DEALING WITH 32-BIT DINOSAURS

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There are not many gamers playing with 32-bit any more. For example over 99% of Windows 10 users are using the 64-bit version. Linux has also been available for 64-bit for a very long time. XP and older operating systems are now largely out of use with Windows 7 holdouts being the latest problem, Yes Windows 10 is still free for Windows 7 users and the latest version is excellent for game compatibility. Old games that used to not work now work with Windows 10 so reviews have been updated with new findings and screenshots.

Even low cost machines today have 4GB or more RAM and 8GB is becoming common. 64-bit registers can also handle more data so calculating the budget is not a problem when inflation is a problem.

Recall the year 2000 saga which is only one of many over time. Old machines had all manor of restrictions which make it hard to advance. MS-DOS for example would not use more than 1024 cylinders. Linux has a year 2038 problem ut the kernel was patched recently so over time even 32-bit setups will be safe from the clock bug.

Recent improvements in video card memory management are appreciated but supplies of cards still are below market demands. Video cards have lon g had more memory but leveraging them has been problematic due to 32-bit architures. Cards like the BFG GTX 260 have more than 512MB memory so 64-bit Windows is needed to leverage it properly.

Most 32-bit systems are embedded dinosaurs. Embedded Windows is a problem for limited support services. Linux LTS variants usually are limited to 5 years. Given there obsolete embedded systems may take 40-50 years to be bulldozered it is obvious that the move to 64-bit was to slow.

The 4K LG 27UL500-W panel can display VESA 1600×1200 games which are seen with a lot of ancient games. Some ancient games have been patched for widescreen panels which makes them more playable. Some games in the archive are not even able to select more than VESA 640×480 or rarely VESA 800×600 as the designers worked such limited machines in the DX3 to DX5 period. DX8 brought the high level shader that is now widely used in game engines. Widescreen games exploded onto the scene circa 2005 when DX9 was maturing.

Game DRM has largely but not completely been stripped from games on Steam. Crysis was an example of a game sold with DRM intact which resulted in it being defective with modern operating systems. After being criticised the game EXE was posted on github as open source with DRM removed and this works perfectly with Windows 10 and with additional screen resolutions the game now stands tall.

The old Aquanox was the most eye opening. It surfaced in 2002 and it supports any panel available. It even works fine with 3840×2160. Most other period games designs were not as well developed. There is a Win32 call to ask what the current screen resolution is. Form that basis an engine can make choices. Aquanox is playable on a potato but the game at 3840×2160 is enjoyably playable.