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Gaming In The Age Of Vista: An Interview With Microsoft's Rich Wickham
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Gaming In The Age Of Vista: An Interview With Microsoft's Rich Wickham

June 4, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

Launching the Library

There are twenty-five or so currently branded Games for Windows titles - which aren't necessarily only for Vista or DirectX 10. That number will reach an estimated fifty to seventy-five by the end of the year. Because it’s a new program, as titles are shipped, they’re either branded or not depending on how developers choose to participate. “You’re going to see more and more branded,” says Wickham.

That branding bar across the box top comes with meeting a technical standard, something that’s not been formally done for PC games before. As far as DirectX 10 titles go, those come later. But the first two games to showcase Live arrived in late May – Shadowrun, which launched on May 29th, and Halo 2 Vista, which launched on May 31st.

“As we go into the summer, you’re going to see more,” Wickham says, adding that autumn will see a library of DirectX 10 titles including Crysis, Hellgate: London, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, Flight Simulator X and the revamped Company of Heroes.


German independent developer Crytek's visually stunning Crysis

When Vista shipped in January, it may well have been the first games platform to do so without any upgrade-exclusive launch titles, something that, in video games, has been around since Mario first appeared with the NES.

“I think it’s a rolling thunder sort of approach,” explains Wickham. “The day and date that you ship Windows Vista, you don’t necessarily have to have…it isn’t like a console.” Windows Vista is a multi-purpose piece of software. “You can use it for all the things you use your PC for. Games is one of those core scenarios.”

It’s easy to instantly criticize every incremental advance as not enough, but there is work going on in Redmond. Wickham further notes that Microsoft has a history of making platforms similar – the X in Xbox is from DirectX – and significant effort has been made to make sure the development environment is as common as possible. Most developers are developing on Windows, so making their game work on a 360 is not a big stretch, and vice versa.

It might be popular, but will companies such as, say, Valve build DirectX 10 games? “I’m certain that they will. They’ve always been on the cutting edge of technology.” However, not all developers have expressed enthusiasm for DX10. John Carmack, the architect behind the original 3D engines for Doom and Quake, has expressed some skepticism. And now Wickham meets the question head on.

“What I believe Mr. Carmack said was that he did not currently see a compelling reason to develop on DX10,” Wickham says, adding: "We obviously work with id, and a lot of id’s progeny.”

“Stay tuned.” Wickham thinks we’ll see great DirectX 10 titles from all of the developers that one would expect to see on the cutting edge. “I will be shocked and amazed if id doesn’t build a DirectX 10 title some day,” he says, adding, “And I will suspect that it will be sooner rather than later.”

Wickham compares DX10 to DX9, citing programmability, things like geometry, shaders, and some of the other improvements they’ve made to HLSL. Once developers “get their heads around the technology… they’re going to want to only work on that platform.”

And the real challenge for developers, says Wickham, is “do I build a DirectX 10 only game?” Developers will examine install bases and other factors. Wickham concludes, “Go back and ask Carmack what he thinks about DirectX 10 in a year, or eighteen months, or twenty-four months. Let’s see.”

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

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