Vista Schmista

Probably, like some of you, I’m a bit in the dark with Windows Vista regarding its special requirements that affect casual game developers. Also I don’t have a spare PC and a copy of Vista knocking around to do some testing on – although I can probably find someone with a Vista PC who’ll let me use it.

Well actually, I’m not totally in the dark; I do have a basic understanding of the issues having been sent some development advice by a couple of portals and having read some forum threads on the topic – but until I implement and test the required changes myself, I’m not 100% clear on what I need to do to make my BlitzMax games properly Vista compatible. When I know more, I’ll post again so that you can all benefit from my mental strain 😉 In reality it’ll probably be quite easy.

I think that the main issue is making sure that you don’t have any files that are written to in the game’s folder, everthing needs to be in the user’s “special folder” (e.g. save games). Also, for global data, such as an ini file and global high scores, you need to write to a different special folder. It’s all to do with permissions you see; Vista has clamped down on what you can write where on the user’s system. There are threads on and the Indiegamer forums that talk about how to get the names of these folders, so I’ll be researching those. Of course the changes have to be backward compatible i.e. they still work on XP at least, and possibly other Windows OSes like 2000, ME, 98SE etc.

So basically, I’m going to HAVE to convert my BlitzMax Game Framework to Vista and test it for the current game that I’m working on and I’ve got about 2.5 months before the deadline. Also, I’ve got to convert my framework to Mac (Intel and PPC). Both these tasks are BORING but they need to be done to ensure uptake by portals and, of course, sales! At least once it’s done, I probably don’t need to worry about supporting another OS for quite some time unless I decide to make games for Linux or mobiles…who knows what the future hold?

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