August 28th, 2007
As my last post detailed, I’m now an owner of a new iMac. One of the perks of this iMac is it can run Windows. While I wouldn’t condone installing Windows, I did. The guys around the office were talking about Bioshock coming out on the Xbox and the PC so I thought, hey, why not pull down the demo and put Windows to good use. It’s common knowledge around the inter-web that Vista isn’t exactly a gamers delight, suffering from performance and other issues. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying. The following trial is the abridged version of what happened. It actually took me 2 days before I could even try the demo because of the ‘high quality software’ produced by FilePlanet…but I digress.
First up, I installed the newest version of ATI’s drivers to up my chances of having things work. Then, I pulled down the demo from Steam. So far so good. I launched the demo and presto…nothing. A black screen and then the Vista crash reporter. Great. A Google search suggested I update to the latest DirectX 10 drivers, so I downloaded and installed them. Launched Bioshock and to my surprise it ran! I played about 30 minutes but it quickly became apparent things weren’t right. Numerous textures weren’t loading and sometimes reflections were taking over an entire texture area. Another Google search suggested I try using DirectX 9 by forcing the demo to load using it. I added the ‘advanced’ setting to the launch arguments in Steam and held my breath. This time, true success. Bioshock looked and played great. Albeit in DirectX 9.
I have to wonder who is at fault for the poor DirectX 10 support – Microsoft, ATI or 2KGames. DirectX 10 is supposed to be this great selling point for Vista but in reality, like most Vista features, it fails spectacularly. I have no doubt one day it will work well, but Vista has been out how long now and only 8% of Steam users are using it. It seems like it’s still the odd man out. To be fair, I couldn’t imagine the amount of testing that’s required for your average Windows game. But even with all kinds of testing it could still end up being a poor user experience.
# posted at 5:38 pm by Will