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PC Games (Games) Windows Games

Gaming On Windows 7 554

Posted by Soulskill
from the extreme-minesweeper dept.
Jason Wilson writes "Windows 7 comes out Oct. 22, and many gamers are wondering whether it will be a boon for gaming, as Microsoft promised Vista would, or a disappointment (like Vista was at its launch). Former ExtremeTech editor Jason Cross, who's covered games and tech for 13 years, discusses the pluses and minuses of Windows 7 for gamers — how it differs from Vista, if it'll run older games, and the benefits of 64-bit computing. 'Windows 7 basically takes the Vista codebase and rewrites, refines, optimizes, and overhauls most of the internal stuff without making dramatic changes to the driver stacks that Vista did over WinXP. The changes to the fundamental driver models are small and mostly serve to improve performance. Plus, the hardware makers — especially the graphics guys — are on top of the changes this time around. Nvidia and ATI have been shipping quite good Win7 graphics drivers for months now.'"
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Gaming On Windows 7

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  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:16AM (#28804847)

    Even Starcraft, which is very aged game, worked just fine.

    The latest patch is dated Jan 22, 2009. I don't think that makes it "aged".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:40AM (#28804935)

    Not to sound like there's no pleasing me, but think of all the cruft they had to leave in there to make sure they didn't break old stuff - which was probably coded to depend on bugs and warts in previous versions of Windows.

    Sometimes purposefully breaking shit is the only way to make the whole scene move forward. Apple had it when they moved to OSX and happened with Linux at various points (e.g., the libc/glibc wars). Only Microsoft clearly have a lot more to lose by pissing off their user base. (I think the US DOJ even considered an investigation when XP SP2 broke their toys.)

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday July 24, 2009 @05:56AM (#28804983) Homepage Journal

    Uhhhhmmmm, why do you need a super duper CPU to run DX10? That is the job of the GPU. Trying to improve your video with a CPU upgrade is a lost cause. If you're using onboard video that uses shared system memory, you never see video performance.

    http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-US/AboutGFW/Pages/DirectX10-a.aspx [microsoft.com]

    Simply put, DirectX is a Windows technology that enables higher performance in graphics and sound when you're playing games or watching video on your PC.

    At the core of DirectX are its application programming interfaces, or APIs. The APIs act as a kind of bridge for the hardware and the software to "talk" to each other. The DirectX APIs gives multimedia applications access to the advanced features of high-performance hardware such as three-dimensional (3-D) graphics acceleration chips and sound cards. They control low-level functions, including two-dimensional (2-D) graphics acceleration; support for input devices such as joysticks, keyboards, and mice; and control of sound mixing and sound output.

    Because of DirectX, what you experience with your computer is better 3-D graphics and immersive music and audio effects.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:03AM (#28805011)

    The piece still left me somewhat queasy. Especially the bit that said "if you have hardware older than 4 years, just spend $800 and you're good again" is real slick, of course. Yes, that way windows 7 will have no performance problems, no sweat.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:10AM (#28805049)
    Actually, the OP is correct. Modern games with a recent graphics card are bottlenecked by the CPU. Specifically, GTA 4 needs a monstrously powerful CPU in order for the engine to draw the city at a decent framerate. This is probably a result of poor programming by the folks that ported the game, but in any case you need a beefy CPU to enjoy GTA4.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:13AM (#28805053)

    Get over yourself? It's an OS, not a relationship!
    What's wrong with trying it out, and if you don't like it, installing another? You might like it, you know? You make it sound like there's no turning back.
    Installing an OS you don't like and sticking with it, getting nightmares and "3rd degree burns"? Shame on you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:20AM (#28805079)

    Metaphor or no metaphor, it's still pathetic.

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:17AM (#28805269)

    It's still a PITA. And not as functional either.

    And the way that X handles multiple screens has some fairly nasty problems, especially with the new generation of composite rendered desktops - two screens of the same resolution have to have different refresh rates so the driver can tell the difference between them, but the simplest way of double-screening on X involves making one big double-width virtual screen (which of course, has it's own refresh rate).

    The downside to this being that you have one physical screen that ends up as the "master" which syncs to the X refresh rate, and on the other screen, it's out of sync. So you get a line of horizontal tearing that proceeds vertically across the screen at the difference between the refresh rates. Because this is low, it creeps slowly and is very obvious, particularly when you are dragging windows or watching video. And you can't avoid it because of the way X is designed.

    On my setup, I could exert no control over which screen was the "master" either ; for some stupid reason it's always the monitor on the secondary port of the GPU, so I had to swap the cables over and reconfigure everything (including my Windows desktop). And if I boot to the console it's now on my secondary screen.

    As much as I love Linux and think it's faster, more powerful, and more satsifying than "that other OS", Windows utterly kicks the living daylights out of it in terms of multi-monitor setup, because Windows

      * Can actually support two monitors at the same resolution without ugly vsync tearing
      * The screen setup is all in one place and you don't have to work out which driver-specific app you have to use (or which text file to edit)
      * Doesn't make you choose between Xinerama and TwinView (without explaining the benefits of either).

    The major problem with X was that it was designed to be what Remote Desktop / VNC is today, for big fat servers to render GUI windows on dumb terminals.

  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:18AM (#28805273)

    Everyone else has already moved on to consoles

    Translation : I bought a Xbox 360 when it came out and since then I never play PC games anymore, which gives me the feeling that the whole world has done the same as I have.

    Here's a hint : PC gaming has over the last 15 years been given about as many death knells as Apple.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:19AM (#28805279)

    "Diablo3 and Starcraft2 will probably be the last two major PC game titles."

    Your post shows your complete ignorance of the recent releases for the PC, like Empire total war and Street fighter 4 and other games

    Lets not also forget PC's still have RTS and FPS genres licked in case you weren't paying attention, Battle field 1943, team fortress 2, left 4 dead, these are hardly "console only", and these are all fairly recent releases.

    I really wish the "PC gaming is dead" crew would get a life, everyone has been saying PC gaming is dead and games still keep being released for the PC forever now.

    The fact that Diablo 3 and starcraft 2 are being made is proof positive that it isn't dead, the truth is game developers who couldn't produce good games moved to consoles because they simply lost their mojo and couldn't control development costs. Also console players tend to be easier to please and also generally more stupid on average, you're also selling to mom + pop crowd who will buy any shit in a box for little johnny.

    Every point you have made was made 10 years ago with the advent of the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox.

    In case you weren't paying attention, Resident Evil 5 is coming to PC and also Street fighter 4 was released for the PC and it's heads and shoulders above the console versions, so much so I've bought a copy.

    Enterprising Companies like Capcom will come into fill the PC void because they know there is money to be made by the vacuum left behind.

    Only an idiot would write off the PC game market, those who say PC gaming is dead haven't been paying attention at all, or are not really into gaming that much at all. There are plenty of games on the PC.

  • by eugene2k (1213062) on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:43AM (#28805383) Homepage
    Apparently, someone disagrees with you on that, agreeing that they should be able to mod posts as Troll if they disagree with them :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:44AM (#28805387)

    Troll actually means "I disagree". Although in this case it likely means "lalala I can't hear you"

    That was stage one. It has now progressed to stage two. It now means the moderator is so fucking stupid they can't comprehend the most basic of topics. As such, so as to allow themselves to feel smarter, they then make every attempt to moderate down useful posts while at the same time moderating up actual troll posts. Worse, the actual troll posts are usually either made by these same idiots or are friends of these same idiots.

    When people can't grasp the basic concept of what "troll" and "flamebait", they are really fucking clueless. Sadly, what was once a minority on /. has steadily become a majority. That in turn has continued to chase away many of the people who actually know what the hell is going on in various domains. Hell, meta moderation used to actually work. Now even that working properly is unlikely. I can't remember the last time I've seen a troll moderation fixed; and I see troll moderation all the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @07:44AM (#28805397)

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a massive Microsoft fan-boy, but why is it that articles about Windows always spawn comments about Linux? It's really not necessary in every case you know. And this, an article about gaming on Windows 7, is one of those cases. It's not even remotely relevant to the post you're replying to.

    Keep your *nix comments to yourself!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @08:04AM (#28805499)

    Although I had no problem with the remainder of the post "This isn't France. We don't censor free speech" is obvious trolling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @08:24AM (#28805593)

    Google isn't a citation, OR what the hell is Google XP?

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday July 24, 2009 @08:44AM (#28805721) Journal

    It's not the "style" I miss, but the speed. The older themes are less-demanding on the CPU and therefore run faster. Yeah Vista-style is pretty, but the XP or Classic style open-and-close windows without those annoying pregnant pauses.

    Give me lean-and-fast over pretty-and-slow anyday.

  • by mcgrew (92797) on Friday July 24, 2009 @08:52AM (#28805763) Homepage Journal

    A troll wants nothing more than to see people pissed off. The first thing a troll does when he gets mod points is to mod interesting or insightful comments (like the GP, which now stands at 5, interesting) as "troll".

    There are six billion people on the planet, and some of them aren't very nice. Plus, even though this is a nerd site, not everyone here is a nerd.

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Friday July 24, 2009 @08:54AM (#28805783)
    Microsoft is in a place right now where they've got a nontrivial amount of competition from OSX and Linux. As a Windows using slashdotter myself, I'll say that there are two basic things keeping me on the platform: I know where everything is and how to get Windows to do what I want it to do, and I've got thousands of dollars invested in applications that are Windows-only. Certain apps are take-it-or-leave-it (i.e. DirectDVD is nice, but VLC would perform essentially the same tasks without the prettiness), others are useful-but-i-probably-could-manage-to-work-around-them (Microsoft Office, Nero, Sound Forge Studio, Delorme Street Atlas), and if-these-don't-work-then-I'm-not-using-the-system-no-matter-who-makes-it-or-how-cheap-it-is (Mixmeister, Torq, Premiere/Encore/Photoshop/After Effects CS4, Mediashout).

    If Microsoft breaks DirectDVD, I don't care. If Nero breaks, then I might be bummed, but I might end up buying the next version when it comes out. If I can't use Torq or Premiere, then I can't upgrade. I might be just one user, but business software costs significantly more, which means that they have all the more reason to ensure that a system works with all of their apps before they start using it. Whether it's Windows 10, Ubuntu 10, or OSX, if your company has all of their customer information in Flukenflaagen, and you've spent a couple thousand dollars on a version of Flukenflaagen that only runs properly on Windows XP, then neither a pretty desktop, Steve Jobs' Keynote, or the moral rammifications of Free Software won't matter to the person signing your paycheck.

    The point I'm clumsily grasping at here is that Microsoft has got tons of exclusive apps. Whether that's MS' fault or not is the subject of many-a-flamewar, but the bottom line is that it's a reality. Microsoft may end up crunching a few toes, but if they crunch enough where the next version of Windows will require users to buy their software all over again anyway, come next hardware purchasing cycle, you can count on everyone eyeballing competing platforms, and that's worse for business than having a 6-gig OS footprint.

  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday July 24, 2009 @10:30AM (#28806807)

    Not sure what you were doing wrong, but I have found the Nvidia linux driver to be brilliant. You need to run nvidia settings with root priv's so it can output the xorg.conf file, but this is to be expected. Even without root privileges you can change most stuff in the current session to get dual screens working, it will just forget it all next time it run.

    This is the classic 'works for me' argument. This is simply unacceptable for home use by non-geeks, and what about users with non-Nvidia cards?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 24, 2009 @10:34AM (#28806859)

    Even Starcraft, which is very aged game, worked just fine.

    The latest patch is dated Jan 22, 2009. I don't think that makes it "aged".

    It's been around since 1998. That makes it aged.

    The latest patch is dated January 22, 2009. That makes it maintained.

    "Aged" and "maintained" are not mutually exclusive. If you're going to be pedantic at least be accurate. You fuck.

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday July 24, 2009 @10:57AM (#28807157) Journal
    I would like to see the negative mod points restricted to one of every 5. Even if there are troll/offtopic posts, there is no need to hunt them all down instead of modding up the good stuff.

    Another solution would be to hide the troll moderation until a second person mods the same post as troll. Only the first moderator's point would be used, but it would force mod points to only be spent on modding people down if they are truely deserving.
  • I could have written that article and saved you all some trouble.

    Instead I'll debunk some of his bullshit.]

    Jason Cross knows his tech.

    Bullshit.

    And actually, the whole "branding the box with Games for Windows" thing has been pretty decent.

    First, no game as benefited from this branding. If anything it has made the 6 games it has much harder to play. Your saves are tied to your live account. Any DLC you want to get is also deadlocked into the G4W live marketplace. Can't get them anywhere else. Why is this bad? If you're like me, the G4W Live client seems to be an afterthought. I bought my add-ons for Fallout 3 and then coudldn't download them due to some cryptic error message. It took no fewer than 13 calls to Microsoft before I got the right department and even then they had no clue what the G4W Live client was. The calls couldn't resolve the issue, only time did. I would label G4W Live as an abysmal failure that only hinders the title rather than boosting it.

    It's just not the amazing total revolution in computing the marketing would have you believe.

    If you're coming from XP as most gamers are, it is. The most annoying thing about it from a gamer's point of view is the handling of the audio system. Other than that, it's quite amazing. Speed is much better than XP. The ability to pop in an 8GB thumb drive and create a readyboost cache is quite amazing also. Do games run better or faster? No, but the OS does and that in-turn makes the games experience better.

    You really shouldn't expect much of a change from Vista to Windows 7 in terms of old game compatibility.

    Windows 7 has compatibility options for every MS OS from windows 95 through windows vista sp2. You probably won't need to use compatibility much if ever though. Some really old games run great in the windows 7 vdm. As for some more recent games, Arma 2 has severe performance issues with windows 7.

    You're not stuck with that 2GB-maximum 32-bit [memory limit].

    Ugh, fact checking? 32-bit has a 4GB memory limit, not 2GB. With your video ram, it sometimes came out to be 3GB or a little more.

    I'd almost insist on it. Windows XP is old enough that running it is sort of a security risk, and you can't run DX10 or DX11.

    Windows XP is less of a security risk than Windows 7 at this point. The bugs are mostly ironed out and the security suites all run on XP natively. Windows 7 still hasn't undergone much scrutiny for bugs and most security suites don't run properly on the OS. It's more of a real security risk than XP at this point.

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