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Microsoft's UWP and the future of open PC gaming


HarryBizzle
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1 minute ago, TehStu said:

 

"inevitably killing the PC gaming scene"

 

I don't know where you've rolled this out from. Largely the concerns are about attempting to monopolise the market, not kill the scene.

 

However, on this page, I thought we were talking about Mushashi's point of them basically shooting themselves in the foot by wanting people to use the W10 Store and then making everything on it at best inferior and at worst unplayable, but apparently not. 

 

Also for the rushed out poor examples: Every Xbox game currently available on UWP. I thought that bit was obvious.

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Genuinely not being funny but what was announced at Build?  A link will do if it's too wordy to summarise.  MS needed to do something to ensure UWP games offer the options PC gamers are expecting out of the gate otherwise they will instantly lose goodwill or trust based on previous initiatives like GFWL.  One of the biggest slip ups that I can see is that you cannot modify games and software overlays don't work.  PC gamers have had those abilities like forever.

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4 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

I don't know where you've rolled this out from. Largely the concerns are about attempting to monopolise the market, not kill the scene.

 

However, on this page, I thought we were talking about Mushashi's point of them basically shooting themselves in the foot by wanting people to use the W10 Store and then making everything on it at best inferior and at worst unplayable, but apparently not. 

 

Also for the rushed out poor examples: Every Xbox game currently available on UWP. I thought that bit was obvious.

 

They effectively kill it by monopolizing it, right? I could search back through the thread.

 

Yeah, it's poor show, but doesn't equate to what it's being used for in the context of this thread. I've written at length (surface, win 8, win 10 threads), for the last 18 months, how poor 1st party support has been on the store, albeit from a point of view of apps. 

 

Poor examples: Tomb Raider, Quantum Break, and? I check the store regularly, what am I missing that they haven't, for whatever reason, promoted? I even regularly search for "Xbox" to try and get a list of titles that support achievements, etc. The store needs better filtering options, like Google Play.

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5 minutes ago, simms said:

Genuinely not being funny but what was announced at Build?  A link will do if it's too wordy to summarise.  MS needed to do something to ensure UWP games offer the options PC gamers are expecting out of the gate otherwise they will instantly lose goodwill or trust based on previous initiatives like GFWL.  One of the biggest slip ups that I can see is that you cannot modify games and software overlays don't work.  PC gamers have had those abilities like forever.

 

I'm struggling to find a link, it was in the XB1 thread around the time of Build. Things like win32 not being replaced, the fact that you can simply put win32 in a UWP container (but have it signed, which is a good thing for users), vsync getting added, that UWP can be published from any store, etc.

 

Probably best glance through Boozy's posts in the XB1 thread, he was writing summaries as they were announced.

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I'm still willing to give UWP the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the quality of the games using the format. The Quantum Break port is an abomination, but that could be down to it simply being rushed out for a simultaneous launch rather than restrictions of the format. 

 

That said, even with the improvements due further down the line and the availability of the format through other distribution methods, it will always remain a more limited format by design. The way things stand, it will never be possible for something like DSfix or GeDoSaTo to hook into a game, and the same goes for pretty much any kind of modding without a game being specifically designed to support mods. That's partly why people are so cross about Quantum Break, as while it's one thing for the game to be in a complete state, it's not even possible for some clever guy to fix through mods. 

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When you have a previous immediate poor history with a format and you're presenting a new store front and format you should be doing nothing more than selling that by showing how good your products are on that format to convince people to switch to you and consider you for purchases. Quantum Break is the latest in them completing fucking that up at every turn since ROTR. They shouldn't have started at all until they reached an acceptable standard and they had the basics features implemented. 

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

Saw Gears, forgot about Killer Instinct.  You can insinuate all you want about how closely I'm monitoring it, but then I did watch Build.

 

It seems to largely mirror their half baked approach to 1st party store apps in general, which is even worse than Google's. Luckily, it's not going to affect the platform, so the most sensible thing to do is for people not to buy this stuff. 

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Pretty much every single big budget UWP exclusive game has technical problems .

I could show you plenty of posts in this very forum moaning about how various big budget games have lots of issues on Win32. Let's not kid ourselves that the current system for PC gaming is some kind of nirvana.

As long as they keep up with the commitment to improve UWP then that's a good thing. Win32 isn't going to disappear overnight.

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I don't think anyone is saying that.  If we was given the option to buy a Steam version of all these MS exclusive games no one would be complaining.  The fact you have to buy the the Win 10 version if you want to play them, which as well as being broken cannot be improved upon to some extent due to the limitations of UWP (no modifications and third party performance software).  It's just so incredibly restrictive and too closed for a platform that is used to being so open.

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13 hours ago, simms said:

I don't think anyone is saying that.  If we was given the option to buy a Steam version of all these MS exclusive games no one would be complaining.  The fact you have to buy the the Win 10 version if you want to play them, which as well as being broken cannot be improved upon to some extent due to the limitations of UWP (no modifications and third party performance software).  It's just so incredibly restrictive and too closed for a platform that is used to being so open.

 

True. Would be nice to have the choice.

They definitely need to improve it.   As for using external tools for upping performance, one (dubious) benefit is that developers are "stuck" with what they've released so you'd hope they make sure that users don't have to sit there tweaking away to get the game running at an acceptable quality.  I mean, I know people love tinkering but I'd rather the fuckers were forced to optimise from the get go rather than rely on tools from the video card manufacturers to tweak various things.

I know the above opinion is an odd one, I'm essentially saying giving the user less flexibility is a good thing which is bloody odd sounding, but I think it would and SHOULD force Devs to give more of a fuck about what gets released rather than hide behind the "too many hardware variations to test" excuse you get sometimes on PC.

 

Edit:  Hey El Spatula, rather than go round the forum negging my posts, just actually discuss stuff like other people.  It's opened my eyes to a few things like making sure old games can still be played (or improved) on newer hardware.  

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It's all very well saying that devs would be encouraged to work to a higher standard when modders can't fix their stuff, assuming you ignore the already present issues of time and manpower when faced with strict release dates, but what about years down the line when the games stop working so well on new systems, or simply look way past their best? I discovered a couple of years ago that someone had released an excellent high quality texture mod for Soul Reaver that made a massive difference, and all you have to do to install it is replace a single file in the game's directory. That wouldn't be possible with UWP as I understand it.

 

As things stand, even with the improvements promised for UWP there doesn't seem to be any benefit to it whatsoever when it comes to PC games. It's a great idea to enable lighter apps to be easily supported on PCs, phones and the Xbox One, but I've yet to see any strong argument for its use beyond that.

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16 minutes ago, rafaqat said:

 

True. Would be nice to have the choice.

They definitely need to improve it.   As for using external tools for upping performance, one (dubious) benefit is that developers are "stuck" with what they've released so you'd hope they make sure that users don't have to sit there tweaking away to get the game running at an acceptable quality.  I mean, I know people love tinkering but I'd rather the fuckers were forced to optimise from the get go rather than rely on tools from the video card manufacturers to tweak various things.

I know the above opinion is an odd one, I'm essentially saying giving the user less flexibility is a good thing which is bloody odd sounding, but I think it would and SHOULD force Devs to give more of a fuck about what gets released rather than hide behind the "too many hardware variations to test" excuse you get sometimes on PC.

 

 

Yes I agree that devs should be releasing games in a good state in the first place but I'm not sure how anyone can enforce that so its so unfortunately it left to the PC community and other software providers to patch up shortcomings.  But Mogster makes another excellent point that I did not think of.

 

4 minutes ago, Mogster said:

It's all very well saying that devs would be encouraged to work to a higher standard when modders can't fix their stuff, assuming you ignore the already present issues of time and manpower when faced with strict release dates, but what about years down the line when the games stop working so well on new systems, or simply look way past their best? I discovered a couple of years ago that someone had released an excellent high quality texture mod for Soul Reaver that made a massive difference, and all you have to do to install it is replace a single file in the game's directory. That wouldn't be possible with UWP as I understand it.

 

As things stand, even with the improvements promised for UWP there doesn't seem to be any benefit to it whatsoever when it comes to PC games. It's a great idea to enable lighter apps to be easily supported on PCs, phones and the Xbox One, but I've yet to see any strong argument for its use beyond that.

 

Indeed mate, such a good point.  From a game preservation standpoint UWP is a bloody disaster.  There comes a point where devs are no longer updating their game and if a future hardware or software change breaks it, there is no way to fix a UWP game as it stands today.

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42 minutes ago, simms said:

I don't think anyone is saying that.  If we was given the option to buy a Steam version of all these MS exclusive games no one would be complaining.  The fact you have to buy the the Win 10 version if you want to play them, which as well as being broken cannot be improved upon to some extent due to the limitations of UWP (no modifications and third party performance software).  It's just so incredibly restrictive and too closed for a platform that is used to being so open.

 

Well, the same could be said of PS4 owners wanting to play Forza (ignoring recent PC announcements). Of course MS, of all people, are going to take the opportunity to blow their own trumpet. Android is, arguably, the best experience for the Google ecosystem. Like I said, the best way to convince them it's a stupid idea is not to buy it. Wallet voting is what got them in the position they're in now. Who knows, maybe it'll die on its arse for big titles. It'll be great for smaller productions and especially for apps, lack of sandboxing notwithstanding. 

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I'd liken this to MS announcing a Ps4 port and stripping out all the advances that ps4 users are used to or all the advances that have been made in the console space.  Imagine it has to be played at sub HD, say 480p, no 5.1 sound, no dual shock support, no networking support or trophies and a rocky framerate.  Then to top it, claim they are committed to providing great support for gamers.

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16 minutes ago, simms said:

[...]  Then to top it, claim they are committed to providing great support for gamers.

 

Perhaps it will in a future revision, they're already addressing concerns. 

 

I shouldn't have mentioned the PS4. I was just alluding to the fact that it's hardly surprising that the platform owner uses 1st party titles to peddle their store. Remember when Half Life 2 came with that apparent crapware Steam? And it'll help, or it'll bite them on the arse, depending on whether sufficient people vote with their wallet.

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We are not talking about some new startup company here.  With all the resources and experience MS bring its actually shocking to see the decisions that have been made and the state of these titles.  Tomb raider for Win10 store is supposed to be significantly worse than the Steam version.  I'd love to see the sales figures between these versions.

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It's actually not all that great for desktop apps either, as it still enforces restrictions that aren't there for Win32 apps. Third party plugin support for one!

 

I don't buy the PS4 owners comparison. As nice as it would be if Microsoft and Sony supported each other's rival platforms, people accept that that's never going to happen for obvious reasons. I actually can't think of a decent analogy because there really isn't any other situation quite like it. It's like Sony deciding to restrict their first party PS4 games to half a screen for some arbitrary reason, while third parties decide not to follow suit and continue to offer their old fashioned full screen games.

 

And no, it's not surprising that Microsoft are pushing the Windows Store, but that's a separate issue to UWP as a format. Microsoft are pushing UWP as the future of Windows apps no matter where they're installed from, although obviously nobody else seems to be too keen on this idea as long as Win32 is around. Steam was awful to start with, but it was just a necessary evil to launch and run the rather excellent HL2 and CS1.6. These days Steam is home to most of my games, but I'm not really fussed about using GOG Galaxy, UPlay and Origin where I have to, and I have no real issue with using the Windows Store either. It makes total sense that Microsoft are restricting their games to their own store, but it really sucks that they're being compromised as a result.

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Yes to set the record straight I'm willing to use another store to purchase games as I have done so many times.  I have all the launchers but the restrictions that come with using software from the Windows store is heartbreaking.  Scary thing is, this is the platform owner enforcing a walled garden thinking in an inappropriate way.  I can see 'token' fixes coming to try and appease but I doubt it's going to be enough to convince.  The sad thing is if Quantum Break runs adequately in the future and is dirt cheap I'll probably purchase it.

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Well, one, that's pathetic. If you're familiar with my ranting about the PS4, you'll know I've subsequently given my gaming monies to Microsoft, since. And two, if true, gives Microsoft no impetus to give the change you want. Look at what you wrote - the changes will be token gestures (yeah, right- allowing UWP on other stores is sure fortifying that walled garden), and yet you'll still support it.

 

Stupid. Also, this is why Sony screw people left and right on customer service. Sorry to get all arsey, but you're forfeiting the one way you can make them listen.

 

As I said previously, I'll just stop, no point in dragging this out. I'm going to look really stupid at some point, or you're all going to have to reappraise your tinfoil m$ hats. 

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7 hours ago, Mogster said:

It's actually not all that great for desktop apps either, as it still enforces restrictions that aren't there for Win32 apps. Third party plugin support for one!

[...]

7 hours ago, Mogster said:

And no, it's not surprising that Microsoft are pushing the Windows Store, but that's a separate issue to UWP as a format. Microsoft are pushing UWP as the future of Windows apps no matter where they're installed from, although obviously nobody else seems to be too keen on this idea as long as Win32 is around. 

 

Speaking as a Windows developer, the above statements are absolute bollocks.

 

I don't give a flying one into a rolling hot dog about top end games being UWP - I can see the massive advantages in terms of single codebase etc.  The arguments are against are rubbish mind "It's vendor lockin" cry people, as they rush off to Steam and the Apple App Store.  "We can't hack other peoples games without permission mod PC games" is the other.  Pfft.

 

But to claim UWP doesn't open up possibilities for normal LOB Windows apps (especially when combined with the other announcements at Build) is horse puckey of the highest order.  Less than a month in and one of my client is already midway through looking into converting to UWP, another has said the next couple of projects will be UWP to see how it goes.

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4 hours ago, TehStu said:

Well, one, that's pathetic. If you're familiar with my ranting about the PS4, you'll know I've subsequently given my gaming monies to Microsoft, since. And two, if true, gives Microsoft no impetus to give the change you want. Look at what you wrote - the changes will be token gestures (yeah, right- allowing UWP on other stores is sure fortifying that walled garden), and yet you'll still support it.

 

Stupid. Also, this is why Sony screw people left and right on customer service. Sorry to get all arsey, but you're forfeiting the one way you can make them listen.

 

As I said previously, I'll just stop, no point in dragging this out. I'm going to look really stupid at some point, or you're all going to have to reappraise your tinfoil m$ hats. 

 

Bit harsh and an angry post there.  I'm intrigued by Quantum Break and the only way to play is to buy from MS.  however im only likely to buy if it's issues have been fixed and its dirt cheap.  

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1 hour ago, Plissken said:

[...]

 

Speaking as a Windows developer, the above statements are absolute bollocks.

 

I don't give a flying one into a rolling hot dog about top end games being UWP - I can see the massive advantages in terms of single codebase etc.  The arguments are against are rubbish mind "It's vendor lockin" cry people, as they rush off to Steam and the Apple App Store.  "We can't hack other peoples games without permission mod PC games" is the other.  Pfft.

 

But to claim UWP doesn't open up possibilities for normal LOB Windows apps (especially when combined with the other announcements at Build) is horse puckey of the highest order.  Less than a month in and one of my client is already midway through looking into converting to UWP, another has said the next couple of projects will be UWP to see how it goes.

 

Bit unfair to label modders as hackers.  Speaking as an end user I cannot see the benefits of the aforementioned games being in UWP.  Maybe some one other than the angry guys can.

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Single code base across Windows devices for apps on company intranets/O365 plus the write once Office AddIn framework opens stuff up to Office on Android/iOS.

 

At the moment I'm looking at converting certain screens/workflows into self contained UWP apps which can be deployed to phone or tablet. Toe in the water stuff.

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