beating that drum to get them to come in and take a much closer look at Steam than they've ever done. What's the one major piece of hardware OS X users and Ubuntu 12.04 users have in common? Why, it's their computers, of course--as both can run and boot Windows natively in addition to Ubuntu and OS X.

Gabe is doing a bait & switch--he's getting them in to look at Ubuntu and OS X gaming, but what he's really doing is exposing both of them to the truly massive Windows game library Steam offers that dwarfs everything else Steam sells. So Valve baits the Linux guys by investing in one or two Ubuntu game titles and hopes they'll want a lot more games and start dual-booting (if they already aren't doing so) and start buying them. Valve has 0 plans to port its Windows games library to Ubuntu 12.04, btw...;) That would be a prohibitively expensive proposition even for Intel.

Could Gabe Newell be so ignorant as to believe that Ubuntu 12.04 is some kind of financial savior for Steam, in the event that Microsoft decides to cash in its chips in the near future? Of course not! He'd have to be a dunce to believe that...;) He's no dunce, so he's doing something else.

WinRT is an upcoming development platform for several upcoming Windows segments; x86 being the largest by a gargantuan degree. WindowsRT is an *upcoming ARM-based product* (line) which may, or may not, succeed to any degree. All I can say is that if Newell or Croteam or anyone else thinks that Microsoft is going to shut down open Windows x86 to try and force people into a closed WindowsRT product line--then Microsoft has gone as mad as a hatter.

I do not think that Microsoft has flipped its lid. Rather, it's hedging its bets and attacking the future from a variety of angles so as to be prepared for *anything* that may prove to be a trend in several years, even if that trend is much different than what we're all used to.

My bet is that if anything the software market will be even freer and more open than what we are used to today, and the closed systems--the iOSes and the WindowsRT product lines--will become historical footnotes. Indeed, even the product lines themselves may no longer support the emerging form factors that they do today like iPads and Surface and what not. It's entirely plausible that new form factors will emerge that prove more popular and functional so that in a decade people will scratch their heads and say, "Remember those old tablet thingamagigees? Whatever happened to them, btw?"

Now, I'm not saying *categorically* that Microsoft hasn't gone clinically insane...because I can't prove it, either way...;) But what I am saying is that I'll *bet you good money* Microsoft hasn't gone bonkers, though, and that there's a method to this madness that has nothing to do with walled gardens of the Apple variety.
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It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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