Hello, Vista

So today Vista finally hit the shelves. And I had the first bugreport from an eager user saying that The Longest Journey didn’t run on his newly upgraded PC. Welcome to the new world.

The past days, I’ve been working on getting the old game ready for Vista, and as a result, it’s installed on my work PC. Which means that I got past the “oh, shiny” impression of it, and got to see how useful it is as a work platform. Spoiler: I’m not impressed.

Stability is poor. I have a fairly recent PC (AMD 4200 dual-core w/ Nvidia 7900), and it has locked up several times, the GUI gets confused from mode switching (the Aero GUI disappears each time I start a game in Window mode). I’ve seen it drop to text mode, that black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left, several times before recovering. I had one BSOD and two further unexplained reboots. My onboard soundcard is unsupported.

These things may go away over time or with new hardware. What doesn’t go away though, are the new “security” features. I didn’t know this, but I’m a power user. Ignore for a second that Visual Studio 2003 does not work on Vista, and I had to upgrade to 2005, and install a service pack upgrade that is still in Beta to make it work; It warns me that I need to run it as an administrator now, when it used to be running fine as a restricted user.

And apparently, editing an ini file in a program folder that I installed myself is such a highly criminal act these days that notepad won’t even tell me what it is that I’m not allowed to do.

On top of this pile the fact that I even have to do this at all. Backwards compatibility has always been a strong point for Windows. I’ve been through every version of it since 1.0 and nothing of this sort has ever been required. Support for DOS games in XP was better than support for Windows games in Vista.

Goodbye Vista.


5 thoughts on “Hello, Vista

  1. Hi Enno! I too went straight to installing TLJ after getting Vista, and also was disappointed with the results. In fact I was so disappointed I’ve been seriously considering switching to Linux for the first time. After spending the last 12 hours catching up on where Linux is at nowadays, I noticed your bug report about running TLJ on Wine. What a shame! Which OS do you think will be the first to get the game running stably?

    PS. Do you have a blog post somewhere about your take on Douglas Adam’s “fairies at the bottom of the garden” quote? I’d be interested to read it.

  2. The quote is by Richard Dawkins, and no, there’s no post regarding it. If you know the quote, you can guess what my thoughts are on the issue 🙂

    Regarding TLJ, I’ve finished the work on a patch that makes it run on Vista. It’s on the game’s download page. It still doesn’t run on Linux, I believe, although I haven’t checked in a while. I think it’s not so much Wine’s fault as it is TLJ making some assumptions about what it can or cannot expect graphics hardware to look like, and generally being a really, really old game.

  3. Richard Dawkins put the quote in “The God Delusion” book, but it originally comes from Douglas Adams, writer of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” They were close friends but Douglas sadly died a few years ago. I think Dawkins would agree with you that there may be fairies, however there is a large gulf between what is possible, and what is probable, and the fact that something is possible is not a good reason to hold a belief. Anyways drifting off topic here =p

    I am very impressed you got a patch out so soon! It’s not often you find a game so old that still has anyone dedicated to maintaining it. Thankyou for your efforts. 🙂

  4. The quote is in “Unweaving the rainbow” and probably other of Dawkins’ books as well. I haven’t read the God Delusion yet, and I don’t remember it being in the Hitchhiker, but even if it’s there I’m pretty sure DNA picked it up from Dawkins, not the other way around. A little research finds it attributed to him by wikiquote, at least:

    And on topic: Adventure games are curious things in that their lifespan seems to be a lot longer than other games. The initial sales might not impress anyone who has seen sales figures for Warcraft or Half-Life, but over the years, they age less dramatically and even 8 years later, TLJ is still being sold in numbers that justify me working on it a little every now and then.

  5. Ah! I see where the problem is. The quote by Adams was “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” (It’s not in hitchhiker, I just mentioned the book because that is what he is most famous for.) Dawkins indirectly referenced this in his book: “There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any, so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies?” Next time I should just keep my mouth shut when I recognise a quote =p

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