IBM's New OS/2 to Bring High-Octane Performance to the PC Gaming World

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By IBM
September 27, 1994
Last Update: 29 October 1994
Fast Action on the OS/2 platform...

AUSTIN, Texas, September 27, 1994 ...IBM today announced that the next version of its 32-bit PC operating system, OS/2, code-named Warp, will provide users with a new level of high-performance game play currently not available in the DOS or Windows environments. By fine-tuning special settings for more than 100 software game titles and adding new features such as improved audio/video synchronization and enhanced memory management, Warp will deliver unprecedented speed and improved realism to today's popular arcade-style, simulation and strategy games.

IBM also announced a new development tool designed to make it easy for developers to quickly build exploitive native OS/2 games. With the DIVE (Direct Interface Video Extensions) programming tool, game developers have direct access to the video drivers needed to perform high-speed animated graphics that are critical for action-based games. A Game Developers Toolkit for OS/2 will be available in Beta in early 1995 to provide additional development support.

"Warp will deliver top-notch multimedia functionality that appeals to both novice and expert gamers," says Wally Casey, director of marketing for IBM's Personal Software Products division. "Although games represent the most resource-intensive software on the market today, Warp's memory management and synchronization features lessen the complexity of game configuration and operation and promote higher performance play."

Built-in Memory Management

Since most games run on DOS, gamers are faced with the limitations of the DOS environment. Common problems include lack of adequate memory, system configuration issues and the inability to run more than one application at a time reliably. The new OS/2 will eliminate most memory problems, make system configuration easier and allow multiple application processing in a reliable environment. OS/2 will easily enable gamers to take full advantage of the memory they have by supporting most popular standards, such as EMS, XMS, DPMI and high memory.

Settings for Today's Popular Games

To boost ease-of-use, IBM has identified over 100 of the best-selling DOS, Windows and OS/2 game titles and incorporated settings for each game into the base Warp operating system (see attached list). Gamers no longer have to navigate system configuration and AUTOEXEC.BAT files -- the new OS/2 automatically chooses the proper game setting. Gamers gain easy access to their favorite games with drag and drop speed. Should gamers wish to manually change settings, OS/2's multiple VDMs (Virtual DOS Machines) will allow session configuration without having to reboot the system or maintain separate boot diskettes.

The VDM technology also takes advantage of OS/2's Crash Protection*, multitasking and memory management -- gamers can play while running print jobs, faxing documents or accessing a communications session, without disrupting performance.

Several OS/2-specific games designed to utilize the inherent stability of the 32-bit operating system are in development, including Sim City Classic for OS/2, Sim City 2000 for OS/2, Galactic Civilizations and DOOM for OS/2.

"Gamers playing Sim City 2000 for OS/2 will see increased performance and smoother game play because of OS/2's multitasking capabilities. The multitasking also enables gamers to work on other projects while their simulator continues to run in the background," says Joe Scirica, vice president product development, MAXIS, Orinda, Calif. "We see OS/2 as a great platform for games. Given IBM's lead on Windows95, we also see this as a real opportunity to gain market share."

"One key feature for a game with complex graphics and sound is multithreading, which allows parallel running of different processes and enhances overall performance, " says Bob Adams, president, DUX Software Corporation, Palo Alto, Calif. which has obtained the license to port Sim City Classic for OS/2 from MAXIS. "Our excitement in porting Sim City Classic for OS/2 came from the fact that we could develop into a GUI environment that was built on a real 32-bit multiprocessing networked operating system."

The new OS/2 will combine the performance and reliability of the 32-bit OS/2 environment with mobility and productivity features, such as simplified installation, reduced memory requirements, a BonusPak of productivity applications, Internet access, Launch Pad and a more responsive user interface. The new OS/2 will allow OS/2, Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups** 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and DOS applications to run on the same desktop.

* Indicates a registered trademark of the International Business Machines Corporation.
** Indicates a trademark or registered trademark of the identified company: Windows (Microsoft Corp); Windows for Workgroups (Microsoft Corp.)