Universal Windows Platform, or UWP, quickly became a recognisable terms last earlier this month when Gears of War: Ultimate Edition finally launched on PC. The platform turns regular programs into fast apps, which reared their bad side with Gears of War. Games had locked Vsync enabled, lacked multi-GPU support and featured terrible optimisation issues all attributed to the platform itself. Issues that Microsoft is tackling head on from today.
Taking the stage at Build last night, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer explained that the company had heard PC gamers complaints loud and clear, and are dedicated more than ever to improving UWP so that it is a strong platform for PC gaming. That means fixing a lot of issues, some of which have already been patched into Windows from today. Here’s what Phil had to say.
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.
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. 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 that’s multi-GPU support already in the bag (at least some form of support) and a promise that Vsync will be optional by the time May rolls around. Support for GSync and FreeSync is also good news for the highest tiers of PC gamers, and all round performance improvement will go a long way to appeasing the masses.
Spencer then also demonstrated a Desktop Converter app, which allows you to wrap up any existing game you have on your system and convert it to a similar UWP Desktop application. So if Microsoft does eventually sort out all these issues and UWP becomes a platform that makes sense to use, you could import your entire library over. Wishful thinking to some extent.
Still, many of these changes will miss the launch of Quantum Break next week Tuesday, which might also suffer the same shortcomings as Gears of War. We haven’t played that version of the game yet, but we’ll get our hands on it soon.
Last Updated: March 31, 2016