Saturday, December 15, 2012

Planetside 2 is a great product in the way Windows 7 isn't

Woohoo!  The semester's over!  I'm feeling a lot more like myself now that all the stress has drained away.  Well, not all of it.  Some friends and I wanted to celebrate the end of a difficult semester by blowing some bytes to bits in the newly-released Planetside 2.  There's a lot of features in PS2 that I like (MMOFPS with RPG elements, large strategy elements, tanks).  There's one feature that almost killed it for me:

It only runs under Windows.

I'm a Linux guy [0], so I understand that we're not the target market for game companies (excluding Valve.  I love you guys).  I'm not being a snobby elitist by disparaging Windows for it's closed source mantra [1].  There's only one problem: Windows doesn't play well with other operating systems.

I grabbed Win7 through Dreamspark and spent the next two days installing, repairing, reinstalling and watching a wide variety of progress bars cross my screen.  After all of this, I only managed to "dual boot" by unplugging the hard drive I didn't want to boot to.  Yikes.

Obviously, Microsoft won't listen to the complaints of a college-aged blogger.  You, my awesome reader, do.  If you want to beat Microsoft, ensure your product is:

  • Flexible.  One of the reasons the open source movement is gaining so much ground is that we accommodate a large variety of people.  Microsoft could do themselves a favor and make it easy to install their OS
  • An Efficient user of time.  Win 7 decided that the perfect time to install all 112 updates was right before I packed up my computer.  We ended up leaving 30min later thanks to this.  All it would have taken was a "cancel" button after the fact.
On the other hand, Planetside 2 is awesome.  They released early and it shows.  There are quite a few bugs and balance issues.  On the other hand, here's a quote from CEO John Smedley:
Players are paying the bills, so as far as I’m concerned that puts them in the driver’s seat.
He's backing up his claim, spending "a decent amount of time on Twitter" interacting with fans and looking to improve his game.  The dev team has put an incredible amount of thought into making PS2 a game full of variety and teamwork.  They're brilliant people slowly but surely assembling an incredible game.

If you forget everything else from this post, remember this: Personal interaction with your customers trumps everything else.

[0] Currently running Mint 13 with Cinnamon.
[1] If you're looking for snobby elitism, try Ask Ubuntu.


  1. If you just use grub to chainload win7 it doesnt take much to dual boot it... Its actually really easy.

    1. I always end up with comments telling me that it's "really easy" to do what I already tried. Your suggestion was exactly what I set up, and it didn't work.

  2. This is of the most misinformed posts I've seen all of this week.

    First of all, you say "open source is gaining so much ground". Is this the year of the Linux desktop?

    Subsequently, I'm unsure as to what installation procedure you followed, Windows installs for me in about 1 hour.

    The arguments you have that Windows is not flexible and thus not good are nonsense; most consumers use a small subset of Windows and find it friendly enough.

    Don't get me wrong - I am a Linux user but your arguments are largely invalid.

    Sorry for the typos. Was typed on a phone.

    1. The issue was that I was trying to install from a USB. Windows 7 freaks out and thinks that it can't detect the CD drive.

      Most of your other comments are subjective, however, I've added a link to support my point about OSS/Linux. We're gaining a lot of ground in general, mobile in particular.