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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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103. Re: Croteam on Windows 8 Issues Nov 18, 2012, 03:30 Verno
 
noman wrote on Nov 18, 2012, 03:06:
Discussing problems is all well and good, but the melodramatics need to be toned down. The post from someone at Croteam doesn't serve any purpose, other than adding to Gabe's catastrophe comment. It doesn't even explain what their own stance on DRM is.

No, you have confused your own opinion that "all these stores are just DRM" with their statement. It's about the inability for users to load their own metro applications (games or otherwise) outside of the store and certification processes. You can argue that Steam and say the Xbox 360 have the same procedures but it's a different scenario when the company in charge is also creating the operating system. Croteam even noted that their concern is that this is just a first step. Paranoid? Maybe but the inability to load your own applications is troubling.

I can only speak for myself on that but I would be 100% fine with the store if they would just give me the ability to load my own things if I so choose. To me that's a pretty basic part of a desktop computer. Hell even Steam lets me put my own installed games into its library outside of its store front.

There is a big difference, one is owned by the company who makes the operating system and exercises a great deal of control including deciding whether or not to even allow those aforementioned applications compete on the Windows Store in the future.

Windows8 still has more changes compared to Windows7, than what Win7 had compared to Vista. The changes at kernel level are fairly substantial, and there are bunch of very useful new features (ISO mount, better SSD management, better printer stack, better network discovery, better desktop rendering with WDDM1.2, better alt-tab handling, better battery life on laptops, better AHCI support, native USB3, better file history feature, new storage space feature etc.) and it still takes less overall hardware resources than Win7.

Uh, lots of vagueness there and I've been using Windows 8 through out the previews to retail so I know it pretty well. That's practically a by line of the wikipedia bullet points and many of those are dubious vaguaries. "better alt tab" for example means nothing. The new WDDM is a non-feature. Storage Spaces has very poor performance and is rather half baked overall, I've played with it quite a bit as I was greatly anticipating replacing my ZFS raid at home. Better SSD management? It does exactly what Windows 7 does already in terms of detecting and applying SSD specific tweaks. Many of the kernel level improvements only apply to metro apps for example and the tickless kernel change is overstated by people grasping for positive features.

Now don't get me wrong, Windows 8 does have some minor improvements worth mentioning. The task manager and file copy dialog and buffering improvements are immediately apparent. I don't like the new ribbon for explorer but some people might find it useful. The printer spool now has some failsafes to prevent those annoying timeouts due to shitty drivers. I think however that most of the features are incredibly minor at best. To me the biggest thing Windows 8 has going for it is the price tag. It's cheap which is good because Windows 7 is not. So picking up a $15-40 copy of Windows 8 is pretty attractive given that if you don't like Metro there are third party options to disable it. I just don't think that outside of that there is a compelling upgrade reason.

This comment was edited on Nov 18, 2012, 03:42.
 
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