Building a New Computer – Part 2 Page 4

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While games run well on the new operating system there are some significant software problems. Software that directly interacts with hardware tends to have problems. Hypersnap doesn’t seem to work in the DirectX capture mode. Like the problems with the CH software and the TIR software it appears that software that is directly made to interact with hardware tend to have conflicts under XP64. This probably requires an update to newer software that can use the newer drivers but who knows when some of these will come along.

More significantly seems to be the problems with a lot of the antivirus and software firewalls that don’t seem to work with the X64 software. McAffee’s firewall and antivirus fails to install on the new operating system. This is more than concerning for a large number of users. CA’s antivirus works with the OS but does not do real time monitoring for viruses. It appears the corporate version (i.e. more expensive) version of Norton Antivirus works with XP64 but the normal retail version does not.

This is a major problem with the new operating system. I myself generally do not trust Microsoft’s firewall system and as such I want another firewall in place. Some folks can say get a hardware based firewall and that is fine but not everyone is going to want to do that. It is puzzling that XP64 will warn that you have no antivirus software installed and will prompt you to sites that can get you that software but when you try to install it you get the typical error message stating the software cannot be installed on the OS.

There are several things that the software does very well, at least from a civilian, non gaming standpoint. Loading and closing of different programs appears to be much faster with XP64 and programs like MS Word and PowerPoint (we don’t just game on these things do we?) load at least 25 percent faster on the system. This may be somewhat misleading though since I loaded XP64 on my newer ATA HD and my older X32 version on my EIDE HD. If you have a new system and have X64 on it the boot times are amazingly fast, at least before you add on all the crap that normally ends up eating into your boot times.

Far Cry and the New OS

Most people have heard of it, and many have played Far Cry. Although not a simulation title IMHO it does seem to showcase the potential for the new OS and for 64 bit processors. I look at this new Far Cry version as the modern equivalent of the Mech Warrior games when they first started utilizing the new 3d video cards. Far Cry may be among the first games to use an optimized 64 bit version of the code but it won’t be the last.

The game does look significantly better after the update. Crytek did a beautiful job redoing the game, making it look even more photorealistic. I have included some shots from the game to show how the draw distances appear farther and the detail much more intense. In a way the improved graphics makes the game even harder. Since you are now inhibited more by the grass, you will find picking up those enemies even harder.

I am not going to review the game but I will say that this game shows the potential of the new processing power of 64 bit processors. Whether the increase in graphic fidelity is due entirely to the 64 bit processing, optimization of the code or a combination is not completely clear, but the 64 bit version of Far Cry looks exceptional and the game continues to run silky smooth on my system. Maxing everything out on my system doesn’t seem to hurt the game a bit. There have been no pauses, no stuttering and the framerates continue to run in the high 40’s during the entire game.

I am not a big FPS type of guy and games like Far Cry are more an exercise in frustration for me than fun but I can really appreciate the work that went into the remake of the title and if you have a 64 bit processor and can do the dual boot thing, I highly recommend it for the game. The latest version of Far Cry 64 has more than just new graphics, it includes new maps and content as well so the game gives more for the gamer who has the hardware to run it.

This really does show the potential for new software especially designed for the 64 bit systems. I really would like to see something like Lock-On or Falcon 4.0: Allied Force with an optimized 64 bit engine. It probably won’t be coming for a while but if they can create some really nice effects with games like Far Cry, they really could do something with LOMAC.

In fact, the game that probably could benefit the most from the 64 bit platform was the one that couldn’t seem to run on it at all. WW2 Online (or Battlefield Europe) is a down on the ground fighting simulation for the most part and after seeing what a 64 bit program can do down low I would love to see that in WW2 Online. I don’t know what it would take to translate a game like that to such a platform. I am sure that it would require a significant rewrite of the code — but I highly recommend that CRS get hot on something like this. I do honestly believe that with the release of Longhorn there will be an almost mandatory switch to 64 bit processing and companies like Playnet might as well start working toward that eventuality.

Images from the 64-bit version of Far Cry.

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