Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blast from the Past: Diakatana team to develop Windows 2004

I was going over the web logs for my site, and found a lot of people were STILL trying to load an old gag piece I wrote back in 2001 entitled "Diakatana team to develop Windows 2004." I decided to dig up an archive of the file and put it back on my web site.

This was written back when Windows 2000 was still fresh. XP was still called "Whistler" and most Windows fans were hoping Whistler would be as major an improvement over 2000 as 2000 was over 98se or NT. No one really liked to think about Windows ME, and the massive disappointment of Vista's "Same old with higher specifications" was over half a decade in the future.

Notice the gag "No one would need this for JUST the OS" system specifications I used for the 2001 article:

"5 gigs of hard drive space, 1 gig of RAM and a 3.0 Ghz CPU"

While this isn't far off from the actual hardware requirements for Windows Vista, the article was written in 2001, when 1 Ghz chips were just hitting the market and DDR SDRAM was selling at $90 for 64MBytes, the minimum amount of RAM needed for Windows 2000 Professional. W2K Server only cranked it up to 256 Megs.

Most of the humor comes from the frustrating nature of Diakatana itself, particularly as it had been in development for YEARS and had switched core engines at least once.

Diakatana team to develop Windows 2004

Steve Balmer announced at a press conference Tuesday, that John Romero, lead developer off ION Storm's hit video game Diakatana, has been hired by Microsoft to work on the new NT 6.0 er- Windows 2004 OS.

"We were looking for someone who could take the DirectX graphics engine and mold it into something new," Balmer told reporters. "John's work on Diakatana showed us he had the stuff of a true Microsoft programmer."

One reporter asked, "Didn't he just take someone else's code, hype it up for years, release it late and over budget, and cram it full of 'features' that no one wanted but couldn't be disabled?"

"Exactly," Balmer replied. "The stuff of a true Microsoft programmer."

Balmer then turned the press conference over to Romero.

"We're very excited about this new project," Romero said. "I've got my entire development team from Diakatana working with me, at least the ones who stayed with ION until we shipped. KillCreek will be designing the new interfaces and menu systems between Playboy shoots, and I'll be working on code stability. The best part is, since every product Microsoft makes is now integrated into the OS, we'll be influencing the entire product line."

"As everyone knows, the Microsoft Assistant introduced with Office 97 will be integrated into the Operating Systems itself. We've added Superfly Johnson from Diakatana as the default agent, but 'Clippy' the paperclip will still be available as an instillation option. We're even integrating the AI components from Diakatana into the Operating system. Superfly will help you find the 'save jems' necessary to write your Word and Excel documents to disk, as well as narrating help files in long cut scenes where he and Clippy read off every possible solution whenever the AI thinks you need assistance."

"We're ditching the command prompt completely, but all remote administration will be possible from any Windows 2004 or X-Box with a DSL or faster Internet connection. Passwords are a thing of the past, and will be replaced with puzzles where you have to find the 'passkey' that matches the server you want to access."

"What do you expect the system requirements to be?" asked an interviewer from NewsForge.

"The base OS install will need about 5 gigs of hard drive space, 1 gig of RAM and a 3.0 Gh CPU. We're working with Nvidea to develop 3D graphics cards that will meet our specifications. Today's cards don't even have the power to display the planned menu animations and startup screens, let alone the full screen video necessary for actually launching an application. Naturally, the hard drive space requirement will be reduced slightly if you select the 'Run from CD' option. Of course, doing that means you'll have to have the CD in your computer at all times if you want to run the operating system, even if you select a 'full install.'"

"What kind of new security features will be available in Windows 2004?" Asked a nervous looking Peter Norton.

"Glad you asked," Romero said. "All viruses and intruders will be represented as dangerous mechanical frogs that are the exact same color as the background. You, Superfly and Clippy will hunt them down with a variety of weapons including the WinRocketLauncher and the WinReallyBigSword."

"Will you be able to disable any of these new features?" Asked a reported from Windows Magazine.

"Why would you want to do that?" Romero replied.

Waving off further questions, Romero finished the press conference with a bold challenge. "Ever since Microsoft invented the graphical interface, Windows has been the OS that looked the best, and that edge will be maintained at all costs. Microsoft will always be the best looking Operating System with the most bells and whistles in the interface." Romero paused for dramatic effect and said, "Windows 2004 will be a real Linux killer!"

The Microsoft drones in attendance gave Romero a standing ovation, lead by Balmer himself.

After the conference, Peter Norton announced that the Norton Utilities for Windows 2004 will include, "A laser scope and infra-red sights to help you find those blasted robotic frogs, a special mod pack to enhance your aim and an Internet multiplayer patch so your friends can help you hunt down the viruses on your system."

Linus was unavailable for comment on the "Linux Killer" comment, as he still laughing when this article went to print.

Aug 13, 2001

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