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Bigger and worse
December 6th 2000, 11:08 CET by Andy

ION Storm's Austin studio once again puts Romero and his gang to shame...

The new Deus Ex patch released today is not so much a patch as an add-on, in the respectable tradition of Id's CTF and Valve's TFC.

Weighing in at a large but reasonable 36Mb, it offers some bug fixes, multiplayer support (the original game was single-player only) and five new maps.

Not bad when you compare it to the Daikatana patches...

Depending on where they live, Daikatana players have to download a frankly disgraceful 90Mb, the size of the Spanish patch. For the UK it's 40Mb. German and French players need 50Mb and 60Mb respectively. That's for bug fixes and minor gameplay enhancements.

Extra maps have been released, but they're another 18Mb download.

So...

Deus Ex multiplayer, bug fixes and maps = 36Mb.

Daikatana bug fixes and maps = up to 108Mb.

Why bother reporting this here? To hopefully embarrass other companies into keeping their patches down to a reasonable size.

Releasing a bug-infested game is one thing, but 108Mb patches are ridiculous. Warez versions of games are generally cut down to less than that, and it's pretty obvious what's going to happen if people can download 'full' new games that are smaller than the patches for old ones.
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#1 by "keefer"
2000-12-06 11:12:32
keefer+crap@tzone.logicalalt.com
One in my life I must do it.  Please allow me that much.
#2 by "RyslinANDIndigo"
2000-12-06 11:22:31
ryslinmoon@yahoo.com
geeze..

case of thinking everyone has a t-3 again
#3 by "keefer"
2000-12-06 11:26:05
keefer+crap@tzone.logicalalt.com
Now that I've got my one moment of idiodicy out of the way, how many people are actually familiar with patching programs and how they work?  I've not played and have no intention of playing Daikatana, so this doesn't affect me directly.  Most patching programs include some kind of check that your old file is legit, the patching information, then some kind of check that all went well.  Depending on the algorithms involved, or if the data completely changed (rewrite of map compiler?  I dunno), it would be easy for the patch to be larger than the original file.  Then if you ship a game like Daikatana (or Sin, for that matter), you wind up needing to patch a *lot* of stuff.

It would seem to me that the patching programs should be rather like compression...  Sometimes you try a variety of schemes, and sometimes the end result is larger than what you started with.  Well, you don't keep the compressed version in that case, you save the original file raw.  I could easily see a situation where a badly-thought-out patching program could get way more than double the size of the original file (store offset, old byte, new byte, checksum of everything, for EVERY change), not to mention possibly inefficient file writing processes.

So, while we can blame the game companies for writing crap that needs to be patched to begin with (it's rather inevitable anyway, it's gonna happen), there may also be blame to spread to the patch software as well.

But it's all just speculation on my part.  I've never used or analyzed a patching program.
#4 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-06 11:48:42
pianist@canada.com
FOUIRTH POSLT!!!!!!!!!!
#5 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 11:51:42
ikhier@wish.net
118 mb?

That's the size for a complete addon.
#6 by "Kallisti"
2000-12-06 14:03:46
kallisti@uswest.net
Those without broadband in the Naughties (00's) are living in the new ghetto. Deal.

It is not like it is _impossible_ to download 118 megs on a modem. With a decent file resuming program, like GetRight or whatnot, it is a relatively painless procedure. Sure, it takes awhile. Deal.

I'm not advocating the existence of large patches- but if it takes 118 megs to make Daikatana playable, well, that's what it takes. Would be nice if it was offered on CD for a modest fee; but I don't see that they are obligated to make it easily available. It did take four years for the game to come out. It won't take another four years to download 118 megs. Unless you're on AOL, maybe.

Seems as though there are two points of ridiculousness here; that of Daikatana itself, and the size of the patch. I would imagine that if Daikatana were a kick-ass game with kick-ass sales, the patch would be available on CD for free, no hu-hu. I'm pleased that the people who bought Daikatana get a patch at all. Does this 118 megs actually, you know, fix the game?
#7 by "JamSandwich"
2000-12-06 14:12:57
jmason@rhino.nildram.co.uk
Those without broadband in the Naughties (00's) are living in the new ghetto. Deal.


Thank you, my American friend.

*sigh* :)
#8 by "Kallisti"
2000-12-06 14:17:33
kallisti@uswest.net
Hey! I'm not in charge of the infrastructure!!!!

Don't kill the messenger.
#9 by "Therac"
2000-12-06 14:51:58
zenfnord@hotmail.com
That would be 108, not 118.
#10 by "Andy"
2000-12-06 14:58:12
andy@meejahor.com
#9: Thanks. I don't think I've posted one story this week without some stupid typo or mistake.
#11 by "Barneyque"
2000-12-06 15:02:50
barneyque@hotmail.com
Big game patches are killing the game networks.  This is why all the big network fan page hosting sites are going down.

Lets add one more item to the list of things Romero killed.

(j/k)
#12 by "Llewrend"
2000-12-06 15:51:31
lordartos@yahoo.com
Did someone say Romero?

http://www.megatokyo.com/
#13 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 16:20:41
ikhier@wish.net
Did someone say Tokyo?

www.godzilla.com
#14 by "Therac"
2000-12-06 16:32:40
zenfnord@hotmail.com
Did someone say Godzilla?

http://www.mechagodzilla.com/
#15 by "palutke"
2000-12-06 16:54:37
kcpalutke@tasc.com
#6 -

When the first patch for Sin was released you could email Activision and they'd send you a copy on CD.  For free.  Mine came about a week after I asked for it (with a _handwritten_ address label!).  It was on a CD full of demos for other games, so they probably called it a marketing expense or something . . .
#16 by "mortis"
2000-12-06 17:08:59
mortis@goddamnindependent.com
Did someone say...

bah, anyway, here's the big question:  has anyone else actually downloaded the patch and INSTALLED IT?!?  you think the SIZE of the thing is bad...OMFG, if you need something to help burn-in a new computer, try installing DK and patching it.  christ, it took like *AN HOUR AND A HALF*, LITERALLY!  i've patched NUMEROUS games, but this was OUTRAGEOUS!  first i thought that maybe they need to make a DK "Gold Edition" and just incorporate this patch into it with the new multiplayer maps.  When i came to my senses, however, i found that "Add/Remove Programs" was a better solution.

somewhat related note:  participants of the "Live & Let Daikatana" tourney sponsored by *cough* MPlayer *retch* have YET to recieve their prizes...and the tourney was in August.
ok, still a reasonable amount of time, except for the fact that Mplayer's website for said tourney states that "Prizes will be fulfilled within four-to-six weeks after the end of the Tournament."  oops...
 URL:
http://www.planetdaikatana.com/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=32858&forum_id=120&Topic_Title=WHERE+ARE+OUR+PRIZES+FROM+THE+DK+Tourney%3F%3F%3F%&forum_title=Daikatana&M=0&S=True

^M^
#17 by "webrunner"
2000-12-06 17:46:06
046105s@acadiau.ca
I *was* going to find the Bob the Angry Flower strip about mechagodzilla but after a few minutes I remembered how hard it is to find a specific strip in the Angry Flower archives, so I gave up on that.
#18 by "webrunner"
2000-12-06 17:53:34
046105s@acadiau.ca
Oh, it looks like I found it after all.

Did somebody say Mechagodzilla?
http://www.angryflower.com/myride.gif
#19 by "Skunk"
2000-12-06 18:14:14
skunk@gameplay.com
Personally what I think is almost as (if not more) disgraceful is the bizzare attitude developers have to demo sizes these days.  The best recent example of this is the Team Arena demo - after 121 MB you get one new map and 3 new game modes.  Admitedly they have to include the Q3 engine as well (it was a standalone demo) but 121 MB for all that..?

Turns out a large amount of the file was music (hardly essential) and - get this - videoclips.  If you look closely at the Team Arena demo menu system almost every page has long detailed looping video clips - I opened up the pk3 file and discovered over 30 MB of the contents was video!

Seems to me like a case of iD desperately trying to cover what was essentially a poor attempt at a Q3 mod with some expensive looking presentation.  You can't polish a turd...
#20 by "webrunner"
2000-12-06 18:41:15
046105s@acadiau.ca
I think that the Escape from Monkey Island demo had a good idea- releasing several ones, one with video, one without, etc...
#21 by "BabiG"
2000-12-06 19:04:45
yankeebabu@india.com
I've always hated demo bloat, even after I got off the modem...stuff like the Team Arena demo that where a fourth of the material is promo crap, or companies that include huge intro videos of their logo.

Yea, the lucas arts adventure teams have the right idea, Grim Fandango was like that too, with a reasonable base game (I think it was about 20 megs) and then add-ons for voice and movies and whatnot which if you got the whole thing ended up being 101 megs...so both broadband and modem users could get a taste, even though the demo was huge (in its time...after Kingpin it seems 100+ meg demos are common now). There've been plenty of games when I was on a modem that I've simply not bothered with just cause their demo was too big to reasonably get...dues ex was almost an example of this, but luckily I got the demo on a magazine CD...CGSP+ actually (or CGM whatever).
#22 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 20:30:59
warren@epicgames.com
BabiG (#21):
I've always hated demo bloat, even after I got off the modem...stuff like the Team Arena demo that where a fourth of the material is promo crap, or companies that include huge intro videos of their logo.

Well, ever since I got a cable modem I've personally stopped caring about file sizes.  120 MB?  That doesn't mean anything to me ... but I realize it means something to people overseas and so on ...

I think demos like Q3:TA SHOULD come in 2 flavors ... low and high bandwidth.  Be nice and have a version with the videos and stuff stripped out if people don't want to see them ... Or replace them with 1 frame versions if the engine needs them to be there.  Wouldn't take much more effort ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#23 by "bago"
2000-12-06 21:02:40
manga_rando@hotmail.com
woohoo! Bob the angry flower rules!

And skunk, when you're trying to show off a new UI, you show off all the features, including the video part.
#24 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-06 21:47:06
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
c00l 100 megs for a patch

John you are DUH BEST
#25 by "Napoleon"
2000-12-06 22:51:47
nap@softhome.net
Uh? Hello? Just as I happen to have some pretty fast cable access doesn't mean everybody in Europe has that. Most are still on modems, and unlike you yanks, we actually have to PAY for every second we're online, so yes, 108 mb patches mean a LOT to us europeans.
#26 by "Emjoi"
2000-12-06 23:12:22
greg@seis.com.au
Personally, I'd like demos and patches capped at 100MB.... the size of a Zip disk.  Then I can leach it at work.  The moment it hits 101MB, I leave it alone.

Out of curiousity, is there anyone at all playing Daikatana online?
#27 by "Lucky"
2000-12-06 23:33:47
lucky@planetduke.com
You guys heard of "coverdiscs"? :P
#28 by "superion"
2000-12-06 23:41:52
superion@spacemoose.com
#19, hey while it was brought up, i find this semi-amusing.

what kind of games did Graeme Divine make before joining id? FMV games of course! And what's Team Arena swimming in? FMV. Even in-game framerate destroying fmv video walls. Such design!
#29 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2000-12-07 00:10:37
georgeb@3drealms.com
Andy,

Patch size does NOT denote competence.  Jesus man.  Some engines work differently and there are technical reasons why they are larger or smaller.  Get over it.

Patch content is a viable argument, but size is not.
#30 by "mcorleone"
2000-12-07 00:42:18
kurin6@home.com
Wow.

Warren Spector is a design genius.  What a phenomenal and exhilirating read!

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20001206/spector_01.htm

All of his "Role-playing rules" are what I would have thought of.  Perhaps this is why I loved Deus Ex so much.  

EVERY NEW DESIGNER, READ THIS AND UNDERSTAND IT!!!
#31 by "EvilivE"
2000-12-07 00:56:19
satanas@worldmailer.com
Patch size does NOT denote competence. Jesus man. Some engines work differently and there are technical reasons why they are larger or smaller. Get over it.


Usually a 100mb patch means that A LOT of the game wasn't shipped with the cd.  yeah engines work differently, but I don't ever remember a 100mb patch for any other Quake 2 games.  If a patch is that big, and it ins't adding some huge new feature to the game than it is a good example of compentency.  Or lack of compentency.
#32 by "mcorleone"
2000-12-07 00:57:37
kurin6@home.com
Further to my above post, where he mentions "Don't use non-avoidable bad events that happen to the Character", do you know how UTTERLY I HATE things like getting knocked out unavoidably in Half-Life and having to start again weaponless?  

REWARD me for saving my ammo on the good weapons.  Don't take away all of what I saved!  That is the single biggest thing that I hate about HL.
#33 by "Iazu"
2000-12-07 01:10:26
iazu@hotmail.com
mcorleone#32
Further to my above post, where he mentions "Don't use non-avoidable bad events that happen to the Character", do you know how UTTERLY I HATE things like getting knocked out unavoidably in Half-Life and having to start again weaponless?

REWARD me for saving my ammo on the good weapons. Don't take away all of what I saved! That is the single biggest thing that I hate about HL.


Well, the same thing happens in Deus Ex, when you're captured about halfway or so into the game. Although at least you get all your weapons and ammo back if you take the time to. (I agree though, Deus Ex is a great game, the capturing part was one of the only bad points about it)
#34 by "BabiG"
2000-12-07 01:23:56
yankeebabu@india.com
WarrenMarshall (#22):

Well, ever since I got a cable modem I've personally stopped caring about file sizes. 120 MB? That doesn't mean anything to me ... but I realize it means something to people overseas and so on ...


In a way I do the same thing...When I was on a modem, when I saw a big demo I would say 'crap!' and then resign my self to not getting the demo, but now I say 'crap!' and then get the demo anyway. =) I spent too long on a modem to ignore it though, I have to object based on principle alone. I don't think its a good reflection on a developer to make their potential customers waste hours of their time downloading stuff 80% of the users won't care about.
#35 by "None1a"
2000-12-07 01:42:39
none1a@home.com
Patch size does NOT denote competence. Jesus man. Some engines work differently and there are technical reasons why they are larger or smaller. Get over it.


You can replace all of the quake2 engines files in well under 100MB. A patch that large would mean a number of maps had to be changed, one would hope that when a game ships the maps would at lest be in a working state (of course remembering the talk about Daikatana that wasn't the way things turned out).
#36 by "Kallisti"
2000-12-07 02:21:07
kallisti@uswest.net
Are we gonna talk about the content of the Deus Ex multiplayer patch now????

Note: No Mplayer code involved with it. Big thumbs up there.
#37 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-07 02:34:48
pianist@canada.com
#33, I seem remember Warren Spector saying he was not happy about having to do that or something.... why he "had to" is a different question...

or something.
#38 by "JeffD"
2000-12-07 03:02:41
jefdaley@microsoft.com

Well, the same thing happens in Deus Ex, when you're captured about halfway or so into the game. Although at least you get all your weapons and ammo back if you take the time to. (I agree though, Deus Ex is a great game, the capturing part was one of the only bad points about it)


Actually, the fact that you could get your weapons back was what made this tolerable and even enjoyable.

Stripping the player of all equipment is an old trick, dating back to P&P RPGs.  What do you do when the PCs are so buffed with magical equipment and weapons that they literally sneeze through a battle with dragons and liches?  Strip away all that equipment.  SSI did this at the opening of Curse of the Azure Bonds.  Half Life did this about 2/3 of the way through the game.

The premise is that you're now forced to survive via the skills you've gained, rather than through your massive firepower.

Taking away weapons (the old capture technique) is a substitute for poor game design.

The rate at which equipment is granted to the player should be paced so that, with some wisdom and foresight, the player is slightly ahead of the game (a few clips in reserve).  If your player has grown too powerful for the game to be a challenge, then you need to go back and re-pace your game -- either create better enemies, or lower the rate at which the player gets weapons.  

The reason I found the Deus Ex challenge tolerable is because it accomplished the stated "goal" -- to forc the player to survive on wits and skill, rather than sheer firepower -- without taking away the rewards.  For perhaps half an hour, you have to creep and sneak your way around, using stealth.  I found it tense, and exciting, and not too much of a burden.  Also, it wasn't all that difficult to get my equipment back, so all in all the scenario was a success.

Now that I've got my one moment of idiodicy out of the way, how many people are actually familiar with patching programs and how they work?


Me.  ;)  I work on it for a living.

Patching programs can be as simple as an installshield script that simply overwrites the "patched" files in a specified directory, regardless of versioning or things like that.  In this case, you have to ship *every* file that's been replaced.  These patches tend to be big, especially when you have to replace level data (the compiled maps are usually the largest part of an FPS, the engine itself tends to be relatively small).

Now, up a step you have a patch that has a .ini file of some sort that contains the version numbers of the files to be patched.... if a file already has said version number (through the application of a previous patch or hotfix), then it isn't updated.  This works best if you download a small pre-patch program that scans the system for files, determines which ones need to be replaced, and then downloads a package of the necessary files.  

There's also bit-level patching, but this is harder than any others and usually not worth the time and effort for something as small as a game (as opposed to patching an operating system)

Allthough these days, there are games out there who have a bigger full-install footprint than Windows 2000 Server.... and people accuse *us* of bloatware.  ;)

=JD
#39 by "Quicken"
2000-12-07 03:39:29
geoffrey@access.com.au

Allthough these days, there are games out there who have a bigger full-install footprint than Windows 2000 Server


Baldur's gate 2 comes to mind. Great game. Huge install and gigantic demo. But then the demo was clearly made for magazine CDs and suchlike. And with games you generally want stuff happening fast so clearly all those things have to go onto the hard driver rather than get dragged off a CD. So it's justified. Windows you just want to do the stuff you take for granted .5 seconds after install ;)
#40 by "JeffD"
2000-12-07 04:03:47
jefdaley@microsoft.com

Windows you just want to do the stuff you take for granted .5 seconds after install ;)


Precisely.  There's just a *lot* that people take for granted.
#41 by "Quicken"
2000-12-07 07:05:59
geoffrey@access.com.au
Indeed. Thus the winky smiley :)
#42 by "Needle"
2000-12-07 08:18:40
mrklp@hotmail.com
[#19] Skunk,

Seems to me like a case of iD desperately trying to cover what was essentially a poor attempt at a Q3 mod with some expensive looking presentation. You can't polish a turd ...  


Actually, you can -- but first you have to bronze it.  Doesn't matter anyways because in the end, you still wind up with nothing more than an expensive piece of shit.
#43 by "Skunk"
2000-12-07 13:26:49
skunk@gameplay.com
And skunk, when you're trying to show off a new UI, you show off all the features, including the video part.


Fair point - but who actually cares about the new UI anyway?  As far as I'm aware the majority of people downloading the TA demo were in it for the game - not the pretty menus...

Forcing modem users to download a demo of which 25% is video stuff is not a good thing to do.  The ideal solution would have been something like that Monkey Island demo where there's a 'lite' install for modem users and a chunky one for the cable guys.  The video in the UI didn't even add anything - half the time it was running in the background behind the menus where you wouldn't notice it unless you looked really carefully...
#44 by "Therac"
2000-12-07 18:15:05
zenfnord@hotmail.com
Found this on Id's site :

We split Quake Shareware into files that will fit on 1.44 mb floppies so you can copy each file to a disk for backup purposes, or to give to a friend who doesn't have internet access (just in case you need someone to beat on in deathmatch). All seven disks are required to install Quake.


What a difference a few years, a bit of bandwidth, and complete disrespect for your users makes.
#45 by "bago"
2000-12-07 21:24:16
manga_rando@hotmail.com
Uhm.. Hi. It's an online game. Online games are played by people with NET CONNECTS! And if they are addicts, they get LOTS OF BANDWIDTH. Target audience distrubition problem solved.
#46 by "Darkseid"
2000-12-08 01:27:41
Darkseid-d@planetcrap.com
of course .. no one would do things like change the moviesin Ta for porn ....


nobody ....


isnt that right Taskmaster......

Ds
#47 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-08 04:59:44
warren@epicgames.com
Darkseid (#46):
of course .. no one would do things like change the moviesin Ta for porn ....


nobody ....


isnt that right Taskmaster......


I suggested that it was possible.  Didn't say I did it.  :P

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#48 by "None1a"
2000-12-09 21:46:31
none1a@home.com
Every one bitching about long download times for large patches and demos check this out http://www.fileplanet.com/index.asp?page=cdrom
#49 by "DaemonNite"
2000-12-09 23:09:49
vdidra@pepperdine.edu
Honestly, the Deus Ex "patch" was hardly that.  There were a few bugs that it fixed, minor ones at best.  The
addition of multiplayer was a complete add on really.  It wasn't promised in the original version, and I see it in
the same light as the UT bonus pack.  I would say if they had offered a patch to fix the actual bugs, it probably
would have weighed in around 5 megs, the size of DeusEx.u.  The additional stuff consisted of extra maps, and
.u's necessary for adding MP.

Whether they call it a patch or not, I'm considering it a full fledged add on, and a good one at that.  Thanks
guys.

Daemon Nite
#50 by "Craig"
2000-12-10 04:01:09
craigl@globalnet.co.uk
test<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
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