Alternatives to Windows 8 and DirectX

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Id software John Carmack, Valve CEO Gabe Newell, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell and Rob Pardo from Blizzard Entertainment have all been showing their slightly negative opinions on the coming Microsoft Windows 8. The new system wouldn’t be user friendly enough, asking too much of both developer and user and it is causing (indie) developers to look into different platforms and ways to ship their games. For Windows these game developers were using DirectX to display the graphics.

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Valve for example posted a blog on their website about a test they had done with two identical hardware configured PC’s. On the first one they ran their own game “Left for Dead 2” on Windows and DirectX. On the other they ran the game on OpenGL on Ubuntu 32bit. In this experiment they figured out that with the same configurations, that the game was running 20% faster on OpenGL.

We can ofcourse question this research a little bit. For one is the engine used (Source engine) not the newest type anymore. Also will this not give any guarantee on whether a newer engine will run aswell 20% faster on older machines.

The reason that they were testing is because Valve has developed better graphics drivers together with Nvidia for Linux. And with the recent release of Steam for Linux, they hope to sell games for Linux, Mac and Windows all running on OpenGL and using the same OpenGL for windows instead of using DirectX.

Drivers for OpenGL from Nvidia is a step in the direction of having more OpenGL support, but it still has a long way to go. Not everybody is using Nvidia graphics cards, so also other hardware companies will have to improve their hardware and drivers for making this possible.

But perhaps we can see more and more games coming out with OpenGL, making it for the gamer easier to choose whether they want to buy and play it on Windows, Mac or Linux. I myself wouldn’t mind to use Linux instead of my Windows 7 machine, but sofar it has been because of gaming that I had to buy a machine with Windows.

Windows 8 seems to make it difficult for the Indie developer on the other hand and that makes that indie developers might switch to these alternative platforms. Especially now that so many other devices with Android and Ubuntu for Mobile will start making their entrance, such as Ouya with Android, Google TV, Raspberry PI and CottonCandy to name a few.

Will current Windows gamers and (indie) game developers make the switch to Linux with OpenGL or try their luck with the new Windows 8?

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