Wildly popular computer game? The Windows product team has you covered


In Windows 95, the most heavily-tested computer game was DOOM. Not because the testers spent a lot of time developing test plans and test harnesses and automated run-throughs. Nope, it was because it was by far the most popular game the Windows 95 team members played to unwind.

It was a huge breakthrough when DOOM finally ran inside a MS-DOS box and didn't require booting into MS-DOS mode any more. Now you could fire up DOOM without having to exit all your other programs first.

I've learned that in Windows Vista, the most heavily tested game was World of Warcraft. Most members of the DirectX application compatibility team are WoW players, in addition to a large number in the Windows division overall.

So if you have a wildly popular computer game for the PC, you can be pretty sure that the Windows team will be all over it. "For quality control purposes, I assure you."

Related story: How to make sure your network card works with Windows.

Comments (30)
  1. AOE Fan says:

    Too bad Microsoft's own Age of Empires 1 and 2 don't run properly under Vista/7 (graphics and resolution issues). Upgrade to AOE III MS would say which is a 3D beast.

  2. DavidPaulo says:

    @AOE Fan  AOE 1 runs perfectly on my Win 7. Maybe hardware related problems?

  3. Carmen says:

    AOE 1 and 2 are both over 10 years old at this point.  I have a hard time imagining they're still so wildly popular as to make it onto anyone's test matrix…and yet I know AOE1 works anyway.

  4. Don Reba says:

    So THAT is what happened to Windows Vista! World of Warcraft! This explain everything.

  5. quanticle says:

    @Carmen

    I don't know about AoE, but Starcraft (original) is well over a decade old and still runs in Windows 7, as long as you set the compatibility mode.  Even without compatibility mode, the program runs, but the colors are all hosed.

  6. asdbsd says:

    @Don Reba: I was about to type the same comment, then figured that someone will post it eventually anyway. And so you did! High five!

  7. a random passerby says:

    I'm told that development on WINE (yes, the really-bad-recursive-acronym one) effectively stopped as soon as the project could run Starcraft.

  8. another random passerby says:

    WoW? But how do they get any work done?

  9. Jim says:

    Question: What is the difference between:"test plans and test harnesses "????????

  10. Phil says:

    @Jim: Test Plan = plan for testing a feature/product: the list of test cases, outlining of data, etc.  

    Test Harness = application or tool often used to automate test cases.

  11. Tsquall says:

    @quanticle

    If you shut down windows explorer, the colors work fine

  12. Marquess says:

    @Tsquall

    The better way is to run it in a window. I think the program was called “ChaosLauncher.”

  13. MS says:

    After all of these years, I still play the original DOOM once in a while.  I'm pretty sure the last time I tried the original executable on Windows, it just worked, which is just incredible considering how old it is (though you can get a third party launcher to run it with extra features or on 64-bit systems).  Bonus: Bill Gates in DOOM: http://www.youtube.com/watch

  14. Chriso says:

    Dunno, but that makes sense, given how hard- and software demanding those games are (were). So testing with one of them, seems to be a pretty good idea.

    Oh….Horde or Alliance? :-D

  15. Ben says:

    Windows Vista: "The WoW starts, now!"

  16. Emmanuel says:

    @Ben

    You must be running 64-bit ;-)

  17. Ian says:

    @Chriso: If they're not Horde, I'm switching to Linux. ;)

    @MS: Yeah, the classic Doom executable runs great under 32-bit Windows.  I think the only issues that it has with Vista/7 is the apparent inability to run DOS applications in fullscreen (or is that only in textmode? I almost always run 64-bit, so it doesn't matter much to me); XP runs it great, and I think its SB16 emulation even works properly with it.  Of course, everyone uses source ports nowadays, so it doesn't matter too much.  Check out ZDoom (or GZDoom for an OpenGL version) if you want a good enhanced 32-bit version that works with Doom (2), Heretic, and Hexen.  If you want a close-to-classic experience, Chocolate Doom is the closest you're going to get for a 32-bit port.

  18. Ivo says:

    Unfortunately the official Windows version of Doom (Doom 95) doesn't support mouse on NT-based systems, just Win95..WinME. The manual said something like "this way you can get the original Doom experience before PCs had a mouse" :)

  19. coldacid says:

    @Ian: Forget ZDoom, Doomsday Engine is where it's at.

  20. AOE Fan says:

    Forgot to mention: Because of the newer crap OSes to not let users select a software or hardware MIDI synth at WDM driver level, AOE 1 and 2's MIDI music sounds absolutely crap on the default MS Software Synthesizer. This is a great overall degradation of experience.

  21. Worf says:

    Perfectly natural, actually.

    I remember one hardware platform I worked on had a horrendous touchscreen (Windows CE 5), and it was basically unusable without a lot of software filtering.

    I played a LOT of solitaire – it allowed me to test both dragging and double-tapping.

    I still remember the test plan said to play a game of solitaire to ensure you can double tap and drag without the cards jiggling.

    Thank god I'm not doing Windows Phone 7 development. I might spend my days watching those Halo Waypoint videos. I would do it on my Windows Embedded Compact 7 beta, but the silverlight required is newer than the silverlight shipping in the beta.

  22. Henke37 says:

    I could have sworn that AOE had the music as normal CD-Audio tracks.

  23. asdbsd says:

    @AOE Fan: Wait, is the Sound and Audio Devices> Audio> Midi synthesizer setting not the thing you're talking about?

  24. AOE Fan says:

    @asdbsd, yes that's what I am talking about. They removed control of that from Vista/7 and third party utilites don't work reliably or not at all to switch the MIDI synth.

  25. AOE Fan says:

    @Henke37, I have the original AOE Collector's edition and AOEII Gold Edition, and AOEII is a mixed mode CD with audio CD track, but it has in-game MIDI music too which only plays if the game is started with the -midimusic parameter.

  26. DosBox FanBoi :) says:

    > Yeah, the classic Doom executable runs great under 32-bit Windows.

    Anyone who wants to run old DOS games on recent Windows (or other OSs).. try DosBox. It runs both windowed and fullscreen, with scalers, audio and support for basically everything you would need.

  27. zzz says:

    Ah what a nice opportunity to rant and rave about all the Windows games that don't run at all (in 64 bit windows) or have gone unusable. Wish I could remember their names though. I'll start with The Feeble Files which took years from purchase until I was able to play it – inside ScummVM. There's some others I remember but since I don't have an USB Joystick it's really hard to say if they're truly lost. Some of those old joystick games used the gameport and refuse to start now as there was some changes in Vista in that area. Might've been X-Wing Alliance?

    And then there's all those midi music issues people already mentioned which is big reason I don't really want to even bother. Ever played Doom with Yamaha XG? If not then you haven't really heard what the Doom music sounds at its best – it's better than the Roland sounds in this particular case. Descent was another game that really worked with Yamaha the best. DosBox emulations you say? Only for the deaf, only for the deaf.

  28. Andrew says:

    For the WoW inclined, a little more trivia:  There are a few guilds made up primarily of MS players, both Horde and Alliance, PvP and PvE, casual to hardcore.  Mine has achieved 11/12HM in 25s, and I believe we're the furthest along of the bunch.  For all the jokes people make about WoW ruining Vista, let me assure you, we spend many a raid night short players because they've stayed late to fix a bug, complete a spec, or polish a feature :).  

  29. JaemsNT says:

    I actually raided Ulduar with a gentlman who worked for Microsoft.  He was a pretty nice guy.  

    JamesNT  

  30. Engywuck says:

    Does Starcraft run now flawlessly on Win7? Tried it but regularily got frozen input and graphics anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour into the game. According to many, many forum posters that's "normal", the reason being something like Windows now using some DirectWhatever for itself where earlier Starcraft had exclusive use. Some sort of race condition, essentially. Runs perfectly in Wine, though… ;-)

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