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Ugly and shouldn't be needed...
September 4th 2000, 09:27 CEST by andy

No, not Killcreek's implants. I'm talking about the follow-up to my Sanity review that I've been forced to write.

I've got no wish to make Monolith look bad, or to rub salt into any wounds, but I believe my review of Sanity was fair and the evidence supports this. Hell, you don't want me to be some weak-ass candy-sucking back-down-on-command corporate lap dog, do you? I hope not, because then I'd have to get a job at Gamefan, and... *shudder*

Go read the follow-up. Then come back here and bitch at me. You can even take the moral high-ground over the Killcreek gag if it makes you feel better.

C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "Drakken_Mordith"
2000-09-04 09:31:05
drakken@digitalextremes.com http://www.digitalextremes.com
Bah!  First fer me. ;)

Drak
#2 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-09-04 09:41:08
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<quote>It is my belief that Monolith are repeating a mistake that they have made before -- that of ignoring a genuine problem instead of addressing it. Rather than taking steps to fix the problem reported in my review and experienced by other people, they are denying that the problem exists, or at least claiming that it is not as bad as has been reported.</quote>

Well ... Jason is a marketer.  That's one of his primary functions at Monolith.  PR and marketing.  Sure, if the load times are slow, a marketers first reaction is not to say, "Yeah, we fucked up on that one.  We'll try to fix it before release!".  The reaction is to put a spin on it, make it seem not so bad, and if the developers can get it fixed before it ships, great.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong ... but I think that if you were to talk to the lead developer at Monolith (whoever that may be these days, since Mike Dussault is now at Valve), he'd probably have a very different take on it.

Anyway, I'm sure that if Monolith CAN do something the load times, they will.  If it's an inherent behavior of the engine, then it's doubtful.

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#3 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 09:42:39
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
Damn! Hold on, there's a mistake in the article. Gimme a minute.
#4 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 09:47:38
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
Phew... thank God I caught that one quickly!

If you read the article before I removed this bit:
<quote>
Jason told me on the 17th of August: "You are the only reviewer so far to even mention long loading times as a negative." However, Galactus reviewer Patrick Irish disputes this: "I mentioned it [on the 16th of August] in my email to Dan Miller (PR person for Monolith) and all he said in reply for the entire email was 'thanks for the heads up' so I am not sure if he was referring to the long loading times or not." Jason Hall denies knowledge of this e-mail.
</quote>
Then disregard it. Patrick Irish sent his e-mail on the 21st, not the 16th.

Ack.
#5 by "Jason Hall"
2000-09-04 10:09:53
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
I sent comments to Andy when he e-mailed me for comments on this topic. I'm surprised he didn't include them fully in his new article. I thought that is what he had asked for my comments for. Anyway no big deal. Here is my official comment on this:

Sanity has been well tested on the systems that it supports. A load time of anywhere from less than 20 seconds to potentially a little more minute are the norm (from ultra fast systems to super slower ones respectively).

That's how long it seems to take to load that much content (which Sanity has a lot of). At no time should anyone on a supported system get 2 to 5 minute load times. That is not the norm. If they are experiencing that and using a supported system then it is likely that there is something peculiar about their system and they should contact our tech support to find out what the problem may be. We are happy to help them.

There is generally nothing that can be reasonably done to speed up Sanity's load times other than cutting content out of Sanity. For us, that is not acceptable as we want to give the buying customer as much content for their money as we can. Sanity contains a ton of game content in each level, with more interactivity than any true 3D isometric game before it. That is great, but the downside to that is that there is simply more to data to load. What that breaks down to is that Sanity takes longer to load than more content light games like Quake 3 or Unreal. I'm sure that there will be people who aren't used to this. That's ok.

If the game community hates that, then so be it. I'm sure that they will send a clear message to us that quicker load times is more important than more content. You can only get so much data loaded in 10 seconds or less on a p2-300...We will see.

I guess it all depends on the person and what they like and are interested in.

Apparently, since Andy is so interested in this issue and really seems to prefer shorter load times over more content (although I'd suggested to him that he should at least try Sanity on at least a minimum spec machine first), perhaps Monolith should take heed and cut future content from its games accordingly. Who knows?

As far as Monolith being contacted by a reviewer specifically about load times, I am not aware of this occurrence, and I suggested that he make sure that it is indeed the case before he made such claims. I'm not saying that it's not possible, I'm just saying that I haven't heard anything about a specific contact or question from a reviewer about load times for Sanity.

I also pointed out to Andy that, I never said his machine was the cause of the longer loading time Sanity seems to have. I said that loading times on supported machines do not take "several" or even "5" minutes as his review claims. Which is completely accurate.

One other thing to point out.

If people have any question about the loading times on their machine, all they have to do is download the demo and test it out for themselves. I don't see what you are really trying to illustrate. Nothing is hidden from anyone.

Jace
#6 by "Warmonger [AI]"
2000-09-04 10:19:05
warmonger87@hotmail.com
Well, 60 seconds to load up a 12 mb level sounds bad at first. Then you have to consider that that is just the raw level data, and there's textures for all 12 of those mb's. And then there's all the models to be loaded, etc, etc. If you had as much stuff to load in Quake 3, I'm pretty damned sure it would take as long, if not longer, to load the level.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "Jason Hall"
2000-09-04 10:19:58
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
Also Andy,

Your statement "Jason felt it was unfair to criticise the game for long loading times..." is entirely incorrect and misleading.

I will repeat what I have said in the past again. Here is what I think is unfair about your review:

Your review heavily implies that load times for Sanity are "several minutes" to "5 minutes" long on supported systems. This is totally and completely untrue, and you have not provided any evidence at all to support your claim.

It is unfortunate that you favor quick load times over more content. On that issue, you and I generally disagree, as I favor more a content heavy experience (within reason. I think that Sanity falls nicely into this.

Jace
#8 by "Creole Ned"
2000-09-04 10:22:10
cned@telus.net http://www.quirkybastards.com
Only two replies and already Andy is finding errors in his article. That certainly brings a sense of comfort to supporting his argument. :P

I don't understand the fuss. Jason Hall has said that Sanity has long load times, they can't be avoided and that he believes they are mostly due to processor speed. Andy has heard a *few* cases where that appears to not necessarily be so (although I doubt he has all the info on what hardware/software the systems were running, what OS, whether the OS had been patched, what video card, version of DirectX, whether other programs had been running in the background, whether the hard drives had been defragged or a million other things that could affect the performance of a game), but it is a very small sampling of anecdotal evidence. It hardly seems a compelling thing to build an argument on.

And in the end, the problem, such as it is, is out, it's being discussed. It's not being covered up. It's been admitted to. I'm not sure where exactly the controversy lies. The end of Andy's follow-up feels like a meaningless jab at Monolith, an attempt to paint them with the sins of the past over a minor inconvenience in a new game, an inconvenience that they've admitted to and which does not affect the game proper, merely the time it takes it to load up.

Creole Ned
#9 by "Creole Ned"
2000-09-04 10:24:24
cned@telus.net http://www.quirkybastards.com
Er, that is, the long load times are due to the amount of content in Sanity and can only be shortened with a faster processor or by cutting down on said content.
#10 by "Warmonger [AI]"
2000-09-04 10:25:09
warmonger87@hotmail.com
In all fairness, I have to say that andy's review of Sanity was positively glowing. But since this is PlanetCrap, we will make mountains out of andy's di.. I mean molehills ;) (Seriously, just kidding andy!)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#11 by "Jason Hall"
2000-09-04 10:26:16
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
You are absolutely right Ned!
Jace
#12 by "Vile"
2000-09-04 10:30:41
mseddon@mercantile.co.za
<b>#5</b> "Jason Hall" wrote...
<QUOTE>
One other thing to point out.

If people have any question about the loading times on their machine, all they have to do is download the demo and test it out for themselves. I don't see what you are really trying to illustrate. Nothing is hidden from anyone.
</QUOTE>

As per your suggestion, I did exactly that. IMO, the game is awesome...  it runs very smoothly... the story is intriguing.. (Ice T's voice acting sucks tho)... but what really annoyed me was the long load times. I have no problem with it for the initial loading of a level, but what really got my goat was that it seriously affected the gameplay when I was attempting to do the power core puzzle. One wrong move & you got yourself killed. Reload. wait wait wait wait wait, die. Reload. wait wait wait wait wait, die. Reload. wait wait wait wait, die. Reload. wait wait wait wait, die. Fuck this, quit.
I was really getting into the demo, but I just couldn't handle the long load times (1min).

FYI, my machine is a C400, tnt2 ultra, 320mb ram, Win2k SP1.

-Vile<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Vile"
2000-09-04 10:33:49
mseddon@mercantile.co.za
<b>#12</b> "Vile" wrote...
<quote>
I was really getting into the demo, but I just couldn't handle the long load times (1min).
</quote>

Err... should be (greater than 1min) Forgot about the damn tags. ;)

-Vile<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#14 by "George Broussard"
2000-09-04 11:21:08
georgeb@3drealms.com
Jason,

<quote>If people have any question about the loading times on their machine, all they have to do is download the demo and test it out for themselves. I don't see what you are really trying to illustrate. Nothing is hidden from anyone.</quote>

Allow me to illustrate....

/me pulls out ACME blackboard and plays the part of Wile E. Coyote as he points out...

Molehill-Us Erectus

;)

Bottom line Andy...if the newsgroups/boards aren't reporting a LOT of 3-5 minute load times, then it's a very, very small bug, or an issue with your system.  Neither of which are likely to be fixed.  If the masses aren't screaming "Sanity loads slow!!!" then there is no issue.

Tree falling in the woods and all that ;)

George Broussard, 3D Realms
#15 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 11:48:13
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<quote>
<i>Hey George, you're crap at PR but here's a tip: You need a buzzword. Try, uh... molehill. Yeah, that should do it. Drop it in to a few threads until someone else picks up on it, and then hang back. Other people will start using it, and then you can jump back in, but -- and here's the important bit -- from now on you always have to do it as a joke. Ya know, identify it with some comedy figure, and always use a smiley. Yeah, that'll work. Pretty soon, any time that Andy guy says anything about us, you can shut him up by saying the magic molehill word. Won't that be cool?</i>
</quote>
(Recently whispered to George Broussard by a more astute 3DR employee.)
#16 by "podfish"
2000-09-04 12:37:08
llama@verbalchilli.com http://www.verbalchilli.com
If the demo is representative of the loading times for the full game then I really don't see there is much of a problem. I don't mind waiting up to 50 secs ( - my experience) for a game to load, especially one which provides both quantity and quality game play; the loading times are not *significantly* greater than that of Half-Life or UT on my machine.

It becomes slightly annoying when you reach the more difficult points in the game, but then, isn't repeated dying in any game annoying?

If any heavy criticism could be made of the game (from what I have seen), it'd have to be the amount of crack Monolith's script writer smokes. Ice-T's one-liners are almost painfully unfunny :)

.podfish.
#17 by "podfish"
2000-09-04 12:38:06
llama@verbalchilli.com http://www.verbalchilli.com
Andy and George - now, now.
#18 by "Flamethrower"
2000-09-04 14:18:03
blah http://blah
If Andy had of included the line "...levels take a few minutes to load, I'm playing on a below-spec machine but it still annoyed me so buyer-beware..." none of these two threads would have happened.

Otherwise what would have happened? Andy says "I just reviewed Sanity" and the rest of us would be like "Hey yeah! We only get links to about 20 reviews a day from Bluesnews, so what we desperately needed was a review of a game that few of us are likely to buy AND A PLANETCRAP FORUM TO ACCOMPANY IT."

I understand about wanting feedback, I asked for it from my first new-based review, but damn man, you could have diverted a different thread for it.

What the Hell, none of this thread is my business, there are too many good games to buy before I'll even consider Sanity... like Vampire, Earth 2151 or Shogun, and FAKK2.
#19 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 14:24:44
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#18</b>, Flamethrower:
<QUOTE>
If Andy had of included the line "...levels take a few minutes to load, I'm playing on a below-spec machine but it still annoyed me so buyer-beware..." none of these two threads would have happened.
</QUOTE>
You mean a bit like this...
<quote>
Minimum specification is a P2-300 64Mb. My system is P2-233 128Mb so it falls below the minimum spec, but the game plays extremely well. I never noticed it running slowly, although a faster machine would reduce the level loading time and improve performance of some cut scenes.
</quote>
The review was fine. :-)
#20 by "Bert Halligan"
2000-09-04 14:54:28
shane.gleeson@upm-kymmene.com
Although I usually only lurk I have been doing so for a fairly long time. In that time I have seen Andy take a hell of a lot of flak over shit he really didn't deserve. But Andy you even admitted youself that you were exagerating with the 5 min loading times in the last thread. Fair eneough if there are slow loading times then mention it but you can't really exagerate about anything in a review if you expect to be taken seriously.
#21 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 15:15:08
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#20</b>, Bert Halligan:
<QUOTE>
But Andy you even admitted youself that you were exagerating with the 5 min loading times in the last thread.
</QUOTE>
Possibly. I never timed it, but I know I have a tendency to exaggerate (not deliberately, I just sometimes misjudge things). So I wouldn't be surprised if the longest time was, say, four and a half minutes, or even just four. Or maybe <i>more</i> than five, I really couldn't say for sure. But...
<QUOTE>
Fair eneough if there are slow loading times then mention it but you can't really exagerate about anything in a review if you expect to be taken seriously.
</QUOTE>
I've never claimed (or suggested, or even thought) that someone with a high spec machine would have five minute loading times. Sure, Jason (and even the lovely Mr Broussard) will <i>say</i> I'm claiming that, but I'm not. If I was, I'd have said it. :-)

Average loading times for me were around two minutes. Jason claims it should be more like 30 seconds on a recommended system, but if someone using a 1GHz system is getting times over a minute, and someone on a much slower system is getting much faster times, there's obviously a problem.

All this is about (this thread) is defending my review. Yes, my machine is under spec, but I was right to say that loading times are excessive.
#22 by "Bert Halligan"
2000-09-04 15:29:17
shane.gleeson@upm-kymmene.com
Andy (Long-awaited and not very good) :

<QUOTE>Knowing my tendency to exaggerate, here are some proper figures. Test conditions? I think not! I rebooted and unloaded any system tray apps, and that's as close to test conditions as you're going to get from me.

Anyway, to get from the desktop to the Sanity menu screen, skipping the intro videos, took 38 seconds. To load a saved game from the menu took 120 seconds. This is with a partial install so some data is being loaded from the CD. With a full install, I remember loading times being slightly faster. </QUOTE>

Your <B>proper figures</B> seem to be a lot lower than 5 mins. They also apear to be timed.

You must be feeling really paranoid, even the lurkers are coming out of the woodwork to get you now :)
#23 by "The Joker"
2000-09-04 15:59:00
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Yeeehaaaw!!!

Okay, Joker in tha haus! Everyone, bend over!

Ahem...I'd just like to say that while I did notice the slightly longer load time when I first started the Sanity demo, I could understand why this was happening after I played through the first part of the first level. On my PC (P3 600, 256MBRAM) it doesn't take that much time more than loading a Q3A level, the thing that takes long when loading Sanity, is the last part where it says "Processing lightmaps" or something similar. And after loading a level the first time, reloading it after you die is very fast. Again, only the lightmap part takes a while longer. So when Jace says it's because of the content, I understand him. I'm a software engineer myself so I can easily understand certain things Jace explains, which may be a lot more difficult for other reviewers to understand. Personally, I would rather take the long load times, and have all the content in there. But that's me.

For those of you who are interested, I've posted my first impressions for NOLF based on the tech demo. I'm not very optimistic about the game. You can find the preview here:

http://www.junkextreme.com/previews/september2000/nolf/index.php

After reading it, send all flame mail and anger to joker@junkextreme.com, and you'll want to, trust me. If not, then send me email anyway, I collect them.

Thanks,

Joker.
#24 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 16:18:53
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#22</b>, Bert Halligan:
<QUOTE>
Your <B>proper figures</B> seem to be a lot lower than 5 mins. They also apear to be timed.
</QUOTE>
Yes, I know. Five minutes (estimate) was very much the exception.

Don't judge me on what Jason/George claim I've said, judge me on what I've actually said. :-)

Or just ask them to show you where I've said 5 minutes was common, or that other people should expect five minutes. Then see how fast they shut up!

(Which reminds me... what happened to Chet after I asked him to post those e-mails? Anyone? He seems to have disappeared.)
<QUOTE>
You must be feeling really paranoid, even the lurkers are coming out of the woodwork to get you now :)
</QUOTE>
Nope, not at all. Well not <i>yet</i> anyway.
#25 by "mcgrew"
2000-09-04 17:13:25
mcgrew@famvid.com http://theFragfest.com
The only criticism I would make is you should have linked the pc thread you mentioned.

BTW, great site design. If I were giving awards you'd get one.

Now to read the crap thrown at you...

-Steve
#26 by "[@~]MizuGami"
2000-09-04 17:16:32
mizugami@rochester.rr.com http://www.komatose.com
#24 Andy:

The way I look at it, while load times CAN be a distraction to the overall flow of gameplay, a person playing a truly good game won't mind it so much. A perfect example (for me at least) is Legacy of Kain for the PS. The load times in that game are horrible, but the game was good and compelling enough to make me forget about the load times.

I think that it's essentially wrong and unfair to post that the load times were excessive, especially considering that Andy's test computer was below specs and WELL below what the average hardcore gamer would be using. I realize that not everyone will be running a 1GHz CPU, but the game itself even has minimum specs...which the test computer didn't meet. If Andy wanted to be really thorough, he should have run it on more than one system, each of them being at opposite ends of the spectrum.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "Flamethrower"
2000-09-04 17:18:02
blah http://blah
#19, Andy.

Naughty Andy. Your review did not stop there in talking about load times, not least of which to deduct <b>a fifth</b> of its final marks for long load times. Otherwise this would be the non story it is. When I made my suggestion I meant that text, or your variant, being the near <b>entirity</b> of comments on long loading times. The level load should be a side-note unless you have the minimum+ system and you still getting performance problems.

These are other things you went through:

<quote>But the one major complaint about Sanity is the time it takes to load each level. Several minutes? Even when you're quickloading? No matter how good a game is, that's too long.

The faster your machine, the less time it will take for levels to load, but still this is likely to prove very annoying.

I've given up because of the long loading times.

[W]ith it taking up to five minutes to reload a saved game, if you're anything like me you'll rush through the levels as quickly as possible, scared to look for secrets or to try anything even remotely dangerous in case you get killed and have to watch another progress bar slowly ticking away.

If you're got a very fast machine, or you can tolerate the long loading times, then Sanity is great. Otherwise, it's frustratingly close to perfection.</quote>


Hell, I'm all for bashing Monolith, though frankly "frustratingly close to perfection" is not my idea of Monoattack - I'd have gone a different route: "Warning, contains ICE-T, may taste bitter and absurdity levels are absurdly high."

Ice-T, Ice-Cube, Eminem, and the rest of them, go to prove ION-style you can give ten million dollars to a whining bitch and they'll still find something to bitch and whine about. I think at that point they stop bitching about lifes terrible carmas for them (women, riches, fame) and use some of their squillions to find things that annoy people (and then commission people to mix them some tunes to whine to).

<quote>
[...] I wouldn't be surprised if the longest time was, say, four and a half minutes, or even just four. Or maybe more than five, I really couldn't say for sure.
</quote>

Believe you me, you know when it's a genuine five minuite load when you encounter five minute loads. Five REAL minutes seem like ten, two full minutes seem like five.

From desktop to playing takes five full minutes on Deus Ex, just under half that time getting to the menu, a bit more loading the level. That's pain. And before Norton utils it was taking five FULL minutes to the menu, and another five to the game. And that's on a spec machine way WAY higher than minimum or recommended.


Best bit of Deus Ex so far: a guard with the tranquiliser handmounted crossbow. I ducked out of the way after firing as he staggers towards the alarm, puts his hand out, but collapses. Then I did it again, and again he fell at the button. Then a third time.
#28 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 17:22:16
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#25</b>, mcgrew:
<QUOTE>
The only criticism I would make is you should have linked the pc thread you mentioned.
</QUOTE>
I didn't want to risk attracting any trolls. I don't mind them visiting my own site because there are no forums at the moment, but a direct link to here wouldn't be a good idea. :-)


<b>#26</b>, [@~]MizuGami:
<QUOTE>
If Andy wanted to be really thorough, he should have run it on more than one system, each of them being at opposite ends of the spectrum.
</QUOTE>
Well that's what I did, sort of, by contacting the other reviewers. They've corroborated the inconsistency. (Slow times on some fast machines, fast times on some slower machines.) Shows that the conclusion of the review was right, just maybe I didn't get to it in the best possible way. :-)
#29 by "[@~]MizuGami"
2000-09-04 17:27:08
mizugami@rochester.rr.com http://www.komatose.com
#28 Andy said:

<b>"Well that's what I did, sort of, by contacting the other reviewers. They've corroborated the inconsistency. (Slow times on some fast machines, fast times on some slower machines.) Shows that the conclusion of the review was right, just maybe I didn't get to it in the best possible way. :-)"</b>

Andy, don't you know not to trust other journalistic sources? ;)

[@~]Mizu<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#30 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 17:28:12
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#27</b>, Flamethrower:
<QUOTE>
Believe you me, you know when it's a genuine five minuite load when you encounter five minute loads. Five REAL minutes seem like ten, two full minutes seem like five.
</QUOTE>
Well during one of the longer loading times I went and made a cup of soup, so that's two minutes boiling the water in the microwave plus however long it took to actually make the thing, play with the cat, etc. Four minutes minimum? Probably longer.

Anyway I've been posting too much to this thread because I've been sat at the PC all day. Off to bed now. I'll no doubt wake up to find a load of flames. :-)

Someone wind George up. I reckon we can make him <i>explode</i> if we try.
#31 by "Andy"
2000-09-04 17:29:43
andy@planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#29</b>, [@~]MizuGami:
<QUOTE>
Andy, don't you know not to trust other journalistic sources? ;)
</QUOTE>
I know what questions get honest answers. :-)
#32 by "mcgrew"
2000-09-04 17:36:44
mcgrew@famvid.com http://theFragfest.com
[21] Andy "#20, Bert Halligan: 'But Andy you even admitted youself that you were exagerating with the 5 min loading times in the last thread.'  Possibly. I never timed it"

If you're going to talk about measurements, you had damned well better measure. Does it take five minutes or doesn't it?

If you can't be bothered to t,me something, then don't report the times.

"I was right to say that loading times are excessive"

Perhaps, but you were wrong to say they were five minutes.
#33 by "Jeremy"
2000-09-04 17:53:19
jnthornh@eos.ncsu.edu
Spin spin spin... did you actually even read these reviewer responses Andy?

People "corroborated" Andy's argument with statements such as:
<quote>the game took about 30-60 seconds to load.</quote>
That is right in line with Monolith's statement for a relatively low-end machine isn't it? (Celeron 433)  How does this support you at all?

Next:
<quote>The load times were slightly longer than you'd see in other games. On average, they took about a minute and a half.</quote>
Sounds a bit high, doesn't it?  Well this fellow's intro paragraph in his review states that:
<quote>Now, I've never been a big fan of the LithTech engine... Maybe I was biased going into the game</quote>
If a reviewer tells me he is biased in the first paragraph of his review, I'm not going to take his statements on that issue as fact.  Even though his review makes Sanity sound truly awful, he somehow forgot to mention the "excessive" loading times when slamming the game.  Of course, he suddenly remembered when Andy mentioned it to him...

Next:
<quote>Loading a level on my PC can take up to 30 seconds I guess. It takes a bit longer than other games that's for sure.</quote>
Oh... my god... <i>up to</i> 30 seconds... not only well within the range Monolith gave, but that surely doesn't seem excessive to me (p3 600).  Taking "a bit longer" doesn't sound like a horrible technical problem; it sounds like new tech and more content.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it take Quake3 "a bit longer" to load than it did Quake2?

The next fellow admitted he didn't know how long it took to load, so I don't understand why Andy posted his response at all.

Of course, <b>none of these reviewers said a thing about load times when they reviewed the game!</b>  Andy saw fit to dock the game %20 for a performance issue on his <i>under spec</i> machine, yet the reviewers with proper systems didn't find this "issue" important enough to warrant any comment at all.

What's your point Andy?  That only <i>one other reviewer</i> of those you contacted (who is by his own admission <i>biased</i> against Lithtech) reports loading times outside of the range Monolith specified?

If anything, these statements undermine your argument, not support it.

Jeremy
--
Despite your efforts to be a romantic hero, you will gradually evolve into a postmodern plot device. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "superion"
2000-09-04 18:46:11
aren't breast implants immoral?
#35 by "deadlock"
2000-09-04 18:52:39
deadlock@eircom.net
man, if andy farted some of you blokes would take issue with it! so he's defending his review, which is, after all, just his opinion. big deal.

in andy's opinion, the load times are excessively long. that doesn't make it a fact. he's also noticed some discrepency between load times and processor speed, pointed it out and asked for an explanation. why is he getting so much flak ?

sometimes i think some of you people just come here for a flame war - George Broussard springs to mind; that bloke's post are almost always irrelevant and inflammatory these days. at least Warren and Jason are civilised enough to converse intelligently and patiently with andy.

and someone did point out that the lightmaps (which seem to cause a large part of the load times) could be dumped out to disk after the first time they are generated, thus reducing the load time in the future. why do they have to be generated at all ? surely the lightmap is going to remain static and could have been generated when the level was originally compiled, thus avoiding any inconvenience to the end-user.

that's another thing. why do gamers suffer so much of this bullshit anyway ? they always seem prepared to make do with shitty load times, arcane driver configs etc., just for a 'complete' experience. this is something which no other consumer would put up with. no-one would put up with a coffee-maker that takes ten hours to make a cup of excellent coffee. they'd settle for five-minute piss-poor shite first.

fuck that shit. conspiracy theories are the new religion of the stupid ! ATR.

deadlock
#36 by "ynohtnA"
2000-09-04 19:09:25
ynohtna@ynohtna.org http://www.ynohtna.org/
<b>#34</b> "superion" wrote...
<QUOTE>aren't breast implants immoral? </QUOTE>
Mine are very moral, and can often be heard muttering disapprovingly when I carouse.

...

Back on topic, I timed a fresh install of the Sanity demo last night and it took 62 seconds to load the first level (the headquarters) on a Celeron 466, 512MB RAM, 7200rpm scsi drive.

In my experience this is on a par with loads by Deus Ex, but there is a perceptual difference at work. Deus Ex is a slower, moodier game and a minutes respite gives time to ruminate on plot points, and plan strategies.

Whilst fun, Sanity is not a very intellectual game and so I spent the loading periods staring vacantly at a progress bar wondering just how crap the next piece of Ice-T gameus-interruptus wit will be.

Summary: I found the loading times in the Sanity demo to be excessive, especially in conjunction with the instant-death scenarios meted out if one accidentally (ahem) smurfed a civilian.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#37 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-09-04 19:12:47
appliedavoidanc@triton.net
<b>#27</b> "Flamethrower" wrote this stuff"
<QUOTE>Best bit of Deus Ex so far: a guard with the tranquiliser handmounted crossbow. I ducked out of the way after firing as he staggers towards the alarm, puts his hand out, but collapses. Then I did it again, and again he fell at the button. Then a third time.
</QUOTE>

Is that where you find the first ambrosia canister, at the underground helipad? That's also the only level where I noticed guards being aware of dead or unconcious guards on the floor.

As far as the review bit, I thought the origianl review was fine as it was. The followup thread is overkill. I understand why, but I don't think it was necessary.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "Daniel Erat"
2000-09-04 19:12:55
erat@cats.ucsc.edu http://prtr-13.ucsc.edu/~erat/
So... um... Is the delay coming from loading the game's content, or generating the lightmaps?

If it's the former, then no problem; Deus Ex takes a long time to load and save on my computer as well, I assume because of all of the objects in each level.

But if it's the latter, as I've seen a couple of people indicate might be the case (including Andy, in the initial review), why not just precalculate the lightmaps and store them in the level files, like just about every other 3D engine seems to do?  And why keep blaming the load times on the abundance of content in the game?  I could be wrong, but I don't see why the amount of time it takes to generate a lightmap for a level has anything to do with the number of objects lying around, rather than just the size and complexity of the level, the detail of the lightmap, and the number of lights.

It's been a while since I played the demo on my minimum-spec system, but I don't remember the load times being too bad (apart from in that goddamn "puzzle" with all the lasers... Designers who add segments like that should get their game-making licenses revoked).  I'm getting curious about the cause of the problems that some people are having.  Anyone mind stating which phase of the loading process is taking so long?
#39 by "PiRaMidA"
2000-09-04 19:19:53
piramida@agsm.net http://www.agsm.net
disclaimer: you can safely skip this post, it is about Sanity loading times.

1. I think loading times mainly depend on the speed of hard drive, then processor speed and then memory quality (assuming memory is enough to hold whatever is being loaded). However, none of the reviewers mentions his/her harddrive. Also, none of them exactly measures the loading times, it's just some post-factum approximation which may be way off. So, the fact that reported loading times are not strictly dependant on processor speed is not much of a surprise.

2. Readers can compare their machine to the one Andy was using and draw their own conclusions on loading times. Andy should have measured the exact loading times , and he should have specified what hard drive he was using and when he defragmented it last time, to be absolutely clear about what caused the loading delays. But, I don't think I have seen any review which would include that information, they are all subjective and give reviewers impression, it's not benchmarking of any sort, so when reviewer says that the game's graphics sucked he does not have to give quantitive description of exactly how much graphics sucked. Same with loading times, they sucked for Andy, period.

3. I don't understand what the discussion is about, I can see why Jason would want to defend Sanity and point out inaccuracies in Andy's review, but everyone else - come on. For me, the review only suggested that the game may take a while to load and I may want to defrag my hd before installing it, no big deal if it is worth it.

Yeah, lame post, but second thread which goes on and on around 233-300 difference is even lamer. Know what, the difference is small. It is not more than two times, even under worst conditions. 5 minutes or 1.5 minutes, no difference, it's still a long time to sit and look at loading screen, and Andy pointed out this problem. It would be much more interesting to see which harddrive Andy used. Sanity sounds like a good game and that's about all I needed to know from the review; not purchasing the game only based on the long loading times it very stupid anyway.

Oh, and I really think that the follow-up was unnecessary, it did not help anything. Andy should not be defending his review, maybe just move the comp description up to satisfy the nitpickers, and that's it, let it die, please...<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#40 by "Daniel Erat"
2000-09-04 19:27:56
erat@cats.ucsc.edu http://prtr-13.ucsc.edu/~erat/
<b>#37, VeeSPIKE:</b>
<quote>Is that where you find the first ambrosia canister, at the underground helipad? That's also the only level where I noticed guards being aware of dead or unconcious guards on the floor.</quote>

Yeah, I've been sorta bummed out about that as well.  At the same time, though, since the game insists that you remove all of the items that a body contains before you pick it up (including bulky assault rifles and shotguns, LAMs when you're already carrying the maximum of 10, etc.), I suppose it's for the best.

While we're talking about Deus Ex, I have a question.  Will the game will give me a different ending depending on the number of people I kill while going through it?  I was originally trying to go through it without killing anyone, but I gave up on that around the halfway point.  The game doesn't seem to give enough non-lethal ammunition for that playing style, so now I've resorted to running everyone through with my light saber.  Oh well.
#41 by "flamethrower"
2000-09-04 19:28:37
flamethrower@barrysworld.com http://flamethrower.evilavatar.com
<b>#38</b> "Daniel Erat"

<QUOTE>Deus Ex takes a long time to load and save on my computer as well, I assume because of all of the objects in each level. </QUOTE>

These saved games bounce between 10 and 20 megs each, mind.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-09-04 19:37:23
appliedavoidanc@triton.net
<b>#40</b> "Daniel Erat" wrote this stuff"
<QUOTE>While we're talking about Deus Ex, I have a question. Will the game will give me a different ending depending on the number of people I kill while going through it? I was originally trying to go through it without killing anyone, but I gave up on that around the halfway point. The game doesn't seem to give enough non-lethal ammunition for that playing style, so now I've resorted to running everyone through with my light saber. Oh well. </QUOTE>

There are four endings in the game, as I understand. Three of them are determined by choices you make very late in the game (trying not to spoil it.) The fourth I have not been able to get to yet. I do not know where the plot branch is that gets to that ending.

As far as killing/not killing, it sometimes affects NPC reactions in the current level, but I noticed no difference over the long haul. And the baton has unlimited ammo, it just sucks in a firefight.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#43 by "Paul"
2000-09-04 20:04:37
paul@paulbullman.com http://www.paulbullman.com
click, click, click..

what's that the sound of? more hits coming to meejahor.com for practically no reason.

i often wonder if andy puts on his ralph nader mask every time he writes an article.

sometimes i fashion the idea that andy write stories just to attack someone, so it looks like andy knows what he's talking about.

i'm not sure if sanity is this way, but deus ex took over 7 minutes to load the first level on my p3 450 128mb. 7 minutes!! i took the advice of a planetcrap reader, and defragged my hardrive. after that, it took maybe 20 to 30 seconds.

instead of going around complaining left and right about the load time, i did a bit of work, and some one pointed me in the right direction. it was my fault it loaded slowly, not Ion's.

like i've said before, andy, you're computer is severely under spec. Using your computer as a bookmark of problems with sanity is crazy. The other reviews you speak of, i can't explain, because i'm not sure of their situations.

there comes a point where a write must stop a topic and move on. when will you be moving on?

- Paul
#44 by "G-Man"
2000-09-04 20:18:39
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
<b>#35</b> "deadlock" wrote...
<QUOTE>in andy's opinion, the load times are excessively long. that doesn't make it a fact. he's also noticed some discrepency between load times and processor speed, pointed it out and asked for an explanation. why is he getting so much flak ?</QUOTE>
Because he refuses to accept the explanations he is given. Andy is too righteous for that.

<b>#38</b> "Daniel Erat" wrote...
<QUOTE>But if it's the latter, as I've seen a couple of people indicate might be the case (including Andy, in the initial review), why not just precalculate the lightmaps and store them in the level files, like just about every other 3D engine seems to do? </QUOTE>
I'm pretty sure the engine programmers know what they are doing.

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "Iazu"
2000-09-04 21:06:02
iazu@hotmail.com
As far as Deus Ex goes, it doesn't matter either way if you kill people or knock them out. From what I've been able to tell, the game makes no distinction between a knocked out guard and a dead body :\ The only way to get a totally non lethal reaction from everyone in the game is to basically leave everyone untouched.
#46 by "Iazu"
2000-09-04 21:06:36
iazu@hotmail.com
As far as Deus Ex goes, it doesn't matter either way if you kill people or knock them out. From what I've been able to tell, the game makes no distinction between a knocked out guard and a dead body :\ The only way to get a totally non lethal reaction from everyone in the game is to basically leave everyone untouched.
#47 by "Iazu"
2000-09-04 21:06:48
iazu@hotmail.com
As far as Deus Ex goes, it doesn't matter either way if you kill people or knock them out. From what I've been able to tell, the game makes no distinction between a knocked out guard and a dead body :\ The only way to get a totally non lethal reaction from everyone in the game is to basically leave everyone untouched.
#48 by "Iazu"
2000-09-04 21:07:38
iazu@hotmail.com
Grrr, sorry about that, that's what I get for trying to post from the webpage at work :(
#49 by "Zarathustrian"
2000-09-04 21:09:31
tarbour@canada.com http://powered.at/stooges
<b>#48</b> "Iazu" wrote...
<QUOTE>Grrr, sorry about that, that's what I get for trying to post from the webpage at work :( </QUOTE>

Uh huh... hehe :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#50 by "Jeremy"
2000-09-04 21:14:49
jnthornh@eos.ncsu.edu
I honestly didn't take much issue with Andy's review itself.  If he wants to dock Sanity 2 points for slow loading on his under-spec machine, then it's his right; I don't happen to <i>agree</i> with that, but then it's not my review.

What I personally am most frustrated by is his insistance that slow loading on his machine is somehow indicative of slow loading on <i>every</i> machine, and comments in the original thread which implied that the loading times were a "major issue" that Monolith was trying to cover up.

Since this judgement was based primarilly on his own experience, I tend to think it was an extreme leap in logic.

Had he simply stuck with what he said in the review, I would have made my one post disagreeing with his judgement and let it rest.  But he keeps trying to cry "conspiracy" and create an issue out of something he hasn't researched properly.

C'mon Andy, give Ockaam's (sp?) Razor a try here.  <i>Think</i> about it!  Isn't it more likely that your under-spec machine has issues which cause Sanity to take several minutes to load?

Until you've done more research, that would seem to be the logical conclusion.

Jeremy
--
Despite your efforts to be a romantic hero, you will gradually evolve into a postmodern plot device. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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