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L. Spiro

How Much do You Plan to Support Windows 8/Metro?

84 posts in this topic

Some of us are making our own engines, some of us write popular blogs and make tutorials.
Some of us here even write books and give presentations at GDC/SIGGRAPH, or do private research and publish research papers.

One of the authors of SlimDX said he was not interested in adding support for it to SlimDX, and Valve is obviously going out of their way to make a point that they are not going to support it either. Minecraft won’t, and I am not decided on my own engine.
MJP has never even tried to use DirectX 11.1 yet.


How about you?
If you are a book author and see yourself having the chance to write a book about it, will you? Would you only do it if they approached you to do it or would you actually send a proposal to the publish of your own free will?


If your blog is mainly focused on tutorials, will you be putting any out for DirectX 11.1/Windows 8/Metro in the near future?


Do you plan to continue any private research you are doing on any new graphics techniques on said platform (if is so why)?


How many of you are starting to consider moving away from Windows in favor of Macintosh OS X or Linux?
Do you think Microsoft will be able to continue going this route or will they be forced to either downsize considerably or lift their ridiculous policies? Do you plan to push them into such a situation by, for example boycotting any of their products?


// ======= MY ANSWERS
As I said I am not decided about my engine. I can see some market value in being one of the few who support it, but I prefer to take a stand against them.
And this is the first time I have considered moving away from Windows, or at least never “upgrading”.
Windows XP and Windows 7 still work fine. If games stop coming out for them, I will see what platform is getting all the games. Linux? Valve’s own new game machine? That Ouhaoasdjh thing funded by Kickstarter?
In any case it is not going to be Windows 8/Metro, as guaranteed by their own policies on what they allow through their store, which specifically state, “No good games”.

I see Microsoft in the near future being just a shell of its former self.
Apple has been rising steadily in popularity thanks to iOS and other vendors are stepping up to fight in the console wars, while existing platforms may suddenly get a boost in popularity depending on how things go.

The upcoming generation of gaming will leave consumers with many more options than previously, so we are no longer bound to just Windows and consoles. With many gamers feeling smitten by Microsoft, I see a lot of people intentionally seeking options outside of Microsoft, and Microsoft will ultimately end up in trouble.


L. Spiro
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I think I'm in the same position as you are, I haven't completely decided on the matter yet either, but I'm leaning more towards not supporting it.

The store policies microsoft has set up really don't make sense to me, they were in a unique position where they had a huge market share in desktop and notebook installs with a platform which allowed for open development. The fact that they didn't play the role of gatekeeper when it came to application publishing for their platform made Windows a very attractive platform to develop for, in contrast with Apple who tried to control almost every single piece of software developed for their platforms (for iOS anyway).

I had the chance to get an early copy of Windows 8 as soon as it went gold and did a dual-boot setup with a Windows 7 install. I must say I enjoy working with Windows 8 as I get some very decent performance out of it, but I'm not going to get too comfortable with it because of Microsoft's sudden change of tactics.


I've always planned to support linux for my current projects, but the problem with linux is that it's still not at the point where any computer user regardless of their computer knowledge can install and use a distro without problems. There will always be situations where you have to open up a console window to get something to work correctly, and that's just a big no for your average home computer user. The average user doesn't want to search through forums to fix a problem with their pc, they don't want to edit configuration files to get their system to work for their hardware setup, they don't want to look through error logs when their system suddenly crashes out of nowhere, they don't want to have to compile their software when they're used to just being able to install a piece of software on windows (package managers solve a part of this problem), and I'm under the impression that a large part of the linux community just doesn't get this.

The lack of quality games on linux is also a very serious vicious circle. As long as there's no collection of quality games for linux, gamers won't adopt the platform, and if gamers won't adopt linux there won't be a lot of developers interested in building games for it. Maybe this will change with Valve's decision to create a linux version of steam, who knows. I really hope so though.


So my priorities for my current project are: Windows Vista, 7 and 8 (Desktop, not Metro) support, support for some popular linux distro's and maybe Mac OSX support later on.
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I am considering a new computer for next year with FreeBSD as the main OS, Ubuntu on a USB stick, and Windows 8 on a separate hard drive, if not Windows To Go. (I never have been a big fan of partitioning the hard drive, no matter how much I've done it.)

Every time there's a new release of Windows, there is talk of boycotts and support and Microsoft failing with this new release. A few Windows releases have been considered failures, but by and large, Microsoft doesn't lose. It's true that now there is more competition, but that competition is not really from Mac OS X or from Linux.

I have no interest in this "Metro" style that Microsoft has taken up, just like I have no interest in Unity on Ubuntu or the new tablet-friendly interface in Gnome. However, I also know from observing my own past that when I don't like or I am not interested in something, that thing turns out to be what I'll get into next and it may end up saving the day. You never know.
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I think it will be same as it was with Vista/DX10. At first "everybody" will "hate" it because of breaking backward compatibility But after a while it will be normal to use as it is now normal to use DX11. Edited by Martins Mozeiko
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[quote name='Martins Mozeiko' timestamp='1351473846' post='4994896']
I think it will be same as it was with Vista/DX10. At first "everybody" will "hate" it because of breaking backward compatibility But after a while it will be normal to use as it is now normal to use DX11.
[/quote]I agree.

I remember the clamor and controversy over Windows XP, and that turned out to be nothing. In fact, people who had first claimed they would stick to Windows 98SE and Linux later turned around and said they would stick with Windows XP when Vista was coming out. People are fickle.
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Honestly I like the Metro interface on WP7.5 as opposed to Windows 8. Everything that I've read makes Win8 seem confusing and not intuitive. However, all I've read on Window Store policies is what I've read from Valve and Minecraft creator. But they seem to be complaining about the potential of being shut out. So is there a de-facto web page/site that explains all the issues for developers in the new Windows Store?

[quote]In any case it is not going to be Windows 8/Metro, as guaranteed by their own policies on what they allow through their store, [b]which specifically state, “No good games”.[/b][/quote]
This sounds like FUD. You gotta a link for that?
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1351476122' post='4994907']
So is there a de-facto web page/site that explains all the issues for developers in the new Windows Store?

[quote]In any case it is not going to be Windows 8/Metro, as guaranteed by their own policies on what they allow through their store, [b]which specifically state, “No good games”.[/b][/quote]
This sounds like FUD. You gotta a link for that?
[/quote]
Yes to both: [url="http://gamasutra.com/view/feature/179420/the_next_twenty_years_what_.php"]http://gamasutra.com...years_what_.php[/url]

[quote]This is not speculative; it is certain. [i]Skyrim[/i] is a game for adults. It has a PEGI rating of 18. If you read the Windows 8 app certification requirements you will find, in section 5.1:
[quote]Your app must not contain adult content, and metadata must be appropriate for everyone. Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed.[/quote]

That's 2011's Game of the Year, banned from the Windows Store. How about 2012? With several highly anticipated games yet to be released, it's anybody's guess which game will be selected. But a random sampling of internet predictions suggests some of the leading contenders are [i]Max Payne 3[/i], [i]The Witcher 2[/i], [i]Mass Effect 3[/i], [i]Assassins Creed 3[/i], [i]Call of Duty: Black Ops 2[/i], and [i]Borderlands 2[/i]. Of the four of those that have already shipped and been rated by PEGI, how many could be shipped on Windows Store?

Zero.[/quote]




As for fickalities, I had never before said I wouldn’t move on to later versions of Windows such as XP, Vista, and 7.
I tend to wait a while for the drivers to get stable etc., but I always have planned on moving up eventually.

Except this time. I am waiting to see how it works out, but for now this is the first time I have considered moving to another platform should I ever get tired of Windows 7 and Windows XP.


L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351476786' post='4994908']Yes to both: [url="http://gamasutra.com/view/feature/179420/the_next_twenty_years_what_.php"]http://gamasutra.com...years_what_.php[/url][/quote]

[url=http://gamasutra.com/view/news/180202/Windows_Store_revises_guidelines_to_support_Mature_games.php]Microsoft has revised the policy that would have banned "mature" rated games from the Windows store.[/url]
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I heard that rumor but never saw the official word on it.

Seems they can be pressured after all.


[EDIT]
[quote]Games rated ESRB Adult or games only rated PEGI 18, meanwhile, will still be barred from the marketplace.[/quote]
[/EDIT]
So, Skyrim is still banned along with half of that list?


L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351476786' post='4994908']As for fickalities, I had never before said I wouldn’t move on to later versions of Windows such as XP, Vista, and 7.
I tend to wait a while for the drivers to get stable etc., but I always have planned on moving up eventually.

Except this time. I am waiting to see how it works out, but for now this is the first time I have considered moving to another platform should I ever get tired of Windows 7 and Windows XP.[/quote]That's good sense. As for the game ratings, if that's true, that doesn't bother me on any personal level as I don't play any of those games. However, how much sense would it make to have Skyrim, for example, banned on one Microsoft platform, yet it's also one of the biggest titles on its other platform, Xbox 360? I think push will come to shove, if that's true at all.
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I for one supported Vista, and loved it. I love Win 7 also.

From a short-term consumer perspective, I feel Win8 will benefit consumers and developers. From a long-term perspective, I feel it will harm both (though the consumers won't realize it).
However, I feel Windows 8 will be a success whatever I do, so my games will eventually have to be released to Metro or else not be on Windows at all.

However, I'm sure Microsoft won't alienate their huge enterprise clients by removing Win32 support entirely, so I'll probably skip Win 8, and jump to '[i]Windows 9 for Enterprises ([size=2]With built-in Windows 7 Virtual Machine[/size])'[/i] (i.e. Win 9 Professional) as a development OS.

My biggest developer gripe is the "closed garden" of Metro/Windows Store. If there was alternative stores (like Steam) that were equally visible to consumers (even if they had to be installed), I wouldn't have a problem.

My biggest consumer gripe is that, from my only half-formed opinions without actually using the OS, it seems like the system is being dumbed down for consumers. That's great! It promotes ease-of-use for non-techy users. But for techy users, it might remove useful features to simplify the interface for the average user (if Windows 9 becomes Metro-only like Windows RT is). Also, I don't use touch, I use a keyboard and mouse. Why is my Desktop interface optimized for Mobile interaction?
I've always used a mouse (I'm in my early twenties). [u][i]Supposedly[/i][/u], keyboard-only (or keyboard-primary) interfaces were more flexible and feature-full, and allowed for quicker interaction and better productivity (hence why we are more productive when software support hotkeys well). Example: Ctrl+C. Mouses slow things down (you have to shift your hands accurately, click to drop open the menu, shift the mouse and click your desired action), but simplify (move your mouse cursor to point). Touch slows things even further (you have to move your hand entirely, instead of shifting your hand to move the mouse), but simplifies further (press with your physical finger).

When helping others use their computers, I am silently surprised that they go to the Edit menu to select "Copy" or "Paste". Sometimes I use Right-click "copy", but 80% of the time I just use Ctrl+C. I'm sure people that are really hot-key heavy are just as surprised that I don't use hotkeys and keyboard keys as much as I could be.

I'm sure I'll get over my consumer gripes quick enough, if I ever migrate though.
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Supporting Windows 8 is easy and opens you to a huge marketplace. It would be just as foolish to ignore it as it would be to ignore iOS.

For most existing DX11 games it wouldn't be more than a week of effort. You only need to do three basic things:

1) use the new WinRT APIs where they are required (the compiler will tell you).
2) add touch support (possibly the hardest task depending on your game).
3) don't include porn.

In the end Microsoft only wants a safe and friendly marketplace for consumers. They don't care if your game is fun or even if it even sells a single copy. You can in fact put the game in their marketplace and use your own sales system that allows you to keep *every* single penny of a sale.

This is the opposite of Valve and Steam... they just want games that will make them money (see the Greenlight popularity contest). If your game isn't that... you will not be allowed into the store. Period.

- Tom
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[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1351478615' post='4994915']<br />my games will eventually have to be released to Metro or else not be on Windows at all<br />[/quote]

The desktop isn't going anywhere.

Do you really think Visual Studio will become Metro only? Do you think any programmer inside of Microsoft that works day in and out using Visual Studio thinks that is the future of all applications?

If you look closely at the new WinRT API you'll see it supports multiple Window objects in a single application. While you currently have no way to create a second window... that obviously won't be true forever. WinRT is "Metro" style apps only right now... within a year I expect the next WinRT revision will allow desktop applications as well.

People seem to think WinRT and Metro is about killing the desktop and open distribution of apps... it is not. The real goal is replacing the 20 years of legacy APIs that keep Windows from being secure and performant on lower end devices.

- Tom Edited by pingz
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351477345' post='4994910']
I heard that rumor but never saw the official word on it.

Seems they can be pressured after all.


[EDIT]
[quote]Games rated ESRB Adult or games only rated PEGI 18, meanwhile, will still be barred from the marketplace.[/quote]
[/EDIT]
So, Skyrim is still banned along with half of that list?


L. Spiro
[/quote]
Silly question. If Steam and its ilk are allowed in the Windows Store, in the end does this really matter?
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351477345' post='4994910']<br />Seems they can be pressured after all.<br />[/quote]

This had nothing to do with pressure... it has to do with the definition of "adult" games. In Europe the PEGI system has adult games with graphic sexual material at the "PEGI 18" rating. They have no rating above PEGI 18.

In the US the ESRB has a M+17 rating which is what 99% of all games fall below. Then there is an adult AO rating... that is for graphic sexual material.

Microsoft wanted to keep the crazy hardcore games out of the store... things like "RapeLay" and not games like "Mass Effect 3". To do that they went with Mature in the US and PEGI 16 in Europe... keeping things simple defining what ratings are allowed and which are not. The problem is it kept games like "Mass Effect 3" which are rated PEGI 18 out of the store in Europe.

So the change is to allow PEGI 18 games, but they are subject to refusal if the content violates the terms of the store. More difficult to certify, but keeps the very few PEGI 18 games there are in the store.
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I believe this guy is a Microsoft troll. I live in the U.S. and can tell you 99% of games are M rated (Also it is 16+) Not a single game I've got in some time has been T rated or below. The ESRB is very strict, and their rules are constantly becoming stricter.
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[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']I believe this guy is a Microsoft troll.[/quote]

I'm a fact troll... when I see they are missing I am compelled to add them to the conversation. :)

[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']I live in the U.S. and can tell you 99% of games are M rated[/quote]

I live in Dallas, Texas. Checkmate! :)

You just misread what I said...

"In the US the ESRB has a M+17 rating which is what 99% of all games ***fall below***."

... or more clearly there are almost no AO games in the US marketplace. I make this point because Microsoft allows M rated games in the store... they always have. The issue is only with the PEGI system in Europe.

[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']99% of games are M rated[/quote]

You are wrong. The vast majority of games are rated less than M. Here are the stats for 2010:

http://kotaku.com/5782792/just-5-percent-of-games-were-rated-m-last-year-says-esrb

Still as far as sales are concerned... I would expect M rated games sell way more... but that is a guess. Personally I don't think I've bought a game not rated M in a while which is probably why you believed they were the majority.

[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']Also it is 16+[/quote]

You are wrong... M is 17+. See the ESRB site:

http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp

[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']The ESRB is very strict, and their rules are constantly becoming stricter.[/quote]

I disagree... I would argue they are becoming less strict. They just started to allow mobile/downloadable game developers to "self rate" their games online for free:

http://www.pcgamesn.com/indie/esrb-launch-free-rating-system-downloadable-games

It is great to be a indie developer right now.

- Tom Edited by pingz
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[quote name='superman3275' timestamp='1351480896' post='4994924']
I believe this guy is a Microsoft troll. I live in the U.S. and can tell you 99% of games are M rated (Also it is 16+) Not a single game I've got in some time has been T rated or below. The ESRB is very strict, and their rules are constantly becoming stricter.
[/quote]


Granted he wasn't very clear when he stated it, but that M+17 was inclusive, not exclusive, which was made clear by the next sentence. Microsoft's intention was never to block "top games", it looks like a simple oversight in converting between the ESRB and PEGI systems which was corrected as soon as the mistake was noticed. Anyone who thinks Microsoft doesn't want top games to be built for their "Modern UI" is an idiot.
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[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1351483046' post='4994931']<br />Microsoft's intention was never to block "top games", it looks like a simple oversight in converting between the ESRB and PEGI systems which was corrected as soon as the mistake was noticed.<br />[/quote]

Yep. That was the point I was trying to make... I just didn't do it as well as you just did. :)
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1351479246' post='4994918']
Silly question. If Steam and its ilk are allowed in the Windows Store, in the end does this really matter?
[/quote]
Steam could be sold on the Windows Store, but it would be a somewhat dead piece of software since you wouldn’t be able to buy games through it, just run them once you have purchased them from the Windows Store.

But those games are far from the point for me; I have never played any of them and am not strongly compelled to do so (though I am mildly interested in trying 2 of them).
They are also not the main point of that article.


As it is now, when I want software I go to the developer’s site and get it.
Regardless of what Microsoft has said of the longevity of its desktop feature, I have doubts about it.
Let’s assume a Metro environment.
Let’s say I am ready and willing to sign up and buy it from the Windows store. But that is only my side of things. If the developer never ports it over (Minecraft, SlimDX, MHS, anything anyone has developed in his or her spare time) then I am simply stuck.
There is no guarantee of anything being ported over, and many game companies not (yet) willing to out, with no guarantee they ever will.

No guarantee of ever being able to use my favorite applications and no guarantees as to what kinds of games will be available, but with guarantees on what kinds of games will NOT be available.

This would be fine if it was the App Store. It’s just crap for my New iPad. I never planned on playing Mortal Kombat Super Bloody Gore Version 3,000 on it.
But this is a desktop. My entire life, essentially.
I can’t feel safe with that much of my life under that much control.
Just as my New iPad can be nothing more than a small side part of my life, Windows Metro will, in all of the foreseeable future, be nothing but an on-the-side toy if it has any part in my life at all.
This is unlike my feelings for Windows XP and Windows 7, in which I was entirely fine making either one the main machine in my life.


This is the mentality a lot of people seem to have. People will likely get more and more comfortable with the idea of the Windows machine being just a side as some other platform grows to the forefront of their minds.


L. Spiro
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351470059' post='4994877']
How many of you are starting to consider moving away from Windows in favor of Macintosh OS X or Linux?
[/quote]
I already did that a few years back and really only boot into Windows to play games or work on porting.

Regarding development for me it will depend on sales figures of things like Surface (both the RT and 8 version) and how quickly desktop users pick it up and what sales figures look like from their app store.
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351488972' post='4994949']
[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1351479246' post='4994918']
Silly question. If Steam and its ilk are allowed in the Windows Store, in the end does this really matter?
[/quote]
Steam could be sold on the Windows Store, but it would be a somewhat dead piece of software since you wouldn’t be able to buy games through it, just run them once you have purchased them from the Windows Store.[/quote]

Clearly you have no idea what you're talking about.

[quote]Regardless of what Microsoft has said of the longevity of its desktop feature, I have doubts about it.[/quote]

Right.. Microsoft is going to jettison their 95% of the desktop market for... what exactly? Just to piss people off? This fear of metro only on x86 is completely illogical. Stop spreading FUD.
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351488972' post='4994949']<br />There is no guarantee of anything being ported over, and many game companies not (yet) willing to out, with no guarantee they ever will.<br />[/quote]

You are right... but that is today and the future can go many ways.

One path is that Windows 8 eventually takes off and the store does well and game developers and some applications start being ported or developed for the store and the desktop is eventually removed (but I still hold this as extremely unlikely).

The other is that it doesn't take off... or at least not on desktop PCs. Few port games and apps to it... and Microsoft either gives up and/or looses faith in store model and the desktop continues to thrive like it has for over 20 years now.

I believe it will be somewhere in the middle... Windows Store with both Metro fullscreen and desktop windowed apps using the new WinRT APIs. People will still be able to install software from websites, but thru the new APPX system and 3rd-party installers will be disallowed (weak install tools have been the bane of Windows stability for decades).

Either way it goes... it won't be decided for quite a few years from now. The desktop is still here... you can install any application you want today on Windows 8. Nothing is lost... but there is a hope that this improved WinRT software development and deployment model takes hold.

- Tom Edited by pingz
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351488972' post='4994949']
Steam could be sold on the Windows Store, but it would be a somewhat dead piece of software since you wouldn’t be able to buy games through it, just run them once you have purchased them from the Windows Store.
[/quote]
Now this may sound crazy. It probably is. But I figured that Steam would be an app you downloaded from the Windows Store. And from that Steam app, you purchased your games. A bit of a circumvention, if you will.

However, I can't imagine Microsoft going the way of the slippery-slope and allowing only "Kid-friendly" games and apps. I doubt they are trying to be Nintendo. Plus out of the 100,000s of apps in existence, just how many fall into Microsoft's AO ban? 1%? How many games? 5%? I can understand the anxiety of MS going from "get any software you want" to "you must follow these rules or no app for you". But remember there is Android, MacOS (not iOS), and *Nix. Eventually, MS will have to go back to their open development philosophy. IMO, of course. Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
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