Windows Vista gaming

Any of you guys keeping up with what’s happening with Windows Vista? In particularly, the Avalon based technology?

In a nutshell, Avalon is a lot like flash but with integrated 3D support. Avalon apps can run as stand alone programs or as part of a web page. It looks pretty interesting though I haven’t really messed with trying to make a game with it yet.

Shockwave can do all that as well, so what’s the difference?

On a related note, does anyone know how that “Tray and Play” technology is coming along? Is this going to be something that works retroactively with older games that are ran in Vista, or will the games have to provide native support for it, and if so, will they run sans installation in older versions of Windows?

The alledged support for Xbox 360 controllers is sweet.

<Obligatory Windows Vista gaming is DOMED!!!>

I’m curious about the Xbox Live type service for Windows Vista which they’ve mentioned in passing…

Well, you don’t have to install Shockwave, for one. It’s a core OS level function and should run a lot faster than shockwave (ever look at your CPU utilization on large shockwave apps? yeesh!).

AFAIK, the Tray and Play stuff is not Vista specific. I’ve seen it demoed with NFS Underground 2 on the PC, using normal Windows XP. A game has to be written specifically to support it.

Vista is doing lots of cool stuff for games. The Games Explorer for finding/managing games (including updates and parental controls), WinSAT for setting preferences based on an accurate assesment of your hardware, DX10, the forthcoming and nothing-revealed-yet-about Live for Windows, etc.

Hate to break the “no plug” rule, but it’s germane to the discussion:
I was just at Meltdown and wrote up a little ditty on the goings on there.,1697,1841228,00.asp

A little anecdote: I was talking with Windows Gaming group manager Chris Donahue (I’m sure lots of folks here know Chris, he has long roots in gaming, back to old Sierra days) and I’m all like… “This is good stuff. Now all you need is for Vista to include basically iTunes for games. A one-stop shop digital distribution center for games and addons and stuff.” And he didn’t even blink. He’s just, “we’re working on lots of things.” :shock: Now, of course that’s not a confirmation or denial. But can you imagine if the Games Explorer had a “buy games” tab or link or something that took you to a broadly-supported games download center, where you could buy premium, first-run, AAA games from a bunch of publishers?

Not even “alleged.” They were literally handing them out to Meltdown attendees (not the press though! GRR!! FUME!!!). Drivers are in beta, but the controller ain’t. It’s just the wireless X360 controller with the USB cable attached, or use the wired version, either way.

PC gaming is such a horrible mess that it would be hard for Microsoft to NOT clean it up dramatically if they put their mind to it.

But I though PC Gaming was DOMED!!!111!!11!!1!

This certainly indicates that at least MS thinks there’s money to be made in PC gaming.

That’s awesome. Thanks for the confirmation.

Good article. A lot of MS marketing speak I would say, but still some good stuff in there.

Shockwave’s not supported by Macromedia anymore, for one thing…

Shockwave’s not supported by Macromedia anymore, for one thing…[/quote]
What’s up with that?

Macromedia was purchased by Adobe. Their whole product line is probably under review. It’s too bad, because I think Freehand is way better than Illustrator, but I doubt Adobe will continue development on both (and I’m guessing Freehand will be the program that gets the axe).

Perhaps they’ll take the best of both (i.e. steal all of Freehand’s good features) and rebrand it as Illustrator.

Jason, did the Meltdown guys say how Avalon (pardon: Windows Presentation Foundation) will integrate with DirectX? The talk was that Avalon would be based on DirectX but I suppose that can’t be entirely true if Vista is still going to run on old 2D-only cards. Being able to mix DirectX features with regular Windows controls would be nice…

Avalon, I believe, REQUIRES a DX9 card, and exclusively uses DirectX 9 (or DirectX 9.L in the case of Vista). And if you’ve got one, the whole interface uses that compositing engine for smooth scaling and trasitions and alpha blending and all that other fun stuff.

I think the plan is still to have Vista run on non-DX9 hardware, but you get a crappy 2D driven bitmap style UI that looks like a skinned XP. I don’t know if they’re dropping that from the specs now that Vista is late 2006. I hope so. If you don’t have DX9 hardware by then, no Vista for you! :wink:

I should make it clear that I didn’t talk about that specifically at Meltdown. That’s coming from prior info.

I wonder if any of the cards out there now are Direct X 9.l and 10 compliant?

There are ZERO DX10 compliant cards. DX10 requries new hardware features (geometry shader) and has strict compliance about feature set and rendering output. No more caps bits.

There are a bunch of DX9.L cards though. Basically it’s just directX 9, modified to call to the LDDM drivers instead of current Windows drivers. Any DX9 card is DX9.L compliant if you have proper Longhorn drivers.

Oh, since you mention LDDM drivers – how did they change the Windows driver model? I confess your article was the first time I even heard there’s going to be a new driver model. Is this about 32/64 bit compatibility?