Friday, September 01, 2006

Games drive innovation?

I came across a YouTube link while browsing through digg about Starcraft+WINE+Linux+Touchscreen, while the link was interesting on many different levels to me (the least of which was the gaming aspect) it lead me to check up on the WINE app list which i have not even glanced at in at least a year or two ( WINE has been around a loooong time, but has got to be one of the slowest efforts in software development today [though to its credit i would guess its also one of the most difficult development projects too]). I went to their site and looked over their different lists (their quick and dirty lists are ordered Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and was immediately struck by the apps listed... they were dominated by games?!

Since 1995 (when i first started *trying* to play with slackware [not being a computer guru then or now it wasn't super easy, but got better once i learned about USENET and transferred to a techy school that ran on Unixes and had killer tech support) i have heard many a person chide Linux for not having more games. Yeah, there are lots of little simple games and a few slightly more advanced games but i would say than many gaming nutz aren't super into tinkering (which Linux *required* back in tha day, now, not so much), hence the popularity of game consoles, they are cheap, and just work, tinker free. But i digress, here was a fairly large list of complete win games that were running fine on Linux thanks to WINE. Seeing all those games, I would guess, with a fair degree of confidence, that at least some of the development of WINE has been due to a push from the gaming community.

Side thought. While i don't think the gaming community as a whole is super savvy (the "gaming generation" is be default more savvy than their elders but not much more than their peers) i do think that gaming has propelled many a person into the realm of computer literacy and guru-ness. I look no further than one of my best buddies and my brother as proof. When i met my friend he didn't seem to be much into computers (i was just learning too, thanks to a mutual friend of ours) but he started with games, and from there upgrading memory, tweaking DOS (slimming down the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to save memory from hungry/unnecessary TSRs), and investigating DBL Space vs Stacker (or maybe that was just me, this was 10+ years ago). Then there was my brother, for the life of me i couldn't get him to get interested in using the computer, there was no " killer app" for him. But then he got his own computer, no biggie but soon after he started learning about gaming, installing games on his system, how to circumvent copy protection, install hard drives (for those really large CD games [this was when a Pentium 120 Mhz with a 200meg hard drive [which dwarfed my 486 dx2 66 w/ 40meg hard drive]).

The point? not entirely sure, i guess that gaming can drive innovation, or at the least foster computer literacy because unlike me, i would say the "coolness of different operating systems, interconnectivity, etc" isn't much of a draw for most people, and thats where gaming comes in.