Stardock's Wardell: 'Switch To Windows 7 As Quickly As Possible'
Gamers and developers have never fully embraced Windows Vista -- but Brad Wardell of PC-focused developer and digital publisher Stardock (Galactic Civilizations II) told Gamasutra "it would be good if everybody switched to Windows 7 as quickly as possible."
CEO Wardell, whose most recent major publishing partnerships were with Ironclad on Sins Of A Solar Empire and Gas Powered Games on Demigod, is famously frank with his opinions even on companies and products linked to Stardock.
He has criticized Microsoft for shipping Windows Vista before drivers were ready and without proper performance optimization.
Windows 7 is an evolution of Vista, however, and reports so far have suggested many of its predecessor's kinks have been worked out. "Apparently, performance is really good," Wardell said.
In particular, he pointed to a feature called WARP -- Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform -- that will allow a system's CPU to perform DirectX acceleration when a video card doesn't support certain rendering features, or if a discrete card isn't included in the PC at all.
That ties into one of Stardock's fundamental principles: "We want the game to look incredible on high-end systems, but I want people to be able to play this on their three-year-old laptop on the airplane," Wardell said.
"One of the things that comes up often is, 'How has Stardock made so much money on these niche games?' Well, because our games run on millions of boxes."
And so, despite the enthusiasm for Windows 7, Stardock isn't rushing to start requiring users to support Direct X 10 or 11.
"We've taken the view that we're pretty much sticking with DirectX 9 until Windows Vista hits critical mass," Wardell explained.
"The developer can still build the same features into their game, and that's what we've been doing with our engine. You don't need DirectX 10 or 11 to do that lighting; [with them] you just don't have to write the code to actually make use of those features."