Delta Engine Blog

All about multiplatform and game development

Windows 7 - Its all good!

After downloading the final Windows 7 version yesterday evening on MSDN (called Windows 7 RTM), I installed it on all my PCs at work and home today. At work I had a busy day so I just installed Windows 7 at the end of the day and installed the most important software over remote all evening. On my laptop on the other hand I had Vista installed, which is a supported platform to do an upgrade. It took a long time (maybe 2 hours), but after that I still had everything installed, which is really cool.

Please note that there will be programs not surviving an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 like Visual Studio 2010 Beta as reported by Scott Hanselman!

On my home and work PCs I had Windows 7 RC installed, which is not a supported platform to do an upgrade. The stupid installer does not even tell you that, so I tried it anyway. I knew this already since I read about this earlier, but this is really something not very hard to implement. An early check if the Windows version is even supported to upgrade. You only find this out by either knowing it yourself or starting the upgrade and then it fails after 5 minutes ..

Once installed (pretty quick on my Intel SSD, maybe 10 minutes) you will see the new background image, other than that it pretty much looks the same as the Windows 7 RC or beta versions:


Reinstalling all the software took a while and isn't the most fun experience anyways, but other than an old mouse driver everything installed and worked right out of the box. Sometimes Windows 7 tried to tell me that an installer failed even when it installed everything correctly (e.g. xunits xunit.installer.exe installer to make sure it can be used correctly with TestDriven.Net). Overall Windows 7 makes a very solid impression and I will certainly recommend it to everyone (programmers, parents, friends), its good and useful for both slow pcs, small pcs, or high end pcs.

As reported before I had some issues in Windows 7 Beta with the C# class HttpWebRequest, which was fixed in Windows 7 RC (and still is fixed in RTM). The other thing I more recently reported was a much bigger issue for me as a gamer: Old games like StarCraft, Age Of Empires, Worms, etc. could crash your PC on Windows 7 RC or Beta. Luckily this issue has also been fixed, no more crashes (tested it just with a few friends on ICCUP ^^), old stuff still works fine, puh :)

Overall lots of little issues have been improved and fixed, but even the RC and Beta versions of Windows 7 were already very useable. If you really want to stay with XP or Vista and have no reason to upgrade, stay with it, but for everyone considering a new PC or wanting to upgrade to the best Windows ever, go use Windows 7! Its faster and more useful than XP and Vista, especially if you have really low end hardware like netbooks or a high end gamer PC.

I'm also excited to see when DirectX 11 will finally come out, ATIs new graphic cards will be available soon, NVidias hopefully not much later and the DirectX 11 SDK should be around the corner (maybe Nov09?). DirectX 11 does not really require Windows 7, it still supports Vista, which is a good idea from Microsoft. I think the biggest reason for DirectX 10 failure (no one uses it) is besides more focus on console games the last few years is the fact that it only is available on Windows Vista while most people including gamers still run Windows XP. This forced game developers to either build DirectX 9 + 10 game versions forcing them to old use a very small set of DirectX 10 features or completely ignore DirectX 10, which wasn't really worth the effort because it just required you to build so much new stuff for such little reward. With DirectX 11 this will hopefully get much better, writing OOP code for shaders will be the win! Sadly for consoles this won't help because it seems the current generation of consoles will stay with us a very long time, which is not only boring, but will also limit the games more and more each year. Maybe this is a chance for PC games to make a comeback, if those games have more innovative engines, graphics and effects. For more stuff to read about DirectX 11 check out the DirectX 11 Forum at creators.xna.com! Not much going on there, but once DirectX 11 hardware is out it will be much more crowded there.

BTW: Our current game project at exDream (called Fireburst, a racing game for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) is coming to its end. I did not really like it that I could never speak about the project or post some interesting screenshots about it. This will change for the next project, then its time for some crappy programmers art with cool new graphic engine stuff again ^^ I'm currently writing a technical concept and just evaluated lots of engines and options, interesting stuff going on, especially with .NET and lots of new platforms.