Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Windows Operating Systems Software Entertainment Games

Vista Casts A Pall On PC Gaming? 425

Posted by Zonk
from the stay-oofff-the-mooooors dept.
simoniker writes "In an opinion piece, casual game publisher WildTangent's CEO Alex St. John (himself a Microsoft veteran and one of the DirectX creators) has sharply criticized some of Windows Vista's features as they related to video game creation, noting: 'We have found many of the security changes planned for Vista alarming and likely to present sweeping challenges for PC gaming, especially for online distributed games. The central change that impacts all downloadable applications in Vista is the introduction of Limited User Accounts. LUA's can already be found in Windows XP, but nobody uses them because of the onerous restrictions they place on usability. In Vista, LUA's are mandatory and inescapable.'" Meanwhile, the word has also come down that games will be on the Zune by Summer of next year.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Vista Casts A Pall On PC Gaming?

Comments Filter:
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:19PM (#17529042) Journal

    Gaming and computing are two different animals. This is even more true for mult-user computing, a la Unix, OS X, XP, and now Vista. And, some of today's security problems in Microsoft's security model are directly related to and introduced by gaming requirements early on (circa 1992, 1993).

    Gaming demands high-end, near-to-the-hardware, unencumbered access. Multi-user computing demands flexibility, equitable distribution of resources, and if properly done, capability of extremely high and granular security.

    This puts the two activities at odds in deciding how to implement a "computer" -- probably one of the main reasons hardcore gaming usually is the domain of dedicated consoles and hardware.

    In NT's early days (which eventually became Windows 2000 and Windows XP) Microsoft caved to requests for compromised access to "rings" of kernel security to give better (and acceptable) performance for game developers -- most notably there were some passthroughs for video hardware access. I don't know if there were other compromises but I suspect there were. These compromises contributed to security problems (but were not the cause of all of Microsoft's security headaches).

    From what I've read, Microsoft has made some tough but I think "correct" choices for security in Vista... it should be very hard for limited users to do much more that use the machine. Unfortunately, gaming typically requires access to the machine that, under the covers, is much more than typical and casual access to the innards. This is probably why Microsoft has gotten into the game console market... they finally have hardware/software dedicated to and around gaming.

    It's probably a tough pill to swallow for gamers and developers used to being able to pull it off in XP (and previous generation Windows), but it's probably a better security world on whole for general computing and Vista users.

    • by fotbr (855184) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:33PM (#17529368) Journal
      The problem is consoles do not have high end hardware by the time they make it to the shelves, and sometimes don't even have high end hardware in design, depending on the market the manufacturer is after.

      Put another way: Consoles are finally running close to the resolutions that I was on my PC in 1996, because of hardware limitations that they were not able to free themselves from (using a tv instead of a dedicated display, like a computer monitor).

      The Cell CPU was great while the PS3 was still on paper. Now its being outdone by mid-range PCs.

      Bleeding edge, high end gaming will be the PC for quite a while to come, because PCs are upgradeable without a 5+ year wait for the next "generation" of boxes.
      • For example the Xbox 360 has unified architecture graphics processing that is just coming into the market through the gefoce 8800's which cost MORE than an entire 360.

        The 360 has 3 cores, 48 unified pipelines, 512 megs of GDDR3 memory and an insane bus speed between them. Hardly "mid range" by any PC standards considering PC's are still fighting to catch up.

        The problem with consoles most of the time isn't console power but demand to get games out the door before having a finished product. On pc's they jus
        • PC's are not fighting to keep up. They are keeping up just fine if your willing to spend the money.
          • by linuxpng (314861) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @08:05PM (#17532950)
            Obviously, they are struggling to keep up at the $400 price point. Plus, my reasonably decent gaming pc can't run games at settings that Gears of War appears to run at.
            • by packeteer (566398) <packeteerNO@SPAMsubdimension.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:28AM (#17536966)
              First of all $400 is not what it costs. You need to account for the HDTV that is needed to take advantage of the new hardware you have.

              Second a $400 computer wont be able to keep up with your 360 but thats not how you should look at it. A computer is a multi-purpose system. Think of it this way. You spend $1000 for a computer that is no good for games but has a decent CPU and ram. $1000 is not an unreasonable price to get a computer that is up to the specs of a 360 not including the video card. So lets say you have this computer in your house and you want to play video games. Your options are spend $400 on a 360 or $400 on a video card for your computer. A $400 video card will be much faster that the video card in the 360. Also your computer will benefit in other ways from having a good video card.

              I think your original comparison was kind of an apples and oranges arguement but when you consider the full cost of a 360 and the full benefit of a nice PC you can see why 360's are not that great.

              Also i should mention that i used to work for microsoft on the 360. I have played almsot every game to ever be released for it and i can say that most are junk. The "best" games for consoles are the sports and racing games which are not something i enjoy. I much prefer RTS and FPS games which is where the PC blows consoles out of the water.

              I think game selection should be the most important criteria in chosing a PC or console. As i stated above $400 will get you nearly the same PC or console gaming hardware (i think PC wins but not by very much). However if you are someone who is a big racing or sports fan and like to have friends come over and play Madden or Gran Turismo then a PC is something you shouldn't even consider.
        • by MaineCoon (12585) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:37PM (#17530760) Homepage
          The Cell and the 360's chip threw out important modern processor features to get the clock rate up. Both are outperformed by the lowest end Core 2 Duo.
        • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:24PM (#17531540)
          Modern PCs are hardly fighting to catch up to the specs of the Xbox 360. I love when someone pulls out the "3 core" processor spec without mentioning that the processor has had key optimizations removed like out-of-order execution. The dual-core PC in my bedroom outdoes the 360.

          On pc's they just patch patch patch and eventually get it right - consoles are heading that way now though.

          The 360 is already at that point. You actually patch your games now. Thanks, Microsoft.
      • by tzhuge (1031302) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:58PM (#17531122)

        Why does it matter how 'high end' the hardware your game is running on is? Are PC games are just glorified benchmark demos? This is exactly the reason why I gave up on PC games. I don't want game developers deciding when I should upgrade my PC. Is that new graphics card going to make my wordprocessor process words faster?

        Two of the real strengths of PC gaming are online play and user created content. We are going to start seeing that on consoles this generation. That's a far bigger threat to PC gaming than Vista.

      • Oh. I thought consoles were for, you know, gaming, and not hardware benchmarking.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DimGeo (694000)
        The problem with consoles, as I see it, is the lack of a mouse and a keyboard. And the lack of a decent compiler. And the lack of a good monitor. etc.
    • Used to be True.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by cybrthng (22291) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:35PM (#17529456) Journal
      If game developers stick to OpenGL or DirectX 9 or 10 then thats all they need. Infact game developers should be DROOOLING over the tools available for them under vista.

      Direct hardware access is so passe, now its about API's and how fast they can be accelerated between CPU/GPU and Physics accelerations.

      Writing games on DOS/4GW and Win32s is a thing of the past. If you want to see a game, check out the DirectX 10 enabled games and then tell me vista isn't a gamers os.

      blah
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ucklak (755284)
        So basically the qualty of the game is dependent upon the quality of the API that MS provides under Vista?

        No thanks.
        I like DirectX fine but this enables mediocrity at the OS level.

        If there is a piece of the game that seems glitchy and the programmer spend 2 weeks trying to tweak it and to an avail, he will have to have a work around when in fact the issue is with the DX API.

        Looks like vendor lock in deeper than just a simple Win32.
        • by abandonment (739466) <{mike.wuetherick} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:18PM (#17532338) Homepage
          Not to mention the fact that the whole 'Games for Windows' platform that microsoft is hyping so badly has a number of mandatory requirements, the FIRST of which is that the game MUST use DirectX as the default renderer for the game.

          This excludes any OpenGL game from being able to get certified with the 'Games for Windows' program.

          This is beyond Vendor Lockin, it's antitrust lawsuits begging to happen.

          Forcing developers to use DirectX is HORRIBLE for games in general. I'm not arguing the 'DirectX versus OpenGL' featureset list - this is a matter of choice.

          Any vendor that limits our choice as developers and your choice as game-consumers is BAD. This is a bad decision and a drastic situation for the gaming industry on PC, period.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by the_bard17 (626642)
            Not mention the trouble developers are going to have trying to make games cross-platform. While programming with that end in mind must be difficult enough when using OpenGL, I can't imagine how much more difficult it'd end up being if MS forces DirectX upon the developers.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by quizzicus (891184)
              Not mention the trouble developers are going to have trying to make games cross-platform.

              How convenient for Microsoft...almost as if it's by design.

              Games are pretty much the only thing keeping me from going 100% Linux, and I doubt I'm unique in that regard. Microsoft might fight a little dirty to keep its gaming dominance, and they've proven that antitrust lawsuits aren't going to slow them down.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kjart (941720)

            Not to mention the fact that the whole 'Games for Windows' platform that microsoft is hyping so badly has a number of mandatory requirements, the FIRST of which is that the game MUST use DirectX as the default renderer for the game.

            Unless you can provide a citation, I'd say you're pulling that out of your ass. The wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] makes absolutely no mention of of Direct X. Nor does the official games for windows page [gamesforwindows.com]. Thanks for the pointless rant.

    • Gaming and computing are two different animals. ... Gaming demands high-end, near-to-the-hardware, unencumbered access. ... From what I've read, Microsoft has made some tough but I think "correct" choices for security in Vista.

      A reasonable OS makes resources available, without compromising security. You don't have to be able to overwrite system files to gain access to video card functions. There's also no reason to restrict other programs, such as email or browsers when your OS has been designed to per

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MC68000 (825546)
        Of course the performance allowed by vanilla X is so godawful, that to get any decent performance at all requires "extensions" to X that basically ignore X architecture and are essentially hacks to provide high performance that wasn't even considered in the decade X was invented.

        And don't get me started on security in X, the whole thing has to be run suid root.

        I think that this is a good read (written by a former developer of Xgl) on how X is currently nothing more than hack after hack:
        http://jonsmirl.goog [googlepages.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Of course the performance allowed by vanilla X is so godawful, that to get any decent performance at all requires "extensions" to X that basically ignore X architecture and are essentially hacks to provide high performance that wasn't even considered in the decade X was invented.

          Exactly, and IMHO is primarily why Linux is yet to be taken seriously by anyone but fanboys on the desktop...

          • by JoshJ (1009085)
            I'm fairly sure that most of the people that "don't take Linux seriously" are people who don't even know what it is.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Planesdragon (210349)
              I'm fairly sure that most of the people that "don't take Linux seriously" are people who don't even know what it is.

              On the desktop?

              I wager that everyone who says "Linux isn't ready" knows full well what Linux is, and can name at least one reason why they don't recommend it to their clients/boss/relatives.

              If Linux were ready, well, a free OS that's just as good as that new $300 MS thing is going to make a bigger dent than Linux has.
    • by ADRA (37398) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:03PM (#17530050)
      If Microsoft was really paranoid about Vista security, they'd make install profiles that could be completely sandboxed into their own zone diasabling everything but needed funations. For games, allow network TCP/UDP sockets, specific pre-determined disk folders for saves, specific pre-determined registry locations, and directx*. Thats it. The game shouldn't be allowed access to my user files, system files, IE configuration, modify my startup files, call any non-whitelisted API entry, installation ActiveX controls, or any other embedded-into-system file.

      Once they make this 'Windows Game Profile 1.0' and they say you can do X, Y, and Z, but not A, B and C, we'll be in a lot better place.
      It'll mean that games that meet the "Windows Game Profile 1.0" spec don't need to be tested against the riggors of installation, it'll just mean that during runtime, the application binaries are limited in what the system allows it to perform. All in all, this would mean a more stable OS, and a simpler install. The tradeoff is that developers will be restricted from using API's that they probably shouldn't be using anyways. (Anyone not following the spec/profile could just release games as they do today).

      Of course, that would mean that Microsoft would have an immutable, simple, straight-forward API to implement games on Windows. Could they not implement this because it means that -alternative- Windows implementations (Wine) would have too easy of a time porting?
    • by Goosey (654680) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:21PM (#17531504) Homepage
      Hate to say RTFA, since your points are valid, but the limitations your talking about are not what the article is referring to. These are download-able casual games, they don't need to-the-metal access for bleeding speed. The obstacles being presented revolve around user installation experiences (requiring admin account user/password and lots of 'scary warnings'). For casual game developers these are very real issues. The target audience does not know about access levels. They do not know about proper security procedures. They just see big scary warnings popping up making them question if they should really install this game. Many of them will not know the admin account information even if this is their own personal computer. These are real fears for the causal game developers, not the ones wanting bleeding edge hardware and ultra fast access to it.
    • by xQx (5744) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:23PM (#17532418)
      Hang on?!

      Having worked in a secure environment since NT4 and having to comprimise security for applications which thing that c:\program files\... should be a read/write directory... let me get this straight...

      Games creators are complaining that they need to write responsible applications which obay basic security methodology?? SHOCK HORROR!!! THE INDUSTRY IS GOING TO FALL APART!!!

      Sorry, the only sympathy you're going to get here is "About F*CKING TIME!!!"

      The administrator account is for ... ADMINISTRATION .. not normal running of applications and games, once your product is installed, it's got NO REASON to leach for admin rights.
  • Ok. (Score:5, Funny)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot @ e x i t0.us> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:21PM (#17529102) Homepage
    Meanwhile, the word has also come down that games will be on the Zune by Summer of next year.

    I'm sure that will make both of those Zune owners [penny-arcade.com] very happy.

    • Yay, only 548 days left until we catch up to where the iPod was a year ago! I mean where second rate game playing is concerned.
  • Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hubbell (850646) <brianhubbellii@l i v e .com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:28PM (#17529242)
    He's just upset that his company's spyware and crap won't be able to be installed on people's computers without them knowing it anymore? Damn, this might just be an MS Vista advertisement in disguise.
    • Re:Maybe... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Babillon (928171) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:32PM (#17532552)
      How is this flamebait? He has a point (if rudely stated). WildTangent games have probably one of the worst interfaces I've ever had to deal with (far surpassing the annoying hoop of using nProtect on Korean MMORPGs*). I don't like having to install a third party launcher to run a game written by someone with absolutely no other ties.


      *In Vista when you're going to full screen with a good deal of games, the OS switches you from Aero mode to Basic mode, which can take a boatload of time when you're also trying to load the game, and update nProtect all at the same time. nProtect has a penchant for running right as a game decides to go fullscreen.
  • ...reasons for people running unsecure windows.
    If WV makes it hard for the gaming industry then I'm all for Vista... and I usually are a MS-hater... If he got a problem he should move to Linux or xBSD, then he could distribute his fucking games as Live-CD's.
    • by Don_dumb (927108)
      It's not just me that thinks this then. Most (if not all) games I have seen are more bug ridden than ever, probably because downloading patches is so easy now. This means that using the support and troubleshooting pages/section in the manual becomes ever more frequent. The advice given in these support documents is reprehensible, usually they state that not only should the user (who may often not be particularly literate) download the usual patches for graphics and sound, but that if the user still experien
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mandelbr0t (1015855)
        I'm not feeling your pain. I agree that the advice about turning off firewalls and antivirus is insecure, but the users are either Internet savvy and found the instructions about what ports to open up on their router (there's usually only 1 or 2), or have absolutely no clue what a "port" even is. What secure method for retrieving the patch would you suggest to this illiterate user? Usually a link to the file download is provided. Hopefully the illiterate is able to locate and run the file after they've down
  • by Rowan_u (859287) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:30PM (#17529304)
    The only thing LUA is going to change on Vista is the user will have to type in a password for the equivalent of a sudo apt-get. Not a big deal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)
      Actually, according to several reviews, you don't even have to type a password. You just click "Ok".

      Now that's security, isn't it? It works everywhere else, right? No malicious webpages have installed anything anywhere after those warning dialogs were added to IE...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by delus10n0 (524126)
        That's only if you're logged in under an Administrator account. If you're using a "Standard User" account, you must supply an administrator username/password to continue.
  • You're Kidding me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zako234 (968865) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:32PM (#17529362)
    I think this guy is full of shit. When I go on the internet, if i know i'm going to download something, I'll be fine pressing "yes" as i'll soon be selecting where it goes so i'm ready for a prompt. If something is going to download without me saying it can, then it can very well get the hell out of my computer. The security dialogs in Vista dont require you to put in a username and password every time you try to acess a flash game on the web, and this article clearly is full of it. Wild Tangent games often appear on my computer when i did not ask for them, and i really hope that the vista security will help me keep their crap off my computer in the future.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:29PM (#17530620) Journal
      I think this guy is full of shit.

      You're right. WildTangent is malware. No big surprise he'd be against proper security.
    • The security dialogs in Vista dont require you to put in a username and password every time you try to acess a flash game on the web, and this article clearly is full of it.

      I've worked on migrating some projects to be Vista compatible and it has some strange "features". With regard to what you said: Flash games aren't installed. That alone is a world of difference in Vista's rules. Attempting installation of an app pops up the privilege elevation dialog (try renaming some random .exe file to setup.exe an
  • FTA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swimport (1034164) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:33PM (#17529376) Homepage
    It's perhaps ironic that I run my own online game publishing company now and have become a dependent customer of the platform and technologies I once worked to create. Some of you might call it "justice" -- if it is, I wish it for my successors working on Vista.

    Yep, he helped Microsoft shove Directx down all our throats now hes complaining, and surprised, they're trying to shove something else down our throats.
  • by Eideewt (603267) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:33PM (#17529400)
    The two big problems with LUAs have been that there was no way to perform super-user actions without logging out and logging back in, even if you the person have greater privileges than the account you have logged in with. I do believe Vista has fixed this. The other problem is that lazy application developers chronically write software that assumes unnecessary super-user privileges. Now Microsoft has (finally) chosen to curtail their reckless practices, and they would rather complain than get with the program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xenocide2 (231786)
      Moreover, LUAs really hurt WildTangent's business techniques. If it were any other company, I might care, but if WildTangent is having problems with LUAs I can only assume they deserve it.
    • by BinaryCodedDecimal (646968) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:40PM (#17530810)
      The two big problems with LUAs have been that there was no way to perform super-user actions without logging out and logging back in

      Uh, Run As? Been available since Windows 2000.

      I've never ran with Admin rights permanently on any Windows box since I had the option of using a LUA. Never caused me any hassle. Any programs that needed admin rights (games, usually) would be given a new shortcut on the start menu to run it as a privileged user.

      However, I've come across very few programs that can't be persuaded to run by relaxing filesystem and/or registry permissions. Much better than running with admin rights over everything. In my old job I used to build Windows OS images for a computing department at a university. The OS had to be locked down so that everyone had Guest privileges, but the 200+ pieces of software available still had to run correctly. Great challenge, I loved it. Took up two months of my working year.

      Yes, I know it's not a solution for the average user. Just making a point that it's not entirely impossible.
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ubermMONET00.net minus painter> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:37PM (#17529498) Homepage Journal
    Initially I thought this was just a rant, since the implications of limited user accounts have far greater benefits than limitations and users are going to have to enter an admin password to install nearly any software, so I don't see why games should be an exception.

    That said, he makes a good point about the Game Explorer widget. Disclaimer: I have not, and probably will not for some time if at all, installed Vista on any of my computers yet. According to this article, though, it would seem that Microsoft is actually blocking games from running via any other means than the Game Explorer. This somewhat reminds me of Apple with iTunes in that using something else to sync an iPod takes more effort than most people would want to put forth. It would also seem to mean that installers will have to create special cases for Vista, which seems pointless to me. Admittedly, Microsoft could argue that limiting execution rights to the Game Explorer interface was necessary to enforce parental controls, but there are many other, less intrusive ways they could have gone about this (off the top of my head: deny execution rights to normal users, detect an attempted execution, if equal to or under parental ratings, run under a special Gaming account automagically, otherwise, ask for an escalation).

    The obvious point is that Microsoft would seem to have a conflict of interest here; making PC gaming attractive may draw attention away from the X-box 360, something Microsoft would want to avoid at all costs. Are they making it difficult to run games in order to make the 360 seem much simpler by comparison? Maybe. I suppose I'd have to have both Vista and a 360 to find out, which I don't plan on having together for some time if at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cap'nPedro (987782)
      > It would also seem to mean that installers will have to create special cases for Vista, which seems pointless to me

      Installed Halo, now a fairly old game, onto a Vista machine and BAM, straight into the games menu thingy.

      OK, so it's published by Microsoft Game Studios, but still, it proves that a special installer may not be required.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radish (98371)
      According to this article, though, it would seem that Microsoft is actually blocking games from running via any other means than the Game Explorer.
      From what I've read in the past, this isn't the case. You will need to use GE to get the "Games for Windows" certification, but just as now, any app can be installed and run however you like. All your XP games for example, will still install and run, but they likely won't be in GE.

      It would also seem to mean that installers will have to create special cases for Vi
    • With the next version of Direct X, microsoft are only releasing support for it on the Vista platform. They don't want you to create 2 installers, they want you to only support Vista.

      Or course, if I was tackling the problem of updates, like say the steam platform would require, I'd just install a service when the game is installed by an admin. The user account could download new content into a temporary location, then tell the service to install it.

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Daltorak (122403) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:32PM (#17530670)

      According to this article, though, it would seem that Microsoft is actually blocking games from running via any other means than the Game Explorer.
      I assure you, as someone who's played a variety of games on Vista (Civ 4, Heroes of M&M 5, Eve Online, etc. etc.), that there are no such restrictions. I don't even remember the last time I saw Games Explorer... I run games in Vista exactly like I did in XP, and there's no problems other than the typical growing pains you'd expect from beta video drivers.

      Where things have changed in Vista, is if you have an account that has Parental Controls applied to it to limit the kinds of games that can be run. Vista knows the ESRB (& other ratings boards) ratings for quite a large number of games, and can block access to them if the parents don't want their kids to play them... but that's not the default setting. You have to go out of your way to set it up.
    • This is why you shouldn't make assumptions and then start talking about a product based off of them. Vista does not require you to use the games explorer. I've installed World of Warcraft, it installs normal, is in the start menu and on the desktop normally, etc.

      The games explorer is a new feature to help people out and yes, parents can use it for parental control. Vista does NOT mandate your use of it.
  • Wild Tangent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheeko (165493) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:43PM (#17529612) Homepage Journal
    I may be wrong, but doesn't Wild Tangent have a rep for being pseudo spyware? It certainly gets fladded on my system constantly. I know it comes bundled with AIM and some other applications, so I don't really consider it nefarious, but I still don't think highly of it.

    It doesn't sound surprising to me that a company that sets of security flags as is, would be concerned about new security features. I'd be more interested in what the developers at ID, SOE, or EA have to say about how the features will affect the ability of them to develop games, in particular online offerings.
    • Re:Wild Tangent? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NorbrookC (674063) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:11PM (#17531330) Journal

      I may be wrong, but doesn't Wild Tangent have a rep for being pseudo spyware?

      Yes, it does. It's also a bitch to get off a computer once it's on! I don't know how many hours I've spent at various times getting it off of people's computers. That's why I find it particularly ironic that their CEO would be complaining about Vista's restrictions. I have no plans to ever put Vista on any computer I have, and am not a particular fan of Microsoft, but anything they did that prevents Wild Tangent from getting on a computer earns a "thumbs up" from me! Who'd have thought, Microsoft did something right, out of the box?

  • by CDarklock (869868) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:46PM (#17529700) Homepage Journal
    First, disclosure: I work on Vista at Microsoft.

    The "problems" Alex St. John identifies are essentially that his business model doesn't work so great when people have to click a couple extra buttons and type a password, and that he would really prefer it if children could install his products without parental involvement.

    Bitch, bitch, bitch.

    The real problem here is that the world is changing and WildTangent has to change with it. Yes, that's difficult. Yes, it's inconvenient. Yes, it will cost money they didn't need to spend when they were targeting XP. And yes, they may actually need to give serious consideration to getting ESRB ratings. But these are the natural and normal cost of doing business in the modern world; if you can't evolve and grow and change with the rest of the planet, your business dies, and good riddance.

    The whole article is just a bunch of FUD. Alex is basically claiming that Microsoft is trying to kill his business, because he doesn't know how to do business the way he needs to do it on Vista. He's afraid that consumers won't click two more buttons and enter a password to play his game. He's afraid that parents won't let their children play his games. But the answer to this problem isn't to reduce security, it's to make a better and more compelling game! Weren't you already trying to do that ANYWAY?

    Don't get me wrong, I think there are still problems - the ESRB needs to better address the needs of casual game developers who produce fifty $10 games and generate about $200K in annual revenue. The current system is too heavily geared toward console and PC developers who have multi-million dollar budgets. But blaming Microsoft for everything is just a tired old excuse that invariably comes trotting out when someone is too damn lazy to read the direction of the wind and rig his sails accordingly.
    • most indie devs I know about consider $200k to be very high end. I know I'm not making that. If a game won't be usable on vista without a costly ESRB rating, then my company is dead in the water and so are most of the small indie developers.
      I'm all for supporting higher security, I don't see why any games need administrator rights on a machine (my last 2 certainly run fine without them), but anything that might require all games to have ESRB ratings is just plain stupid. Kiss goodbye to freeware games for s
      • For that matter Windows doesn't know if something is a game or not unless it's in MS's list. Vista just can find out what a game's ESRB rating is and tell people, and parents can restrict kids accounts to only games of certain ratings.

        Really people, spend some time learning about Vista if you are worried about it, or if you want to effectively criticize it. It amazes me the misinformation floating around about it. It's not helpful if you are trying to talk people out of it either. If you say that Vista is e
    • The "problems" Alex St. John identifies are essentially that his business model doesn't work so great when people have to click a couple extra buttons and type a password, and that he would really prefer it if children could install his products without parental involvement.

      Please promise me that you will never work on a project that has a user interface!

      The fact is that by forcing people to "click a couple extra buttons and type a password" you begin to annoy everyone, and people with little understanding
  • Hmph. As long as there's money to be made, games will be made for Vista. I see the limited user account issue as a coding issue more than anything else. Code will have to be written so that the game runs under LUA or ... else. Personally, I find it annoying that a game would need to run under an Administrator account in the first place, especially if it's a kids game (had this happen once).
  • Games, by and large, work just fine in Vista. In general I've had better luck with games than with engineering applications in terms of running with Vista. Games may think they need admin, but they usually don't. You don't need admin to access any of DirectX or OpenGL and that's what games do for the most part.

    He's just pissed because WildTanget is, essentially, spyware. They sell crappy games through their poor interface and it is going to become harder for them, with IE7 more than with Vista. Normal games
  • Ok, is this guy stupid or is the quote wrong?

    Your game, no matter how much I like it, does not need nor deserve unlimited access to my computer. If you think it does, I will take my business elsewhere because you have no idea about coding, obviously.

    See, the only stuff that your game should ever need to touch is its own damn data. So as long as whatever restricted account I run your game and/or auto-updater as as write permissions to those files, it should work, right? Even in windos it should be possible t
    • by ADRA (37398)
      No, you're just not paying attention. The artical's author was talking about downloading and installing the game requires a lot more hoops to just through in order to function. He never mentions that his applications needed any type of secret sauce thats being held back from him. Why don't you try reading the artical again.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jchenx (267053)

        No, you're just not paying attention. The artical's author was talking about downloading and installing the game requires a lot more hoops to just through in order to function. He never mentions that his applications needed any type of secret sauce thats being held back from him. Why don't you try reading the artical again.

        Let's play a game. Replace "game" with "a program". Now we have this:

        The artical's author was talking about downloading and installing a program requires a lot more hoops to just through

      • by yakovlev (210738)

        No, you're just not paying attention. The artical's author was talking about downloading and installing the game requires a lot more hoops to just through in order to function. He never mentions that his applications needed any type of secret sauce thats being held back from him. Why don't you try reading the artical again.

        In which case, this is a good thing, as NO application should be installing things into system areas without my EXPLICIT say-so, and this is exacty what LUA was designed to prevent.

        This publisher produces a collection of downloadable games that include demos. The problem this publisher is having is that downloading these demos is really installing an application, so LUA makes it a lot less convenient.

        There are a few options here:

        1. Live with it. You install an application, you MUST get permissio
  • So, a spyware publisher responsible for the crippled state of all new HP machines cries out loud that Vista will be too secure for their crapware to install? Cry me a river, ****heads. On the other hand, I don't think Vista will run games too well and that gamers should stick with XP for now since Vista's likely to break almost all existing games, especially id's OpenGL classics.
  • Sure... (Score:2, Funny)

    by vga_init (589198)
    It will be a cold day in hell when Windows isn't the best operating system for gaming. It's the only thing that keeps the ignorant masses from switching to Linux, after all. :)
  • It works on Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:19PM (#17530416) Homepage
    I can play games on Linux with Cedega perfectly well. Right now I am playing WoW with no issues.

    So, if it works on Linux under a limited user account... why isn't it possible on Windows? Perhaps they need to start up some kind of emulation project... they would call it Beer since Cider and Wine are taken ;)
    • Right now I am playing WoW with no issues.

      Heh. Hear, hear! In fact, I've noticed that the performance in many cases is actually slightly better than under Windows XP. The framerates are identical; the NVIDIA driver is equally performant under XP and Linux. Network latency is better. It's rare that my latency ever goes over 100ms (though I have some help from QoS in the router). Load times are waaaay better. I use software RAID-0 on dual SATA drives as my main disk. I used the Windows VIA SATA-RAID driver to do basically the same thing, but the dis

  • Back in the day, when Microsoft wasn't sure what DirectX should be doing let alone how to do it, there was a lot of grief generated each major revision. The nightmares of having a project core change from the DirectX 2 to DirectX 3 was brutual mostly due to the disperate OS support. A similar transition happened from DX5 to DX6 but from there on out it got much smoother with easier to predict changes as well as the backwards compatibility got better. Sometimes we'd wonder what exactly was the difference
  • WildTangent isn't really the hallmark of serious pc games. They sell minigames on software that comes pre-installed on new PCs. I uninstalled all of their drivers as soon as I got my new laptop, as they were unwanted gunk in the gears (and at first they looked like spyware).

    What sounds like the real problem is that Microsoft has a crappy framework that you can try to squeeze games into, or you can put your game links somewhere else and have people not find them. I suspect WildTangent has a lot of conte
  • If M$ there to come with %100 free to use update system then we may be able have more games that don't need admin.
  • Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:26PM (#17530548)
    "In Vista, LUA's are mandatory and inescapable."

    Wrong. Many sites already have instructions for turning off User Access Controls and giving you the ability to do anything you want. Vista sucks big time, but not because of Limuted Use Accounts.

  • by TwistedSpring (594284) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:28PM (#17530598) Homepage
    OK I've clearly not been keeping up-to-date here after playing with the Vista release candidates, but does LUA really prevent you from even running an executable file you downloaded without an admin username and password? Surely LUA is there to stop the executable from doing "bad things" rather than the user from running it, like in pretty much every other multiuser OS.

    If I download a game as an executable file, sure I expect to get a warning maybe. Then I expect the exe to run but with reduced privileges so it cannot harm the rest of the system. It should get access to my home directory, read-only access to other non-critical OS files such as libs, and be protected from making unauthorised Internet connections. Obviously a malicious exe may be able to gain elevated privileges by exploiting security flaws, but these holes should be patched regularly by the vendor to prevent other people from using the same exploits. Right?

    If LUA requires me to enter an admin pass for every exe I download then that really *is* bad. However, I would expect it to be well designed enough not to. Any system that demands that of a user will ultimately result in the user keeping the admin pass on a sticky note on their screen and just giving every exe they run the keys to their entire system.

    Someone educate me here.
  • > Meanwhile, the word has also come down that
    > games will be on the Zune by Summer of next year.

    Just in time for nobody to give a crap.
  • Let's face it, Vista was not built for games. Games need horsepower, they need every single CPU cycle they can get, every single beat of the clock.

    So a "perfect" system would allow you to tune its performance according to your needs. It would allow you to turn on and off security features, features that ensure absolute stability and other tweaks, depending on which task is at hand. If you run a server, you will want stability and security, but you don't need special graphics abilities. If you run games, you
  • Don't build games for Vista.
    That ought to just about put an end to it.
  • Sorry, but who cares what a guy from Wildtangent says. Why would anyone want that crap on their PC anyhow?

    His complaints have little merit and cry of someone who doesn't want to get with the program and be more security-minded. Nevermind the fact that companies like his are what help spread malware, spyware and "attached" installations via games for kids.
  • The intrusive dialogs are also oddly pointless, because Vista's frequent warning dialogs do nothing to differentiate legitimate commercial software from known hazardous products, so consumers will still mistakenly install malware.

    The big reasons behind them is part to not allow malware piggyback on legit software and part to inform a user that machine local (and not just user local) changes to the system is about to be made, for example by copying something out of your user folder. Try copying things inside

  • by megla (859600) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:42PM (#17531816)
    Having RTFA, it can be summed up as follows:
    • Mummy, better security makes it an infentisimal amount more challenging to hawk our products!
    • Woah no! We don't like this game explorer concept!
    • Waaaah, parental controls prevent kids who shouldn't be playing our games anyway from playing them!
    • Boo hoo, trying to run a game from outside the game explorer results in strange behaviour (this is the only legitimate complaint)
    It just sounds like a list of whiney bitching... because it is.
    I mean seriously, Microsoft have gone out of their way to improve gaming on Vista and all these guys can do is complain that kids are properly protected and that LUA makes pushing their product harder? I'm sorry, but I'll take an extra security dialog to get a demo if it results in fewer of the general internet-unsavvy users infecting themselves, and Microsoft are NOT your marketing company; it's not their concern that your strategy can't cope with a minor change.

    Jesus christ.
    What about all the work that's gone into DX10? All the consultations with game studios and hardware developers? The tightening of the requirements for cards to be certified as DX10 capable which is designed to make your jobs easier?

    Quit the ungrateful highschool bitching and respond to change.
    It's something that tends to happen in the real world, and it's for the better.
  • FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:25PM (#17532454) Homepage
    I might take these claims seriously if they were coming from someone other than WildTangent. They may not technically be classified as malware, but they're right on the edge. My opinion is that they're just complaining because people won't be able to unintentionally install their garbage anymore. Until they find a workaround anyway. [wikipedia.org]
  • by FunWithKnives (775464) <ParadoxPerfect.terrorist@net> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @08:58PM (#17533538) Journal
    I was going to mod this discussion, but some of the comments here have just made me so fucking angry that I'm waiving my privileges for this one.

    You fucking morons that are faulting Microsoft for this: How do you justify the bullshit that you're spouting? For almost ten years now, it's been, "Windows sucks because there's no security by default.", and, "Never hook an unpatched Windows box to the internet, because it's asking for trouble.". Lack of security was one of the main reasons given to switch to Linux (which, by the way, has required a user or root password to accomplish certain things for quite awhile, unlike Vista, which has just implemented it.) So, in actuality, you're just whining for the sake of whining. Microsoft, to you, can never do anything right, even when they do something right. I use Kubuntu and FreeBSD. I have exactly one 20g Windows partition on one computer, solely for the occasional college work that cannot be done in Linux without jumping through hoops with Wine or DosBox; so I have no disclaimer to give. It's simply common sense that the increased focus on security in Vista, while long overdue, is a Good Thing (TM). Those that want to bitch about having to enter a fucking password to install or run some things have no leg to stand on. Pure trolling, is what it is.

    There. I feel better now.
    • by spitzak (4019) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:41PM (#17534950) Homepage
      You want to pretend that Slashdot is closed minded, but it appears you are. Did you actually read the comments, or are you just making assumptions about what they said? I would say you are making assumptions.

      I did read the comments and I would say that virtually 100% accuse this guy of spreading FUD and wanting to be able to install spyware. About the only negative comments on MicroSoft were about them trying to lock games into their platform and Vista, which has nothing to do with what the original article was about, he absolutly does not care about the lock in.

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:04PM (#17534164)
    Scares me that a developer is this stupid...

    #1. All MS has done is move the Vista security up to what every other major OS does. Does this developer NOT realize that a game on OSX or Linux would require the same 'privledges' if written as the developer suggests?

    #2. If the person is pushing this argument based on 'demos' or download games, then they can code the freaking game with security in mind, so that it installs in the 'USER' area of the OS, and it WOULD NOT NEED to elevate privledges. This is pretty easy to do, as anyone that develops simples applications and demos for Windows with security in mind, or OSX or *nix with security in mind.

    #3. This is one of the stupidest arguments I have seen in a long time. So what does the author of the article suggest? Have MS make Vista less secure so he doesn't have to learn about security and how to write an appliation that doesn't need administrative level access to run?

    Maybe we should all go together and get this idiot a book on NT security so he can code his 'demos/games' so they don't install into an administrator area of the OS and then any Limited User Account can easily install or use them.

    My mouth literally dropped open when I read this article, all the while I was thinking, nah, this has to be a gag, he can't really be this stupid about writing an application with NT security in mind.

    No wonder MS left XP security open for program compatibility if this is the type of idiots that are STILL programming applications after Windows has moved over to NT for over 5 years now. Oh my gawd the horror, he might have to learn security APIs or learn what areas of the OS are off limits to idiot programmers...

    Geesh....
  • by simm1701 (835424) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:08AM (#17536534)
    Limited user accounts are very usable!!

    I force myself to use them and my wife who uses the same machine

    A few ACL changes make the games perfectly usuable install all games in c:\games and have that directory full control to all users

    This means the total impact of a foolish action by a user can wipe out their account and all the games on the system. Much better than an admin account being compromised (ok ignoring priviledge ecalation attacks)

    I recently had to remove a trojan from my wifes account - a fairly trival procedure given how limited her access to the system as a whole was. Reading up on the particular trojan I found that had it been able to get admin access it would have been much harder to remove.

    Ok I'll concded on XP home without ACL controls its bloody hard to accomplish this. But if you have XP pro you really have no excuse.

    (and to explain no I'm not a windows fan - I loathe the system especially as I frequently have to admin them in my work. I much prefer linux and am quite familiar with winex which I have work with extensively and created start up scripts for several games that would not work trvially out of the box. however I also know just how much of a pain it is to do this so stick to dual booting. not liking the OS is no excuse not to secure it properly)
  • by popo (107611) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @07:55AM (#17537816) Homepage
    Microsoft has nothing to gain from PC gaming.

    They have lots to gain from the death of PC gaming.

    Why support it?

Your own mileage may vary.

Working...