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First post, by solidus

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Lately I have been wondering about how the compatibility of games from the present and maybe past 10 years or so (Windows 7 -10 approximately) will be supported in the future. I have this huge Steam library as well as many DRM free games. DRM issues aside (lets say the DRM went away or I made it go away 😀 ) Is there anything about the way games interact with APIs, OS, etc in modern games that will make them more difficult to go back and play in the coming decades? Just like we are able to go back now with Dosbox, old hardware, VMs, or even modern hardware with tweaks/hacks to play really old games... is there anything that hints that this will be more difficult in the future? Will a Windows 10 VM or compatibility layer be difficult for some reason? Is it possibly even going to be easier since soundcards are pretty much gone, and most games are written with some standard version of DX or OpenGL (and soon Vulcan)?

Im someone who is VERY late to games. And I love how I can go back and play pretty much any PC game that was ever created today. Is there some reason to believe this will not be possible in the future for todays games? I know of course games that had a heavy reliance on server side code are tough if not impossible unless the server is emulated, and of course uncracked DRM is an issue... but those 2 things aside.. whats the deal? If I dont get to the newest games for another 10 years... will I be screwed? 😀

Reply 1 of 8, by DosFreak

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If the video card and processor maintain compatibility and you are using that hardware then you should be good there. AMD zen has broken some things requiring game patches or workarounds. Video card and or driver issues if the vendor doesn't support or fix them are an issue so solutions like dgvoodoo are needed. Unknown if dege will keep that going for another 10 years, hope so!

No emulator for the foreseeable future will be able to handle graphics today or yesterday in a playable state so passthru and/or wrappers need to be more common in virtual machines with no flakiness or crazy configuration to enable

If you only care about the games provided by the online stores that are still available on those stores in the future and going on the assumption they haven't pulled those games due to the 3rd party drm being dropped and your hardware and os is still supported by those games and if not then likely the community will have a fix if you are okay with having to find that fix and use it or if you are lazy and the game is popular you can buy the same game you already bought with the community fix already applied.

You cannot rely on the games on online stores to remain on those stores and also they are constantly bring modified so you should back them up now and crack or bypass the drm if you are worried about having access to them and for compatibility purposes when the updated version gets broken due to no longer supporting what it once did.

More than likely in less than 10yrs from now you'll probably have to jump through a lot of hoops and rely more on fixes to play games on "your" machine since devs will likely only program and support their cloud games in that environment with the pc port being a throwaway to the minority.

Last edited by DosFreak on 2020-12-23, 19:04. Edited 20 times in total.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 2 of 8, by mothergoose729

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The biggest concern I have with game preservation in the future in windows 10 being the "last version of windows". Microsoft has released huge updates to windows 10 already in the life time of the OS that has broken things before. The pace of technology these days is a lot slower so it might not be that much of an issue, but we could end up in a situation where it is very difficult to get a version of windows that runs the games we want to play.

Reply 3 of 8, by Namrok

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I strongly suspect the 2010's will be a lost decade for games. For starters you have the fact that most of them have Games as a Service components. So when the servers go down, so too do the games. Next you have that lots of games are only published to Steam, and have effectively zero version control. If it's not a AAA GaaS, it's an indie "Early Access" title with nonstop updates. So even if you can still play the game, it very possibly won't resemble anything like the game you actually enjoyed.

I think if you purchase the game from GOG, with it's better version control and offline installers, you are in better shape. I think if the game runs on Windows 7 you are in the best shape, since that OS is at the end of it's life, and you won't have to worry about Windows as a Service hosing you up. As for Windows 10, that's a bit trickier. The last time I installed that, it straight up required me to log in and activate it with a Microsoft account. Hopefully someone better versed than I can come along and tell me how you can get Win10 installed entirely offline without a Microsoft account. But I couldn't find any obvious way of doing it.

Still, if you can get Win10 installed on an airgapped machine, there is some hope there. Find an archive of the version you want, install it airgapped on period correct hardware, and you should be OK, assuming you have offline installers from GOG to work with.

Even so, we're still talking about a subset of games that probably leaves out a lot of games you may love. And figuring out what to do about those will likely involve game by game solutions.

Reply 4 of 8, by solidus

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Yes so a lot of this is what I imagined. For the most part I am basing this on the assumption that I would be able to get a cracked version of a DRM game and not have to rely on Steam. There are many sources of those, so I am not totally worried about the Steam/DRM layer causing a problem. Thinking more about the hardware/software compatibility.

DosFreak wrote on 2020-12-23, 18:28:
If the video card and processor maintain compatibility and you are using that hardware then you should be good there. AMD zen ha […]
Show full quote

If the video card and processor maintain compatibility and you are using that hardware then you should be good there. AMD zen has broken some things requiring game patches or workarounds. Video card and or driver issues if the vendor doesn't support or fix them are an issue so solutions like dgvoodoo are needed. Unknown if dege will keep that going for another 10 years, hope so!

No emulator for the foreseeable future will be able to handle graphics today or yesterday in a playable state so passthru and/or wrappers need to be more common in virtual machines with no flakiness or crazy configuration to enable

If you only care about the games provided by the online stores that are still available on those stores in the future and going on the assumption they haven't pulled those games due to the 3rd party drm being dropped and your hardware and os is still supported by those games and if not then likely the community will have a fix if you are okay with having to find that fix and use it or if you are lazy and the game is popular you can buy the same game you already bought with the community fix already applied.

You cannot rely on the games on online stores to remain on those stores and also they are constantly bring modified so you should back them up now and crack or bypass the drm if you are worried about having access to them and for compatibility purposes when the updated version gets broken due to no longer supporting what it once did.

More than likely in less than 10yrs from now you'll probably have to jump through a lot of hoops and rely more on fixes to play games on "your" machine since devs will likely only program and support their cloud games in that environment with the pc port being a throwaway to the minority.

Interesting. So you see cloud games even killing off the PC market that soon? I imagined consoles would be gone by then, but I figured the PC market would stay strong. If thats the case then we will be looking at a pretty short window in which games will be playable. If a game is only existing on a cloud platform, once it outlives its hardware iteration or generation.. there will really be no way to go back and play it in the future. Its pretty unlikely that a cloud platform is going to keep its old hardware running so that games can be played indefinitely. If thats the case you pretty much have a few years before a game disappears forever... unless the entire software/hardware paradigm somehow changes in a major way. I cant see Microsoft or Google keeping some old hardware around so a few people can continue to play their favorite 10 year old cloud game.

All of this honestly just gives me a headache and makes me realize that Im better of continuing to enjoy the tons of games already out there. I cant be bothered rushing to play a new game because it may disappear. There have already been more good games released than I could ever get to in my lifetime... so I guess Ill just worry about those

Reply 5 of 8, by kolderman

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There are very few games from 2007 onwards that don't work on modern PCs with at most small tweaking. It gets worse pre 2007 in the XP era where actual gpu/audio compatibility issues arise. That's why having a XP retro pc makes sense.

Reply 6 of 8, by 1541

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Additionally, don't forget the 2000s titles with all their CD copy protection systems that wouldn't work on modern Windows 7/8/10 any more.
Make sure you have the appropriate "CD fix" at hand or buy the title again from your favourite cloud provider that will ship it with another DRM method (except GOG in almost all cases)

Windows 98 SE inofficial Service Pack & NUSB

Reply 7 of 8, by Bladeforce

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"No emulator for the foreseeable future will be able to handle graphics today or yesterday in a playable state so passthru and/or wrappers need to be more common in virtual machines with no flakiness or crazy configuration to enable"

I don my hat to the developers of dxvk translating dx9, 10, 11 and now 12 to vulkan within wine. Many pre dx9 games run fine already and the list of post dx9 games playable grows with every release.
Personally i think the easiest way to play a lot of these games in the future will be through wine

Reply 8 of 8, by y2k se

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Namrok wrote on 2020-12-23, 22:15:

As for Windows 10, that's a bit trickier. The last time I installed that, it straight up required me to log in and activate it with a Microsoft account. Hopefully someone better versed than I can come along and tell me how you can get Win10 installed entirely offline without a Microsoft account.

Two methods. 1) Remove Internet access from the machine during the OOBE process. 2) Use a Microsoft account to complete the install, then convert it to a local account and disassociate the Microsoft account. Alternatively, for Pro versions, use the Domain Join option but don't actually join a domain.

https://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-10/how-to-se … rosoft-account/

Tualatin Celeron 1.4, ASUS P2B, 512 MB, GeForce 3 Ti 200, Voodoo2 SLI, AWE64, WD 80GB SE HDD, Dell 2007FP