Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference has been pretty interesting thus far, and as Phil Spencer took to the stage, it was clear his primary goal was to diffuse the growing complaints in the PC community regarding the limitations of UWP.
“Through the Universal Windows Platform, our plan is to deliver games that will run better on Windows with more predictable performance, more robust install/uninstall and servicing capability through a modern application platform and greater safety for users through a protected Runtime environment,” began Spencer. “We have heard the feedback from the PC gaming community loud and clear. We’re working to ensure Windows 10 has a great game experience.
“We will be enabling the ability to disable VSYNC and adding support for GSYNC/FreeSync in May,” promised Phil Spencer, addressing one of the biggest current criticisms of UWP applications.
“DirectX 12 added support for new mGPU scenarios which work today for both Windows32 and UWP games. We’re committed to ensure that we meet or exceed the performance expectations of full screen games as well as adding additional requested features, including support for overlays, modding and more.”
So, according to Spencer, modding support will be coming to UWP applications in the future, and this will ‘in theory’ allow applications such as FRAPS for Frame rate counts or screenshots to function, and also overlays such as Steam. Furthermore, we should see mod support – such as for high res textures, or new characters and so on.
Though how robust this support will be compared to a traditional Win32 exe. remains to be seen. Microsoft did demonstrate a ‘wrapper’ which allows a traditional W32 application to be packaged for UWP with minimal work for the developer. Gamer’s and developers will remain skeptical however, particularly in the wake of GFWL (Games for Windows Live). Hopefully Microsoft do make good on their promises and have a fairly open ecosystem.
Also during Build 2016 Microsoft also demonstrated and discussed every Xbox One being capable of acting as a development kit for UWP games and applications. Though currently we’re only in the testing phase, with less than 512MB of RAM available (the full Development Kit will allow 1GB of RAM for UWP sandbox applications on the Xbox One) it is an excellent step for developers who’re just starting out.