The importance of playing games - a lot...

The importance of playing games - a lot...

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A while ago now, the Virtual Server development team delivered the first internal build of Virtual Server SP1 for x64 systems for our test team to start working on.  Needless to say I grabbed this build and started trying every obscure virtual machine I could think of.

This initial build was surprisingly solid and the vast majority of operating systems just ran without a problem (kudos to PeterJ for his hard work there).  However - late one night after working all night I decided to kick back and play some games.  I was booted into my x64 version of Windows so I just started up Virtual Server and decided to play a game of Civilization.

The game was playing fine - but something was bugging me.  I eventually started up a 32-bit copy of Windows and started Civilization inside of a virtual machine on it so I could compare the two.  Sure enough - the x64 version of Virtual Server was failing to draw the blue selection highlight on the menus in Civilization.

After some investigation by the development team - it turned out that this was caused by an obscure bug that was introduced during the port of one of our drivers to the x64 platform.  So there you have the reason why it is important to play games a *lot* - as if I were a casual gamer I would never have noticed the missing blue highlight.


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  • Are you hiring? :)

    I'd like to submit a proposal that I be employed as Second-Fiddle Game Player in the VPC team. I work for reasonable rates*.
  • Hi Ben - glad to hear the intense testing is going well on the x64 platform!

    re: "the port of one of our drivers to the x64 platform" Am I right in thinking that running a 32-bit O/S under VirtualPC on WinXP-64 will be purely using 64-bit drivers?

    What I'm trying to do is find the best way of migrating to WinXP-64, bearing in mind 64-bit OEM device drivers will take a little while to get to market. Will a virtual 32-bit O/S be free to use 32-bit drivers? Or are we stuck with dual-booting for now (which it sounds like you did to spot the Civ bug)..?

  • I _think_ Ben's talking about an error in one of the drivers that make up Virtual PC/Virtual Server - probably the Virtual Machine Monitor driver, at a guess. This runs in the _host_ OS. If the host OS is Windows x64, this driver needs to be compiled for x64.

    The _guest_ OS, if a 32-bit OS, still runs 32-bit code and needs 32-bit drivers. I don't know if 64-bit guest OSs are possible - if they are they will need 64-bit drivers for the emulated hardware.
  • TristanK -

    Unfortunately playing games is just my side hobby. I still have to do normal work during the day :-)

    Mike Dimmick -

    You are correct. This was the result of the 64-bit virtual machine monitor developed for Virtual Server 2005 SP1 - the virtual machines themselves are still 32-bit.

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