An nameless reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: It is nonetheless attainable to study a variety of fascinating issues about previous working methods. Generally, these issues are already documented (on a weblog publish) that miraculously nonetheless exist. One such quirk confirmed up just lately when somebody observed how Microsoft made certain that SimCity and different fashionable apps labored on Home windows 95. A latest tweet by @Kalyoshika highlights an excerpt from a weblog publish by Fog Creek Software program co-founder, Stack Overflow co-creator, and longtime software program blogger Joel Spolsky. The bigger publish is about chicken-and-egg OS/software program attraction and demand. The half that caught the attention of a Hardcore Gaming 101 podcast co-host is how the Home windows 3.1 model of SimCity labored on the Home windows 95 system. Home windows 95 merged MS-DOS and Home windows apps, upgraded APIs from 16 to 32-bit, and was hyper-marketed. A preferred app like SimCity, which bought greater than 5 million copies, wanted to work and not using a hitch.
Spolsky’s publish summarizes how SimCity grew to become Home windows 95-ready, as he heard it, with out enter from Maxis or consumer workarounds: “Jon Ross, who wrote the unique model of SimCity for Home windows 3.x, advised me that he unintentionally left a bug in SimCity the place he learn reminiscence that he had simply freed. Yep. It labored effective on Home windows 3.x, as a result of the reminiscence by no means went anyplace. Here is the wonderful half: On beta variations of Home windows 95, SimCity wasn’t working in testing. Microsoft tracked down the bug and added particular code to Home windows 95 that appears for SimCity. If it finds SimCity working, it runs the reminiscence allocator in a particular mode that does not free reminiscence straight away. That is the type of obsession with backward compatibility that made folks prepared to improve to Home windows 95.”
Spolsky (in 2000) considers this a credit score to Microsoft and an instance of tips on how to break the chicken-and-egg downside: “present a backwards compatibility mode which both delivers a truckload of chickens, or a truckload of eggs, relying on the way you have a look at it, and sit again and rake within the bucks.” Home windows builders might have deserved some sit-back time, seeing the extent of the tweaks they typically must make for particular person video games and apps in Home windows 95. Additional in @Kalyoshika’s replies, you will discover one other instance, pulled from the Compatibility Administrator in Home windows’ Evaluation and Deployment Package (ADK). A screenshot from @code_and_beer reveals how Home windows NT, upon detecting information sometimes put in with Remaining Fantasy VII, will implement a fittingly titled compatibility repair: “Win95VersionLie.” Merely telling the sport that it is on Home windows 95 appears to repair a serious subject with its operation, together with just a few different emulation and virtualization tweaks. “Mike Perry, former inventive director at Sim empire Maxis (and later EA), noted later that there was, technically, a 32-bit Home windows 95 model of Sim Metropolis accessible, as proven by the ‘Deluxe Version’ bundle of the sport,” provides Ars. “He additionally states that Ross labored for Microsoft after leaving Maxis, which might additional clarify why Microsoft was so eager to make sure folks might hold constructing parks within the good grid place to enhance resident happiness.”