Well, I have to say I agree with most of the stuff that Draginol is talking about. I understand profit is a basic requirement for running a business, but I'm much happier with businesses that put their heart and soul into their products rather than trying a million things and hoping something sticks. You can definitely tell when the people in the business actually like what they're doing: It shows in their products. Stardock's products are definitely made by a team that loves what they're doing.
As far as the graphics stuff goes, I can see both sides. I think that occasional
games like Crysis are good to keep technology going. I would agree, however, that the vast majority of games should not
be like Crysis and should support the largest variety of platforms possible. One thing to keep in mind: On Valve's hardware survey, The GeForce 5200 is above all of the ATI cards. This is a video card four generations old! Yet it's still very popular. Draginol is absolutely right when he points out that the vast majority of gamers are not
hard core nuts that always try to keep on the bleeding edge.
So yes, I very much agree that the vast majority of games should be designed for the largest range of systems possible. I'd say that developers should at least make sure it runs on anything above the 1% mark on Valve's hardware survey. That covers a lot of mid-end and even low-end cards such as the GeForce 5200 and the GeForce4.
In fact, until very recently (less than a week ago), I've been using my old GeForce 6800. Why? Because it will play every game on the market, and until very recently it will play all of them at the highest level of detail. As Mercestes points out, a good DirectX 10 video card costs (until very recently) around $800.
The 8800s are all crazily expensive. $500+ for a video card? No way. My budget isn't that big, and it's not going to be that big anytime soon. The 8600s are crazily crippled: They have 256 MB of memory, which is the same as my old 6800! Looking at the DirectX 10 games, I know for sure they're pushing for more detailed textures, and that there's no way I'm going to get a DirectX 10 card without giving myself a video memory boost.
Therefore, I didn't upgrade. There was no reason to. It didn't make sense. The games I owned never pushed my 6800 to its limits, despite the availability of the 7 series.
BUT - as you may have guessed, I very recently bought a new video card. It's the newest one that nVidia released for less than $200. The GeForce 9600. Lots of power, more video memory, and very cheap - it's a lot of bang for the buck, and it got great reviews. So I've bought it, it works great, and I look forward to more DirectX 10 games in the future. So, yeah - I prefer to buy when it makes sense, and I'm patient enough to wait for a good product rather than just grabbing the latest thing.
As far as Crysis goes, I'll probably wait until it's in the bargain bin. Which looks like it will happen very soon, considering it's more a tech demo than a game.
Apologies to any ATI fans out there that noticed I talk a lot about nVidia's cards. Yeah, I admit I'm a nVidia fan. I know ATI's cards are usually just as good - but I just can't seem to make heads or tails of their numbering system. nVidia's system makes sense to me, and their video cards always seem to work well, so I seem to gravitate towards them a lot.
One of the jokes I've seen in the desktop enhancement market is how "ugly" WindowBlinds skins are . . .
Heh, well the point of WindowsBlinds is that you can make any skin you want - including ugly ones. If you don't like one skin, you can always try another. There are lots of options. Which is unlike Windows XP, where you have only three colors for one skin (a big step backwards from previous versions). Vista is a bit better in adding a color mixer, but the choice of skins is still pretty limited.
So, yeah: if you like the OS to look small and minimalistic, you can choose one of the more minimalist skins or create your own - that's that beauty of Stardock's products.
I'll probably, just for fun, grab (or make) a Windows 3 skin and use it for a bit
. Can you imagine somebody's response when they see you're using something that looks like Windows 3 and you launch the Crysis demo?
Anyways, I agree for the most part, and I love Stardock and what they are doing