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Tuesday 27 February 2007

Mod idea for CS [Lurks]

While having a nice CS session tonight, we came up with an idea for a mod. Now I think CS is mostly not broken so these mods that fuck things around majorly are shite. However one thing we've taken to doing is that if your team is winning by a whack, we announce a comedy weapon round. This will normally be something like Mac10s with cries of THE CHURCH IS OPEN FOR WORSHIP and that sort of thing.
So here's the idea for a mod. If team has lost last 3 rounds (say), round is triggered where winning team go into comedy gun mode. All players are given weapon and nothing else. They may buy nades, armour etc but no guns. Mac10s, TMPs are classic candidates but also a pistol round would also be good. There are some alternative ideas such as handing paras to the losers.
The mod shall also be called Sphinctenhausen. Because we think that's funny. Right, so who's going to code it? You know... this could probably be done with that scripting mod thing?

Sunday 25 February 2007

Which Car? [Brit]

It's recommendation time!
I'm learning to drive, and as such am investigating the purchase of a second hand runaround.
I know nothing about cars, which is an important point to note from the off and have 'learnt' everything I know from Top Gear re-runs and recent searches on AutoTrader.
Here's some considerations:
1. I'm tall as fellow clannies will attest, so the car has to be roomy.
2. I live in central London, but have off street parking.
3. I'm not interested in purchasing a new car at this stage.
4. Nothing lower than a 1.6 (which is something I've been told mind).

Of course, there are some models that have already been floated, specifically:
1. Fiat Bravo.
2. Volkswagen Polo.

So, since I intend to purchase in the next couple of weeks, any thoughts and/or recommendations would be grand.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Supreme Commander [Lurks]

I thought it might be entertaining to examine where it came from since it has it's roots in a ten year old game, a game which many including myself regard to be the finest real time strategy game ever made. I was going to write a review of Supreme Commander but I don't think that's particularly useful for anyone. What might be more interesting to write is a look at this game, where it comes from and what, if anything, it means longer term.
Supreme Commander is a game made by Chris Taylor, the creative bloke behind an RTS called Total Annihilation released back in September 1997, near on ten years ago now remarkably. Chris Taylor was a game designer that worked for a now-defunct game developer called Cavedog Entertainment. 1997 was an interesting time, a highly vibrant time for PC gaming being as it was the major gaming platform in the world at that point. 3D acceleration was a new fangled thing. RTS games in generalwere known and loved so the release of yet another RTS game was pretty cookie cutter at the time.
I worked on a gaming magazine which at that time sold more copies than today's leading PC gaming magazine. It was interesting times. Total Annihilation arrived at about the same time as another RTS game called Dark Reign. This was a new fangled RTS in that it was 3D accelerated while Total Annihilation was not. Reviews of the pair both called each game superb, ground breaking, real advances of the RTS genre. Some people prefered TA, some prefered Dark Reign. Both were streets ahead of the fake 3D terrain of the likes of Starcraft released a year later, although that was much more highly polished, distinctive and had better marketing and became more of a commercial success than the RTS heavyweights of Dark Reign and Total Annihilation.
However as we gaze back, one can barely remember Dark Reign while Total Annihilation has taken up a top ten slot in anyone's ultimate list of PC games. The reasons for that were several fold. Firstly TA was written to be modified and third party mods (also a huge thing back in 1997) really took off. People could design their own units for their RTS game and then play them against eachother in multiplayer. Secondly, the software engine didn't look as swish as other games but it did something that 3D accelerated engines generally don't do, it scaled with your PC. I played Total Annihilation only a couple of years ago and it's a very different beast from the original with huge packs of hundreds of extra units, scaling the engine up to handle a thousand unit cap and with battles where vast sums of troops are manufactured and are killed by single hulking goliath super units. It's an scenario which impressed people I showed it to even as late as last year. We're so used to the 'Quake' effect of the number of enemy on our screens scaled back to single digits with 3D acceleration versus the Doom-era when games used to throw armies at you.
Cavedog went on to make Total Annihilation: Kingdoms which was a fantasy setting RTS game. Chris Taylor, however, had moved on. TA: Kingdoms was hotly anticipated but turned out to be a pretty mediocre RTS game which had pretty much nothing to do with the original TA. Much has been made of a proper TA sequel over the years, at one point there was even a Korean company said to be working on it. Matters were compounded with Cavedog going belly up and GTI also, I'm not sure who owns the actual brand now but for whatever reason Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games decided not to use it when making Supreme Commander.
It was being pitched as being a new RTS game but after playing it for a few days I can say categorically that Supreme Commander is basically Total Annihilation 2. In every way that's important, this game is TA. Ten years later though, with very sophisticated 3D acceleration at our fingertips, Supreme Commander has moved on a bit when it comes to the engine. Much has been made of the scale of the game but actually TA also played on very very large spaces it's just that you scrolled about rather than zoomed in/out with the mouse. Taylor has appeared to understand the scale and what it means though, correctly calling anything beyond standard artilliary range as being of strategic importance and anything under that as being tactical.
Unlike Starcraft, in TA and SupCom the factions are basically the same - rather like Command & Conquer. The differences are subtle with only the end-game super units and different strengths and weaknesses on the broadly equivalent air, ground and ocean going units. Starcraft had very few units per fection for this reason, TA and SupCom has a good deal. SupCom has diversified further in that there are definite strategic differences betwen the UEF, Cybran and Aon factions and the units do look quite a bit different. A Cybran tech 3 spy plane has Sonar, for example, but an Aon equivalent does not - forcing the use of alternative means.
I would say the designers goal has been to make the UEF a powerful mobile force with hard hitting aircraft and a super unit that includes the ability to get around the huge terrain and set up a new base easier than the other factions. Cybran have powerful defensive emplacements and bad ass super units like the awesome Monkeylord you will have seen crawling across the battlefields in the trailors. Aon are a bit of a dark horse with the most 'different' look. The ability to build a massive airfleet and transport the entire thing around in a big-ass mothership seems to be the order of the day. So you'd recognise the basics when playing a faction for the first time and this stuff will become clearer as you become more expert at the game.
Here's something worth talking about to, TA was all about that. You could click like a C&C noob but there was also creating unit groups, setting patrol patterns and having aircraft self-repair and construction units roam and repair structures automatically. Shortcuts which enabled the move onto a strategic footing without having to micromanage every troop action on the ground. This was so lost on the original TA that a second mission pack was released called TA Tactics which included a pile of missions to demonstrate how complex things really were if you wanted to get your teeth in.
And here, sadly, is where SupCom starts to disappoint. All the basics are there and even some refinements such as being able to set groups up, patrol paths and even drag the waypoints afterwards, which is nice. The dev team appear to have seen the mechanism CoH use to set up troop formations (the right click-drag) which is an excellent idea, but it doesn't work quite as well as you'd hope. In fact a theme of SupCom is that things are all a shade simpler. Initially I had that fear of disappointment creeping up but I began to realise a good many of the changes were simply removing things that aren't necessary.
For example, in TA you would set up some factories and control-number them to create groups and then order those groups of produced units to do things. You can't in SupCom but what you can do is just double click on units of a type on your screen and select all of them, it's faster and doesn't need a group. You can also, like TA, select all of your air, ground and naval units and any of the unit types and give them fresh orders, which is a shade better than TA did it. Vitally the engine flaws which plagued TA are largely gone. Units don't get caught up in your base, they walk between built structures. No more TA clog-ups.
The way radar and stealth is handled and visual contact etc is also a simplification but ultimately an improvement on TA. It's simple, if you have radar coverage and enemy units are in range, your units will fire. In TA they inexplicably would not. Not until you installed an end-game unit from the Core Contingency mission pack called the targetting centre which was an 'I win' button largely. Now in SupCom you have stealth and you have radar jamming. You can be invisible visually, or invisible to radar, or bring up spurious radar contacts or all of the above. However there's a tech 3 structure called the Omni sensor which sees through all of that crap up to a specific range, making this a prime target to locate and destroy obviously.
SupCom also adds shields, which is very interesting. You can build your base how you like then slap shields down and place defensive equipment within. This is a good game mechanic really because it provides you with a second chance after being targetted by something bad ass like, say, a super unit, some bombers or even long range artilliary. Time enough to try do something about the enemy's action, although perhaps not if they strike hard. There's even mobile shields, which is quite fun.
There's some new for SupCom stuff like the upgrading of units. It's kind of restricted to your sub commanders, which are very powerful units which get summoned in so you can't just assist factories to build them faster. They can be upgraded to be pretty bad ass offensive bots or they can be upgraded to be base homies, faster building and even rape in resources. The commanders themselves have different abilities on faction, UEF can build tactical and nuclear missiles on his while others have personal shields and stuff like that.
So while I was a little rankled with seemingly some controls not being there or working as I expected, in fact it freed me up to consider the strategic situation. I found I had more time to engage in intelligence gathering to work out what the enemy is up to. I feel a little more automatic ought to be possible with upgrading sub commanders in general, it's tedious to have to click through the little pages. In fact, the interface really ought to scale with resolution as well. It's designed, typically, for some shit low res screen so it's a tiny thing on the bottom left of my 1920x1200 display.
SupCom also does some mad stuff like support dual monitors and dual core processors. In my experience performance wise, it's graphics performance that will likely hold you back mostly. I managed to make it stutter when I flew some stuff over bases with huge armies amassed underneath the glistening shields. Not surprising really. Pathing also uses up quite a lot of CPU juice but I can't tell how well the multi-threading works in SupCom to help that but it does appear to be using both cores quite happily.
I've only tinkered with the dual screen stuff for now but it is handy. It's not quite as refined as it could be though but it's a very nice touch and will definately deliver a competitive advantage in multiplayer. Again, though, if the interface scaled properly it wouldn't have been necessary at all because the little overview minimap would be bigger than a postage stamp.
So far I've played through some single player missions. There's three stories, one for each faction. It seems a little redundant to have to introduce you to the basics of doing anything at all three times over. It would have been better to make one large campaign and play the different factions in it just as other games have chosen to do. That said, this does introduce you to the differing capabilities of each faction right from a tech 1 standpoint. Playing the single player on hard has been quite the challenge actually, and very enjoyable. The story telling is also quite pleasant in a competent way.
Skirmish mode is, to coin an overused phrase, a mixed bag. Here I found an AI flaw which is the same in most RTS games. If you upset the AI's path finding abilities by simple obscuring any path to your base, the enemy AI will basically just sit there not knowing what to do. It will go into 'attack' mode if you have some troops in the middle though. If you sit tight though, what you can expect is the lone super unit showing up periodically, which is a bit lame really. Send me an army including a super unit, not waves of standard units and the odd super unit. It also doesn't appear to go after your resources at all, which is the biggest flaw. On the demo map I learned that. I would get my construction bots off to the islands right away, build up there and the AI would leave those alone all game and thus gimp itself on resources. It needs to consider resources as a prime goal to attack and capture if it is to put up even a mild game without resorting to cheating.
Super units themselves have been designed well to be proper end-game solvers. They're very hard to build and you need a tip top economy to do so. They're also a hell of a lot of fun but require considerable planning and skill to use effectively. So multiplayer is all about harrassing the enemy's economy so you get them first. Or you can opt to duke it out with super units, have a winner and then carry on to annihilate the enemy if you win. Your strategy here depends on your faction really so the type of game you play is largely dependent on what factions you're playing. Which is also a good thing.
Niggles? There's some. Units do inexplicable things like patrol far away from where you've told them to (getting construction units killed as they wander out of your base for example) and I've yet to work out how to get a Monkeylord to actually fire on what I would like it to fire on, watching uselessly as it gets taken out by another Monkeylord because it just doesn't seem to feel like firing. Frustrating that. Also, only second mission in on the UEF campaign and it bugged out and wouldn't recognise I had troops in the target zone ready to escort friendlies. I guess I'll need to wait for a patch or just replay it and hope it works.
This is patchable stuff though and that brings me to the final point, what will ultimately decide if Supreme Commander sits on the same pinnacle as TA. TA wasn't especially notable (beyond being a 9/10 game) when it came out really, it just shone afterwards. Supreme Commander is so well polished and executed as a pure strategy game that I can see this game being used in pro-gaming. Which would be great! It has everything it takes, it just requires some after market TLC.
However 2007 is different than 1997. As the years march on, end-user authored content dies bit by bit (a tragic bugbear of mine and consumer society). Just as there's bugger all mods around for first person shooters these days, I suspect that the party of people modding up and making units for Supreme Commander will be far less than TA ever had. Which is a shame, really, because that's where I think this game can become all it can be. It's got the polished engine, all it needs is a couple of patches to fix minor things and extra third party units. Then it will claim the crown of the new God of RTS games.
TA with it's squillions of units always had you guessing at the precise nature of the threat from the enemy. SupCom is less so like that and more of an overall strategy game. I would like it to be both and that's where the third party units will come in oh and the game is in dire need of new multiplayer maps too. The ones provided are remarkably bland.
The multiplayer execution side of things is competent, largely because they farmed out the lobby to a specialist outfit, but it's a shame that the manual talks about clan functionality which doesn't appear to be implemented yet. Rest assured though, I'll keep my eyes open and when it appears reserve that Eat Electric Death SupCom clan slot. Oh yes.
So all in, a big thumbs up for a worthy successor to Total Annihilation. However it's still too early to tell if this is going to be merely a great game which one will play for as long as the recent and similarly great Company of Heroes, or whether it will become the multiplayer phenomenon I hope it will be.

Thursday 8 February 2007

Valve take the piss [Lurks]

Valve have this idea which goes, let's not take five years to make the next game. Let's do an episodic game, man. Since we successfully shoved this Steam thing up everyone's backside and it's kind of non-sucky these days, we can sell bits of mission pack for Half-Life 2 every few months. The punters will be hooked, they'll be eating out of our hands!
Right. Except that the episode 2 was due winter last year and now it seems it's actually due winter this year. Episodic content with each chapter a full year appart. This can only be a symptom of Valve's rock-star developer world view. I mean sure HL-2 was great and so was episode 1, although it wasn't so great I actually finished it, but to have a year between little bits of Half-Life 2 game? Games are moving on, I'm looking to play new stuff.
I think the episodic download stuff has legs but only so long as you actually deliver in a time frame that people remember the original game and still want to play it. It could well be, of course, that the delay is due to the alleged bundling of Team Fortress 2. Haha, this is rank vaporware up there with Duke Nukem Forever. Like Duke Nukem Forever, I saw Team Fortress 2 at E3 many years ago when I worked on a games magazine and it still hasn't shown up.
I like Valve but it seems they're more and more moving towards a 3D Realms model. Famous for shit they once did but legendary for their inability to actually deliver games. Unless they're writing the cheques for some other developers to make them...

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Get The Bird [Spiny]

I've always been a long time Outlook user, but now I've had enough of the bloat, it's just too feature rich for what I need in an email/calendar app. I'll probably be buying Office 2007 Home edition and that doesn't come with Outlook. Time for an alternative.
  • Enter stage left, Thunderbird It also includes a built in news reader which I'm finding a need for at the moment. If your news server needs authentication, check "Always request authentication when connecting" in Tools/Account Settings/news server/Server Settings. The standard import of contacts and email from Outlook works fine. I found it better to do this after setting the program up though, rather than when prompted to do so when you first run Thunderbird.
  • If you want to put the mail data somewhere other than the default, see this FAQ.
  • Of course, you'll want a proper dictionary, not a corrupted colonial one. Download the British here.
  • Enter stage right, Sunbird. The calendaring application.
  • UK holidays can be imported from this file.
  • Move the data files, just the way you did in Thunderbird.
  • To copy your Outlook calendar across to Sunbird, use Outport to export a folder of ICS files from outlook. Before importing into Sunbird, use a search tool to weed out all the crap, like old appointments and bank holidays.
  • The last thing to do is sync with your phone. I have a Windows Mobile device. Birdiesync does the job pretty well. For the moment it's an unsigned application, so follow the guide here on how to unlock your phone. You'll be needing a registry editor for Windows Mobile for that job.

America vs Atheism,Science,Commies,Pinkos,Homos etc [drdave]

The world took an enormous step in the direction of good sense last week when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its long awaited report into the current state of global climate change. Finally, an official consensus seems to have emerged that has tagged mankind as being at least partly responsible for the rising temperatures. This is definitely a good thing, since it will hopefully serve to dispel the apathy that seems prevalent by removing the umbrella of uncertainty regarding the causes.
Of course, there never really was any uncertainty, at least not for the last ten years or so. Anyone who has taken even a cursory glance at the literature can't help but be impressed by the weight of backing that this verdict has. The evidence is overwhelming, and it is only thanks to the amplified nature of the opposition lobby that any uncertainty has been entertained this long.
Global warming is, in many ways, a lot like evolution. It is a well studied, well supported theory that boasts the backing of the majority of professionals in the field and suffers the dismissal of those with vested interests to protect. So it should come as no surprise to find that there is a strong correlation between those who dismiss evolution and those who dismiss global warming - or Americans as we like to call them.
Check out this blog over at Uncommon Descent. UD, for those not acquainted with it, is the blog of William Dembski, one of the two main driving forces behind the "science" of intelligent design. Dembski seldom posts however, preferring to leave it to his "pitbull" moderator, DaveScot. DaveScot is exceedingly dense, homophobic, dismissive, arrogant and trigger happy on the ban button. In fact, he is so trigger happy that anyone posting any comment that criticises ID is instantly banned. This has led to the creation of this thread at the After The Bar Closes forum, which is specifically for folk to lampoon the torrent of utter idiocy from UD. Idiocy like this classic:
"Is mankind part of nature, or isn't he? I can't help but think that the global warming crowd has been duped into thinking that man is an interloper, like man was dropped into nature as an outsider, that nature never had or never will have the capacity to support or tolerate mankind. If mankind is part of nature, then even from a secular/Darwinist perspective, the whole idea that we should be freaked out about global warming seems utterly ridiculous to me."
There is a tendency to seek assurance in the idea that these head-in-the-sand views are niche opinions in America. America is free thinking, democratic, tolerant isn't it? The land of the free and home of the brave. If not, what was MacGuyver fighting for? If you have any residual notion that the America that the A-team escaped to still exists in any real form, then disavow yourself of this notion by watching this recent CNN report: here.
Part 1 starts off reasonably innocuously. Looks like a fair, if worrying, report on the victimisation of atheists in America. Then, weirdly, part 2 turns into a debate about why atheists are despised so much, featuring a panel with no atheists whatsoever, instead being composed of exactly the small minded idiot theist bigots that do the victimising, or post to UD, or brainwash kids into thinking dinosaurs lived 6000 years ago. They seem to spend most of the time lambasting atheists for lobbying to have "under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance, presumably being too dense and ill informed to realise that it was only put into the pledge in the 1950s after lobbying by the Knights Of Columbus.
For context, imagine if the debate concerned blacks, or jews, or disabled people. How far would these cretins get if they told blacks to "shut up"? It depresses me greatly that the best CNN could muster for an atheist defence is in the form of an ESPN basketball commentator.

Tuesday 6 February 2007

Vista Diary [Lurks]

I need to get to grips with Windows Vista because, well, it's the latest thing and I'm employed in a capacity to basically promote the latest thing to computer enthusiasts and PC gamers etc. So I should know what I'm talking about. The following is a quick diary of experienced I intend to update as I boot into Vista and go about reconstructing a computing environment that I'd actually be happy using, including playing games on.
I work for a rather well known computer manufacturer but the company is unable to provide for me a copy of Vista that I can actually install on a machine I have now. I doubt expenses would run to an outrageously priced £210 Windows Vista Home Premium retail copy so I just bought an OEM version of Vista Home Premium for the princely sum of £70. The price difference is patently absurd. It's only supposed to be sold with new systems but no UK e-tailer I've seen has qualms in flogging it stand-alone.
The destination PC has a specification of: E6600 CPU overclocked to 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, MSI Intel 975 board, 76GB Raptor + dual Seagate 7200.11 320GB drives in an Intel Matrix Raid configuration (mirror for apps/data and stripe for games), ATI X1900 XTX graphics card and a Creative X-Fi sound card.
XP was on one partition on the raptor boot drive so first I used Partition Magic to split the partition into two. I used an OS install option on PM which didn't go down very well with Vista in the end. I had to manually tweak the partition to non-hidden but it was pretty painless really.
Installing off the DVD seems pretty fast and didn't want much in the way of interaction from me at all after the initial entering of the product key and selecting a fresh install rather than an upgrade (ghosted out anyway, OEM version I guess). I selected the partition and off it went. System rebooted surprisingly into the native resolution of my TFT at 1920x1200 which was dead impressive. The motherboard network port also worked, which doesn't work in a default XP install. All in all it booted into a high resolution usable system.
Rather than all the silly blurb adverts you get when installing XP, Vista boots up and then proceeds to 'check your PC performance' or some nonsense like that and then show you a pile of advert slideshow type stuff for Vista. I think it's basically still installing and the checking performance stuff is pretty much a lie, after all why thrash the HD like that?
I can see the stuff nicked from OSX, nice clock top right and an RSS reader there as standard. The windows do indeed look damn lush, the see-through stuff in particular is absolutely gorgeous. Now when I used XP I never liked the kindegarten default XP theme so I always switched machines back to Windows class for that Windows 2000 look. One look at the start bar in Vista though and I'm kind of taken by the logic in where they've put stuff, particularly finding recent files.
I did things mainly by looking at drives low level on XP, aided by some uber third party software called Directory Opus. Software which doesn't exist on Vista and may not be necessary if I can train myself into the Microsoft way of working with files. This is definately teaching an old dog new tricks but I'm willing to give it a go to get the default Vista user experience.
Vista leeched a few updates immediately and installed. I noticed that during these it actually shut down the graphic interface, replacing the whole thing with a black screen and flashing DOS-like cursor which is a little disconcerning for a simple update. When I downloaded Vista drivers from ATI, I was treated to the same thing three times while it was installing drivers. The ATI stuff was installing all sorts of bollocks like Visual C++ runtimes and it was cycling pretty pictures while installing too. I wonder if this sort of rampant bloatware is a sign of things to come with Vista drivers?
Sound card, a not entirely uncommon Soundblaster X-Fi, is completely unrecognised in Windows Vista. Not even basic support. The Creative driver is a beta from late last year and doesn't support any of the standard bundled apps. I've a meeting with Creative next week and I'll try get some frank views on this. For now I didn't even install the beta, I'm thinking I'll reenable the on-board mobo audio (which is pretty good as it goes) and see how Vista likes that.
It was interesting to see a software firewall like warning come up when I edited the machine name and work group through the standard control applet (which looks exactly like XPs). That seems a little kludgy really, if it can't actually work out that real user input on the local machine is legit then rather than sort security problems at cause, they've just sort of bolted on another layer of security on top? I'll be checking this stuff out more closely, that's for sure.
Anyway, that'll do for one day. Conclusion is basically Vista installs very quickly and smoothly on a modern PC and the most immediate thing one notices is the dramatically enhanced visuals over XP. Next up I'll start to check out the usability some more.
Time for a bit more of a play. I booted up and was informed of a couple of updates. I switched off the stupid security notification thing in the task tray which was whining about the lack of AV software. It kind of irritates me that Vista still has no default actions when you left/right click on the desktop. Instead on XP, and seemingly now Vista also, default behavior is that you want to monkey with your graphics cards settings if you right click. Personally I think it ought to do what Directory Opus does and fire up a file browser when you click on the desktop. That said, when browsing around I did notice the very nice Directory Opus like way little composite images are created for folders giving you an indication of what's inside.
Interesting there was an alert telling me how to fix a Vista problem, interest piqued I checked it out and it was basically directing me to Creative's web site to download some drivers for the X-Fi sound card. That's pretty nice since it was top of my list of things to do anyway. Creative are still a bit of a farce with this stuff though. Apparently my sound card is a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Music. Downloading a driver for a Creative Xi-Fi Xtreme Audio recognises no hardware, 40MB download wasted. Pretty stupid. Anyway audio is up and running. The default sounds on Vista are nice little stereo pings and subdued sounds rather than the awful sounds of XP.
Next up, Logitech stuff. There's still no Vista driver for my G15 which is a bit of a gaming showstopper really and of course renders the LCD useless and makes it impossible for me to play WoW since I use the G-keys. Logitech really need to pull their finger out. Incidentally, I've found Logitech's setpoint and the G15 software doesn't work right if your account isn't an administrator, which is also stupid. I expect better from Logitech. Anyway, there was a Vista Setpoint for my G5 mouse! Installed that, pretty smooth - appears to work fine. It immediately wanted to download an update, fine. But then when I rebooted it wanted to download another update. Bit excessive for a mouse driver eh?
For kicks I thought I'd go straight into a game allegedly supporting DX10, although my ATI X1900XTX graphics card isn't a DX10 card. Unfortunately I'll have to reinstall Supreme Commander apparently, running it whinged about the lack of a DX9 dll. I couldn't be bothered so I tried WoW instead. That works fine and not even that, I can get the sound to hardware mix which doesn't actually work on XP with the latest X-Fi drivers. Frame rate seemed the same, or nearabouts. Everything fine although of course with no G15 drivers I couldn't actually play WoW properly so still no thumbs up for gaming for Vista.
Strangely there's a lot of hard drive thrashing on Vista also. I mean the same sort of levels as I have on XP when a third party background defragger is kicking in. I had a look at the task manager and couldn't see any culprits, it might just be because it's swapping? That's kinda poor on a 2GB system I think. The new task manager is kinda cute also, it shows services which is more techy than I would have thought they'd put into Vista.
I've heard word that the G15 drivers might work on Vista anyway so that's what I'll try next time. Also I'd like to try out the networking and file sharing stuff in Vista because this is an area in particular which I perceive to be tragically weak on XP so it'll be interesting to see if Microsoft cleaned house here at all. It's probably about time to start loading on some playback software and codecs also, so one can watch Xvids and that sort of thing. I'm not sure how that's going to work yet...