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Microsoft's UWP and the future of open PC gaming


HarryBizzle
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5 hours ago, mushashi said:

anybody care to mount the defense of why it's good?

Because it's in tandem with the current status quo and not supplanting it? As a developer who has begun developing for UWP I can only point to the fact that I can target multiple platforms, including desktop, tablet, phone and IoT, with one code base as a massive benefit. Also the fact that they've just acquired Xamarin which will be easy to also bring into the fold and allow the same codebase to also target iOS and Android. I don't see how it is a bad thing.

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On 11/03/2016 at 10:29 PM, *chin* said:

Because it's in tandem with the current status quo and not supplanting it? As a developer who has begun developing for UWP I can only point to the fact that I can target multiple platforms, including desktop, tablet, phone and IoT, with one code base as a massive benefit. Also the fact that they've just acquired Xamarin which will be easy to also bring into the fold and allow the same codebase to also target iOS and Android. I don't see how it is a bad thing.

 

That doesn't seem to be the vibe Microsoft are giving off, here's the summary of 2 of their GDC presentations to the developer community.

 

 

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The Future of Game Development on Windows (presented by Microsoft)

Windows and Team Xbox talked at GDC in 2015 about how we were building the world's most accessible and powerful game development platform that spans across consoles, PC, tablets, phones, and more. Come join us in 2016 to see how we are delivering on our vision & are empowering game developers to reach billions of customers around the world, connected through the power of Xbox Live and our Universal Store, plus a host of new platform innovations for games in every genre.

 

 

 

 

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Fast and Effective Introduction to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) (presented by Microsoft)

The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is at the core of our vision for the future of game development. UWP powers games & apps on our most innovative operating system yet: Windows 10. Windows 10 powers Xbox One consoles, PCs, tablets, Phones, and even our upcoming HoloLens device. Come learn from our experts how we're pulling out all the stops, to make UWP the best choice for making games in the future; a great game developer experience with great performance and cross-platform capabilities.

 

 

That seems quite unambiguous in their intention to try to move all game dev to UWP on Windows ASAP.

 

 

 

So what sort of software are you developing BTW? As somebody who pretty much solely uses Microsoft's OS on the PC desktop exclusively, the benefits of UWP seem marginal at best compared to Win32. I was mainly asking for somebody to defend the need for UWP from the point of view of a end user on desktop. The cross platform stuff is nice for Microsoft and developers who want to develop for Microsoft controlled platforms (and the porting to the other 2 non-Microsoft controlled platforms), but it isn't something which I see much value in as a desktop Windows user. How many people are using/want to use Microsoft's OS on their phone or tablet?, I'm perfectly satisfied with Android for those devices, and I wouldn't even dream of doing any actual productivity work on mobile anyway, touch is fucking useless for anything actually productive, they are just low powered consumption devices.

 

 

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http://www.dualshockers.com/2016/03/16/microsoft-shares-its-vision-for-the-future-of-windows-and-xbox-one-development-directx-12-and-more/

 

Quote

UWP app support will be implemented on Xbox One in summer 2016. Developers that are writing an UWP app on Windows 10 today can be confident that it will run on Xbox One. The vast majority of the code is directly portable across devices, leaving developers time to optimize the code for the unique capabilities and control schemes of each device.

 

They also note they are fixing the most glaring holes in UWP for gaming "real soon now" (vsync, SLI, etc.)

 

I think this means in the future Microsoft is thinking Xbox will be subsumed into Windows, and no longer the discrete platform and hardware it is today. Imagine GfWL combined with DirectX and branded as Xbox, with a couple of console-sized Surface PCs to cover off the first party hardware support -- and then also third party hardware at a range of price points a la Steam Boxes.

 

This feels like a change of heart. I wonder if the Xbone's lacklustre sales against the PS4 has led to a shift in the balance of power within MS and now the Windows division has the upper hand over the Xbox division, so is getting to set the strategy to suit itself.

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Seems an awfully big leap to take from them saying Apps written for one form factor will work on another.

Could just as easily be a way to make sure the UWP ecosystem gets as big a market to sell to as possible and hence a nice juicy cut for MS.

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On 3/15/2016 at 1:57 PM, mushashi said:

"Come learn from our experts how we're pulling out all the stops, to make UWP the best choice for making games in the future"

 

That seems quite unambiguous in their intention to try to move all game dev to UWP on Windows ASAP.

 

 

 

Go have a look at any of their direct x anouncements.  It's always "come learn about how [insert technology here] is the best choice for making games" etc.

What do you expect them to say?   

"Come learn from our experts how we're pulling out all the stops, to make UWP the equivalent choice to Win32 for making games in the future"?

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On 3/15/2016 at 1:57 PM, mushashi said:

So what sort of software are you developing BTW? As somebody who pretty much solely uses Microsoft's OS on the PC desktop exclusively, the benefits of UWP seem marginal at best compared to Win32. I was mainly asking for somebody to defend the need for UWP from the point of view of a end user on desktop. The cross platform stuff is nice for Microsoft and developers who want to develop for Microsoft controlled platforms (and the porting to the other 2 non-Microsoft controlled platforms), but it isn't something which I see much value in as a desktop Windows user. How many people are using/want to use Microsoft's OS on their phone or tablet?, I'm perfectly satisfied with Android for those devices, and I wouldn't even dream of doing any actual productivity work on mobile anyway, touch is fucking useless for anything actually productive, they are just low powered consumption devices.

 

 

 

They're not targetting these presentations at you - and not all benefits have to be targetted at the end user to be worthwhile...

 

Why should developers be stuck with Win32 only for ever and ever?

 

You could as easily have said "what was the benefit of replacing windows forms to me as the end user" back in the day, or "why can't they continue giving their full support to MSDOS".

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1 hour ago, rafaqat said:

Seems an awfully big leap to take from them saying Apps written for one form factor will work on another.

Could just as easily be a way to make sure the UWP ecosystem gets as big a market to sell to as possible and hence a nice juicy cut for MS.

 

I imagine MS want to free themselves from Xbox being a distinct platform to focus on SaaS. UWPs could nicely side-step console exclusivity if an Xbox is capable of running the 'PC' version. It could also make Windows/Xbox the number one choice for multi-platform development. Build the PC version as a UWP and the Xbox version is done. It makes developing for PC plus Xbox less work than PC plus PS4.

 

If they do that they can move to the incremental upgrade model and leave the console arms race behind. Future revisions could use the same pads you already own, potentially even the same PSU depending on power requirements, making it cheaper to upgrade the box than invest in a whole new system. 

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20 minutes ago, PhilG said:

 

I imagine MS want to free themselves from Xbox being a distinct platform to focus on SaaS. UWPs could nicely side-step console exclusivity if an Xbox is capable of running the 'PC' version. It could also make Windows/Xbox the number one choice for multi-platform development. Build the PC version as a UWP and the Xbox version is done. It makes developing for PC plus Xbox less work than PC plus PS4.

Although in practice, I think it would work like this:

  • As-Is (today): develop Xbox, PS4, PC versions separately.
  • To-Be (glorious UWP future): develop one version for Xbox/PC (with some tuning for either version), develop second version for PS4

I don't think this is a particularly big win for developers. It's a step forward, but there's already some amount of code portability across Xbox and PC thanks to DirectX and a common developer environment. And unless you're willing to forgo the PS4's install base you're still juggling two versions.

 

That's why I think this is a bigger play than merely Xbox One / Windows 10 cross-compatibility today. I think this is about laying foundations for a converged platform in the future.

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I agree, I probably didn't make my point that well as I had to dash to a meeting. I'm sure MS see the future of the Xbox brand as a platform that runs on PC, with any console-style hardware (first or third party) essentially being a Windows-based version of the Steambox for those who want simple plug-and-play functionality and want avoid the full-blown PC experience. The same UWP code bought through the same store, running on the same online infrastructure where you can find and play with your friends regardless of them being on 'console' or 'PC'.

 

Developers would still create a second version for PS4, but MS wouldn't have to concern themselves anymore with an Xbox version being the last-developed option. If built on UWP, stuff like The Witness and Firewatch would be available to Xbox 'console' users at the same time as the PC game.

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4 hours ago, footle said:

 

They're not targetting these presentations at you - and not all benefits have to be targetted at the end user to be worthwhile...

 

Why should developers be stuck with Win32 only for ever and ever?

 

You could as easily have said "what was the benefit of replacing windows forms to me as the end user" back in the day, or "why can't they continue giving their full support to MSDOS".

 

There is nothing majorly wrong with Win32 for desktop users, and this whole topic is based on a complaint by a developer.

 

I don't think devs were complaining about the move to Windows from DOS (a stupid comparison really), as they didn't make things worse and remove their freedoms. The problem isn't UWP or even the Windows Store, the problem is how Microsoft have currently implemented policies relating to both from a developer POV, which independent companies who are in charge of their own destiny on the Windows desktop currently would like fixed and shown to be fixed.

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52 minutes ago, mushashi said:

 

There is nothing majorly wrong with Win32 for desktop users, and this whole topic is based on a complaint by a developer.

 

I don't think devs were complaining about the move to Windows from DOS (a stupid comparison really), as they didn't make things worse and remove their freedoms. 

 

Dude, did you even SEE how well games ran on Windows in the early days.  They were shit!  They definitely made things worse for quite a while.  It was a necessary change though.

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I'm struggling with mushashi's opinions on this, because he'll say win32 may get deprecated while at the same time saying UWP is for consumers, meaning... win32 isn't deprecated, and kept exclusive for enterprise? I can't reconcile it at all.

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  • 4 weeks later...

UWP for gaming on Microsoft Windows is currently going down exactly the same road as the last Microsoft initiative for gaming on Microsoft Windows, a self-inflicted own goal destined for failure. If they wanted it to succeed, why rush out poor examples of it? They'll have built up a mountain of negative examples which will make any chance of success that much harder than it already was in the face of the incumbent Valve, et al opposition which are perfectly happy with the Win32 status quo.

 

It's really baffling how a company with so much money and resources can get something like this so wrong and not be actively rushing to make sure it doesn't keep on happening.

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:rolleyes:

 

An entirely new framework must be PERFECT out of the gate, having been through 5 years of requirements elicitation. That's how all the best software is written.

 

I'd ask for a citation on the rushed out poor examples, after they've already said they'll address concerns like vsync, but you don't often follow up on questions, preferring to just post opinion as fact.

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3 minutes ago, TehStu said:

I'd ask for a citation on the rushed out poor examples, after they've already said they'll address concerns like vsync, but you don't often follow up on questions, preferring to just post opinion as fact.

 

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2016-what-went-wrong-with-quantum-break-pc

 

Gears of War and Killer Instinct are also very broken games.

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Do I have to go through line by line and cross reference with what came out of Build, or did DF also do that?

 

Edit -

What other titles will comprise the "mountain of negative examples" before said improvements are realized?

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Pretty much every single big budget UWP exclusive game has technical problems, hardly making the sort of impression which makes people want to switch to UWP. Given a choice, they'll choose to buy the Win32 version, like they did with Tomb Raider.

 

UWP has to prove itself to be better than Win32 to stand a chance, or Microsoft are going to have to allow everybody to buy from the Indian or other stupidly low priced regional digital store if they want their exclusives to sell.

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16 minutes ago, TehStu said:

:rolleyes:

 

An entirely new framework must be PERFECT out of the gate, having been through 5 years of requirements elicitation. That's how all the best software is written.

 

I'd ask for a citation on the rushed out poor examples, after they've already said they'll address concerns like vsync, but you don't often follow up on questions, preferring to just post opinion as fact.

 

This post reads as being utterly detached from reality.

 

As if they would be completely unaware of just how fucked their platform is. Their own games are inferior on their own store vs Steam. See: Rise of the Tomb Raider menus.

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No, it's born of the tiresome reaction here. Where were all you lot reacting to how they'll change things, announced in Build? It was in the Xbox thread, but not here. I appreciate the board was down a bit.

 

Vsync comes in May, by the way.

 

Yes, they would have been better off delaying QB on the PC until after these changes.

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Hmmmm.

 

Well as someone who is actually the audience for these UWP big budget PC ports, I managed to snag Quantum Break for £15 thanks to a member here. I'm playing Dark Souls 3 over it because it is an excellent PC port and awaiting QB to be patched to some degree hopefully. The fact that it doesn't even display 1080p natively is mindboggling. A high budget PC port from a dev that has a great PC background published by Microsoft of all people (setting aside all of the UWP restriction quirks) - and it can't do native 1080p right now. Other who aren't big PC games might not understand how insanely nuts that is. It's sending a terrible message to an audience who was already feeling cynical after MS's terrible last attempt at PC gaming. 

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Is that Remedy, or the fault of UWP? Bear in mind, XB1 isn't running UWPs yet (comes with Redstone, right?) I understand PC gaming, not sure if that's leveled at me.

 

How do you all feel about what was stated at Build? E.g., Win32 isn't going away.

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1 minute ago, HarryBizzle said:

My reaction to the V sync announcement is that it's as if the fact that people want to disable V sync has come as a surprise to them.

 

Nearly 2 years into UWP you can disable V sync, people, just give it time!

 

And during those "2 years" (if we're calling winRT UWP), how many times has it been an issue? Has anyone complained that the cheap crap ported from iOS/Android, also presumably vsync limited, didn't have vsync settings?

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7 minutes ago, TehStu said:

 

And during those "2 years" (if we're calling winRT UWP), how many times has it been an issue? Has anyone complained that the cheap crap ported from iOS/Android, also presumably vsync limited, didn't have vsync settings?

 

 

Again, you're assuming that this has somehow come as a shock to them and shouldn't have been something they could have anticipated and had ready.

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Just now, HarryBizzle said:

 

 

 

Again, you're assuming that this has somehow come as a shock to them and shouldn't have been something they could have anticipated and had ready.

 

Disorganization doesn't equate to "inevitably killing the PC gaming scene", which is the largely unchallenged narrative in this thread. There's a difference between analyzing past performance and completely ignoring recent initiatives. And if you truly believed it, you'd be doing everything to support alternative platforms, as your means of voting with your wallet (pretty much the only direct power end consumers can bring to bear).

 

If you'd rather, we can leave "cheap, tacky advert for Solitaire" be the evidence for their approach to gaming on an entire platform unquestioned, if that's the level of discourse preferred.

13 minutes ago, Bojangle said:

Well no.  Because that's cheap crap.  People expect better (ie. the standard PC gamers have come to expect from titles available on Steam etc) from triple A titles.

 

Yup, it's a mistake, no doubt about it. And they're rectifying it. You'd never know from reading this thread, but I expect everyone glanced at a summary of Build while the forum was offline.

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