on Jan 11, 2007
Jay Barnson has a post talking about how the security warnings in Windows Vista could hurt indie gaming. A couple of important points:
- Mandatory and inescapable “Limited User Accounts” (LUAs) make installing a piece of software from the Internet require jumping through many hoops, and clicking through several security warnings. This is likely to scare off (or at least annoy) many users who would otherwise become customers.
- The ontrusive security measures extend to the new, tightly integrated “Game Explorer,” which users will come to expect (by design) to find their games. If your game doesn’t register itself with the Game Explorer, it will be a second-class citizen, and may confuse users who won’t be able to find it where it is “supposed” to be.
Leaving aside the white-hot rage I feel at attempts to “help” me organize my computer and create conceptual layers between myself and my files:
The other way this could cut is that the system will undermine itself. If people must endure a “WARNING, DO NOT RUN THIS PROGRAM AS IT MAY INFECT YOUR COMPUTER USING VOODOO AND MIND-CONTROL WAVES” dialog every time they install some piece of software that is obviously safe, then they are going to very quickly learn that these dialogs are paranoid nonsense and disregard them. Soon they will just click
OK » OK » OK » Install without even thinking. The dialogs will be the boy who cried wolf.
Right now everyone gets a dialog when installing stuff about how this file might harm their computer, and everyone just clicks OK anyhow. Thousands of people click right through and install all sorts of nasty stuff onto their machines. If the user doesn’t know what they are doing, then there is no combination of nanny dialogs that can keep the machine safe.
On the upside: Depending on how people react, it might not hurt indie games that much. On the downside: It still sucks.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.