Computer question - effect of OS on games

I teach computer games at my school. :cool:

The IT department tell me that they are introducing Longhorn (new Windows OP, presumably?) next term. They say this is quite a radical change, and many old programs will not run under it.

I assume that there will be Internet patches for one of our games - Civilisation 3.
However we also use Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and I understand that 3DO aren’t doing any updates.

So Dopers, please answer these questions:

  • is Longhorn going to have dramatic effects on existing game software?

  • is Firaxis (makers of Civ 3) likely to issue a patch for Longhorn?

  • are 3DO defunct?

Thank you!

That’ll be an extremely impressive achievement, since Longhorn is not anticipated for release until early 2007. Whatever they’re installing, Longhorn surely ain’t it, unless they’re installing the extremely alpha versions that have leaked thus far, in which case they’re off their rocker. Are you sure they’re not just moving to Win XP Service Pack 2? There have been some compatibility issues with certain games and this update, mostly relating to the new Windows Firewall, which are mostly configurable away without patching the software affected.

As far as your Longhorn questions are concerned, it’s difficult to tell exactly what compatibility problems are going to be caused this far in advance of the release. TBH though, I’d be kind of surprised if Civ3 is still being patched in two years, but I also expect MS will make a pretty strong effort to ensure backwards compatibility with at least moderately recent games (say 2001ish+).

I am curious, though; you teach computer games? In what sense? Game design, or just how to play them? And if it’s the latter, can I go back in time and attend your school, please?

I’ll answer in general… different versions of windows have generally included some rewrites of the kernel… the interface layer by which all programs, including games, interact with the screen and other hardware.

So yes, I think it’s quite possible that a lot of games will require updates/patches/new versions for longhorn.

Concerning the status of 3DO:

“This site was intended to provide information that would assist in the sales process for the 3DO Company in its Chapter 11 reorganization. The sales are now long over and this site exists only in name until the Chapter 7 trustee finally shuts it down. Last update of Contents: January 9, 2005.” —

This is probably off-topic, but you’re aware that Civ 4 is coming out late this year (some say mid-November), right? If & when Longhorn is released, Firaxis is probably going to patch that one instead of Civ 3.

As Dead Badger mentioned, Longhorn won’t be released for a while. Any chance your IT guy meant Windows XP Professional x64 Edition?

Civ3 uses DirectX 8 and 9. HoMM3 looks like it uses DirectX 6. Newer versions of DirectX have a requirement to be backwards compatible with older versions. So presumably much of the core OS interaction will be compatible with Longhorn and other future versions of Windows. The rest of the OS interaction is likely common stuff such as file IO, timers, and registry stuff. It seems likely it should run fine (famous last words).

Well they did tell me this after the departmental lunch (though only a little alcohol was consumed!).
I’ll check with them on Monday.

Fair enough - if I have 2 years notice, I can assess new game releases during that time.

It’s worse than you think. :slight_smile:
I was the first full-time teacher of chess in the UK. :smiley:
School management asked if I could also run another activity, since we have weekly slots for things like tae-kwondo, archery, car maintenance and soft toy making. I suggested Strategy Computer Games (i.e. not shoot-em-ups). They came back to me with a budget offer! :cool:
I also teach roleplaying at weekends. As part of my school duties. (I’ve run out of smilies).

Thanks, that’s the sort of thing the IT department were telling me.

thanks for the reference.
Heroes 3 was a great game. Sadly Heroes 4 never caught on.

thanks for the alert. I must scurry to!

the IT lads said there was a major change e.g the C drive would no longer exist. Does that ring any bells?

I just want to point out that that would be completely pointless (and impossible if I’m not mistaken) unless they were also purchasing brand new computers with 64 bit processors, which is pretty unlikely for a school setting where they probably don’t have tons of money laying around. Then again they do have a class for computer gaming :dubious:

Um, we’re a private school with a higher income than state schools. For example, we replace all our computers every 3 years.

You muddied a good comment with a bunch of assumptions. But yeah, this would only make sense if they currently have 64-bit machines.

In case anyone’s curious, there was a misunderstanding. Apparently the IT department are expecting Longhorn by Sep 2006.

Thanks for your replies!



Let me just say that I think that to be an extremely optimistic assessment of the current situation and posit that you will be teaching Duke Nukem Forever before Longhorn is in a releasable state.

Sorry, I missed this question yesterday. I don’t know much about Longhorn, but your question intrigued me. I did some Googling and caught a few references to that type of change. The one concrete piece of info I found was from here. The thoughts in that link indicate that Longhorn is not removing the drive letter concept, but instead de-emphasizing it. In any case, a change like that is so fundamental that it would break all existing applications and Longhorn would have to include a way to maintain compatibility with older software.