‘Father of DirectX’ talks Microsoft and gaming

The crew at Shacknews has had a chance to sit down and interview Alex St. John, the ex-Microsoft veteran who fathered DirectX technology and propelled Microsoft into the gaming business. In the interview, St. John explains how he started the DirectX project as an underground effort at Microsoft with a “couple of friends” and eventually managed to persuade game developers to adopt the technology. He recounts his first brush with Bill Gates, the launch party for the Windows 95 version of Doom, and how he was almost fired after an unfortunate encounter with the press. St. John makes some choice comments about Windows Vista, too, including a tirade on how the new operating system handles games.

I don’t think Microsoft did anything to help the PC as a gaming platform with Vista, and that’s a tremendous frustration because I take it very personally. If I would’ve been there, I would have made much more aggressive efforts to make sure Vista stayed out of the way of games. What you see with Microsoft is, without people at Microsoft who realize that the operating system does not add value to gaming, it gets in the way, they think they can add more value by adding in more [doo-doo] that only gets in the way of making a good game. Unfortunately, Vista does that. Microsoft added more [err, poo] that impedes game development. It’s certainly possible to make great games in Vista, it’s just more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be. I think Vista is a missed opportunity for Microsoft to have done a better job in supporting PC gaming.

He is also critical of Vista’s security, comparing it to a concrete house that has screen doors. “It’s an enormously overbuilt security system with huge, gaping holes. It’s extremely intrusive, and it gets in the way of the user’s experience without actually being secure,” he claims.

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