September 29, 2022

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Ubisoft briefly delays shutting down old MP games; Anno 2070 will still be online – Games – News

I have to say I find a difficult problem with what you do with old games/software that has a network component. You must continue to maintain and update everything connected to your network. If no serious leaks are found, sooner or later communication and encryption standards will change. Nothing lasts forever, but 10 years were useless for network software. Without maintenance it can be less than a year (for games).

Games are probably more difficult than other programs.

First of all, of course, because network security is not the prerogative of the entertainment company. They’re certainly not alone in this, it’s a tricky topic, so you can’t blame this, but count on annoying bugs.

Second, because security often affects performance. The games you want to get the most out of don’t want to “waste” energy on heavy coding or secure (but slow) algorithms.

Third, because games are an art form as well as software and entertainment. Games are not judged based on functional requirements, technical aspects are also counted. The graphics, the story, the AI, the speed, the feeling, the controls are all part of the experience. In games, you can’t just replace one shooter with another and say “that’s not working well, problem solved”.
So you will have to keep up with the original game, preferably without making technical changes at all.

Fourth, because there is no revenue model to keep old games online. Without income, sooner or later maintenance will have to stop.

This last point in particular is not really solvable at the moment. I expect/fear that the industry solution will be to rent games rather than sell them. If there are enough players to pay for maintenance, the game will remain online, otherwise it will not be. The disadvantage is that old programs are lost irreversibly.

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I would like a way to keep old programs in working condition so that my grandchildren can show what our program looks like in the museums of the future. I know the nursery rhymes and games my grandmother learned from her mother when she was a little girl, over a century ago.

Fortunately (?) I’m of the generation that bought their games on CD. CDs don’t last forever either, but software (for the most part) is still designed to run independently. The games that matter today are basically multiplayer network games that will become unplayable if the servers go down.

This will help in part to use the community to preserve old games. Make it open source and let the community maintain it. However, with current copyright laws, this is pretty much impossible if you don’t take that into account when writing your game.
A well-known example is how music in GTA is slowly lost because licenses expire.

By the time the software’s copyrights expire, the hardware you need will be long gone. VMs might help, but programmers since then who still understood the source and languages ​​at that time (almost by definition) are already dead.

I wonder if “software archeology” will ever be big or if anything from the past is impossible to salvage.

[Reactie gewijzigd door CAPSLOCK2000 op 1 september 2022 11:20]