GW On XP 2020-11-15
I've been playing Guild Wars for a while. I have also been dreading the day when NCSoft and/or ArenaNet would take Guild Wars away from me. I've tried to find games ot replace it, but frankly there ain't much out there. One of the sweet features of Guild Wars is that it still runs on XP. Well, it does right now. A somewhat recent announcement was made to let players know that XP support is being dropped at the end of the year. The wording of the announcement makes it sound like maybe it'll continue to run on XP but that they won't be testing XP anymore. To be honest, I'm a little surprised if they still do right now. Anyways, I also promised Mike some screenshots of boats in the game so here's a few to make him happy. Click on the individual thumbnails to make each one larger.
With that out of the way, back to the XP announcement. I guess I am disappointed [though I shouldn't be surprised] that the developers have moved on to newer development environments. They help out much longer than most, but it is a sad statement about how application development works. Employers tell employees what tools they will use and all too often employees are chompin' at the bit to get their hands of shiny new [and often shittier] tools. I would love to ask that anyone who knows of a reasonable game let me know what it is... but I know that'll be an excercise in .NET and Visual Studio runtime libs. Maybe I'll try my hand at assembler.
An update on Guild Wars technology and Windows XP
By Stephen Clarke-Willson, Game Director, Guild Wars
Hello fellow Tyrians! When Guild Wars launched in 2005 it ran on Windows 95, Window 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. In 2012 we had to drop support for the 16-bit versions of those operating systems in order to deploy new security features.
In early 2019, we started the process of changing the build system for Guild Wars from Visual C++ 6.0 (which was released in 1997) to use Visual Studio 2017. We released that upgrade in late 2019 while still maintaining compatibility with Windows 2000 and Windows XP, our current min-spec machines. Thanks to that compiler update we have been able to build, test and deploy more updates than we were previously able to do with the VC6 compiler.
The 20-year compiler upgrade was a dramatic change; in those 20 years the way the C++ language treated floating point numbers had changed. We tracked down almost all of the arithmetic errors that related to those changes. For those more technically minded the bugs had to do with the way infinity is handled.
I said we tracked down almost all of the crashes - but there was one significant one that we didn't detect before we released the build into the wild. The bug was most evident in the Domain of Anguish - which is content we mere programmers would never be able to solo and fully test (even with cheats on the development branch - I tried). I want to thank the players who sent us videos that helped us identify the problem. The bug had to do with projectiles colliding with the terrain at just the right angle. I'm happy to say that with the new compiler we were able to debug and fix that bug in two days with very little disruption to the main game and no downtime.
As you know, Microsoft has officially stopped supporting older versions of Windows; we are however grateful that they have managed to maintain tools and compiler support for those operating systems long past their official expiration date. Visual Studio 2017 is the last compiler from Microsoft that supports Windows XP. The other systems that Guild Wars interacts with (the "login servers") are now built with Visual Studio 2019. It is only a matter of time before we will be building Guild Wars with Visual Studio 2019 and future compilers. So as of January 1st, 2021, we will no longer provide official support for Windows XP or Windows 2000. While the game may continue to run on those operating systems we will stop internal testing on that date.