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Star Citizen developers intend to drop DirectX support and only support Vulkan (robertsspaceindustries.com)
186 points by shmerl 102 days ago | hide | past | web | 172 comments | favorite



"Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux. As a result our current intention is to only support Vulkan and eventually drop support for DX11 as this shouldn't effect any of our backers. DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan. The API's really aren't that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both APIs."

This feels like a pretty handwavey statement. For one, all shaders would need to be converted from HLSL to GLSL, which could become quite a big task depending on the amount of shaders, and testing of all changes.

Secondly as I understand it the Vulkan API is much more low level and barebones than DirectX, meaning it'll be a lot of work to shore up the differences. I may be wrong here, but it seems to be like the developer is saying that a DirectX -> OpenGL change is no big deal, but swapping out your foundations is a major big deal. The concepts may be the same but the APIs are still hugely different.

And why is this even a concern for a game started in 2011? It's mind boggling that they are making these kind of decisions 6 years into development, surely just finishing the damn gameplay should be the focus?


> For one, all shaders would need to be converted from HLSL to GLSL

There are transpilers (cross-compilers?) that translate from HLSL to GLSL and back and into every other shading language out there, there's really a lot of such tools.

> Secondly as I understand it the Vulkan API is much more low level and barebones than DirectX

Vulkan is about as low-level as Direct3D 12, which has not much in common with Direct3D 11 and lower, just like Vulkan has not much in common with OpenGL. OpenGL is (very roughly) equivalent to Direct3D 11, and Vulkan is more like Direct3d 12. The thing is that switching between the similar APIs is a lot of work, but does not require large refactorings, whereas switching from OpenGL/Direct3D11 to Vulkan/D3d12 requires more fundamental work.


"For one, all shaders would need to be converted from HLSL to GLSL, which could become quite a big task depending on the amount of shaders, and testing of all changes."

Ironically Microsoft have open-sourced a Clang-based HLSL compiler that could be used as a front-end for a Vulkan backend.

https://github.com/Microsoft/DirectXShaderCompiler

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/directx/2017/01/23/new-dire...


That's not irony, just circumstantial.


I think the irony is in Microsoft, traditionally thought of as a "embrace, extend, extinguish" proponent, being the one providing an open-source tool facilitating escaping their own DirectX vendor lock-in.


> And why is this even a concern for a game started in 2011? It's mind boggling that they are making these kind of decisions 6 years into development, surely just finishing the damn gameplay should be the focus?

That would force them to show the results of the effort and the $texas-sized dollars contributed. As long as they can keep pointing to "well, we had to make a major architectural change.." they can continue pushing the idea that they'll deliver.

Dig into the criticism of them the last couple years. This one is from ~20 months ago: http://www.pcgamer.com/derek-smart-star-citizen/ or ~4 years into development.


Ah yes, the neverending criticism from Derek Smart, who was so sure the project would completely fall apart in "60-90 days" back in September 2015. He has this really weird obsession with wanting the project to fail.

https://archive.is/y1kMK#selection-3799.0-3964.0

Not to mention his even weirder obsession with Sandi Gardner, Star Citizen's community manager.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DerekSmart/comments/4w0w51/has_doct...


Wow. Okay that guys is nuts.

Still, star citizen is a train wreck. Wasn't the big thing last year to "rewrite all the net code".

They're just rearranging the deck chairs over and over waiting for the company to go under


Admittedly, "rewrite all the net code" is still a thing. Part of this is supposed to land in 2.6.2 ("soon"), while the bulk of it is targeted at 3.0 later this year. They're perpetually behind schedule in a lot of areas, but at the same time they're showing of some pretty impressive stuff.

I was a $20 backer on the kickstarter campaign and have since gone in for about $100 total. Obviously I wish it had come out years ago, but I'm still optimistic about the project, and fine with the drastically expanded scope. The alpha releases are far from perfect, but I've already had more fun with it than some other games that I paid much more than $20 for. That's what pushed me to back it further. There's just something incredible about the level of detail of the world, going from first person through a space station, out the airlock, walking over to the landing pad, hopping into a fully detailed spaceship (not just a disembodied camera in a cockpit), and flying off to fight space pirates.

This is a game that wouldn't be possible to make with the traditional publisher driven funding systems. Maybe it'll turn out to be impossible to make this way too, but I don't think so.

If you have a couple of hours to put videos on in the background, the last three "Around the Verse" studio updates have been pretty good:

March 2 (Frankfurt) - Hurricane and Character Customization https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGzDI2wUqf0

March 9 (Austin) - Weapons: The Game's Arsenal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_v-hMu_h5s

March 16th (Manchester) - Level Design https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c2DogQL95o (watch past the credits for in-progress ships)

Or for a quicker coverage, here's a list of short excerpts from the last video. Quality isn't great, but it gets the point across: https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/5zu3of/atv_gfy...


Elaborating on the netcode, that comes back to their choice of CryEngine back in 2012. It's really geared toward smaller scale shooters where "Update every client with literally every state change" is a reasonable choice, and can't scale to an MMO. If CIG had known then that they'd get funded to the tune of $145,000,000 and make a much bigger game, they might have decided to make their own engine instead.

On the other hand, CryTek's financial trouble over the last several years was an enormous benefit to Star Citizen, because it let them build the Frankfurt office with a bunch of CryEngine experts who were tired of not getting paid on time. They're the folks who made the full scale and crazy detailed procedural planets possible.

When alpha 3.0 lands later this year (hopefully...) you'll be able to fly down and land on these from orbit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU0hDriMqXo (short excerpt from one of the studio updates linked above)


Missed the edit window, but Sandi Gardiner is actually the VP of Marketing. My bad!


FWIW this is actually an announcement about decreasing scope, not increasing it. It's more work relative to sticking with existing OpenGL/DX11 support, but they are basically saying instead of supporting two next gen graphics API's, they are just supporting one. In theory that should bring it closer not to release, not farther.


> For one, all shaders would need to be converted from HLSL to GLSL

Not necessarily. Vulkan now supports HLSL input too, which is compiled into SPIR-V, same way GLSL is. You don't need HLSL → GLSL translation step.


> For one, all shaders would need to be converted from HLSL to GLSL

GLSL is just one option to write shaders for Vulkan (the only inmportant thing is that SPIR-V code can be generated). I can even imagine quite well that one could write a compiler which generates SPIR-V code from HLSL shaders.

> Secondly as I understand it the Vulkan API is much more low level and barebones than DirectX, meaning it'll be a lot of work to shore up the differences.

DirectX 12 is similarly low level.

> I may be wrong here, but it seems to be like the developer is saying that a DirectX -> OpenGL change is no big deal

DirectX 11.x is similar in "level" to OpenGL 4.x (though the difficulties are a little different - I don't want to go into details here). Similarly DirectX 12 and Vulkan are similar in level (much more low level than their predecessors). No wonder since both Vulkan and DirectX 12 are "strongly inspired" by Mantle. Additionally Vulkan was intended as the succesor of OpenGL and DirectX 12 as the succesor of DirectX 11.x.

> surely just finishing the damn gameplay should be the focus?

That is what you wish. :-)


> I can even imagine quite well that one could write a compiler which generates SPIR-V code from HLSL shaders.

Khronos are working on building this into the official SPIR-V compiler: https://github.com/KhronosGroup/glslang/issues/362


>That is what you wish. :-)

Star Citizen definitely appears more like an ongoing crowd-funded video game research and graphics research project at times.


Trying to remember the last time a game deep in development announced something like this. Oh yes, Duke Nukem Forever and Daikatana...


They announced plans to use new generation of graphics APIs a long time ago. It's only now they made it clear they prefer Vulkan to DX12. So I'd say it's their work as usual, except they at last made the clear choice (or at least made it public, they probably chose Vulkan in the past already).


You shouldn't be downvoted - that is a legit criticism of a game that has been rather long in development. At least it's not development hell like DNF or Daikatana, the people building it seem to genuinely make progress, even if they rebuild parts more often than might be necessary. The question is if these symptoms will sink the ship before they reach shore - their situation is obviously different, but no matter whether you throw a bowling ball, or a paper airplane, both eventually hit the ground.


If Vulkan was "much lower-level" than DX12, then DX12 performance wouldn't even be in the same ballpark as Vulkan performance. Both Vulkan and DX12 were made more "lower-level" to gain that extra CPU and multi-core efficiency. I think Vulkan still beats DX12 in performance, if all else is equal, but I don't think the difference is huge.

DX12 is not DX11+1. It's a clone of AMD's Mantle, which was eventually given to Khronos, so they make it into Vulkan. The main advantage of Vulkan is that it runs almost everywhere. DirectX 12 doesn't.


> The main advantage of Vulkan is that it runs almost everywhere. DirectX 12 doesn't.

DirectX 12 runs on XBox One, while Vulkan does not:

> http://www.redgamingtech.com/directx-12-for-xbox-one-is-here...

And for OSX/iOS, you have to use OpenGL or Metal.


> DirectX 12 runs on XBox One, while Vulkan does not:

And the Switch uses Vulkan; while Vulkan on top of Windows (including 7 and 8/8.1) supports Linux and Android. For iOS and macOS there's MoltenVK, but I can't speak for its quality.


While the Switch supports Vulkan, it isn't the main graphics API, that role belongs to NVN.

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/10/20/nintendo-switch/

So it remains to be seen which one gets the love of game developers.


> So it remains to be seen which one gets the love of game developers.

That's actually a fairly interesting question, given the percentage of games that come out for Nintendo platforms which are exclusive to that platform (or at least to the Nintendo family of platforms). There are all the first party titles, and then there are all the esoteric games which don't really fit the control schemes of the other platforms (but the switch is less unique in this aspect). I imagine games targeted purely at Nintendo platforms might use their proprietary API, especially first party games, which might get the API changed based on their needs.


and Vulkan does not run on windows uwp apps, which MS is strongly pushing forward.


and everyone else ignoring


> The main advantage of Vulkan is that it runs almost everywhere.

It doesn't run on Sony PS4, Nintendo Wii U, XBox ONE, UWP, OS X, iOS, tvOS.

Even on Android it is going to take a while until most people exchange their handsets for ones having it, because the majority will never get an upgrade for Android 7.


Lock-in freaks will crumble gradually. The times of balkanized graphics will be in the past, same way as happened with the Web. And the slogan of "industry does it that way" is irrelevant. Luckily the industry is now changing for the better. Expect further change.


If you're comfortable coding to something as low-level as Vulkan, it shouldn't be hard to use whatever API the PS4 or XBox has. You'll want to customize for the hardware regardless, since it's a bit underpowered compared to PC, so the only difference will be your API functions don't begin with vk_


Comfortable doesn't mean you always have time and resources to do it for N target APIs which are completely incompatible. Game studios clearly benefit from avoiding reinventing the wheel and duplicating their work. That's the whole point of lock-in proponents. They want to tax developers, to make cross platform development more expensive, forcing at least part of them to limit their release targets. That's a dirty anti-competitive tactic.


Even on Android 7, Vulkan is not mandatory (devices must support Level 0, i.e. have a stub lib and return 0 surfaces, they should support Level 1, i.e. normal implementation).

Only OpenGL ES 3.2 is mandatory.

This was probably made for chipset producers; if Vulkan was made mandatory, you would see exactly 0 updated devices.


Thanks for the clarification, I wanted to mention it as I got the feeling of having read about it somewhere, but I failed to find the right spot in the documentation.


I remembered it wrong too. Not even OpenGL ES 3.2 is mandatory, only if you claim that the device is capable of high-perfomance VR. Otherwise, OpenGL ES 2.0 is fine (but 3.1 lib and stub symbols must be available).

Source: Android 7.1 Compatibility Definition Document

Chapter 7.1.4:

Device implementations MUST support both OpenGL ES 1.0 and 2.0, as embodied and detailed in the Android SDK documentations. Device implementations SHOULD support OpenGL ES 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2 on devices capable of supporting it.

Chapter 3.3.1:

Note that device implementations MUST include libGLESv3.so and in turn, MUST export all the OpenGL ES 3.1 and Android Extension Pack function symbols as defined in the NDK release android-24. Although all the symbols must be present, only the corresponding functions for OpenGL ES versions and extensions actually supported by the device must be fully implemented.

Chapter 3.3.1.1:

Device implementations, if not including support of the Vulkan APIs:

- MUST report 0 VkPhysicalDevices through the vkEnumeratePhysicalDevices call.

- MUST NOT delare any of the Vulkan feature flags PackageManager#FEATURE_VULKAN_HARDWARE_LEVEL and PackageManager#FEATURE_VULKAN_HARDWARE_VERSION .

Chapter 7.9.2:

Android handheld device implementations MUST identify the support of high performance virtual reality for longer user periods through the android.hardware.vr.high_performance feature flag and meet the following requirements.

...

- Device implementations MUST support OpenGL ES 3.2.

- Device implementations MUST support Vulkan Hardware Level 0 and SHOULD support Vulkan Hardware Level 1.

....


Support depends on whether the GPU can handle compute shaders. That's a starting point.


No, the starting point is that Google doesn't require a Vulkan capable GPU on Android 7 devices, thus leaving everyone that cares about the size of customer base to keep using OpenGL ES.

If the engine needs two rendering interfaces, the effort is exactly the same as OpenGL ES + whatever else.

Unless you are suggesting game developers should be happy to sell only to LG V20, Samsung S7 and Google Pixel owners.


I'm talking about hardware capabilities. Actual support depends on the drivers. And why would Qualcomm, Imagination, Nvidia and etc. not want to provide them, if they can? Google has nothing to do with it (at least not in the sense of developing them).

Turnaround in the mobile hardware space is even faster than on the desktop (let alone stagnating consoles), so Vulkan availability is much less of an issue there.


The OEMs building those handsets get to choose which SOCs are used on those devices.

It doesn't matter if the drivers are available if those GPUs aren't on the motherboard.

Currently Vulkan is constrained to 2.8% of the Android market.

> Turnaround in the mobile hardware space is even faster than on the desktop (let alone stagnating consoles), so Vulkan availability is much less of an issue there.

Only in US, not everyone around the world, specially in countries where pre-pay is the way to go, changes their mobile every two years.


> It doesn't matter if the drivers are available if those GPUs aren't on the motherboard.

My point is, this situation will be shorter than on the desktop. Because as I said, the turnaround of mobile hardware is faster.

> ly in US, not everyone around the world, specially in countries where pre-pay is the way to go, changes their mobile every two years.

In US too, not everyone is going to buy every new model. I'm talking however about manufacturers making them. That happens pretty fast. So Vulkan support on new hardware is probably already a given and this whole thing is a non issue. Any new technology has adoption period.


Well, we can scratch off one of those, no one cares about Wii U :)


Vulcan doesn't have a shading language. It has a shader IR.


6 years into development, rather huge tasks will feel like weekend projects ...


"And why is this even a concern for a game started in 2011? It's mind boggling that they are making these kind of decisions 6 years into development, surely just finishing the damn gameplay should be the focus?"

Well, I would say, it is not a ordinary game. And even though I don't know about their Engine, but normally it should be possible to make those changes on the engine without any effect for the gameplay, since they wanted to support OpenGL before.


> Well, I would say, it is not a ordinary game.

No indeed. Neither was Duke Nukem Forever.


>use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux

Finally they're starting to get it.


Considering that the mGPU and VR support in the latest release of Vulkan requires Windows 10 and WDDM I don't think even Kronos gets it anymore ;)


That's only true for NVidia and that's because they don't want to put the work in (They do plan to make it work on Linux though just not on pre WDDM2 Windows).

There is absolutely nothing locking multiGPU support to windows 10 other than the willingness of IHVs to support it.


You mean VR optimizations that are not crucial. And I don't think the specification says it requires Win10, does it? It's an implementation issue.


WDDM 2.0 and LDA as a requirement that's windows 10.



I mean Vulkan specification and its extensions. By definition it can't require Windows 10 exclusive features. It may happen that the only implementations in existence today do have this requirement.


There are Kronos extensions that require Win32 (and many of those do not have other platform equivalent from dealing with unified memory, to DX11/12 integration and other features), Vulkans mGPU support in it's current form specifically mandates Windows 10 because it's based on how WDDM and Windows 10 allow you to link devices, so do some of the VR specific functions.

Vulkan was a Camel before they introduces the new extensions road map, you know have KHR which are "official" cross vendor LTS extensions which can be still platform dependant (e.g. you can have win32 KHR extensions), then there are KHX extensions which are effectively a rapid deployment branch primarily sucking in vendor extensions that can be a good idea, then there are the vendor specific extensions.

Now not only that it's a camel, it seems to fall back into the same tarpit that OpenGL had in which you could not guarantee compatibility between hardware vendors and platforms.


Some extensions are by design platform-specific. But the mGPU one is not. It requires some OS features which in Windows can only be given by WDDM 2.0. But the specification itself doesn't require WDDM 2.0.


I can't see VR being added to the game for a long time, there are tons of comfort issues (especially forced camera movement) right now.


The new item/use interface seems perfectly suited to VR "touch" controllers. And I think back a few years when people said we'd never be able to fly seamlessly from orbit down to the surface of a procedurally generated planet.

I understand that it's healthy to be skeptical, especially when it comes to video games, but CIG has been accomplishing some remarkable things much sooner than anyone seemed to assume so I guess I'm optimistic about VR as sooner rather than later.


>And I think back a few years when people said we'd never be able to fly seamlessly from orbit down to the surface of a procedurally generated planet.

Starflight[1] could do that back in 1986[2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starflight

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFMxNlK8L4g&feature=youtu.be...


In 3D 4k resolution (Soon™ ;) ?


Yeah, something I find really disappointing as a platinum level backer is that it can't even do TrackIR ootb anymore. Whereas Elite Dangerous handles that with aplomb.

Guess where I'm spending what precious little gaming time I have these days?


Sorry that sounded ungrateful and came out like I had an entitlement because of the backing level. I may be just a bit disappointed it was dropped - however I trust that it'll be added back in due time.

The RSI team is doing amazing work, and I keep checking in - really love how they've improved loading times, and the detail of the models etc is just amazing, however as someone who's gotten quite used to head tracking I find it very hard to play sims that don't support it.

As such, I'm also a big Elite fan and now is a really good time to be playing that especially if an immersive experience is something you consider important as I do.


TrackIR support is in the next release (2.6.2)


Ooooh!! Thanks. :)


I don't use windows. What's wrong with windows 10?


- They are presenting ad 'experiences' on the Start menu, lock-screen, notification area, taskbar and now the File Manager, too. This is happening even on Enterprise.

- Windows 10 will automatically install games from the Windows Store which are not wanted such as Candy Crush

- Extensive and opaque 'telemetry' being sent back to MS which cannot be completely turned off

- Lack of control over windows updates

These are my own personal reasons why I will never be installing such an anti-consumer OS.


- they are showing "suggested apps" in the start menu, which can be turned off. The others are OneDrive and Edge suggestions and can also be turned off.

- those apps are installed at the time of installation and can be removed. If so, they are not reinstalled ever again.

- telemetry. Scary. Every application you install does this.

- MS found (via telemetry) that users don't like installing updates, and thus left themselves open to many vulnerabilities that antivirus systems don't even look for. So, MS has chosen to force users into a more secure paradigm.

These are my personal responses why I don't mind windows 10 at all, and don't feel it to be anti-consumer at all.


- they are showing "suggested apps" in the start menu, which can be turned off. The others are OneDrive and Edge suggestions and can also be turned off.

How about they ask users first if it is okay to do this? That is a better approach, opt in.

- those apps are installed at the time of installation and can be removed. If so, they are not reinstalled ever again.

That wasn't true for the first few years and even Microsoft admitted it in one of the release notes that they weren't retaining option to never reinstall the apps. AU update reinstalled these apps for me.

- telemetry. Scary. Every application you install does this.

Again, they should be opt-in, not forced and found out later that they were collecting more data than they should.

- MS found (via telemetry) that users don't like installing updates, and thus left themselves open to many vulnerabilities that antivirus systems don't even look for. So, MS has chosen to force users into a more secure paradigm.

If they needed telemetry to confirm what everyone has known for decades, they have a bigger problem.


>If they needed telemetry to confirm what everyone has known for decades, they have a bigger problem.

If there is any single thing that I've learned during my time on Earth, it is that people, collectively, "know" a lot of things that aren't actually true. Everyone knows that pouring sugar in a car gas tank will kill the carb or fuel injectors. (This is false.) Everyone knows that you taste sweet with a different part of the tongue as sour. (This is False.) Everyone knows that waking a sleepwalker is dangerous. (It isn't.) Everyone knows that Napoleon was short. (He wasn't.) ad infinitum... I will not fault MS for taking the time to actually prove a suspicion true or false, to themselves or to anyone else. This happens far too rarely, and a lot of people believe a lot of things that aren't true as a result.

The people MS are aiming for with the ads are not the type of people who would ever opt-in to these things. Microsoft know (again, via telemetry it is proven) that clueful users will either know how to opt-out of thing they do not like, or will know how to find out how to opt-out. An opt-in preference would be preferred to myself and probably a large portion of users, of course, and would probably result in approximately 0% participation, which is very likely not what Microsoft are aiming for.

With the Creator's Update, pre-installed applications, once uninstalled, will not be reinstalled when the OS is upgraded. I, personally can attest to this one. I've been installing the fast-ring builds since the Anniversary Update, and I uninstalled Candy Crush Saga exactly once. It has not returned.


removing Freedom from users is definitely anti-consumer no matter how you look at it.


>telemetry. Scary. Every application you install does this.

I'm really quite sure the applications on my machine don't. Then again I only run things I have some way to compile myself.


You have audited code for everything you run?


You don't need to audit the code to know if something sends telemetry. For many things (such as your kernel) you can rely on reputation/quickly searching through github issues. For others you can rely on packet sniffing.

I'm pretty confident that the only things I use regularly on my computer (not counting my phone here) that send telemetry are

- Firefox (opt out, but prompts you)

- Visual Studio Code (opt out, doesn't prompt you, requires re-opting out on updates)

- rustup (not sure if opt in or out, don't mind if it's recording telemetry)


I don't remember if we turned rustup's on, but we must not have, because everyone felt very strongly it should be opt-in.


My applications sure dont. If my word processor was phoning hone with encrypted data, ANY data, id be in serious trouble with many people (clients, professional associations, my insurer, a bunch of different police types). Some of us do things with our computers that we legally cannot share with anyone. So no, not all aps do telemetry.


> Some of us do things with our computers that we legally cannot share with anyone. So no, not all aps do telemetry.

Unfortunately, "that would be bad for me" does not imply "that is not happening"

Telemetry is awesome for devs but totally opaque to end users. It's very difficult to know what your applications are really doing on the backend. You have to start packet sniffing, and that's a pretty deep rabbit hole.


Not opaque to me. I (and others) audit my machines. Unussual network activity from my secure work-only desktop will be detected and eventually traced to whatever process triggered it. That's basic network security imho that shouldnt go unnoticed on any regulated/secure network.


I find that very hard to believe. Also, telemetry comes in many forms, many of which are not visible as unwanted network activity.

An application could:

* send telemetry in URL parameters when it checks for updates

* send telemetry data exactly one time after, say, an hour of use.

* send telemetry data during a time when you are already sending a lot of traffic, and send it to an amazon web service endpoint (good luck plucking that out of normal network activity based on IP data alone, when so much software communicates with most likely the same AWS endpoints.)

My point is that there is probably < 5 people on the planet who scrutinize every scheduled task, every Wireshark trace, and everything else well enough to know for certain that nothing is going on. The only people who know for sure that no telemetry is going on are those who airgap their PC from any network at all.


Yep, and if that wasn’t enough, they have the gall to charge consumers for the OS too!

I mean, monetizing users by tracking their behaviour and showing them custom ads is bad enough (although somewhat understandable when the OS is free), but charging users for the privilege too (Windows 10 costs money¹)? Disgusting.

――――――

¹ — https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-windows-10


> Extensive and opaque 'telemetry' being sent back to MS which cannot be completely turned off

How do you turn off the telemetry of your smartphone apps or web sites that you use?


I use smart phone apps from fdroid and noscript configured to deny js from telemetry sites.


That doesn't remove the telemetry the web sites are able to do via web clicks, or everything else associated with your profile.

Do you create a fake profile every time you buy something?


How does not being able to maintain 100% privacy elsewhere matter in this discussion? The fact that there are thousands of abuses happening every minute doesn't justify abuse in any way.


Because the majority of people that appear offended by Microsoft usually don't have any issue with any SV darling doing the same to their data.


No, only occasionally.


Are you familiar with a type of hardware or software called firewall?


This being the most upvoted argument against Windows 10 only shows how good of an OS it actually is. I personally think they are complete non-issues I haven't even noticed. Windows 7 is a nightmare in comparison.


Every single one of those things can be fixed with a few minutes of Googling. Is it a shame that some of them (I'm looking at you, updates) took a while to have a good solution? Yes, welcome to software. Should the defaults be different? Maybe, but realize that most Microsoft customers don't exactly read HN...


The dev are not directly against windows 10, but against forcing their users to upgrade to a new os only because Microsoft decides everytime to support latest directX versions only in their newest os version.



Nothing, I use it on a daily basis.


It was decent, even fine, until they started pushing advertisement aggressively. Yes even to pro users.


That took two clicks to disable. Hardly makes the entire OS bad.

If I had anything to complain about Win 10 it's that they still haven't properly unified the control panels.


> That took two clicks to disable. Hardly makes the entire OS bad.

German data protection acts even make it illegal to use Windows 10 in commercial environments in many cases because of the built-in telemetry and cloud functions. Not what I would call "hardly makes the entire OS bad".


Link?



After a quick skim of these, they all seem to say "is being looked into" and "could" and "spoke out against".

Not "have been determined to be illegal".


This is a polite way to say "it probably is illegal".

As long as there is no court judgement, one cannot write a definite opinion. If the authors directly wrote that it is illegal, Microsoft would surely admonish [is this the correct English translation of the German verb "abmahnen", which has a very specific meaning in Germany's legal system?] the authors of the texts or the medium that publishes such a statement.


You shouldn't have to do even two clicks to disable ads in an OS you purchased. The fact that people try to defend this is absurd.


I purchased a newspaper, it had ads - which I couldn't disable. I purchased a magazine, it had ads - couldn't disable. I purchased a book - an ad for another book in the back. I purchased a movie ticket - an eternity of commercials even after I arrived "late" to the show. I purchased a cable subscription - still scads of ads, no way to get rid of them.

So taking ten seconds to deactivate ads in an OS isn't really the kind of outrageously onerous burden you're laying it out to be. I agree to the extent that it seems like a pointlessly minuscule revenue stream in comparison to the ill will that it generates. And it was deceitful to sneak the ads in after people had already upgraded from Windows 7 instead of making their intentions clear from the outset. Microsoft would probably generate more income with an option to permanently disable the ad experience (and telemetry) for a one-time fee the way Amazon does with their low-end Kindles.


The difference I see is that it breaks previous expectations. Ads in media have a long history, and there's a bargain that people understand (even if they don't fully understand the details).

Operating systems historically have not been like media. Perhaps this is the future (shudder), but pretending there has not been a difference doesn't get us anywhere. And it is jarring: compare it to one day, ads start appearing on your towels at home.

Personally, OS ads and invasive telemetry are way, way too invasive for me. Never used Windows as more than a utility thing for specific apps, but I'll never use Win 10 without crippling the mothership comms, and I'm moving away from OS X as well, because of the increasing cloud-everything centricity and the neglected unix subsystem.

Finally, this is probably a complaint specific to me and a not that many other people. I do systems engineering professionally. When OSes start doing things that I can't control and start communicating without explanations as to what, exactly, is going on for reasons that are not driven by my intent, I cannot trust the software. My machine, my environment, my rules.

People always jump to the phone comparison here. My phones are rather locked down too, snd I'm not happy about the direction, but can do little about that.


> ... newspaper ... magazine ... book ... movie ...

Operating Systems are tools, not entertainment or informational media. Does your hammer have ads you "couldn't disable"?

> it had ads - couldn't disable

Scissors can be used to disable magazine ads.


>Operating Systems are tools, not entertainment or informational media.

For your specific use case, sure. My Windows machine is essentially a game console to me though. Do I get upset when I see an ad on Xbox live? It's essentially the same thing to me.

Of course Windows isn't meant to be a tool for professionals. But it's great for what it is; an easy to use general OS that plays games.


The difference is that a newspaper does not send data about your usage to the publisher and does not track you.


yeah, the exdplorer advertisement on top of chrome took another two click, the office advertisement another two, the edge is more secure popup, two clicks..

I see a pattern there, don't you?


> as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10

Why is this something to avoid?


Star Citizen is one of the only Triple-A games in development that is PC first. Good that they value their Win7, Mac and Linux gamers.

Both DirectX 12 (which has nothing in common with DirectX 11) and Vulcan originate from AMD Mantel and the work of the Frostbite devs. Vulcan is the better choice nowadays, and several Triple-A games incl Doom 2016 support Vulcan.

There is no reason to use Win10 as a gamer, all games (beside the arcardy FU3) run on Win7, even the older one that stopped working with the infamous adware & spyware that Win10 is - as of today Win10 has ads in Windows Explorer, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13903519


The great irony here is that Doom 2016 has no official Linux support and Windows was necessary to play it. It only became usable under WINE within the past couple of months.


This was mostly an issue coming from Denuvo, which doesn't offer a way to generate linux executables. Now that Denuvo has been stripped, it runs on Linux, and pretty damn well with the Vulkan backend.


There is no reason to use Win10 as a gamer

Other than, like, having a supported version of Windows.


> There is no reason to use Win10 as a gamer

Let me know how Windows 7 on the latest Intel and AMD processors works out for you.


Great! There’s no reason why you can’t use it. You have to install Windows Updates manually, but MS still provides them (as they have to, by law, in the EU, during the warranty period).

And you don’t end up with a system forcefully updating and coming up with a bluescreen after every boot (my win10 test machine atm), nor do you have ads and telemetry in the megabytes after every login.



That’s automated updates. As required by law, you can still download them anyway.


Say what you want about Microsoft but their documentation and support for DX12 is second to none. Very few game devs actually care about openness most want to get the job done easily without any headache.


macOS supports Vulcan now? That's news to me.


It doesn't. There's a 3rd party middleware that implements it on top of Metal, but I don't know how it performs. https://moltengl.com/moltenvk/


Its almost been 6 years and they have raised 140+ million. I would be kind of mad if I had contributed and the haven't released a full game yet and they are changing something else.


It's been less than 4.5 years. Dunno how you got 6. Funding started in October 2012.

I did contribute $30 to the original Kickstarter, and I think the vast majority of scorn and rage about Star Citizen has been coming from people who haven't. Personally, I never expect a software project to finish on time.


I played a demo at the Game Developers Conference and it was fun. The thing I played was like Wing Commander with nicer graphics. I'm sure they are building lots of other things as well.

Whenever you make games you wish you had more resources. But at some level if you have too much, you become unbound by the practical trade-offs that are necessary to the art. The more you have to work with the more you need to promise, the less it makes sense to compromise.

I'm sure they will ship some games and I look forward to playing them. If they don't succeed they will move the art forward and train a lot of people who will do great things in their wake. More power to them.


> unbound by the practical trade-offs that are necessary to the art.

Like Duke Nukem Forever? They wanted to keep updating to the latest technology instead of shipping... and had the resources to do it.


I contributed on day 1, the main thing that's had me worried is the lack of updates on Linux support (which was promised in the KS). This reply reinforces their commitment on that, which is really nice.


I don't get why people still keep giving them money for ships, why they are ok with the new shifted focus (the game they are going to deliver isn't what was promised), nor why people can't bring themselves to even acknowledge these problems.

These aren't just Star Citizen problems, this is the entire industry. Somehow by labeling it an art they're allowed to get away with anything.

There are very few successfully developed games and this new craze of "Early Access" is just ruinining all QC and somehow making any publisher/programmer imune to criticism via the "It's only the alpha! You need to expect it to be buggy! It's not the developers fault!"


The real problem is seeing "inside the box". Most games are buggy and unfun for at least 90% of development time, and change direction several times as certainly things are found to work, or not work. The problem now is people are, reasonably, expecting what's in the original design document, and then getting annoyed when they get something else.

Also, as you say, having people's money already removes the need to finish -- and that push to polish and finish so you can release and get some money in my experience is what makes games good.


> I don't get why people still keep giving them money for ships

It's the only game that allows you to be at the forefront of participation without burning time on playing. One step beyond "idle games" (that is something that actually exists). It seems to be an arrangement that somehow clicks with a small but lucrative group of people. They probably think that they will pick up gaming again "when it's ready", but most likely won't. Until then they can live the dream of one day being as excited about gaming again as they were twenty years younger.


For comparison, in 6 years game time players could have a very skilled capital-ship-flying character in EvE and participated in numerous 1,000+ player battles (and many smaller ones) in a persistent universe.


Not even remotely the same kind of game.


Not investment. I haven't spent money on SC in a long time, but Im looking forward to its final release. Spending time in EVE is akin to building a career...


I personally think a more likely explanation of this move is that they are nowhere near completion and need a good 'technical excuse' for pushing deadlines way into the future.

Then everyone begins debating the technical issues rather than the timetabling and funding issues.


There is seriously something wrong with this community whenever a Star Citizen article comes up. Did you even click the link at all before coming up with your conspiracy theory?

This is a reply to a question that mentions, in passing, that for simplicity sake they are DROPPING ONE OF THE TWO targets they are CURRENTLY supporting. This is not "we need excuses to push deadlines", this is "we're cutting something to speed up development", with explanations accompanying it.

And that aside, HN of all communities should appreciate the level of transparency and technical insight CIG gives to their backers. Like the one in the post here. That you did not click because you were too busy coming up with "technical excuses".


Hello, thank you for your comment.

I've followed the Vulkan/DX12 issue on and off over the last year for SC as I am an early backer.

Given that they only first approached the question of Vulkan in 2016, and as recently as a few months ago were still in blackout as to the level of support: e.g.

https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment...

then

https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/53qsy5/any_new...

I am not persuaded that this is as simple a matter as dropping one of two equally well-developed branches.

Generally speaking, moving from a mature high-level API (especially one which the underlying game engine/architecture is heavily tied into) to a less mature low-level API tends to mean refactoring work and extra implementation work, as well as a whole new bunch of bugs and testing.

I would agree that pursuing only Vulkan or only DirectX is probably smarter than pursuing both simultaneously in terms of a faster delivery. I also think in terms of cross-platform development and performance it will be better to use Vulkan (for any game).

However, the introduction of Vulkan is a relatively recent event in the history of SC development (see above), saying 'we're only going to support it now' might actually be saying 'a rewrite (or substantial refactoring) of the game started last year, which we are now owning up to'.


I'll give you that the two branches may not necessarily be in the same state but I can guarantee you that, if they previously had in mind supporting both and are now down to only support one, it's a great relief in development efforts.

As to whether it's a good decision, it's a different and very hard to tell matter. I find it a little absurd though how much input people have into this. These decisions matter only in context; you need to be familiar with a lot of the technical background on the game itself and its ongoing development to really be informed on whether it is.

For context: I work with Blizzard games a ton. I'm extremely familiar with Blizzard, their teams, the work that goes on there; nature of my job. I also frequent the subreddits where armchair programmers and game designers think they can outsmart the devs by throwing random buzzwords in the comments. Everybody thinks they know better, thinks they know how to manage a community of millions to tens of millions, thinks they know how to ship AAA games, etc.

I see a very similar pattern on HN with CIG because CIG is (far) more transparent than your average studio. And I just wonder (this is a general statement, not only about your comment) why people adopt this "I know better" attitude when they clearly don't have al the variables and know it themselves.

I've seen this in every single thread about SC. People here see a kickstarter project taking a long time and start yelling their own startups' platitudes like "release early release often" that aren't applicable to game dev the same way. Every time I expect better and every time I'm disappointed

</rant>


Can you explain to me the difference in practice between

'a rewrite of an existing code base from language A to language B'

versus

'Saying you will support language B as well, dropping language A after a while completely, then announcing you are going to try to complete it in language B'

Because I am not sure I perceive a large semantic difference.

I happen to agree with an earlier post suggesting that if you want to run off with the money, then this kind of thing is a pretty good way of creating noise and cover instead of results.

Also: can you please stop shitting on the HN community with your posts and keep to the topic?

I get that you want to rant for some reason, but it would be better for us all if you did it in notepad or emacs rather than here.


Really, I'm the one shitting on people?

You're merely claiming hundreds of game developers, part of the most transparent game studio of all time, are involved in this grand conspiracy.

What does "running off with the money" even mean? Create artificial work for yourself and your company all the while pissing people off on purpose? Oh yeah that's a much better plan than just making a game.

Reminds me of people claiming the lunar landing was faked because they have it in their head that faking the thing and maintaining the charade over decades is somehow cheaper.

Regarding your question, we're talking about shading languages, most of which are autogenerated by the sources. This is more akin to dropping support for a platform than "rewriting everything".


This forum has rules about how to talk to other people in the forum. I feel you are ignoring them in terms of how you talk about me and other HN users.

Have you read the forum guidelines?

"You're merely claiming hundreds of game developers, part of the most transparent game studio of all time, are involved in this grand conspiracy."

I claimed no such thing and I do not enjoy your hyperbole.

In my experience when announcements are made and timetables shifted, it comes from higher up.

As for 'the most transparent game studio of all time'. Really? I think perhaps you should have followed the Numenera/Torment or Elite crowdfunded projects as a point of reference on that, you would likely have a different opinion.

"What does "running off with the money" even mean?"

I can only presume you have never funded an unsuccessful kickstarter project. I've funded several. They all followed an identical pattern of projects scope / platform changes and dozens of premature 'about to ship, just 1 more month' optimistic updates from CEOs.

Generally 'running off with the money' means taking the money and not delivering a product. In the case of kickstarter, usually using a long series of excuses along the way. It does not literally need to mean catching a flight to some far-off country with the money. Often the money is simply spent while people post misleading updates about the progress of the project. Then the final update: "Sorry, we thought we could deliver. But we can't".

I honestly can't see a difference between what's happening with this projects and the other projects that failed, nor any difference in the communication style, content and frequency. Winning projects don't usually look like this. Numenera didn't. Elite didn't.

"Reminds me of people claiming the lunar landing was faked because they have it in their head that faking the thing and maintaining the charade over decades is somehow cheaper."

Again, you're just being rude and hyperbolic. If you think a kickstarter project involving repeated delays over a period of years - which turn out to be CEO deception about project viability - is 'questioning the moon landing', then you are perhaps naive about crowd funded projects. I am not insulting you by saying this. I simply mean it literally: from what you're saying, it seems you don't know what crowdfunded projects are like. I do. I've wasted plenty of money on them.

http://gizmodo.com/7-crowdfunding-fails-that-will-make-you-t...

http://gizmodo.com/the-9-most-disgraceful-crowdfunding-failu...

I hope star citizen does not turn out to be pie in the sky, partly because the world needs good space sims and partly because I put my own money on the line.

However, projects that suddenly announce changes of this magnitude when they ought to have delivered something years ago, often turn out to have other underlying problems that prevent their ultimate success. Star Citizen has undergone multiple changes of project scope, changes of technology platform, never-ending delays, and it is hard to believe that this is the result of the kind of management that wants to deliver a good product on time and is capable of doing it.

I also funded Elite Dangerous as a kickstarter backer, and I consider it to be a good example of good project management. I have had the pleasure of playing it for years.


Yes, CIG is absolutely the most transparent game studio of all time. I say this with over 13 years experience in and around the games industry. They're creating a plethora of video and text content on their process, on the development of the game, the design, the experiences, failures and successes, etc. They share time tables. They share their deadlines. They often miss them in fact, and so do I at my company. It doesn't mean they're running off with the money.

As for Elite, that is an excellent example of a project that failed to deliver what it promised. I love Elite, by the way, but the only reason you're touting it here is because it's already out, whereas SC is not. I understand that, you're a gamer, you want something you can play now, not something you can play later.

Here's the thing: Star Citizen and CIG are both plagued with issues. Cultish behaviour from their communities, overpromising tendencies, micromanagement, etc. It's not a flawless game or studio. But game development is hard and game developers are some of the most passionate about their job, of all professions on earth. So it really pisses me off when people start claiming that all they want to do is "run with the money".

It's possible to fail. You're on a forum where people build their own companies from scratch. Most of these people fail. If after dedicating years of your life on your vision while being questioned at every corner you end up failing, that's not "running with the money", that's failing. It's hard, it sucks, it destroys you and this happens to people on here every single day. It's not some kind of goal that they're all looking forward; "oh man I can't wait until we don't have to keep up this charade anymore of pretending to work on the game every day, so that we can enjoy all the jaccuzzis we've been buying!".

You want points of reference, I invite you to look at game studios that actually "take the money and run". Start with Zynga, see how deep that rabbit hole goes.


> Yes, CIG is absolutely the most transparent game studio of all time. I say this with over 13 years experience in and around the games industry.

If that's the best you've seen, I would recommend you to Riot Games excellent series of blog articles on their game design (principles, practice, front end, back end, player management etc). Or... Elite's dev blog and forums, which were excellent?

> As for Elite, that is an excellent example of a project that failed to deliver what it promised.

Uhhh.. no? I think it delivered everything I hoped for, and more? As a player of the original I've been delighted by the scope of the game. Feel welcome to disagree of course, but let's be clear that we're talking opinions not facts.

One thing is for sure: they delivered a game that has given me a lot of fun for a long time.

SC has delivered posts as you say, e.g. about deadlines - that they've missed - it's really much less useful for me in terms of my personal enjoyment.

> But game development is hard

Yes, but looking at peers with less money and grand goals, those peers actually achieved their goals, let's celebrate that maybe a bit more instead?

> So it really pisses me off ...

That's not actually an OK excuse for how you've been writing on here.

> It's possible to fail. You're on a forum where people build their own companies from scratch. Most of these people fail.

Sure, but it's not the 1970s. We should not be celebrating game companies that are in the process of possibly failing, holding them up as gems of the industry (as you appear to be doing, from my perspective), especially when many of their choices lead directly to missed deadlines and the absence of a game for me to play.

> You want points of reference, I invite you to look at game studios that actually "take the money and run". Start with Zynga, see how deep that rabbit hole goes.

Zynga delivered, over and over and over. What they delivered wasn't a game, arguably, more a skinner box, but you'd have a pretty hard time convincing me they entertained fewer people than SC has.

If I can sum up your arguments:

- Elite: a project that failed to deliver what they promised - Zynga: a game studio that took the money and run

I simply can't see that you would get widespread agreement with those views. They are both profitable companies with hundreds of thousands more happy users of their products than SC has. Zynga in particular didn't even charge for many of their products, so it's a bit hard to claim they 'took the money and ran'.

Anyway, why don't we leave our discussion here. You can post again if you like but I won't respond to it, I don't believe either of us is presenting information that will persuade the other person of their view.


Why does this vaporware still get news?

This game is never going to be completed. They've already made their money and have taken on a job that's way more more ambitious then the developers or any of their backers realize.


I don't what the problem is. They are extremely transparent with development and internal timelines. No one expects the game to be finished anytime soon, but there is continuous progress.

(I'm not backer, just interested in the game)


Yeah, as many backers exist that apparently delude themselves into thinking the game will be done soon, there are just as many that call it vaporware when there is clear progress every single week. They made presale money, sure, but it seems like the latter just can't comprehend that, just as with open source projects, the developers are building the game because they want to build it, not just because it will make money.


Which is the point, "the developers are building the game because they want to build it" - they don't want to finish.


Also just because they want to build it doesn't mean they will ever finish. Nor does it mean that they're able to build what they've set out to build.

Anyone remember the DayZ standalone? People said the same thing about rocket. That he won't abandon his game. He cashed out years ago and the game is still a buggy piece of shit. And that's a far less ambitious game than Star Citizen.

Just because they "want" to build it, doesn't mean that they can or that they won't lose interest in a few years when the interesting bits are done and its just a long road of grinding to actually get something shippable.


That's the crux backers are lying to themselves about. The game doesn't exist and has already made more money than most blockbusters. Why waste profit developing it when you've already had your payday?

The best thing to do from a business perspective is just enough "development" to keep lawsuits at bay. In the meantime you start throwing as much money as you can off the train and jump clear right before it flies off the tracks.


Cool. 2+ developer years of development time fore refactoring. At least I did not back this game so I have no expectations.


As I understand their post they are currently developing for both, so dropping one shouldn't be _that_ bad.


As sibling said, they were developing with both in mind, but if you write smart code from the beginning and abstract enough, it's not very difficult to switch graphics APIs.


There are too much ifs...and if you are a developer you know the probability of your statement being true.


Considering that Vulkan is faster and should be well supported on all platforms by the time this game finally comes out, i think it's a good decision. I guess only possible since they don't plan console support.


It's faster than OpenGL or older DirectX versions, but DX12 was pretty much on the same level of abstraction as far as I understood it.


Yes, DX12 is very similar to Vulkan but the major difference is Vulkan is present on most gaming platforms except iOS, so it makes sense if you have to choose one of those two you will choose Vulkan.


Isn't Vulkan AMD only though?


No. Mantle, on which Vulkan is based on, was AMD only. AMD gave it to Khronos and it evolved into Vulkan.


Vulkan is based on Mantle from AMD, but the code was donated to Khronos. Both Nvidia and Intel have Vulkan drivers.


Does Intel have a vk driver?

AFAIK, they only have a Linux one, but only for Broadwell and newer. Do you know something about the Windows driver?


And except Xbox One...


How much faster is it? I saw a few random videos comparing Vulkan vs. DX11, and the difference was usually in the 10% range in both ways (sometimes Vulkan won, sometimes DX won).


This was the most polite jab at their long dev cycle in this thread. I wish people would be more forgiving of the trial-and-error process that goes into designing genre-breaking games with a small staff and tight budget. The devs are committed to artistic quality however long it takes.


I'm not sure Star Citizen qualifies as having a small staff and a tight budget. Three or four offices in major cities, dozens of developers, a whole art department. Hardly a scrappy little garage studio.


I didn't realize they had grown so much. I don't follow the development closely.


The duke nukem forever of kickstarter games.


I'm sure people will appreciate it in 2100 when the game is released.


Is the game going to be released?


Duke Nukem got released, and if that made it anything can!

FWIW, Duke also swapped graphics and engines several times during development.


> Duke Nukem got released

Created by a completely independent studio, not the original makers.


AFAIK they reused a lot of the work done by the previous team.


And this same thing could never happen to Star Citizen?


Since there is no publisher sitting in the tail, it is at least IMHO far more unlikely.


CIG could run out of money and be forced to sell


Nope they are going to keep changing stuff, adding stuff tweaking it. They should just make something, then start adding more on.


I don't know why this comment was downvoted, it's pretty obvious that one should release early and often, then make changes instead of making long term change even before the product is released!


The comment you are replying to, as well as your own, are both being downvoted because they make wild assumptions about the state of the game clearly without knowing anything about it...

The final product is not released, but RSI is the most transparent game studio out there. Alpha Builds of the game are constantly being released, any backer can install it, log into it, give feedback, report bugs etc.

They are releasing early and often.


Backers have been getting regular releases for about 3 years already if not longer.


Releases, like "alpha versions of a completed game"; or like "statements about progress"?


Releases as in playable demos of small pieces of the game.


I hope more game developers do the same.

And I hope if this time Microsoft comes up with a FUD campaign against Vulkan (like what happened with OpenGL) people can just uninstall Windows and try another OS.


Is this gonna push release back another four years?




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