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How backwards compatible is enough?

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So I''d thought I''d float this question... How backwards compatible is enough. When you write a program, do you code it so that it will run on Windows 3.1? Probably not. Windows 95? 98/ME? This question has recently come up for me since a lot of nice features were added to the WinAPI in Windows 2000, and I do enjoy writing C# programs (which can only run on 98 and up). I''m a hobbyist game programmer, so I''m not writing code to make money and I''m not particularly concerned about maximizing my possible audience. So what do you guys think? Even if I did try to write games to run on the 9 years old Win95, no one with a machine like that is going to have a CPU or GPU or RAM to run my game. I would argue the same might be true for Win98 and its bastard child WinME. The logs from my website say that less than 1% of visitors are using win95 and only 14% are using Win98/ME - and maybe some of these people are surfing on their secondary machines. So when is it reasonable to forget about past operating systems? I know all the arguments for backwards compatibility, but after a while it gets kind of silly. Or does anyone here still code to Win3.1? Maybe if you were writing an FTP client or something you might (WS_FTP is ugly enough to run on 3.1), but I''m talking about games here. ---------------------------------------- Let be be finale of seem, seems to me. ---------------------------------------- Shedletsky''s Code Library: Open source projects and demos

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This entirely depends on your target market. Do you want to write a game for bleeding edge gamers, or for a large market segment.

Are you going to use the hardware support provided by the latest greatest or can you accomplish the same thing with a system 2-3 years old?

Backwards compatibility is a tough question, but it boils down to target market

More users == more money

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Assume that anybody running an OS older than the oldest PC you expect your game to be able to run sensibly on is irrelevant.

There''s no point in making it run on Windows95 if it needs a 2.5ghz CPU to run properly and a cutting edge video, because nobody with that hardware will have win95.

Mark

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As of now win 98 has been fazed out, and ME sucks. Go ahead and write for 2000 and XP.

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According to google http://www.google.com.au/press/zeitgeist/feb04_pie.gif, ~64% of google users reported themselves are using Win XP/2k. In comparison, Win98 is 23% and Win95 ~1%. Also the number for XP is increasing continiously.

Personally, I dont code for Win9x line at all. Too many limitations for such a small audience. Running stuff on Win98 is a serious hassel due to the limitations of the OS.

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Win98 are often used even now, becose they are not such a memory hog as Win XP.
Of course if your game needs 500 MB memory then you should not worry.

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Bah, if you''re writing games for fun then you can ignore what anybody says about target markets and usage statistics.

Just pick the group of people you want to be able to play your game... the half dozen people you''ll send it to when it becomes playable. Say, your buddies, your brother, your cousin, and 2 guys on GDN. Consider what machines they have, and write it for them.

If the game becomes popular, then you''ll get total strangers emailing you to tell you whether it does or does not work. THEN you can start worrying about compatibility. Until then, worrying too much will just make the project unfun.

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If you check Valve''s survey of Counterstrike players you''ll see that around 90% are running Win 2k or XP so given what you say about your target audience I''d say you should be pretty safe targetting 2k and above.

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