or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac Software › Xbox team joins Virtual PC development
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Xbox team joins Virtual PC development

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Microsoft's Xbox team has been assigned to the development of Virtual PC's native graphics card support, sources tell AppleInsider.

Feeling pressure from both Apple and G5 customers, Microsoft this summer cut several key enhancements from its Virtual PC 7.0 Windows emulation software in order to deliver a G5 compatible solution without further delays.

One of the features reportedly shelved until a future release was native graphics card support. But precisely what is delaying this feature remains a mystery to even some members of the Virtual PC team, as they are not the ones responsible for the implementation.

According to sources, Virtual PC's native graphics card support is being handled exclusively by Microsoft's Xbox team. Though not expected for several months, the feature will reportedly demand a graphics card that meets the same level of graphics sophistication required for Apple's Core Image and Video technology.

For Macintosh systems that sport a compatible ATI graphics card, future versions of Virtual PC will emulate an original Radeon with up to 32MB of virtual video memory. Likewise, for Macs equipped with a compliant Nvidia graphics card, sources said that the emulated chipset will be a Geforce 3 with up to 32MB of virtual video memory.

The performance and speed of Virtual PC's emulated graphics will depend on the speed of the host machine's graphics and the number of available processors, sources added.

In February, Microsoft released the Software Development Kit (SDK) for its forthcoming Xbox 2 video game console. Since the Xbox 2 will utilize IBM processors similar to the ones used in today's Macintosh systems, the SDK was seeded to developers on dual Apple Power Mac G5 systems running a custom Windows NT Kernel.
post #2 of 16
This confirms what I suspected: Xbox 2 will use tech from VPC 7 to play Xbox 1 games. I don't see any other reason for the Xbox team to be involved.
post #3 of 16
How well would this work for newer games?? It only emulates an old 32 MB Radeon card. So the PC game will think that's what's in the system, even if you have a high-end brand spankin' new Radeon in your Mac. I know there are a lot of newish PC games that run a check on your PC and show you what you still need to upgrade to be able to play it. Therefore, old games will probably run really fast, I would imagine, but newer games that require more than 32 MB VRAM may not even run because they won't detect how good your actual processor is. And all the sweet hardware features of your spankin' new card won't even be utilized because the game won't think your card supports those features.

How exactly is this "native graphics card support"?! When that term had been used so frequently, I expected something a lot better than emulating a 32 MB Radeon. Sure, it's a step up from before. (7.0 and earlier just use your PowerPC and not your GPU, right?) And a step up is well appreciated and great!! But this isn't good enough to play anything new, at least not with all the cool features of a new graphics card.

I'm not really upset with Microsoft about it (hey, who knows, it may end up different than the rumor claims it will anyway). But the rumormill should be more careful about the terminology that's thrown around. This is not at all what "native graphics card support" implies. You got our hopes up, apparently for nothing. Well, if we can believe this rumor, that is.
Tech Pulse Podcast - Tech News, Reviews, Tips and Tricks, Picks, and More!
Reply
Tech Pulse Podcast - Tech News, Reviews, Tips and Tricks, Picks, and More!
Reply
post #4 of 16
edit: bahleeted!
Proud member of AppleInsider since before the World Wide Web existed.
Reply
Proud member of AppleInsider since before the World Wide Web existed.
Reply
post #5 of 16
Kickaha and Amorph couldn't moderate themselves out of a paper bag. Abdicate responsibility and succumb to idiocy. Two years of letting a member make personal attacks against others, then stepping aside when someone won't put up with it. Not only that but go ahead and shut down my posting priviledges but not the one making the attacks. Not even the common decency to abide by their warning (afer three days of absorbing personal attacks with no mods in sight), just shut my posting down and then say it might happen later if a certian line is crossed. Bullshit flag is flying, I won't abide by lying and coddling of liars who go off-site, create accounts differing in a single letter from my handle with the express purpose to decieve and then claim here that I did it. Everyone be warned, kim kap sol is a lying, deceitful poster.

Now I guess they should have banned me rather than just shut off posting priviledges, because kickaha and Amorph definitely aren't going to like being called to task when they thought they had it all ignored *cough* *cough* I mean under control. Just a couple o' tools.

Don't worry, as soon as my work resetting my posts is done I'll disappear forever.
post #6 of 16
Bingo!

I think this was the only reason MS purchase VPC!

Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by CodeWarrior
This confirms what I suspected: Xbox 2 will use tech from VPC 7 to play Xbox 1 games. I don't see any other reason for the Xbox team to be involved.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by the JoshMeister
How well would this work for newer games?? It only emulates an old 32 MB Radeon card. So the PC game will think that's what's in the system, even if you have a high-end brand spankin' new Radeon in your Mac. I know there are a lot of newish PC games that run a check on your PC and show you what you still need to upgrade to be able to play it. Therefore, old games will probably run really fast, I would imagine, but newer games that require more than 32 MB VRAM may not even run because they won't detect how good your actual processor is. And all the sweet hardware features of your spankin' new card won't even be utilized because the game won't think your card supports those features.

This is all true. But it beats the absolute hell out of VPC's current support.

Quote:
How exactly is this "native graphics card support"?! When that term had been used so frequently, I expected something a lot better than emulating a 32 MB Radeon.

It isn't. But it beats the absolute hell out of VPC's current support.

Native graphics card support is such a hairy beast that I've always been skeptical of the claim. This rumor is much, much easier to swallow.

Quote:
I'm not really upset with Microsoft about it (hey, who knows, it may end up different than the rumor claims it will anyway). But the rumormill should be more careful about the terminology that's thrown around. This is not at all what "native graphics card support" implies. You got our hopes up, apparently for nothing. Well, if we can believe this rumor, that is.

Caveat emptor.
"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
Reply
"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
Reply
post #8 of 16
This is truly forward thinking and based on a ton of assumptions but... Does anyone know what video card is going to be put into the XB2? My thinking is that card (and/or chipset) would have the best (most complete? most optimized?) support in VPC w/native graphics support.

That is, if VPC truly will get native graphic card support in the first place, and I for one still ain't holding my breath. I'm still of the thought that MS has a vested interest to have VPC **NOT** work as well as it could.

Dave
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by DaveGee
That is, if VPC truly will get native graphic card support in the first place, and I for one still ain't holding my breath. I'm still of the thought that MS has a vested interest to have VPC **NOT** work as well as it could.

I'm actually of the opposite opinion...

In having VPC work well on Macs, Microsoft gains three things...
  • By making Windows applications run well on Macs, it removes the incentive for most developers to port non-performance critical apps. This keeps the Windows API the dominant development standard, giving Microsoft more clout in influencing technology trends and marginalizing potential competitors, like in the office suite market space.
  • In controling the API, Microsoft can continue to control the methodologies and tools developers use. Microsoft would rather you use Visual Studio than XCode, REALbasic, or CodeWarrior.
  • Even overlooking the above "conspiratorial" ideas, if VPC becomes good enough to make Macs business viable, every copy of VPC includes a Windows license. Even during the Connectix era, this went straight to Microsoft's bottom line.
Anyone who complains about affect & effect
should be disemvoweled
Reply
Anyone who complains about affect & effect
should be disemvoweled
Reply
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Wormwood
I'm actually of the opposite opinion...

In having VPC work well on Macs, Microsoft gains three things...
  • By making Windows applications run well on Macs, it removes the incentive for most developers to port non-performance critical apps. This keeps the Windows API the dominant development standard, giving Microsoft more clout in influencing technology trends and marginalizing potential competitors, like in the office suite market space.

I don't buy this. I've heard others say it too, but, to me, this theory only "works" if (a) VPC becomes almost standard in the mac realm - its not even close, as it stands, and/or (b) VPC becomes more of a RedBox type app, running Windows programs seemlessly as if they were Mac apps (or at least as close as you could, maybe saying it like 'as if they were X-ll apps' as the windows would still have their own menu bars and other wackiness going on).

The only developers who could get by with "Get a PC, or VPC" are those that make specialty apps or have such a small Mac base as it is, it doesn't matter anyway.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
I don't buy this. I've heard others say it too, but, to me, this theory only "works" if (a) VPC becomes almost standard in the mac realm - its not even close, as it stands, and/or (b) VPC becomes more of a RedBox type app, running Windows programs seemlessly as if they were Mac apps (or at least as close as you could, maybe saying it like 'as if they were X-ll apps' as the windows would still have their own menu bars and other wackiness going on).

Well, it happens when the developer saves more than they lose by dropping Mac development. For small developers, at some point it'd be cheaper to bundle a copy of VPC than develop and test their app separately, though seamlessness is a definite issue. If MS wanted they could even sell a cheap VPC restricted to one application - one app running in Windows' full-screen (as a Mac window) looks reasonable.

I'd hoped that VPC-7 would at least LOOK seamless - each Windows app with it's own window on the Mac screen (even if they only changed the title bar to the Mac's red/yellow/green button style). Maybe a full screen Virtual PC, with a transparent background and no taskbar.

Being seamless behind the scenes would be better - really just having Microsoft release a "translator" for Win32 on Mac, they've got all the technology they need for it, especially with their Xbox2 development.

Of course, this seamlessness could reduce Mac development in favour of Win32. I'd love to see the opposite - Cocoa for Windows and Linux.
post #12 of 16
Please! All the conspiracy theories!
The Macintosh business unit is part of the "Home and Retail Division" of MS... which also covers xBox. One would expect that your own division would help you when you miss a milestone.
Cruftz
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by GregAlexander
Of course, this seamlessness could reduce Mac development in favour of Win32. I'd love to see the opposite - Cocoa for Windows and Linux.

... or Windows on a Mac machine. Because the XBox2 has a G5 as CPU, the XBox team has ported the NT-kernel to the G5. This is still a long way from a full blown WinOS, but it's a start.
Of course, they will never leave the Intel/AMD hemisphere. But alternatives are always handy.
2x2.7 PowerMac - 1.25 Powerbook - 10.4 Tiger - '65 Mustang
Reply
2x2.7 PowerMac - 1.25 Powerbook - 10.4 Tiger - '65 Mustang
Reply
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by cruftz
Please! All the conspiracy theories!
The Macintosh business unit is part of the "Home and Retail Division" of MS... which also covers xBox. One would expect that your own division would help you when you miss a milestone.
Cruftz

Yea!

It's not like MS bought up a Mac game developer who was months away from releasing one of the hottest games of it's time for the Mac and had them rewrite it for the xBox and delay it's release on the Mac for a few years until they finally allowed it to be ported to the Mac by a 3rd party developer.

Oh wait...

Dave
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
post #15 of 16
Actually, I think Windows NT on PowerPC is more likely than Win32 on Mac, or Cocoa on Windows...

I say that because MS doesn't care whether a PC maker uses Intel or AMD or IBM - they just want computers to use Windows. Likewise, IBM doesn't care who sells PowerPCs or what OS - just as long as they sell their chips.

If IBM wants to sell a LOT more chips (not just Mac & games machines, though that is a large market!), they need to sell to the Windows market. MS doesn't want to lose any marketshare, so although IBM can compete using Linux, it wouldn't surprise me if IBM and MS decided on launching a new clone market - PowerPCs with Windows (also running all existing Windows software through emulation, like Alpha workstations used to). Of course, IBM needs to have ramped up PPC production before this happens.

Just thoughts..
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Actually, I think Windows NT on PowerPC is more likely than Win32 on Mac, or Cocoa on Windows...

There was a PowerPC version of NT, in Ye Olde Days (NT 3 ?).
Stoo
Reply
Stoo
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mac Software
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac Software › Xbox team joins Virtual PC development