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Microsoft's UWP and the future of open PC gaming


HarryBizzle
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Yeah so either don't buy it or if you do accept it and don't whine like an entitled bitch. Freedom of choice. Meanwhile I sold my QB code for PC for £20 on eBay meaning I paid £10 for QB, AW and AWAN all digital. Long may that continue.

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3 hours ago, Yoshimax said:

Yeah so either don't buy it or if you do accept it and don't whine like an entitled bitch. Freedom of choice. Meanwhile I sold my QB code for PC for £20 on eBay meaning I paid £10 for QB, AW and AWAN all digital. Long may that continue.

 

Express disatisfaction = whine like an entitled bitch.  Oh Okay.  

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4 hours ago, mushashi said:

I think it was posted somewhere in the thread before, but the summary to Durante's article against UWP pretty much sums up why PC gamers should be opposed to UWP in a nutshell, rather than people who clearly want to use the entire range of Microsoft's attempted offerings who have no real interest in gaming on the PC, for which UWP is a benefit, at the expense of PC gamers.


 

 

 

http://www.pcgamer.com/why-pc-games-should-never-become-universal-apps/

 

That article is prior to Build. How were the UWP road map announcements met by game developers? 

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Why is all the talk about how UWP isn't that bad really, and it'll obviously better - because surely the question should be what is the benefit for PC consumers in buying games in an UWP format instead of Win32?

 

As far as I can tell, it'll allow cross-platform purchases which is nice, granted, but something that could be implemented in many different ways, and something I don't really see PC gamers really wanting. Is this the selling point?

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Why would PC gamers NOT want cross platform purchases? Seems an odd claim to make.

I guess also it's not just PC gamers. It's any gamer on any supported platform and I'd guess if you asked someone if they wanted cross play/cross purchase they'd probably say yes (on the proviso that game wasn't screwed on any platform)

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33 minutes ago, rafaqat said:

Why would PC gamers NOT want cross platform purchases? Seems an odd claim to make.

I guess also it's not just PC gamers. It's any gamer on any supported platform and I'd guess if you asked someone if they wanted cross play/cross purchase they'd probably say yes (on the proviso that game wasn't screwed on any platform)

Read it again - cross-platform is so far the only tangible benefit for PC gamers. The question is whether it's worth giving up everything else for. Having a customisable experience, from forcing your preferred AA, to prioritising either framerate or fidelity according to your own personal tastes,  to enjoying diverse mods or fixed titles that otherwise wouldn't exist or be playable, is as much a part of the PC gaming experience as motion controls are part of the Wii experience. Or the cd drive is part of the original PlayStation, or Xbox Live of the 360. Take that defining characteristic away, and what would be left for each of these platforms? I understand that Microsoft is so far able to list a bunch of theoretical benefits for developers, but cross-buy is not something worth sacrificing everything else for as a PC gamer. And that's something completely different from not wanting cross-buy at all.

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Cross buy doesn't make a huge amount of sense between PCs and the Xbox One anyway. I'd rather have it than not obviously, but usually it's still going to be better to just stream the game to the lounge from my PC rather than play the Xbox One version. Besides, it's not like the nature of cross-buying requires both platforms to use the same format so it's hardly a benefit of UWP itself.

 

This is all somewhat academic at the moment anyway. Microsoft are the only game developer actively using the format at all as things stand, and their UWP games on Windows 10 probably wouldn't have made their way across at all otherwise. The only real third party UWP game other than the mobile stuff has been RotTR, and that had a Win32 release as well. As long as PC game developers have the choice, I can't see them all jumping to UWP exclusivity any time soon.

 

I will say one good thing about UWP though. I downloaded the Windows 10 version of Killer Instinct for the hell of it, and I do like how it behaves like any other Windows app. Drag your mouse to the top and the title bar drops down, basically giving you a borderless window that can seamlessly become a regular window. You can grab this and window the game, drag it to a different monitor or indeed close it from the cross in the corner. There would need to be some way to disable the drop down title bar for cursor driven games to stop it interfering, but otherwise it's quite cool.

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On 16/04/2016 at 9:20 PM, TehStu said:

 

That article is prior to Build. How were the UWP road map announcements met by game developers? 

 

His points are in terms of the end user, not the developer, for which Tim Sweeney had a different set of complaints, which Build gave some clarity on. So Tim Sweeney may become satisfied by the technical improvements to UWP for his business, but it by design will not satisfy actual PC gamers. It erodes the usefullness/freedoms of the PC as a gaming platform and turns it into more of a glorified publisher/platform holder controlled console box, or the Ultimate DirectXBox you might say :).

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1 hour ago, mushashi said:

 

His points are in terms of the end user, not the developer, for which Tim Sweeney had a different set of complaints, which Build gave some clarity on. So Tim Sweeney may become satisfied by the technical improvements to UWP for his business, but it by design will not satisfy actual PC gamers. It erodes the usefullness/freedoms of the PC as a gaming platform and turns it into more of a glorified publisher/platform holder controlled console box, or the Ultimate DirectXBox you might say :).

 

Thanks, I missed the second page while reading on my phone.

 

Full of reasonable points. That said, these articles don't fully go in to the "what's in it for me", but it's only natural that he, as a modder, focuses on that. On the second page, it's largely based on how much good will you personally feel you have with MS. After 2 decades of PC gaming, I happened to switch to console gaming at about the time GWFL was stinging people. I can see why that, compounded with their previous approach, would cause cynicism. Step outside gaming, though, and their approach has been better of late. I don't get the sense that the article supported the headline either, although we'll forgive some click bait.

 

Still, he does briefly mention Build, so perhaps he'll have a follow on piece. The technical stuff is central, even if approached from from the end user. 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I came across this article, has an interesting nugget about UWP for the Xbox console, would solve the BC/FC problem if this requirement is enforced for all UWP games on the Xbox, but without use of the eSRAM, you've kind of hobbled X1 game performance. Interesting game, it was demoed by Microsoft recently as an example of Azure and is planning to change the face of MMOs.


 

Quote

 

Q: What was your experience developing for the Xbox One? Did you have any troubles using the esRAM module?

 

A: It’s been very easy via UWP to port to the Xbox One.  We don’t have access to esRAM via UWP, so that’s not been a concern or a help/hindrance at all.  The simple fact is that if the game can be played on a $200 Chromebook, it can be played on an Xbox one without access to the specific hardware abilities of the device.  Universality is the name of the game for us.


 


 

Quote

 

Q: Did you have to tone down the graphics or scale of the game on Xbox One at all? Can you tell us the target resolution and frame rate?

 

A: No, we haven’t had to change the graphics or scale in any way.  Most of the hard-stuff-concurrency-scale of AoA is handed off to the cloud anyway; so the actual device that renders the game world matters fairly little.  As mentioned earlier, a phone without a dedicated GPU might struggle a bit – but we’ve tested AoA on a 950XL cellphone, casting via Continuum to a 1080p TV at 60fps… and that worked fine! We target 60fps at 1080p, with a minimum playable baseline at 30fps (any resolution).  We’ve had players playing on 4k+ super-widescreen custom rigs quite happily sending us videos of their PvP combats at 60fps, whilst playing the game in Chrome (!) – which is great to see. 

 

 

http://wccftech.com/cloud-powered-record-breaking-mmo-age-ascent-ported-easily-xb1-uwp-crossplay/

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On 14/05/2016 at 6:28 PM, Oz said:

Chaps what's the short version of what Vulkan is? Thanks

 

As in the graphics API? Equivalent to DirectX 12 but not exclusive to Windows 10 so will work on Win7/8, Linux and Android. Apple as per usual don't play nice with others and decided to do a Microsoft with their own proprietary standard.

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No, unfortunately, much like DX12 and Mantle, it requires that a developer does the heavy lifting and programs the game to use it. Which is why DX11 is still being supported for developers who can't be arsed or don't have the manpower to implement lower level hardware support, as they need to optimise for every single hardware type seperately.

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  • 5 weeks later...

That's fantastic news. With the Play Anywhere stuff I had kind of resigned myself to buying Microsoft games through the store, but my one remaining issue has been finding a way to stream them to my lounge. You can do it through Steam by launching a batch file that leaves the command prompt open, but Steam still sees them as desktop apps and converts Xinput to mouse and keyboard actions, which is rather annoying. This should hopefully avoid having to use the workaround altogether.

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I just watched the Giantbomb stream mentioned in the article and there's some selective quoting going on. While Spencer didn't rule out releasing games on Steam in the future he was pretty adamant that any big first party titles will be exclusive to the Win 10 store for the foreseeable future as they try and build a successful storefront. In general though, his talk on their PC strategy sounds fairly positive.

 

I recommend watching the whole thing - I thought Spencer came across well.

 

http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/giant-bomb-live-at-e3-2016-day-02/2300-11375/

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1 hour ago, BruceBruce said:

But even if they were sold on Steam, using UWP means they'd be tied to Windows 10 still.

 

Extended support for Win 7 ends in 4 years (and that's when Google et al typically stop supporting it with browser updates, etc.). I think a move to 10 is inevitable, unless you want to forego Microsoft games and hit up Steam on Linux.

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3 hours ago, BruceBruce said:

I'm probably switching to linux once vulkan takes off and the steam catalog for linux games increases dramatically.

2017 is definitely the year of Linux on the desktop^wgaming PC.

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That article is a complete reach and the opposite of the truth, Microsoft are putting their own games exclusively on their own store to grow their own store, the games they publish that they allow to come to other PC digital stores are games they don't own outright, and those versions aren't UWP, they are Win32 apps. It was kinda amusing to see Spencer fawn over the legacy of Win32 in that interview when he's partly in charge of the spearhead to replace it.

 

Case in point, Microsoft are publishing Dead Rising 4 for Win10 and Xbox One, the read-between-the-lines inference is that Capcom will likely be publishing the all Windows OS Win32 version on a popular competing PC digital distribution channel, with the UWP Win10 version getting a 3 month exclusivity window in exchange. If that was a 3 month console exclusivity window that favoured one console over another, most people would be up in arms about being treated as 2nd class.

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I'm not sure that the Dead Rising 4 situation is part of what he's talking about in the interview. He was specifically talking about first party games, and implied that there were no plans to release them outside of the Windows Store, just that they wouldn't rule it out. Rise of the Tomb Raider released in a similar way to DR4, and also as a regular Win32 app on Steam.

 

As far as I can tell, Steam can't currently support UWP apps and doesn't even recognise them for the purposes of the Steam Overlay or Home Streaming.

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