Why do PC Games need to be installed anymore?

milkweg

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It comes from having a controlled environment to develop for. A console is a console is a console. All of them have the same latency, bandwidth, and access time in regards to their optical media access (as well as being identical in every other area). PCs do not have this level of uniformity.

They are not exactly the same in architecture or performance. For one thing the 360 uses video memory also as system memory. Video memory is a lot faster than the system ram we use in our PC's. If they were the same then we would be able to play games straight from optical disk without pauses and stuttering like a console can. The PC can't do that.
 

milkweg

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A better question would have been, how come after installing a game do some games make you have the CD/DVD media in the drive?

Copy protection, no other reason. Yep, the benefit of the PC is being able to play games straight from our HDD but the game developers/publishers have taken that benefit away from us just because of copy protection.
 

wfalcon

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From a purely performance standpoint, I think the game absolutely needs to be on the HDD. However, I do think there are ways to make it better. My main gripes are when a patch hoses up an install and I have to reinstall from scratch to get it operational again, or it locks the system up forcing a reboot. Anyway, I found an interesting article at another website that discussed Application Virtualization (not to be confused with Hardware Virtualization). From the article http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3237&p=3:

Put simply, application virtualization provides the possibility to fool an application into believing that some or all of the system resources it accesses and tampers with (on Windows, the most notable examples are the file system and the registry) are actually the real deal, while they are in fact simulated by the application virtualization management software. There are different degrees that the solutions provide when it comes to simulating resources, but the general goal is usually the same: Turning any user level running application, no matter its complexity, into a single, instantly executable package. This package should be completely cut off from the OS it is running on, in that it still requires the same architecture but no longer leaves any footprint on the host machine. This would mean that, whether or not the full, unvirtualized application was previously installed on a different host machine, as long as the manager software is present, the entire application is able to run from the package as if it were freshly installed.

I think concepts like these would benefit us as PC Gamers - just think if I could click a Restore from Snapshot on a program like I do a virtual to "reinstall", or just kill the individual process that has its virtualized resources locked up.
 

Fumarole

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I couldn't be arsed to read the whole (what looks like it's going to be) troll-filled thread, so apologies if this was already mentioned: modding. Modding games doesn't seem like it'd be feasible in a retain-all-the-data-on-the-disc method. One of the finest points of playing games on the PC is the practically unlimited resources of the online community and the mods it can produce.
 

Chombo

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I actually slogged through the whole thread. I can see the OP's point purely as an academic discussion. Realistically however I think we would be sacrificing way to much in the way of performance and quality just to shave a few minutes off the initial start up.

IMHO most good PC games aren't rated for 7-9 year olds anyway so why should the game be accessible to that age group. Secondly if you find yourself in the same situation as the 7-9 year olds as far as accessibility, PC games probably aren't your best choice.

I actually like the 5-10 minute install time. It gives me time to thumb through the manual, and familiarize myself with the controls prior to the game. Plus some installs have pretty screenshots or concept art to look at.
 

Met-AL

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Copy protection, no other reason. Yep, the benefit of the PC is being able to play games straight from our HDD but the game developers/publishers have taken that benefit away from us just because of copy protection.

That's the simple answer and correct. But some games such as BF2 and 2142 pretty much negligate the media copy protection scheme with the requirement to log into an account to play the game, but yet, the DVD is required to be in the drive to play.
 

Techx

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There is just no reason for all of this head ache to play a game, ¾ of the games on the PC are cross platform too, those consoles don’t make you go through the same procedures. I'm not using a stack of Floppies anymore..

I guess if your that lazy then you really should just stick to consoles, I have no problems with installing games.
 

milkweg

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A company did try to come to market with a PC that was meant just for games and it was supposed to self install the games etc. but I guess it didn't pan out too well and they went belly up or something. I remember reading about it about 5 years ago or so.It was a dumb idea to begin with.

If the PC is too complicated for someone to use then they shouldn't be using one. Go buy a Mac. ;)
 

SlimyTadpole

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I don't want to have to suffer load times that are an order of magnitude worse than they are. And if the load times on a console version of a game are anywhere near what they are on the PC version of that same game, it's because the console version's asset quality has been scaled back (usually lower texture detail).

A one time 5-10 minute install procedure for streamlined, seamless loading, without a loss in image quality? I'll take that any day of the week.
 

SlimyTadpole

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Copy protection, no other reason. Yep, the benefit of the PC is being able to play games straight from our HDD but the game developers/publishers have taken that benefit away from us just because of copy protection.
Hence the proliferation of no-CD cracks. People are willing to jump through hoops to get as far away from dependence on physical media as possible.
 

TheBluePill

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I guess if your that lazy then you really should just stick to consoles, I have no problems with installing games.

Im amazed that folks are too lazy to read through the whole thread, this is an academic debate man, not a rant.
 
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thats why there are consoles for your 7 or 9 year old. :rolleyes:

I dunno, my dad was able to teach my how to install games in dos when i was 5 or 6. He just wrote down all the IRQ settings and crap on a piece of paper. After a few games I didn't even have to look. Hell, he had me working boot disks and adjusting the autoexec/configsys files at 9. I don't see why you can't teach your kids how to click next and tell them which folder to BROWSE to in order to install the games.

Not to mention deleting games is "click uninstall". not:

cd microprose
cd tycoon
del *.*
cd..
rd tycoon
cd ..
rd microprose.
 

Gigantism

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I don't want to have to suffer load times that are an order of magnitude worse than they are. And if the load times on a console version of a game are anywhere near what they are on the PC version of that same game, it's because the console version's asset quality has been scaled back (usually lower texture detail).

A one time 5-10 minute install procedure for streamlined, seamless loading, without a loss in image quality? I'll take that any day of the week.

QFT...the way I see it, it's like the consoles are behind...no install means longer load times, lower textures, etc...where a one-time install allows for greater performance / quality and reduced loading times...

In a way, I'm sure console people would like to have the option of installing some stuff on their console HDD in order to have better graphics and/or less waiting time...
 

milkweg

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Oblivion for consoles installs some files to the HDD for faster caching.
 

CubicleGeek

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I do symphathize with the OP to a certain degree. There is no reason that games today don't have a single "quick install" button on the autoload window that automatically installs things into default directories at default settings, with maybe a single dialog box for entering a product key. Though, not much different than clicking "next" several times to get to the end, I just don't see the need for that interaction if you don't care where the installation goes and in some cases, the type of install you want (small, standard, full, etc.). They can always include an advanced install option in that same window for those that care about the details.

I agree with earlier comments about digital downloads being the future. I've noticed some digitally distributed games now don't even require the manual entry of a product key, it is included as part of your download and is filled in for you automatically. If in that scenario, they allowed a "quick install" method that skips the prompts as to where you want the product installed, it would be completely unattended, which would be nice for those (including myself) who select default install paths.
 

LawGiver

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what does PC stand for? think about that a bit and why it is the way it is might start making sense.:rolleyes:
 

TheBluePill

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what does PC stand for? think about that a bit and why it is the way it is might start making sense.:rolleyes:


Thats a fairly big cop-out man, PC's are competing with Consoles when it comes to game sales and the only way to edge things out on the PC are to remove the obsticles and difficiencies that PCs Have VS the console whle increasing options and value.
 

CubicleGeek

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Thats a fairly big cop-out man, PC's are competing with Consoles when it comes to game sales and the only way to edge things out on the PC are to remove the obsticles and difficiencies that PCs Have VS the console whle increasing options and value.

Agreed. Modern consoles really have very little differences than modern PCs. They all run general purpose processors and a dedicated GPU, except having components slotted, everything is embedded. Even modern PC's have moved to a more integrated topology, because in reality, when you buy a PC for gaming what do you really need to buy? Motherboard, GPU, and RAM (assuming you already have a case and PSU).

The biggest physical differences are probably packaging and default input devices. The rest is purely software and perception.

There is nothing wrong with simplifying things. I'm a huge fan of unattended installs. For example, I tend to be fairly compulsive with dumping and restoring the OS, I maintain a slipstreamed up to date version of windows complete with a populated answer file so restoring the system is as simple as popping in the disc and walking away. No entering product key, no setting up network settings. Things "should" get easier, not more difficult as technology improves.
 

vogar34

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Piracy is stabbing us in such a way that we need cd keys and this makes things seem more complicated. I really like the flash drive idea that was talked about earlier in the post, but I do not really care for the "plop in the cd and play" idea. The plop and play idea seems to be almost impossible at this time because of our dependency on computer games needing updates so that the game can function properly on certain machines or all machines. Updates usually involve alternating main game files that would now be on a cd or other type of media that could not be altered in anyway unless it was a rewritable piece of media, which that would not really be the best idea seeming you can only rewrite so much before wear became a factor. This problem would be solved if the game was on a flash drive or other kind of flash device. Basically you would always have an updated copy of the game depending on the last update you installed.
 

Serpico

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Nobody is going to change the way computer games have been working for years just to please a minority.

That "minority" is actually the huge number of gamers who have moved exclusively to console gaming. The number of people I know both IRL and on Shacknews who have more or less left behind PC gaming for playing exclusively on the 360 over the last three years is huge. All of my game developer friends pretty much have the attitude of "why even make a PC version, we'll sell millions more copies on the 360 anyway so what's the point?". With a cycle like this it is no wonder why hardcore PC games have been in an overall year after year decline.

Now, I love PC gaming and there is no way I would play something like Orange Box or anything like that on my 360 over my PC, but at the same time I totally understand the arguments as far as ease of use between the two. Why should it be tricker to play one game on a PC when the same thing just works on a console, and you can play it with great graphics on a home theater system. That's cool too. I totally understand why someone would decide to buy COD4 on the 360 over the PC.

Why would improving PC gaming like this be a negative thing? How is ease of use a negative? Anything to make PC gaming easier is a good thing. It would be fantastic if they could make such a thing work in Windows. And it isn't like files wouldn't ever be locally stored anyway; there is local storage all the time with PS3 games and some 360 games, plus you still get all of the benefits of console gaming. Mods, custom maps, things like that could still happen.
 

Serpico

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I agree with earlier comments about digital downloads being the future. I've noticed some digitally distributed games now don't even require the manual entry of a product key, it is included as part of your download and is filled in for you automatically. If in that scenario, they allowed a "quick install" method that skips the prompts as to where you want the product installed, it would be completely unattended, which would be nice for those (including myself) who select default install paths.

That future is now. I would buy all of my PC games through Steam if possible. Hell, I want to buy all of my console games digitally also. I can buy smaller 360 and PS3 games online now, but with larger hard drives and ever increasing bandwidth I can't wait until I can just buy full AAA games like GTA6 or whatever via online marketplace on the whatever the next-gen console is and just have it stored on my hard drive, tied to my user account.

No swapping discs or whatever, just pick which game I want in the menu and boom, it loads fast right off the hard drive.
 

CubicleGeek

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That future is now. I would buy all of my PC games through Steam if possible. Hell, I want to buy all of my console games digitally also. I can buy smaller 360 and PS3 games online now, but with larger hard drives and ever increasing bandwidth I can't wait until I can just buy full AAA games like GTA6 or whatever via online marketplace on the whatever the next-gen console is and just have it stored on my hard drive, tied to my user account.

No swapping discs or whatever, just pick which game I want in the menu and boom, it loads fast right off the hard drive.

I hear you. I haven't bought a game at a physical store for the last year and a half. Between Direct2Drive, Steam, and other online retailers (EA, EB online, Metaboli, etc), I really don't need to go to a store. I really like the fact that I have a backup stored on a network drive which doesn't require me digging for the install discs and the fact that I don't need to pop in a disc to play the games. And really with gigabit ethernet and a gigabit NAS, it is is faster than installing off of disc(s). This is the future, absolutely.

What I really wish was that there were more user friendly unattended install options that don't require me to write complex scripts. If I had it my way, I would script everything such that when I do a system restore, I just need to pop in a disc, walk away for a few hours and have my system exactly as it was before I did the restore minus the junk I wanted to get rid of. Of course, in reality, maybe due to lack of inspiration, I haven't gone as far as just automating the Windows install.
 

SlimyTadpole

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There is no reason that games today don't have a single "quick install" button on the autoload window that automatically installs things into default directories at default settings, with maybe a single dialog box for entering a product key. Though, not much different than clicking "next" several times to get to the end, I just don't see the need for that interaction if you don't care where the installation goes and in some cases, the type of install you want (small, standard, full, etc.). They can always include an advanced install option in that same window for those that care about the details.
Most PC games that I've played already install in the manner you've suggested they should:

1) Pop the disc in, and the menu comes up via Autorun
2) Click "Install"
3) You can now select "Standard" or "Custom" install type. "Standard" install is always the default, so just click "Next".
4) Type in CD key, and press "Enter" (or click "Next")
5) Wait 5-10 minutes for files to copy
6) Click "Play"

All those additional dialog boxes asking you where you want to install the game, and with what options, only appear if you go out of your way to select "custom install". If you don't want a custom install, you can install most games in 3-4 mouse clicks, plus typing in the CD key. I don't see how PC games could possibly install any easier without eliminating the option to use "custom install". And even then, it would only save you a single mouse click.
 

TheBluePill

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That "minority" is actually the huge number of gamers who have moved exclusively to console gaming. The number of people I know both IRL and on Shacknews who have more or less left behind PC gaming for playing exclusively on the 360 over the last three years is huge. All of my game developer friends pretty much have the attitude of "why even make a PC version, we'll sell millions more copies on the 360 anyway so what's the point?". With a cycle like this it is no wonder why hardcore PC games have been in an overall year after year decline.

Now, I love PC gaming and there is no way I would play something like Orange Box or anything like that on my 360 over my PC, but at the same time I totally understand the arguments as far as ease of use between the two. Why should it be tricker to play one game on a PC when the same thing just works on a console, and you can play it with great graphics on a home theater system. That's cool too. I totally understand why someone would decide to buy COD4 on the 360 over the PC.

Why would improving PC gaming like this be a negative thing? How is ease of use a negative? Anything to make PC gaming easier is a good thing. It would be fantastic if they could make such a thing work in Windows. And it isn't like files wouldn't ever be locally stored anyway; there is local storage all the time with PS3 games and some 360 games, plus you still get all of the benefits of console gaming. Mods, custom maps, things like that could still happen.

100% Agree with you, ease of use is a big attraction for the consoles.
 

HaMMerHeD

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If I recall correctly, the GFW version of Halo 2 allowed you to start playing while the game was still streaming to the hard drive. Too bad the game itself sucks.
 
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I think we come right back to the lazy instant gratification market, the one that doesn't care about quality, they just want it NOW. I mean COME ON.

The longest install I ever had was Gears of War. Second longest was WoW. 3rd DAoC. (patches not included for the MMOs).

Average install time: 5 mins. Average number of clicks: 5 (I use custom paths). Are you really that impatient? I'm not sure I#d want you driving a car, wow this guy is slow, so I'll swerve into ONCOMING TRAFFIC or drive over the pedestrians on the sidewalk because I can't wait 5 seconds.

You see this shit all the time, people in cars throwing a hissy fit because they got delayed .0359 seconds.
 

Trepidati0n

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The PC and the console, why both having "chips" inside both have a significant and HUGE difference. The console is a fixed platform, the PC is not. This not a trivial point, this IS the point. Therefore when people are designing a game for either or both platforms, this becomes a non-trivial issue.

1) Because of non-fixed nature of the PC, the game designer can choose to offer a game to a wider variety of PC's and tailor that experience to that PC. Therefore since the game becomes non-tailored, you need to provide a location that allow the game to more easily work with the larger offering of variations. A fixed disc cannot do this easily. It would require significant forethought that a console would never have to worry about.

2) Quite a few console owners, I have found out, have a hardware-penis envy problem. It absolutely frustrates them to NO END that in a year somebody can have the same game as them and the "somebody" has a better lookign game. They tend to go to the console because now they are "the same" as their "friends"...even three years later. Look at iPods.

3) Because of the open nature of a PC there WILL be patching. There are just too many variables on a PC platform to release a game such that their will be negligable or no patching. Therefore once you patch a file (even a few key ones) that file will typically need to reside on the HDD. At that point, why not put the whole game on the HDD.

4) The current plastic disc medium is not sufficient (in terms of size) for the level of performance the modren game can do. Oblivion is a prime example of this. If we did run from "disc" you would have to "swap discs". What is more annoying...swapping disc or waiting 5-10 minutes for a one time install?

5) PC's have superior load times to that of a console. Because of point 4 above as well as superior bandwidth of a HDD, the PC can load the game quicker. In the longer run, the PC will save so much more of the precious time you claim to have lost. For a typical FPS, the difference can be as much as a factor of 5 seconds vs a minute. It doesn' t

6) The majority of people are lazy and want instant gratification. Easy test. If a person is hungry and you put them in front of a Red Robin and a McDonalds (assuming somebody else will pay for the meal)...which will they chose?
 

Frosteh

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hard drive speed > optical disc speed

Installing games to my RAID 0 array with a lot of RAM and a decent CPU means that loading times are virtually zero, in comparison I've never really played a console game which has what I'd consider a reasonable load time.

Installing games shouldn't take that long anyhow, if you're taking an hour to install something you badly need a new PC or to defrag your hard drive or something...
 

TheBluePill

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I think we come right back to the lazy instant gratification market, the one that doesn't care about quality, they just want it NOW. I mean COME ON.

The longest install I ever had was Gears of War. Second longest was WoW. 3rd DAoC. (patches not included for the MMOs).

Average install time: 5 mins. Average number of clicks: 5 (I use custom paths). Are you really that impatient? I'm not sure I#d want you driving a car, wow this guy is slow, so I'll swerve into ONCOMING TRAFFIC or drive over the pedestrians on the sidewalk because I can't wait 5 seconds.

You see this shit all the time, people in cars throwing a hissy fit because they got delayed .0359 seconds.


You could Argue that it is Lazieness.. The Average consumer is 'technially' lazy. thats the problem, there are several platforms out there that doe not require anything other than putting the disc in and playing. The PC is competing with this and losing people every day. Most people are not enthousiests like us, they just want it to work with a minimum of hassle. Hell, a lot of people bought DVD players just so they wouldnt have to rewind their VHS tapes back in the day.. I know it sounds Silly, but there were litterally people buying DVD, not for the Picture Quality or longevity of the media, but to simply avoid the 60 seconds of rewind time...
 
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2) Quite a few console owners, I have found out, have a hardware-penis envy problem.
6) The majority of people are lazy and want instant gratification. Easy test. If a person is hungry and you put them in front of a Red Robin and a McDonalds (assuming somebody else will pay for the meal)...which will they chose?

You could Argue that it is Lazieness.. The Average consumer is 'technially' lazy.

All of the above. :)
 

s_s256

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The loading times are so bad on my 360 or Wii that I usually get bored and can easily complete a set of 15-20 push ups, or around 5-10 one arm push ups before the level loads. So that's what I usually do when waiting for these super long load times on a console.

With my PC, I can barely pick up my Rubik's cube before the level is loaded. When I die in a game like TF2 with respwan timers, I usually pick up my Rubik's cube and try to solve it. I am down to about 2-3 min solve per cube so it takes a couple of deaths.

The people who are wining about installing don't realize how much time they are wasting by not installing the game to a hard drive. Like I said earlier the next gen consoles I guarantee will have mandatory installing of games. It gives the developers much more to work with, and they are not there to please the instant gratification, lazy people out there. They are there to provide the best game that they can, which will require installing to a hard drive in the future.
 

TheBluePill

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The loading times are so bad on my 360 or Wii that I usually get bored and can easily complete a set of 15-20 push ups, or around 5-10 one arm push ups before the level loads. So that's what I usually do when waiting for these super long load times on a console.

This is where a "Ahead Cache" method could benefit the Consoles and allow PCs to load off of disc as an option. If the console could pre-load the majority of the level adhead of time either on the hard drive or a ramdrive (hey a 2048K Onboard Flash Cache for a console would be super inexpensive to integrate), they would cut all of that down to a minimum.

PCs have the entire game cached on the hard drive, giving them that speed benefit. What needs to happen is instead of everything being stored on the drive, only the level and textures for the next phase of the came could be moved to the temp memory ahead of time, while your are on one level. You would only need enough mem for 2 levels, the current one and the next one.
 

Frosteh

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With my PC, I can barely pick up my Rubik's cube before the level is loaded. When I die in a game like TF2 with respwan timers, I usually pick up my Rubik's cube and try to solve it. I am down to about 2-3 min solve per cube so it takes a couple of deaths.

Heh I do that sometimes, on a good run I can get a well mixed cube done in slightly less than 1 minute, hardly pro but it's a good time waster and I'm not going to forget how to solve it after I spent so long learning :)
 

SockMan!

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This is where a "Ahead Cache" method could benefit the Consoles and allow PCs to load off of disc as an option. If the console could pre-load the majority of the level adhead of time either on the hard drive or a ramdrive (hey a 2048K Onboard Flash Cache for a console would be super inexpensive to integrate), they would cut all of that down to a minimum.

PCs have the entire game cached on the hard drive, giving them that speed benefit. What needs to happen is instead of everything being stored on the drive, only the level and textures for the next phase of the came could be moved to the temp memory ahead of time, while your are on one level. You would only need enough mem for 2 levels, the current one and the next one.

Games already cache data. It's just that loading data into RAM is faster if the data is on a hard drive to begin with.

Besides, unless a game is as interactive as a powerpoint presentation then a lot of data will probably have to be precached to hard drive anyway. Otherwise you'll have performance problems when the player does something 'unpredictable', such as load a save game. Or maybe the game is non-linear in design? You'll have to cache several dozen areas simultaneously because you don't konw where the player will go.

You might as well install to the hard drive in the first place.
 

milkweg

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I agree with earlier comments about digital downloads being the future. I've noticed some digitally distributed games now don't even require the manual entry of a product key, it is included as part of your download and is filled in for you automatically. If in that scenario, they allowed a "quick install" method that skips the prompts as to where you want the product installed, it would be completely unattended, which would be nice for those (including myself) who select default install paths.


Yes, but services like D2D only give you limited installs, something like 5 and then you have to email them for more if you use them up. Some tie your install to your hardware too so if you change too much hardware then you have to email them again. I would rather have to go find a crack for a cd/dvd based game than out up with that crap. Steam method is fine with me though.
 

milkweg

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It would be great if Microsoft put out a version of Windows for gamers that was embedded on a mb EPROM that used very fast flash memory and was write protected so no security exploits possible. Of course the OS would have to be near perfect but would allow updates by manually removing the write protection with a physical jumper on the mb, or even an option in the bios.
 

eeyrjmr

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because HD are an order of magnitude FASTER at access then an optical drive
plus you start getting into the relms of modding which you can't really do on a READ-ONLY medium ;)
 

s_s256

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Heh I do that sometimes, on a good run I can get a well mixed cube done in slightly less than 1 minute, hardly pro but it's a good time waster and I'm not going to forget how to solve it after I spent so long learning :)

Hehe that is an awesome game. It took me about 2-3 days to memorize all the formulas about a month ago, I am now working on gaining speed.

It is an excellent time waster. I thought I would get sick of it after awhile but it is still great. I even play with the thing on the can. :D

I just ordered a 4x4x4 and a 5x5x5 cube to step up my game. Hehehe :)
 
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