- WinSAT: Is Your Computer Ready for Gaming Under Vista?
- How to Check Your WinSAT Score
- The Perfect CPU
- How Much RAM?
- DirectX 10 Graphic Cards: What? When?
- Fast Hard Disk
- Gaming Performance and Compatibility Under Vista
- Compatibility Mode
- Example: Age of Empires III
- DirectX 10 Changes the Way We Look at Hardware
- Geometry Shader
- Unified Architecture
- Where Are the Other DirectX Features?
- Games Explorer
- Bottom Line
Where Are the Other DirectX Features?
DirectX isn’t just about graphics; we have DirectPlay (network gaming), DirectSound, DirectInput, and more. However, the major changes in DirectX 10 revolve around the Direct3D API. While other components of the platform haven’t changed significantly, even those areas will see a couple of interesting new features. Take DirectInput, now slated as XInput, for example: The new XInput API from Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 console has been added to DX10, which means that you can use the Xbox 360 controller with games running under Windows Vista.
User Account Control and Parental Controls
Microsoft is earnestly trying to enhance user accounts. Previously, user accounts were created with administrative rights by default. Most applications and games out there have difficulties running under a limited account. But this "everyone is an administrator" thinking has always caused trouble, because viruses, Trojans, and spyware applications were able to take advantage of these elevated rights.
With Vista, we finally see users creating the standard user account rather than the critical administrator account. However, game developers face different challenges with a normal user account, since they don’t have full access to all the necessary system areas. Take the registry and system folders on your hard disk: By default, the usual user account isn’t allowed to make changes to some registry keys or read system files. Additionally, the user cannot install drivers, configure the firewall, or set up services. However, a vast majority of games currently out in the wild at least need access to the registry or the ability to write to a critical system folder. In the future, game developers will have to work around these issues; for instance, by presenting the user with a typical elevation dialog box that allows games to access these areas. Yet to see is how well games will integrate with the User Account Control (UAC) feature.
Tied in closely with User Account Control are the parental controls of Windows Vista. Parents will be able to decide whether children can install a game based on its Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating, not only for the latest titles but also for older games such as Doom (see Figure 7).
Figure 7 With Vista’s parental controls, you can limit your children’s computer use.