Hi Damien,

My apologies. I didn't mean to bite your head off. I shouldn't have
come down on you so harshly. However, allow me to explain my position
a little clearer withouttthe flaming.

First, my issue isn't with the fact people are running older operating
systems like XP. I know full well a lot of us have fixed incomes, a
limited budget, and the Microsoft technologies cost a lot to upgrade
and maintain regularly. So my agrivation isn't so much that people are
running older software, but all too often many of them have an
attitude of "if it ain't broke don't fix it." That really agrivates
me, because I know full well that isn't true when multiple versions of
Windows are involved.

For instance, XAudio2 is available for XP, Vista, and Windows 7 and is
a totally free upgrade. There is no reason why someone can't upgrade
to XAudio2 if they are running XP because it is free and by doing so a
developer can better support XP, Vista, and Windows 7 at the same time
using the exact same APIs and libraries. Instead of doing the right
thing like switching to XAudio2 for all Windows platforms we get these
compromises like lets support XP with DirectSound and support Vista
with XAudio2, or let the end user decide wich he/she wants to use etc.
That is a nightmare for a developer to be honest, and perhaps we
should be greatful Philip allowed us to discuss this openly with him.
A mainstream developer would just pick the best option for the
project, and that would be the end of the debate right there.

Second, as far as thinking of the community as a hole that is what I'm
doing as well. Sure I have a vested interested in this choice because
I am effected by this decision more than XP users. However, you have
to understand exactly where I am coming from.

When I began taking college courses one of the things they traind us
to do as programmers is to think and plan ahead for the future. To
plan ahead in advance so that our software can be supported and
upgraded for the long term rather than just looking at what is
available for today. By doing so you will adopt certain APIs, tools,
and practices that will help you achieve that goal for the long term
rather than the short term. Otherwise from a technical point of view
you are setting yourself up for a huge amount of work rewriting and
fixing your mistakes later on.

For example, let's say a person starts programming a game today in
Visual Basic 6, using DirectX 8, and makes the build for a Windows XP
32-bit system. He figures reasonably enough that most of the computers
have this type of setup, and will just blow off the fact that 64-bit
platforms have replaced 32-bit platforms, and that Visual Basic 6 and
DirectX 8 are not really handled that well on Windows 7.  Two years
from now Microsoft releases Windows X, it is 64-bit only, running on a
64-bit platform, and VB 6 and DirectX 8 are no longer compatible with
the operating system. What is the developer to do?

Well, the answer is quite clear. He has to take his source code and
upgrade it to VB .NET or similar language which will require a massive
rewrite. That will cost him both time and energy rewriting what he has
already written.  All of this could have been avoided just by doing
that in the first place. It isn't like he didn't know when he started
that these changes were coming, but he chose to ignore them for
whatever reason.

My point is since BGT is a game development tool we are going to run
into this exact same issue sooner or later. It is better we take care
of this upgrade now rather than wait until whenever to take care of
it. Do you see where I am coming from?

Finally, as far as supporting Windows 95 through Windows 7 I know it
can be done, but it is not a good idea by any means. there are some
darn good reasons why pro developers don't do it, and those are the
exact same reasons why I will never support Windows 95, 98, or ME. It
has nothing to do with tollerence, but more to do with the time, cost,
and technical aspects of trying to support Windows 9x era software.

One, any time you want to try and support legacy software like Windows
95 and Windows 98 that means you end up having to use a lowest common
denominator approach. Instead of using Visual C++ 2008 that means
going clear back to Visual C++ 6.0 which is less accessible, buggier,
and is no longer supported on Windows 7. Instead of using DirectX
9.0C, DirectX 10, or DirectX 11 we have to go back to DirectX 8 which
is itself no longer supported. In fact, the SDK isn't even available
from Microsoft any more making finding and obtaining the development
kits required a serious difficulty.

Two, assuming we decide to use this lowest common denominator approach
everyone who purchases your product are litterally going to lose out
on a lot of features that could have been included by supporting newer
APIs and libraries. For example, better 3d graphics using Microsoft
Direct3D, support for XInput controllers using XInput, superior 3d
audio processing and sound card support using XAudio2, support for MS
Sapi 5, etc. As someone who is planning on writing games with 5.1
surround sound 3d audio in the future I can't support Windows 95 and
get a 5.1 surround sound soundscape. DirectSound's 3d audio processing
isn't that hot to begin with, and it is very buggy on Windows 7. So
from that standpoint any game developer who wants to support Windows
95, 98, and Mellennium is just shooting themselves in the foot. True
5.1 surround sound is not possible on Windows 9x and as a developer
I'm not willing to throw away 5.1 surround sound audio just to support
Windows 95, 98, or Mellennium.

Third, there is financial concerns. Yeah, if there was a huge Windows
95/98 market out there I might be willing to produce a 9x compatible
version of my engine for those customers. However, I work tech
support, and I honestly can say I have not had a single 95 or 98
client in my area for at least the last five years or so. That doesn't
mean they don't exist, but that they are extremely rare. Even Windows
ME is pretty rare too. Most of my support calls are for XP, Vista, or
Windows 7. So its pretty safe to say that is the ideal market for my
commercial products. I don't see any financial gain for USA Games to
actually support Windows 9x era software. I just don't see any money
in it to be honest.


On 3/4/11, Damien Pendleton <dam...@x-sight-interactive.net> wrote:
> Hey Thomas,
> I'm sorry it really bothers you that much. For a start, it was only a
> suggestion to try and be forward, as well as backward compatible and I felt
> you were biting my head off so to speak. The tone of your message there I
> feel was rather harsh and judgmental, even disdainful, towards people
> running earlier systems. I myself have no problems making reasonable
> upgrades to my system if and when the time comes, I was merely thinking of
> the community as a whole.
> For a second, I was not holding anybody back from XAudio2. If you want
> XAudio2, fine. If not, I don't think people should be penalised for it and
> have to suffer a lack of games and the developer a lack of money because
> only three out of the seven or so Windows operating systems are supported.
> To give you an idea, I have a friend based over here who has written
> software, and even a miniature game, that can be run on all flavours of
> windows, right from Windows 95, which he runs by the way, all the way up to
> Vista, if not higher. If his game were marketable, there is a possibility he
> may get more custom than people who are prepared to only support the "latest
> and greatest", since there are also people, quite a few of whom I am on
> friendly terms with, who run systems earlier than XP, either for personal
> preference, or financial problems in upgrades.
> I think there should be more tolerance towards people who prefer earlier
> versions of an operating system. I myself would choose XP over any of the
> later systems, because that is the system that I have written, composed
> music, edited audio, played games and programmed software with for the past
> ten years, although I have been through the 95 and 98 phases as well. Even
> if I wanted to I couldn't upgrade to a later version of Windows, since it
> would mean forking out a whole lot more money just for a new licence for a
> completely new copy of Windows. With my living arrangements this just isn't
> affordable. So am I uncool or unworthy just because I run on an older
> system?
> Regards,
> Damien.

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