All Work and No Play Makes the Lab Guys Cranky

First, let us thank you for writing in with responses to our dilemma with Multi-Protocol Routing (MPR) and multiple NICs on Windows NT servers. We now have some interesting leads to follow, so stay tuned for articles that address these problems and their solutions.

Will They Ever Learn?
You know, we want to play games on our NT system. There. We said it. We want to play games!

Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into the DirectX APIs for multimedia and game development for both Windows 95 and NT 4.0. This new technology is great, and the APIs are supposed to be the same for both 95 and NT. But almost all vendors are ignoring Microsoft's effort. More than 300 titles that use the recently released DirectX 3.0 came out for the holiday season this year with

*DirectPlay--multiplayer gameplay over the Internet

*DirectInput--realtime input for mouse, keyboard, and joystick, including digital joysticks on the Universal Serial Bus (USB)

*DirectSound--technology that uses full-duplex audio drivers (simultaneous playback/record for two-way communication) with a kernel-mode mixer enabling 3D sound

*DirectDraw--accelerated 2D graphics rendering

*Direct3D--a 3D graphics engine for rendering both polygons and entire 3D scenes, support for Intel's MMX-enabled CPUs and third-party 3D accelerators

*ActiveMovie--technology for synchronized playback of MPEG2 video and CD-quality audio

Unfortunately, many of these new products don't run on NT. Let us illustrate: Microsoft just put out the Games Sampler 2 for Windows 95, which has 20 evaluation titles from various companies. The sampler installs and runs just fine on NT 4.0 (the APIs install and seem to work, the intro movie runs, and the 3D interface functions), until you try to run a game. We tried games at random, and each time, instead of experiencing some new killer app, we got the message "This demo does not run under Windows NT." The interface then crashed.

Microsoft's part works just fine. But the third-party stuff either is not written fully to the DirectX APIs or does not comply with the "If gets a Win95 logo, it has to run on NT" idea.

Now, we understand that the disk read, "for Windows 95," but the whole point to the common code base, APIs, logo programs, and standards between 95 and NT, was to make programs written for one environment work in the other.

In the Future
Are you wondering what reviews we're working on in the Lab? We plan to cover more client/server performance issues: RAID configurations, including controllers and subsystems from different manufacturers; low- to high-end server comparisons; graphics workstations and business desktops; clustering solutions; systems management software; multimedia; and much, much more.

If you're a vendor and want your product reviewed, contact Sue Cooper, our Lab coordinator, at [email protected] If you readers want us to review something in particular--anything from cool new technologies and shareware to commercial products--write us at [email protected]

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