For those unaware, Windows XP will be dying in April of 2014. The funeral was scheduled for much sooner, but Microsoft has repeatedly pushed the date back in order to accommodate their customers. The company’s patience is running thin however, and it is widely anticipated that another reprieve is out of the question. This will be a problem for, according to NetMarketShare’s September OS statistics, more than 31 percent of the world’s computer users, both personal and business alike.
Windows XP was one of Microsoft’s best products. Relatively stable, with a good underlying foundation, and generally considered their best operating system ever, XP became the choice of most computer users across the globe. That was 12 years ago, or in computer years, an eternity. XP was an innocent child as to the ways of the modern Internet, and Microsoft’s primary goal back then was to win “the browser war,” which it did by integrating Internet Explorer so deep into the workings of the operating system that it can’t even be uninstalled. Internet Explorer (IE) won the browser war by a landslide and then, content with the victory, Microsoft let it stagnate in features and technology alike… for Windows XP anyway. They continued to release an up-to-date browser, but only for their newer versions of Windows.
Most users didn’t follow the proverbial carrot on a stick. Windows XP did what they needed it to, and the hefty pricetag of Vista (and its long list of complaints) was enough to keep users where they were. Microsoft eventually came out with a solid follow-up OS called Windows 7, but by then many users had learned to be content with what they had on their home computer and started putting their hard earned money towards smartphones and tablets to offset their needs.
All of that leads us to where we are now: a bunch of users still using Windows XP and feeling as though they’re safe. Much like the stranger on the sidewalk holding his sign stating “The End is Near,” I’m here to tell you the same thing, and what to do about it.
With Microsoft, Apple, and Google all set to bring about the latest versions of operating systems and productivity software, PC users once again find themselves in the crossfire of choosing a particular path for their computing interests. Many will undoubtedly stay with what they know, or base what could be a monumental decision on merely aesthetics alone. Windows 8 has been given a beautiful makeover, Android 4.1 (a.k.a. “Jelly Bean”) is sweeter than ever, and Mac OS X Mountain Lion will surely be even easier than its predecessors.
It would appear though that users have forgotten to take into account the safety and longevity of their greatest computing asset… their data.
We’re now going to talk about the part of game development that programmers have been anxiously waiting for, and others have been dreading… the engine. Certain people have a natural knack for programming and won’t be as nervous about making decisions here, but I’m aware that for some, the idea of mucking around knee deep in code and syntax isn’t your thing; I’m therefore sorry to tell you, that although there are options available to reduce the amount of coding necessary, you’ll need to at least get your feet dirty in order to build a game of your own design.
Ideas will come and go, as will potential indie developers. It’s completely normal for someone to focus on their greatest strength, and for many that’s either programming or graphic art. I’ve seen great programmers and amazing artists build some really bad games, and I’ve seen some mediocre skilled people make some fantastically addictive romps through digital wonderlands. The difference between the ones who do well and the ones who don’t always seems to come down to a single, though somewhat large step… the initial game design.
The world is full of ideas, and no matter how hard you may try to avoid it, one of them occasionally plants itself inside your brain and starts to grow. Your cerebrum can only hold so much and eventually the idea has to find its way out and take flight. For some that means writing a book or building some furniture, but there is a subset of the human species that is technologically minded, and for them the only outlet is the digital landscape.