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Gamespot Article on XNA and longhorn

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Meh. Dogma and ideology, as always.

PC gaming isn't so hot. Neither is console gaming. They both have strengths and weaknesses, and both can stand some improvements. Microsoft wants to experiment with hybridity? Hallelujah! At least somebody is set on trying something new.

In the future, consoles and PCs will merge. All this sectarianism is stupid.

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Original post by silencer-
Yes, umm, a couple saved minutes for overall hours of gaming.

Try an hour at least, for a reasonable-sized group of people. Getting to the event and sitting around for an hour with your thumb up your ass: priceless.

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monitors are not the size of TV screens.

And that's why most video cards come with a TV-out now. Huzzah for common sense!

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have you ever tried those "two-player" games using one keyboard? That's right, they're almost impossible to play. Switching to controllers is not a viable solution, try using one in any precision-based game.

Like, say, Halo, probably the most fun you can have at a LAN party? Riight.

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Original post by FeralOfEclecticWizard
I don't see how it would be any different. Everyone has the game previous to the party and .. plug in cables and away you go.

No ?

No. At least an hour of fucking around with IP addresses, routing, OS bullshit, installing, patching up to the same version and this is DOUBLY fun when certain patch versions are incompatible with certain configurations, which is more frequent than I could have imagined. Not even in the same UNIVERSE as console ease-of-use.

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Original post by liquiddark
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Original post by _the_phantom_
very, considering most gamers, myself included, want LESS dependance on the CD/DVD the game came on

I have to ask, how old are you? I ask this because all the gamers I know who are around my age (26-28) HATE the process of installing to the PC, especially at LAN parties, which are very frequent. Typical PC party means make sure that 1) everyone has the game, 2) they install it, 3) they patch it, 4) they can run it in network mode. For some games it's even more painful.

Contrast that sequence with: 1) Make sure everyone has the game 2) plug in the cables 3) Play. BIG difference. Especially since there are practically no PC games where you can simultaneously control multiple avatars on a single machine, versus the 2-4 player per box limit of a console. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement in the PC gaming experience.


Well, i'm 24, so i'm pretty much in the age range and i know alot of people who complain about having to have the CD in the drive (if that means finding it or whatever) when playing a game, I even had trouble with Dawn Of War on friday, requiring a reboot for the damned thing to work, and that requires the CD in the tray to play yet only reads a couple of bytes (i'll be looking for a no-CD patch asap infact, keeping the orignal exe for online play).

As for the lan party example, well I dont know how it works in the states, but for organised stuff in the UK they have a set range of games which are played, so you know in advance whats going on and if you are doing it with your mates again surely you arrange in advance what you are going todo so you can all make sure you are ready? *shrugs*

One of the issues with the 'run from CD' method is how do you patch the game? If all your exe code is on the CD how does the game dev update the game engine and/or the content? (well, maybe less of an issue with content but even so) While patching to remove bugs could be done away with the engine patches and content updates are what keeps games live (example: HL)

I do agree on the point about having multiple people playing mutliple avatars at once, it would be good to see a game beyond bomber man do that and with USB ports there isnt really a good reason NOT to have games like that aside from design issues and the stereo type of the PC gamer being a loner in his/her room while the console gamer gets around with his/her mates to play around a large TV, removing of that stigma could well be a good idea.

At the end of the day, yes the PC gaming experiance does need some fixing, personaly however i'm not convinced that pop a CD/DVD in an play is the right direction simple because of the architual differences between a PC and a console, not least of which the console keeps its drive spining where as the PC doesnt, which in my mind (and the minds of many others i'm sure) causes an annoyance when content has to be streamed from a drive which is spun down and would rather deal with a couple of mins installing vs pauses in the game play experiance while the hardware gets up to speed (example: FMV on FF8 and FF7 which pauses the game while the CD-ROM gets back up to speed).

Maybe they'll come up with a way around it, who knows, but until they do, just seems like the wrong direction for PC Gaming.

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Original post by liquiddark
Try an hour at least, for a reasonable-sized group of people. Getting to the event and sitting around for an hour with your thumb up your ass: priceless.

Based on your time assessment you would have up to 100 people. If you can dish out 7 Halo copies I'm sure you can collect at least the same amount of a PC game, dropping the total installation-time noticeably.

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And that's why most video cards come with a TV-out now. Huzzah for common sense!

Sorry if I don't buy everyone removing their 50+" TV from their entertainment center and lugging it to wherever they do their gaming each time.

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Like, say, Halo, probably the most fun you can have at a LAN party? Riight.

You mean the swivel-control-to-one-inch-radius-around-enemy Halo employs? A controller is equivalent to using a joystick; there is no true fine-targetting.

In final conclusion, as phantom said, I don't believe switching PC gaming to 100% console is the correct way to go. I, for one, would lay down and die before I was forced to use controllers in any PC FPS game, which would almost certainly be necessary with 2+ players per machine.

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In the interest of not sounding like an idiot and damaging my rating even more, I'm just going to withdraw from the conversation. It's interesting that our respective experiences are so different.

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1) At least an hour of fucking around with IP addresses,


In some of the huge lan parties I've heard of I could see this occuring, but with anything under a hundred or so people, it should be a simple matter of someone bringing a router with DHCP serving, and everyone using DHCP, which is the default for many ISPs anyways, and easily set if the user has the drivers allready installed - a given in this internet age.

2) routing,


A few routers layered should work fine in small configurations. Of course, with larger LAN parties, it's insane to rely on guest-hardware as it has way too few ports in most cases.

2) OS bullshit, installing, patching up to the same version


Shouldn't be much of an issue - download the patches to a local FTP server and anyone who hasn't patched up gets to grab it from that while the others start playing. Most games allow use of TCP/IP, which should be all ready to go if the LAN attendees use the internet.

3) and this is DOUBLY fun when certain patch versions are incompatible with certain configurations, which is more frequent than I could have imagined.


Only game I'm aware of in this regard would be Tron 2.0, with an XP only patch I heard about awhile ago.

4) Not even in the same UNIVERSE as console ease-of-use.


Agreed, but at the same time once you've got the drill down it shouldn't be nearly as hard as your experience seems to have had it.

edit: tag mismatch

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1) At least an hour of fucking around with IP addresses,


hmm.. in my vision i see a hundred people all having set a fixed ip because of the annoying habit of windows to boot forever if you dont.. of course all using the same "guide" and therefor ip and half of them strictly refusing to touch their configuration because they are or feel to be too clueless to undo the changes afterwards and are afraid nothing will work anymore.

but then, im kind of out of touch and couldnt remember having read anything about xbox or ps2 "lan" parties *g*

but that rating system sounds fun. so i take it we would soon see all shops and sites saying "todays highend level: 4325" and people wondering "if this system is 4273, is that MUCH slower?"

not to mention that most of the current systems you get might be a high level in terms of cpu speed and ram, but utterly useless in terms of graphics card (if its not just onboard anyway) and often scarily crappy in terms of quality of components.

and what about games that give a damn if you got 500mhz or 10ghz because all they need is the latest graphics card anyway (basically every shooter that isnt anything but neat graphics)?

will they "motivate" companies to stop selling single components to end users and instead become mere suppliers of other companies doing nothing but taking a lot of money for plugging a into b, installing a completely unconfigured os (windows of course) and throwing away all manuals and cds? basically making them more expensive and limiting them to "10 shades of pc" because microsoft more or less decided that consumers arent just too dumb to be bothered with handling an os manually but also to use the damn web and get some info on the stuff before they dump a lot of money for it?

as long as this system will be _in addition_ as help for those that cant be bothered to inform themselves its fine with me. but looking back i hardly see microsoft happy with being just an option, unless they are the ONLY option.

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Its pretty appearant that MS wants hybridization to some extent. I made a fairly long post about it here I don't think that its a necesarrily bad idea; Its one of those ideas that could be done absolutely brilliantly, or so horribly that it is scrapped for all eternity.

Ideally, I'd like to see this - Beginning with Xenon, windows PCs meeting a Xenon-compatiblility spec are able to play Xenon games. Xenon itself is essentially a low-cost entertainment PC, primarily for your TV, but with the reported DVI inclusion could just as well be used like a computer at a monitor. Xenon developers need to be able to have keyboard/mouse input at their disposal, since it would be the prefered input device on the Xenon-compatible PC in many game types.

The Xenon-PC has some benefits over a Xenon unit itself: Though typical installs are a thing of the past, Xenon-PC caches your last played games (user selectable number or specified disk useage) so you can get to the action quicker, Xbox already does this with the last played game. Alternatively, you can copy a disc image to your HDD and it will always be availble for quick play, in any event, its not required that games be installed. Copy protection becomes a bit of an issue, they probably have some plans for their Palladium system or whatever its called now, but failing that, having the disc in solely for copy protection is no worse than the situation as it is now. Patches and content downloads could be handled as they are on the Xbox, no problem there.

As for compatibility between Xenon (PowerPC) and PC (x86) I see 3 options a)Xenon games ship with binaries for each platform b)use "fat binaries" which contain code for both platform or c)use .net binaries which would incur a performance hit, but is more future proof if they move to yet another architecture later. MS is really pushing .net as the wave of the future so it wouldn't be entirely suprising. Microsoft will have to work tightly with vendors to make sure their latest PC upgrades maintain compatibility with the Xenon-compatibility spec, but I don't think it would be too difficult since the lack of support would be suicide if other vendors were supporting it: convince one and the rest will follow.

Personally, I play maybe 3-4 PC games regularly, of the 20ish I have installed. Thats a HUGE WASTE of disk space, I would love the option of running less-frequently used games from a disc in a no-hassle manner.

I think this can be done in a way that compliments both platforms, A Xenon is cheap (compared to a full PC) and is at home in the family room, it will play games exactly as well as every other Xenon unit which is the spec Xenon games will shoot for. A Xenon-PC is a little more versitile, being able to cache and "install" disc images, and if you've got a newer Xenon-compliant graphics card maybe you can turn up the resolution, detail, or get a few more FPS out of the deal (but honestly, I'd love to break out of the constant upgrade-cycle of PC land.) It still functions as a PC as well, PC games as we know them won't go away, but I would see alot of manufacturers opting for the Xenon route if it gained steam. Of course, they're free to do a vanilla PC version as well.

This would give consumers alot of choice. People own PCs just to play games, if they could get the exact same experience (sans installs) out of a $300 Xenon they would be better off. Another person uses his PC for work and games, and is upgrading their hardware every two years to keep pace, but they don't really need a Geforce 6 and 3.6 ghz CPU to do their work and browse the web! This person could get a Xenon-PC knowing it will meet the standard for the next 5 years until Xbox 3 comes out, or buy a cheaper, basic PC to do his work and a Xenon for games. Another guy might have a Xenon-PC for work and most single-player games, and a Xenon in the family room for the kids, or for when the buddies come over to play nfl 2k6. A Xenon-PC would be a very complimentary companion to Xenon, combined marketshare would be so huge that publishers couldn't pass it up, and a Xenon-PC doesn't have to be a loss-leader the way a console does in the beginning, all those extra liscensed games sold to Xenon-PC users are pure profit for MS.

As I said, it can be done brilliantly. Microsoft has the uphill battle of 1) DOING IT BRILLIANTLY and 2) Convincing everyone that it really is as brilliant as it is. Such a huge paradigm shift is bound to be met with skepticism and its going to take some work bringing people around to this sort of vision.


Whether or not it will actually happen remains to be seen, but I'm nearly certian MS would want to bring this together if they can. With XNA, the rollout of Xbox Live for PC coming and the PC/Xenon input device standard they seem to have all the tools laid out.

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