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T O P I C
No unofficial Duke shots?
January 21st 2001, 06:36 CET by Andy

As you've probably heard already, 3D Realms may try to stop reviewers from using unofficial DNF screenshots. Otherwise, they wouldn't be thinking about suing them, would they?

This story has been neatly dodged by 3D Realms, which is partly my own fault due to some poor wording in an article I wrote. To set the record straight, there has been no official 'announcement', just some info provided by George Broussard during a PlanetCrap chat a few days ago.

But the fact remains that 3D Realms is considering how to stop reviewers from taking their own DNF screenshots, possibly by crippling the game or using a license agreement.

And according to George, he hasn't ruled out taking legal action against reviewers who break the rules.

Asked if 3DR "would sue a publication if they didn't use official DNF shots in a review", he replied:

Not sure. We only plan to release a handful and would prefer those were used like in the Duke 3D reviews. We really don't want web guys finishing the game on day one and posting 40 shots of DNF in a review. So, we'll have to think about that one a bit.

As was pointed out during the discussion here the other night, one potential problem with forcing any publication to only use official shots is that sometimes those shots don't accurately represent the game.

For instance, I noticed this comment over on Glide Underground, a site which also picked up on George's comments:

I for one want to show the shots that I as a reviewer saw rather than stuff that looks like nothing like the game. We saw one case of this already -- Trespasser preview screens, released by Dreamworks, looked nothing like the final game and yet were still placed on the shipping box.

Consider, also, the screenshots for Giants. If only official screenshots had been used by people reviewing that game, they'd have included all of the gore and much-touted nudity, even though these features were toned down at the last minute.

And ironically, a screenshot on the Duke Nukem 3D box -- in my opinion the best screenshot -- featured a level that apparently wasn't even included in the game. I certainly don't remember the level, which has a rather distinctive building, but have a look for yourself.

So of course, this all comes down to a few questions:

Should reviewers, or any other journalists, be prevented from posting their own screenshots of a game? It has been well-argued by now that such a rule would be difficult to enforce, but is it right for a developer to even try enforcing it?

Can we be sure that developers will provide shots that give a true impression of their game, showing both the good and the bad? Do we want to see screenshots that give us a good idea of what we'll be getting for our money, or do we want to see only the best bits, along with features/levels/models/weapons that possibly aren't even in the finished game?

Or if you just don't care about sites being hit with rules like this... why not?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: No unofficial Duke shots?

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#1 by "__try"
2001-01-21 06:42:56
try@woodruffs.com
1st post, in your face anybody with a life!
#2 by "__try"
2001-01-21 06:43:43
try@woodruffs.com
Andy's back, with a vengance!

And this time, it's personal,

Because somebody had to take out the garbage!
#3 by "szcx"
2001-01-21 06:44:01
nedocze@hotmail.com
You may have also possibly heard that Andrew Smith condones the eating of babies.
#4 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 06:46:31
warren@epicgames.com
Well ... I must say, Andy going on the offensive wasn't quite what I expected.  Of course, no hint of "I was wrong" or "I'm sorry".

This should be good ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#5 by "szcx"
2001-01-21 06:48:16
nedocze@hotmail.com
Can we be sure that developers will provide shots that give a true impression of their game, showing both the good and the bad?

How can we be sure that reviewers don't have an agenda against the developer by purposely taking bad shots?  If 3D Realms provided screenshots that are not representative of the game, reviewers should point that out.  It works for film reviews, doesn't it?
#6 by "__try"
2001-01-21 06:51:50
try@woodruffs.com
Note my IP address.  Note my email address.  If you have an IQ >=10, it would take you about 3 minutes to get me on the phone (if, of course, I answered my phone...).  I'll pay the next poster $10,000 and give them my car (a focus, I'm not a game developer) if 100 self-taken D4Ever screenshots don't appear on the web within a day of the release.

This is a Just Plain Stupid topic.  Even if George & co disable screen shots the Mightly Clever Legions out there would figure out a way to bypass the restictions. Like the image on the screen isn't in the video cards memory anyway, duh.  Anybody ever hear about this thing called a "debugger"?

Maybe you need a debugger up your ass, andy.
#7 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 06:53:05
kayin@infinet.com
models suing people who use their pictures in desktop wallpapers... tonight at 11<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#8 by "szcx"
2001-01-21 06:55:22
nedocze@hotmail.com
I'm going to take my digital camera into the theatre tomorrow and take some photographs from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?".  That's okay, isn't it?  I mean, I can't adequately review the film without them.
#9 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 06:57:30
kayin@infinet.com
reviewing a movie and a game are two different grounds. take the visual of a movie and you can still describe the characters, plot, etc...

take away the visual of a game and most of the time you aren't left with much to talk about.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#10 by "szcx"
2001-01-21 07:00:50
nedocze@hotmail.com
Yeah, only a crazy-man would talk about something like, say, gameplay, or AI, or stability, or story, or lack of in-game save.
#11 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:01:35
kayin@infinet.com
i'm a bearded lady.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#12 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:03:23
kayin@infinet.com
you can't tell me that games as an artform can stand up to novels like 198something or flicks like american beauty... they are deeply rooted in visual stimuli. quick, gratifying, no thought required visual stimuli.

and you have to admit gameplay is hella tough to "describe" per se.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#13 by "PD"
2001-01-21 07:05:21
pdwyer@ecn.net.au
Great one Andy, just stretch the truth.

My take on what George was writing about was this.

Apache loves to take screenshots and put them on VE. He thinks he's REALLY good at taking screenshots.

George doesn't. George doesn't like Apache.

So he threatened to take Apache's No 1. claim to fame in order to piss him off.

People will still take screenshots. 3DR just seems to want to have good ones around. Piss them off too much & they'll just make it harder.

<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#14 by "ChrisJohnson"
2001-01-21 07:07:51
cjohnson27@hotmail.com
[Stereotypical Irish Cop Mode]

More of the same folks, move along now, nothing to see here, move along laddie.

[/Stereotypical Irish Cop Mode]

Hell this whole thing has gone from funny to "just plain sad(tm)".
#15 by "szcx"
2001-01-21 07:08:48
nedocze@hotmail.com
and you have to admit gameplay is hella tough to "describe" per se.

But if you give the reviewer free-reign to create his own screenshots it's magically less hella-tough to describe.
#16 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:09:29
kayin@infinet.com
aiy, agreed.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#17 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:10:21
kayin@infinet.com
bad web shots aren't going to be seen by the general public anyway.
they're going to get the usual 3dr promo display at walmart.
end of story.

at the end of the day all this is going to do is drive up planetcrap's hit count and leave a bunch of bruised egos.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#18 by "Glock"
2001-01-21 07:11:52
glock17@tampabay.rr.com
I'll say it again, Andy:  You are an opportunistic cunt.  

You twisted George's words into it being statements as being current or future 3D Realms policy.  

You took the sanctity of this site as a place for gamers and game developers to debate and discuss issues, and threw it completely down the toilet.

3D Realms should have sued your fucking ass for libel and slander.  But it doesn't look like they will do it.

I'll make this clear to you, Andy.  If I have my own software company in the future, and you do to it what you did to George and 3D Realms, I will make your life a living hell.  All it will take is a phone call and a retainer to a UK lawyer.
#19 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2001-01-21 07:16:15
georgeb@3drealms.com
This story has been neatly dodged by 3D Realms, which is partly my own fault due to some poor wording in an article I wrote. To set the record straight, there has been no official 'announcement', just some info provided by George Broussard during a PlanetCrap chat a few days ago.


I expect to see that same announcement on The Register article Andy.

All this is, is a further attempt by Andy to libel and defame our company and this pattern is consistent with his obsessive 3DR bashing topics in the past.

If this incident isn't enough to drive all developers and press people from this site I don't know what it.  Andy particpates in a discussion with you, then quotes it in an article for his own good.  Tell me Andy, how much did you get paid for The Register piece?  Even if it was free, it did further your journalisit carrer, didn't it?

Now, who's gonna pay for all the lost good will we have suffered because of your (now admittedly) incorrect piece on The Register?
#20 by "ChrisJohnson"
2001-01-21 07:16:20
cjohnson27@hotmail.com
<quote>you can't tell me that games as an artform can stand up to novels like 198something or flicks like american beauty... they are deeply rooted in visual stimuli. quick, gratifying, no thought required visual stimuli.</quote>

Yes, no thought at all required in games like Grim Fandango, or Sam and Max Hit the Road, or the Space Bar, or Starship Titanic, or any of the Infocom works, or any of the other Lucas Arts Adventures.

No art or creative flair in Of Light and Darkness, or Myst, or any of the graphically stunning games of the past 10 years.

No though of story needed to get into the plotlines behind the games of the Ultima series, or the Might and Magic series, or any of the hundreds of others that utilize and rely on well thought out plot lines in order to move the story forwards.

Yes, there is no art to game development.  You figured it out.  Much like there was no art to cubism, or expressionism, or dada, or bauhaus, or surrealism, or film, or any of the other art movements and forms out there... until people realized there was art to them after all.
#21 by "PD"
2001-01-21 07:16:30
pdwyer@ecn.net.au
<QUOTE>You took the sanctity of this site as a place for gamers and game developers to debate and discuss issues, and threw it completely down the toilet.</QUOTE>

hear hear<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#22 by "Skeptopotamus"
2001-01-21 07:21:34
gfm@yahoo.com
Andy's comments may be misleading and slightly out of line, but their extremity doesn't change the fact that George Broussard's view on reviewers not taking screenshot is a BAD, BAD idea.  Kind of like limiting book reviewers to using only selected passages to discuss a novel being reviewed.  Its a bad idea there, and a bad idea in the game industry, no matter how many years it was done for previously.

I'm still waiting for George to post a concrete example of one of these bad high gamma floor texture web review shots that we as consumers should be protected against.
#23 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:23:09
kayin@infinet.com
er.. forgot the sarcasm tags. jeeesh. =P

but has sam and max hit the road changed your life? made you look at something differently?
as for infocom, zork was goofball and well thought out, but it didn't add anythign to my life besides entertainment.

now, on hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, you got me there.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#24 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:25:25
warren@epicgames.com
Skeptopotamus (#22):
Andy's comments may be misleading and slightly out of line, but their extremity doesn't change the fact that George Broussard's view on reviewers not taking screenshot is a BAD, BAD idea. Kind of like limiting book reviewers to using only selected passages to discuss a novel being reviewed. Its a bad idea there, and a bad idea in the game industry, no matter how many years it was done for previously.

Why?  Why do you HAVE to show a screenshot?  I've seen lots of reviews talk about problems/crashes/whatever in games and not provide screenshots of these things.  If the final score sucks, and the reviewer bashes the game all throughout the reviewer, using company provided screenshots isn't going to help ... so why not use them?

The only thing I hope to gain from this is the loss of those reviews that come with 50+ screenshots.  4-5 should be PLENTY people.  Save something for me when I actually play the game, OK?

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#25 by "SteveGibson"
2001-01-21 07:25:43
smiles@shugashack.com
*snicker*

as expected, an admission of being wrong surrounded by sniping. what a yutz.
#26 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:26:43
warren@epicgames.com
Kayin (#23):
but has sam and max hit the road changed your life? made you look at something differently?
as for infocom, zork was goofball and well thought out, but it didn't add anythign to my life besides entertainment.

What have 99% of the movies you've seen added to your life?  Or 99% of the paintings you've seen?

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#27 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:27:48
warren@epicgames.com
SteveGibson (#25):
as expected, an admission of being wrong surrounded by sniping. what a yutz.

Not really an admission ... more of an off-handed, softly whispered possibility that he may have worded something badly.

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#28 by "Bracket"
2001-01-21 07:31:43
thebracket@yahoo.com
Do we start voting again? ;-p

Seriously, there are some really bad web reviews out there - and I'd rather that the quality of screenshots was higher. On the other hand, there are some developers (and more so publishers) whom I wouldn't trust not to doctor screenshots. There's nothing wrong with a developer offering a collection of high quality screenshots; but sites should still have the option to take specific ones if there is a point that they wish to make.

Its worth noting that it would be extremely difficult to win a lawsuit asking a reviewer to pull screenshots that are directly relevant to a review, irrespective of any AUP/EULA (reasonable use specifically covers review purposes).

My solution is pretty simple.... I only go to sites that I feel will offer a decent review. Given the current gaming-site meltdown, hopefully there will be fewer rubbish sites anyway!
#29 by "Skeptopotamus"
2001-01-21 07:32:44
gfm@yahoo.com
You ask why  you have to show a screenshot in a review?  Are you the same Warren Marshall that said that screenshots sell games?  Well guess what, screenshots also sell magazines (and ad banner space on web sites).  Given a choice between roughly identical magazines/websites, one which had no screenshots or a handful of developer sanctioned ones, and one which has a lot of screenshots that represent different portions of the game, which would users buy/visit?

If you don't want to see 40 screenshots, you don't have to visit the site or read that magazine, but clearly MANY people do want to see those shots or the reviewers wouldnt go through the effort in the first place.  

I still don't understand the hostility developers have towards this issue in the first place.  I'm STILL waiting for a link that shows me evidence of bad/misreprentative screenshots on a web review (of a fairly reputable website, not JeffK's brother's girlfriend's geocities review site).
#30 by "None1a"
2001-01-21 07:33:51
none1a@home.com
<b>Kayin</b> (#23):
<quote>but has sam and max hit the road changed your life? made you look at something differently?
as for infocom, zork was goofball and well thought out, but it didn't add anythign to my life besides entertainment.
</quote>

Not this again. How much impact has Citizen Kane had on the vast majority of people, how much impact has Stary Night has on the majority of people. Out side of film and art students very little. Art has nothing to do with impact or intention it's how the person looking at it views it, if I think Unreal, Quake, or C&C is art it is because I belive it to be and that's all that matters. <i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#31 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:34:44
kayin@infinet.com
aye, fair shot. try my best to give an example.

nge (evangelion) taught me suicide is selfish and pointless when i was going through the usual "world hates me, might as well die" teenager stage. not asking for pity partys (nor will i hold any) but that series hits you with a deeper understanding of how  humans work... how we throw up barriers to maintain our individuality. like right now, i'm not going to pour out my whole life story (nor would anyone give a damn/listen)... so there's a barrier. even the ones you love never truly take it down completely.

duke nukem 3d?... pool tables and aliens don't mix?

aiy i retract the statement tho, it doesn't apply to all games, or apply to all movies. there are great variations on both ends of the quality spectrum.<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#32 by "Calavera"
2001-01-21 07:36:34
space@iglou.com
As you've probably heard already, Andy may try to continue chasing Red Herrings. Otherwise, why would he post this article?

This story has been poorly written by Andy, which is partly his own fault due to some poor wording in an article he wrote. To set the record straight, there has been no offical 'announcement' by 3D Realms, just the musings of one George Broussard deftly misquoted by Andy a few days ago.

But the fact remains that Any is consider how best to tick of as many Game Developers as possible, possibly by writing libelous articles and getting the posted by The Register.

According to Andy, George Broussard hasn't ruled out getting annoyed at having to respond to Andy's repeated attempts at 'Journalism'.

Asked if Andy had any Ethics, the majority of PlanetCrapper's responded a resounding "NO!".

As was pointed out during the discussion here a few days ago, one potential problem with banning Andy is the obvious lack of content that would result.

For instance, on PlanetCrap's main page 7 out of 10 articles are written by Andy.

"I for one would like to see some articles by other people rather than the 'journalism' by Andy. We saw one case of this already when llamasex wrote 'SomethingAwful.com goes Bye Bye?' which looked nothing like anything by Andy."

Consider, also, the article written by Frain. If only more people would write aticles, then we would have more than just Andy's articles on PlanetCrap.

And, ironically, a screenshot of the Duke Nuem 3D box -- in my opinion a shot that looks vaguely like something that might possibly actually in the game -- features a level that I can't seem to find because I'm chasing a red herring!

So of course, this all comes down to a few questions:

Should Andy stop posting articles about 3D Realms, even though he seems to have some kind of disdain for them? It has been well-argued by now that such a rule would be diffacult to enforce, but is it right to let him continue to post this drivel?

Can we be sure that Andy would adhear to this, even though he seems to want to make 3D Realms look as bad as possible? Do we want to see Andy's article writing stop and retractions posted for writing articles that are simply untrue?!? Will this parody ever end?!?

Or, if you just don't care about this, why did you read this very long post?!?

Calavera
#33 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:40:34
kayin@infinet.com
im not arguing that they are art. stick figures can be art. cantalopes set up to look like somebody's feet and photographed can be art.

im arguing that not all art leaves a mark/lasting impact/etc

hell i just quit. =P /me getting mop ready to clean blood off the planetcrap floor...<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#34 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:41:37
warren@epicgames.com
Kayin (#31):
duke nukem 3d?... pool tables and aliens don't mix?

How about something like Final Fantasy 9 (which I just got through, so that's why I'm using it)?  It's got a great story filled with love, friendship, etc ... I'm sure someone could take something away from that if they tried.

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#35 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:42:12
warren@epicgames.com
Skeptopotamus (#29):
I still don't understand the hostility developers have towards this issue in the first place. I'm STILL waiting for a link that shows me evidence of bad/misreprentative screenshots on a web review (of a fairly reputable website, not JeffK's brother's girlfriend's geocities review site).

Well, I'm going to be brutally honest ... I can't be bothered to go combing the web looking for bad screenshots in Wheel of Time reviews (since that's the game I use as a reference point).

I'm speaking from experience ... you can either choose to believe me or not.  *shrug*

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#36 by "Skeptopotamus"
2001-01-21 07:43:05
gfm@yahoo.com
Here's another poll for the PlanetCrap readers.


Duke Nukem Forever will:  ( ) Be released tomorrow, ( ) Will never be released, ( ) Will switch engines (again) to the Daikatana 2 engine
#37 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:43:44
kayin@infinet.com
aiy, i guess gleaning some "greater effect" from something all comes down to the individual.
i know some people who were deeply touched by redneck rampage... =P<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#38 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2001-01-21 07:44:00
georgeb@3drealms.com
Duke Nukem Forever will: ( ) Be released tomorrow, ( ) Will never be released, ( ) Will switch engines (again) to the Daikatana 2 engine


None of the above.  So now what?
#39 by "Skeptopotamus"
2001-01-21 07:45:29
gfm@yahoo.com
To be brutally honest, if you're going to come here making accusations about web reviewers (let me be clear: I'm NOT a web reviewer) doing a bad job of taking screenshots, maybe you should have some kind of proof to back it up.  This goes doubly to George.

If you can't be bothered to provide proof, then why can you be bothered to post like 10 messages to these boards on the subject?  Sounds like you guys really don't have any examples and are just talking from your asses.
#40 by "None1a"
2001-01-21 07:45:43
none1a@home.com
<b>Skeptopotamus</b> (#29):
<quote>I still don't understand the hostility developers have towards this issue in the first place. I'm STILL waiting for a link that shows me evidence of bad/misreprentative screenshots on a web review (of a fairly reputable website, not JeffK's brother's girlfriend's geocities review site).</quote>

WTF is the point of this one.
http://www.adventurecollective.com/screenshots/dwn5.jpg
Or this one.
http://www.gamesdomain.com/gdreview/zones/reviews/pc/sep99/noir01.jpg

Or this one (which has the gamma cranked, a bit hard to tell as the game is rather dark but it is, and guess what this shot was used as an example of the games bad graphics).
http://www.gamesdomain.com/gdreview/zones/reviews/pc/jan00/dnoir2op_2.jpg

Why even take a shot of the following
http://www.gamesdomain.com/gdreview/zones/reviews/pc/jan00/dnoir2op_2.jpg

Not real sure but this on looks like the gamas cranked (I've seen far darker shots of this game that look much better this this).
http://www.gamecenter.com/Images/Reviews/Ares/lr1.aresrising.jpg

<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#41 by "ChrisJohnson"
2001-01-21 07:46:01
cjohnson27@hotmail.com
Warren:
<quote>Kayin (#23):

<quote>but has sam and max hit the road changed your life? made you look at something differently?
as for infocom, zork was goofball and well thought out, but it didn't add anythign to my life besides entertainment.</quote>

What have 99% of the movies you've seen added to your life? Or 99% of the paintings you've seen?</quote>

Damn you for stealing my line!

But really, if it entertains, if it makes you enjoy or to think about a problem in the game itself for a bit, or makes you wonder about it or follow it for a moment of time, how is that different than most art,film, music what-have-you out there that is snootily referred to as "art", as if this label pasted by some intense illiterati with a cigarillo and a martini raises some guy shitting out blue on a piece of black canvas to a level above that of what developers do?

Steve:

Yutz.  Isn't that some sort of breakfast cereal?
#42 by "SteveBauman"
2001-01-21 07:49:08
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Should reviewers, or any other journalists, be prevented from posting their own screenshots of a game? It has been well-argued by now that such a rule would be difficult to enforce, but is it right for a developer to even try enforcing it?

Duh, no. Fair use protects using imagery for purposes of review. Period. End of story.

Should they be prevented? No. And they can't be due to the fair use doctorine of the US copyright law. Can they be prevented? Absolutely, but only purely in the technological sense. An EULA that says "You can't grab screens" would contain a clause that goes against copyright laws, which as I understand would likely invalidate the entire thing.

If you can't grab a screenshot from a game (in the technological sense), does that mean the publishers have something to hide, blah blah blah? It could, but that doesn't somehow taint your ability to review a game accurately and fairly, as last I checked reviews were still mostly text.

As an example, try grabbing screens from Hasbro's Q*Bert. It cannot be done. I even had Hasbro send a copy of the game to the author of HyperSnap, and he couldn't figure out what they were doing. Was it some horrible effort on the part of Hasbro to not allow screen captures? Who knows? Who cares? They sent me some terrible screenshots and I ran them, with the caption "The game doesn't really look like this, but here you go."

But if all you care about is screenshots, why are you even reading my review? Go to the store, pick up the boxes, and buy the game with the shiniest, most colorful screenshots.

You're treating something that's technologically feasible as somehow being a god-given right, couching it as some form of "journalistic integrity" to be able to grab your own pristine shots. It's no doubt possible to take photos of a movie in a theater, so are you railing against magazines and newspapers who use studio-supplied shots? Do you sound the rallying cry over book reviews that merely quote relevant text passages rather than show a scan of the actual page? Are you opposed to running a shot of a toaster in Consumer Reports that isn't personally photographed by the publication and is supplied by GE?

The source of the image is irrelevant when accompanied by text that thoroughly describes the thing being reviewed; yes, games are a visual medium (as are films, last I checked), but if you can't describe a game's failings solely in text you're a bad writer.
However, if supplied artwork is inaccurate in some way, it would be up to the publication to either decide whether to run it at all or to run it with a disclaimer. In either case, the publisher of the game would look bad, and they wouldn't want that.

I'd never make a serious point solely with a screenshot; if it's important, I spend more than the 20 words of a caption to describe the issue. In any review I might make 20 points, and I MIGHT have a screenshot of each, and more likely than not, I do not have one for each point. I can't take pictures of bad AI, or of most game bugs, or of a bad keyboard layout, or of a lack of saved games.

If publications were completely unable to take screenshots, it wouldn't hurt reviews one single bit. It would not diminish the impact of saying, "The gameplay is terrible," and spending a thousand words describing WHY the gameplay was terrible. Last I checked you also couldn't grab a screenshot of gameplay.

Can we be sure that developers will provide shots that give a true impression of their game, showing both the good and the bad?

Will they show bad shots? Duh, of course not. And if you could not grab shots FOR TECHNICAL REASONS and had to rely on their shots, you could mention that in the captions: "This game never really looks this good, but here you go."

But here's the kicker. A page layout in a magazine is a visual thing. When I grab screenshots I ALWAYS select the best screenshots; I always crank the detail all the way up, run at high resolutions, blah blah blah. I want the article to be aesthetically pleasing as it means people are more likely to actually READ it. If they're drawn in by the art then read the review that says, "It's a crap game, the graphics never look as good as they do in the screenshots," your goal is accomplished. And if they don't read the review and rely solely on the screenshots, I have ZERO sympathy for them.

Do we want to see screenshots that give us a good idea of what we'll be getting for our money, or do we want to see only the best bits, along with features/levels/models/weapons that possibly aren't even in the finished game?

You probably WANT to see the best bits, because that's how you want the game to look when you get it home. And the PC being what it is, chances are it WON'T look like that due to the varying hardware configurations. And let's not forget print variations... here's something to attack. Four color CMYK process printing cannot duplicate many RGB colors, so screenshots RARELY look exactly as they do on screen, particularly when it comes to color. And printers can overink or underink, there can be registration problems and things will look blurry... blah blah blah. In other words, there's little chance the tiny screenshot on the box will look exactly like it does on screen.

As for things not being in the final game, I'll let you in on a little secret. There are scenes in movie trailers that don't make it into the final cut. You know why? THINGS CHANGE OVER TIME. Boxes are designed months ahead of a game's release (especially when a game is delayed), and trailers are created months ahead of a movie's release.
#43 by "EvilivE"
2001-01-21 07:49:29
satanas@worldmailer.com
I think Morn needs to bring back Planet Happy.
#44 by "WarrenMarshall"
2001-01-21 07:52:56
warren@epicgames.com
Skeptopotamus (#39):
To be brutally honest, if you're going to come here making accusations about web reviewers (let me be clear: I'm NOT a web reviewer) doing a bad job of taking screenshots, maybe you should have some kind of proof to back it up. This goes doubly to George.

If you can't be bothered to provide proof, then why can you be bothered to post like 10 messages to these boards on the subject? Sounds like you guys really don't have any examples and are just talking from your asses.

Yep, you're right.  I'm totally making it up ... web reviewers always take glorious shots that show the games in the best light possible.

Busted!

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#45 by "ChrisJohnson"
2001-01-21 07:53:58
cjohnson27@hotmail.com
Kayin:
<quote>i know some people who were deeply touched by redneck rampage... =P </quote>

Okay, that's bringing some horrible visuals to the forefront.... but hell, I know people who have <i>lived</i> Redneck Rampage. ;)

But yeah, I apologize.  My original statement, now that I look at it again, was a bit going-for-the-throat-ish in tone... didn't mean that at all.  Sorry.

[Note: the preceding line is an example of humility and admission of being wrong.  Some people should keep this for further reference.]
#46 by "paul"
2001-01-21 07:55:00
pbullman@webhitzone.com
Andy loves all this attention.

My advice is to just ignore him, and let 3dRealms take whatever legal action they see fit.

As far as Morn is concerned, it might be a good idea to cut Andy's ability to post topics. He obviously has the common sense of a mule.
#47 by "Skeptopotamus"
2001-01-21 07:55:08
gfm@yahoo.com
The point is that the web reviewers SHOULDNT take shots that show games in the best light possible.  They should show the game as it is likely to appear to the gamer.  Maybe if the 'official' shots did that (very rare), they would be used more.
#48 by "SteveBauman"
2001-01-21 07:57:11
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
I posted this in the other thread, but those looking for bad screenshots should look through the hundreds Gamespot UK took from Gunman. Here's the funniest.

Now that's a dreadful screenshot that serves almost no purpose other than to make the game look even less interesting than it already was based on the other hundred screenshots they took of the same level.
#49 by "Kayin"
2001-01-21 07:57:36
kayin@infinet.com
*snip*snip*
holy shit sauce, this is going straight to my memior

[Note: the preceding line is an example of humility and admission of being wrong. Some people should keep this for further reference.]

andy, those ears turned on?<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#50 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2001-01-21 07:57:44
georgeb@3drealms.com
Once again...Steve Bauman is a genius.  Wile E. Coyote style at that.  Beep, Beep!

My question is this:  How can Steve Bauman be such a superb journalist with integrity and honesty and at the same time, Andy Smith is just a back-stabbing, snake in the grass that misrepresents what you say...

I believe it's called, professionalism, respect and integrity.

Andy, take lessons please.  Steve=Yoda.  You=fungus.  But in time, even you can learn the ways of The Force.
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