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T O P I C
When It's Not Done
March 10th 2001, 22:13 CET by charred

It's nothing new to read a preview with regards to an upcoming game, and when questioned about its release date, the developer merely states "When it's done." While the number of development houses that can honestly stay true to this claim are getting less and less (id, Blizzard and 3DR are some that come to mind), the truth is that most publishers do not accept much when it comes to leeway. They don't care if a game is a "little" buggy, after all, they can just patch it after it ships… and unfortunately, it's getting to the point where it's not just little bugs that are being patched. Entire games are being patched post-release.

Origin Systems Inc. is known for its groundbreaking games of yesteryear. But lately, it's been a shining example of how a game studio can get run into the ground by a bad publisher, which in this case, is Electronic Arts.

Last year, <i>Ultima Online: Renaissance</i> was released into stores on April 13th, and then was touted to have such things as new lands for housing, a new user-friendly interface, and among other things, a new consentual PvP (Player Vs Player) combat system, Faction Warfare. A user might see it in the store, buy it and bring it home, install it, and log in… and then find that nothing that was advertised actually <i>worked</i>. The new land for housing came over a month after it was released. The "Renaissance Patch," that was supposed to have been published the same day the game went on sale in stores, was over two weeks late, and the Faction Warfare system was only published on December 6th, 2000 -- over 7 MONTHS late.

This year, it's much the same situation. <i>Ultima Online: Third Dawn</i>, the third expansion pack for UO, just went gold, and is expected on store shelves on March 27th. This to the surprise of all the beta testers, who despite some people having GeForce2's and over 384 megabytes of RAM, are unable to run it with a framerate that doesn’t cause massive internal bleeding. Here's what it says in the UO3D FAQ with regards to the minimum requirements:

"At this time, we are still finalizing the system requirements for <i>UO: Third Dawn</i>, so we’d hate to tell you one thing and change our minds later. We can say that it will require a 3D accelerator card with 8 megabytes of texture memory Direct3D support."

They don’t even know what the minimum requirements are, and their best guess is nowhere near what the testers are reporting, and yet they're shipping it nonetheless? Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees a slight problem with this attitude.

When asked for more information regarding this release date quoted on GoneGold, the UO community representative, posting on Lum the Mad's message boards, said the following:

As far as the release date, that is accurate. I just wanted to make sure people knew that going gold doesn't mean the beta is over and that testing/patching is done. It's not.

There are times when we can get frustrated because a company is holding onto a game until it feels it's ready to release… but on the flipside, occurrances such as this are becoming far too frequent. Games are getting more and more expensive to make, and as a result, the urge for publishers to release something before it's done is getting to be a very big problem. I've seen many games fall short of what the developer wanted, merely because they were shoved out the door to meet Christmas, or the end of the fiscal quarter, or whatever… and as a gamer, that's disappointing.

Is this just a fad, and will the publishers soon realize that it doesn't fly? Or is it just a matter of time before someone ships a C++ compiler and a design document?
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#1 by "Apache"
2001-03-10 22:15:41
apache@voodooextreme.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
I heard a lot of negative feedback about the state of Third Dawn (the beta was still very buggy). UO shipped very buggy as well, although about three months later the game was rock-solid. That's just how MMOGs are I guess...
#2 by "Morn"
2001-03-10 22:19:59
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Hey, remember this thread about Settlers IV? Guess what, they just released the game in Germany (not quite in time for Christmas) and it's even buggier than I would have expected. It's getting pretty bad reviews all over the place; even the die-hard Settlers fans don't like it. (Why the heck did I buy it?!)

I can't shake off the feeling that Blue Byte are doing their public beta test right now - with their German customers (the game is roughly $40). So the US release will be better. It's a shame our stores don't have return policies for games that suck. :(

- Morn
#3 by "Steve Bauman"
2001-03-10 22:50:45
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
Online games are different because of the auto-patching, though this doesn't necessarily make releasing a broken product acceptible. However, it does make it easier to fix.

But people... c'mon, this isn't new. There have been significant numbers of bugs in PC software for... well, most of the 90s, when technology started being pushed mainly thanks to Origin and Wing Commander. Or maybe id. (Can we pretty much blame them for everything?)

Do people forget games like Falcon 3.0, Darklands (which totally didn't work), Master of Magic, most Bethesda games... we don't really remember all of the horribly buggy games of the past because our brains sorta block them out. We mainly remember the good games of the past, not the marginal ones.

But lord knows I've spent the last 10 years or more saying, "But the bugs are awful" in a lot of reviews.

The reality of today is that it's easier to patch games, so it's a more acceptible thing. Back in the days before the Internet, you had to rely on them mailing you floppy disks or you had to be a member of Compuserve or download patches from company BBS's. That sucked.

And older games wouldn't run at all on some systems. QEMM, base memory, HIMEM.SYS, memmaker... ugh.

I haven't had a game refuse to run on my computer in years. Yes, games have bugs and are shipped too soon, but they're also considerably more complex to create and to test and the pressures, both financially and FROM GAMERS, is extreme. And people also consider hardware compatibility problems bugs, which may be true or it may be a problem with a hardware manufacturer's drivers, which is a whole 'nother issue.

Most people also play a tiny percentage of games. If you played a handful of games last year, all may have had patches and bugs, but there were 300 other games that were pretty much clean and didn't require patching.

I'm not entirely sure games are buggier today, that it may merely seem that way because of the Internet, forums, Usenet... one guy can post a message on Usenet "GAME X IS A BUGGY PIECE OF SHIT" and 300 people will respond that they can't reproduce the bug, but if you log in you see... 300 messages about how buggy a game is.
#4 by "Baron_Calamity"
2001-03-10 22:55:29
rcmerritt@home.com http://www.moonbasetycho.com
While I agree that in the last days of dos, games were pretty buggy. However when win 95 hit, things were running pretty smooth. However in the past year or so it seems every game has massive problems. Maybe its just the os is stressed and we need a new one.
#5 by "None-1a"
2001-03-10 23:03:09
none1a@home.com
I belive the problem is mostly that unlike other products games/software can easaly and cheaply be patched from the publisher side. For example the Firestone tire thing, recalling and replaceing those defective tires comes up to a massive cost for Bridgestone, game patches are cheap. Most of the major cost can be cut out

1: Bandwidth - The 500 million fan sites will post the patch quickly lowering the cost to the publisher.
2: Patch Development - Depending on contract the publisher could end up just takeing this money out of the roalites that the developer would get.
3: Returns - Even if the store allows for returns the publisher had little risk of taking a cost hit from it (unfortunitly the store will take that cost more times then not). They do however run the risk of the store refusing to carry that publishers wares, but that is a really small risk.

Unless patching becomes more of a bad business practice it's not going to goaway any time soon.
#6 by "Steve Bauman"
2001-03-10 23:11:03
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
However in the past year or so it seems every game has massive problems.

I don't know if I agree. I think that's more of a perception garnered from reading message boards then the reality of the entire industry. The big games (The Sims, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Red Alert 2, Age of Empires II, etc.) were mostly fine. I'm looking at our award-winning games and for the most part I don't recall them all being bug-fests (hence their status, I suppose).

Sure, games may have post-release play-balance issues, and some combatibility issues, but those are inevitable. No amount of internal testing will produce the same results as a million people playing your game.

Diablo II, for all of its screaming of being horribly buggy, had some really obscure single-player bugs, so the game was playable for 99.9% of people from start-to-finish without a patch. They had online problems, but again, they get some slack because all of those people are already online and get auto-patched. They made some re-balancing of the game, but again... that's inevitable (and was poorly handled).

Let's start a list: Giants. Starfleet Command 2. Crimson Skies had a really bad bug (it deleted your single-player save game files if you played online). Daikatana. Ignoring the fact none of these games were actually particularly commercially successful, what are some other games with huge bug problems? Seriously. I don't remember.

And I'm sorry guys, I don't buy id games being buggy. They're games are amazingly solid at release, with few fatal crash bugs (balance and design problems are a different thing). The main reason people think id games are buggy, I believe, is because Carmack discloses all of the bugs and issues patches with lots of details. To his credit he's more open with everyone, but in the end I think it hurts the perception of his games.
#7 by "FadedGlory"
2001-03-10 23:41:27
<flame_retardent_suit>
Steve,
  ID's games aren't buggy because they're technology demos, not games.
</flame_retardent_suit>

As to the patch-and-be damned philosophy, try working in the REAL world of software, kiddies. My company has a software product that is so immensely complicated we have to fix-on-fail. You cannot test every path. You have too many dependencies (h/w,o/s,abstraction layers, drivers).

Fade.


Fade.
#8 by "Ares"
2001-03-10 23:58:41
Yep, bugs are nothing new. No really. I can remember Mortville Manor took about 10 minutes to load on my Sinclair QL. Left to its own devices the chances of the thing actually loading successfully was about 1 in 4, though this appeared to be improved by fanning the drive bay with a copy of QL User magazine. Actually, Now I come to think of it, my frantic wafting probably only served to give me cramp. Anyway, I think my point is that you kids should count yourselves lucky that your games run at all. Well not really, though perhaps a major difference is that computer games are bought as mainstream entertainment now. Just like you don't forgive a video dodgey sound or picture quality, you expect a game to just work. I'm certainly not saying this is unreasonable, just that gamers used to be a lot more accommodating in pursuing their geeky hobby.
#9 by "ToadWarrior"
2001-03-11 00:07:22
Games have always been buggy but it just seems worse now because it's too easy for them to patch stuff so I personally think worse bugs get let through. Doom hs patches but you don't really need them, the same goes with Duke Nukem but when games like Unreal, Sin, Q3, etc came out patching them was more important.
#10 by "Morn"
2001-03-11 00:18:00
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I don't think patches per se are evil, but developers/publishers taking them for granted is. The attitude these days seems to be rather "don't worry about bugs and missing features, we can fix/add them later", while it should be "it's cool that today we can fix the bugs we didn't see during testing so quickly and easily".

- Morn
#11 by "Speed"
2001-03-11 00:26:22
speed@crew.fragland.net http://www.fragland.net
Why is everyone (Except Steve Baumann) shitting on games being buggy ? Anyone out there that finds Windows to be stable ? (not talking about W2K)

Speed
Fragland.net
#12 by "MikeCy"
2001-03-11 00:30:38
Windows98 always ran stable for me, as did WindowsMe, and now Windows2000 runs rock solid too. As for the games, that's another story. I think DirectX is a big culprit and we must generally accept that bugs will occur. Nobody is perfect, and it's implausible to test every single system hardware, driver, and os combination to make sure they're all smooth. Some bugs are reasonable misses.

What I can't accept is the fact that some of these patches are over 40 megs big. For heavens sake, what the hell good is releasing a 40 meg game, and then forcing people to download the REST of the game through a 40 meg patcher. I think we need to draw the line between bugs and complete game blunders.
#13 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-11 00:30:47
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Steve
And I'm sorry guys, I don't buy id games being buggy.

I agree with this, with the exception of Quake2.  It was patched many times, and it didn't even ship with DM maps (they were available for download lateR).


OK, I'll just hang myself out here for a flaming once again, but I stand by this.  It's almost impossible to ship a game that won't have at least one serious problem these days.  You can't.  There's too much variation out there in the users end systems.

I'm not talking about game logic bugs and save games getting deleted.  That stuff IS a lack of testing and it should never happen.

I'm talking about "the game won't run", "it crashes to the desktop", "it runs too slow", etc.  Sit down and think about it ...

First, take all the variations of CPU's, RAM, motherboards etc.  Next, expand that with all the variations of Windows.  Next, expand that by all the possible TSR programs that could be running (hidden and/or on the taskbar).  Next, expand that by overclocked components which may cause weirdness.  Different versions of drivers.  Different registry settings.

It's a damn nightmare.

And this is why XBox looks like the promised land for developers.  Totally stable AND powerful environment.  It's got powerful CPU, powerful graphics card, etc AND the user can't expand/screw with it.  So you know what everyone is going to be running.  Bliss.
#14 by "MikeCy"
2001-03-11 00:39:21
Yeah -- what Warren said.
#15 by "None-1a"
2001-03-11 00:42:37
none1a@home.com
OK, I'll just hang myself out here for a flaming once again, but I stand by this. It's almost impossible to ship a game that won't have at least one serious problem these days. You can't. There's too much variation out there in the users end systems.

I'm not talking about game logic bugs and save games getting deleted. That stuff IS a lack of testing and it should never happen.


Warren I agre it's nearly impossible to get a 100% bug free game out the door. However, The games that have many of there features missing or so messed up that they don't work is just to much, and these are the problem. There are a lot of games out there that could be great but are pulled down the the bugs (Sin reference anyone), that is the shame caused by the ship now patch latter business.

Why is everyone (Except Steve Baumann) shitting on games being buggy ? Anyone out there that finds Windows to be stable ? (not talking about W2K)


Stable here. The only time I get a massive system crash is an occasional crash when runnning Photoshop, 3d Studio, and Midtown Madness. Considering i've only got 64Megs of RAM and not one of thse things are recommened for less then 128 it quite good that it's only occasional.
#16 by "None-1a"
2001-03-11 00:44:06
none1a@home.com
Stable here. The only time I get a massive system crash is an occasional crash when runnning Photoshop, 3d Studio, and Midtown Madness.


PS. I should have remembered to say 'at the same time'.
#17 by "Neil"
2001-03-11 00:45:53
nmclachl@bigpond.net.au
It's just lucky we have warez, er, I mean demos, so we can test things for ourselves before we buy, huh?

Neil
#18 by "Neil"
2001-03-11 01:00:59
nmclachl@bigpond.net.au
Hmm, just downloaded the Gore demo (multiplayer test). Unfortunately for this thread, it worked perfectly.

Unfortunately for 4DRulers, it looks and plays like Daikatana would have if they used the Q3 engine.....

Ouch.

Neil

note: impressions of gameplay derived from a 5-minute run around by myself in two levels. Don't appear to be any server I can join yet. However, as it felt so much like the Daikatana demo, I'm pretty much going to delete it now...
#19 by "LPMiller"
2001-03-11 01:22:47
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
bug free coding is impossible.  Playable code is not.

UO was NEVER bug free...in fact, I don't think it is possible to MAKE a bug free MMRPG...too many variables that just cannot be tested fully.  However, it's the stupid bugs that should have been caught that confound people.  And UO was full of them 2 years after launch.  I know, I played it that long.  Some bugs you tolerate anyway, if the product is fun.

Now, sure, making a game work right the first time on all PC's is impossible.  Now explain that to the average guy who fired up Wheel of Time and it crashed.  Not because of a bug in the game, but because Windows had a core corruption in a dll file.  The problem is perception - and while some of us may 'get' that bugs get through, or are out of programmers hands - Joe Public won't.   If his PC can work out of the box, his game outta..

And that is the real problem.  And Joe Average is the guy showing up more and more in newsgroups bitching.

Patches are unacceptable when 1) they fix items that never should have ended up on a gold disk, 2)in fixing problems, they radically change the dynamics of the game you bought- such as killing your saved game file, forcing the player to start all over, or radically changing rules you got used to playing with.

I spent over 11 years as a tester for business applications.  I've beta tested many a game as well. Some bugs you can get away with, and patch later - most won't mind.  Some never should have left the gate that way.  And some you will never, EVER find, until 70,000 games on 70,000 unique PC's try to fire it up and create whatever environment that was needed to release the bug.  Programming ain't magic.

Having said that, some companies could work a bit harder on getting the cantrips right.
#20 by "Anonymous"
2001-03-11 02:25:34
Hey, remember this thread about Settlers IV? Guess what, they just released the game in Germany (not quite in time for Christmas) and it's even buggier than I would have expected.


Hey, Morn. Settlers IV were recently realesed in Poland and are not only buggy as hell, but also horribly translated (heh, they left German text in some missions :>).

Moreover, I cannot install the one and only official path on my version of the game...

Jeeez, its lame - if Blue byte are doing "public beta test", what are their Polish publishers doing :/ ?
#21 by "Anonymous"
2001-03-11 03:11:43
Nobody wants a buggy game.  And one shouldn't rush a game and put it out unfinished.  But, using that as an excuse for bad time management in business is another story.  Yes, that is 3drealms lame excuse for taking 5 years to  make Duke Nukem Forever.   It's a stretch at best.  Most companies put out great games in a reasonable timeframe.   I just finished Undying.  It was fun.  And it didn't take half a decade to make.  Please don't use buggy games as an excuse for George Broussard's screw ups.
#22 by "Woo-Fu"
2001-03-11 03:12:37
random1@speakeasy.org http://random1-2.dsl.speakeasy.net
Somebody should tell all those companies coding for consoles to start putting bugs in.... don't they know that all software has bugs?

Lol, sure, they write for a locked down platform, but that only excuses compatibility bugs, not the massive gameplay bugs that regularly find their way into pc software.

Long story short, console developers can't gamble on "release and patch", so they don't.  PC developers can, so they do.  That said, will x-box be the best of both worlds, or the worst?
#23 by "LPMiller"
2001-03-11 03:28:37
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
They can't gamble because the license holders don't allow for it....but if you think console games aren't buggy, your playing the wrong ones.

Still and all, they sure do one hell of a better job.
#24 by "LPMiller"
2001-03-11 03:29:38
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
In fact, to say console games aren't buggy is to say ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US, and actually understand what it means.
#25 by "Craig"
2001-03-11 03:54:22
craigl@globalnet.co.uk http://www.planetcrap.com/crapspy/
test.

blah


test
#26 by "Morn"
2001-03-11 03:58:22
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
YES! Craig! New CS script tonight?

- Morn
#27 by "Craig"
2001-03-11 04:02:46
craigl@globalnet.co.uk http://www.planetcrap.com/crapspy/
it will be out tomorrow! ;)
#28 by "None-1a"
2001-03-11 04:07:45
none1a@home.com
They can't gamble because the license holders don't allow for it....but if you think console games aren't buggy, your playing the wrong ones.

Still and all, they sure do one hell of a better job.


And there is a reson for it. Yes GT2, the Japanise version of Ridge Racer, Sonic Adventure ect had bugs major bugs, however the publishers are more willing to avoid this because of the cost involoved with handeling these scewup. Lets see they have to replace the devenctive CDs that have been sold, recall the ones still on the shevles, all with out charging for them again. Proved by how rare these major bugs really are.
#29 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-11 04:22:49
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Craig
it will be out tomorrow! ;)

You da man!  Even though I've gotten used to the web interface again ... well, I just can't go long term without my CrapSpy.  ;)
#30 by "Craig"
2001-03-11 04:33:21
craigl@globalnet.co.uk http://www.planetcrap.com/crapspy/
Warren, I emailed the new script to you about a week ago to test it... haven't you been using it?
#31 by "ToadWarrior"
2001-03-11 04:48:05
Woo-Fu, consoles do have  bugs. There's the little fire mario bug in SMB, Two Mousers in SMB2, Gran Turismo 2 couldn't be completely finished when it first shipped. The thing is, most bugs aren't that noticable, for instance, it's nearly impossible to get little fire Mario in SMB. Console games will start having more noticable bugs, I think they have on the PSX already(especially GT2), but normally you won't notice most of 'em. Another game that was bad was Turok 2, Acclaim had to release an updated version(which actually happens some what often on consoles), the only reason that folks knew Turok 2 and GT2 had new versions released is because they were as buggy as PC games. :)
#32 by "BarneyQue"
2001-03-11 04:53:03
Script will be good, I can live with the web interface, it's certainly workable, and flexible in all the ways I like them to be, but it's hard to keep on top of the topics. The cookies don't keep track if you open the site, catch up on three or four threads, then come back later, and the count is wrong for all the others you had no time to read.
#33 by "None-1a"
2001-03-11 04:56:34
none1a@home.com
Woo-Fu, consoles do have bugs. There's the little fire mario bug in SMB, Two Mousers in SMB2, Gran Turismo 2 couldn't be completely finished when it first shipped.


Not fnishing was not the major bug that had people scared. While yes 100% was impossible it was not a big deal (you still finished all the races, the counter was just off). The major problem was the cars getting deleted if you filled up the all the record slots on the test track. If it was not for the test track bug the new version may never have been released (or it would have simply be slowly replaced as version 1.0 sold out rather the removeing the old version out right).
#34 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-11 06:01:07
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Craig
Warren, I emailed the new script to you about a week ago to test it... haven't you been using it?

I hope you're fucking with me.  :)  I never got any mail from you ...  If you're serious, ICQ me.  I'll be glad to test it out.
#35 by "keefer"
2001-03-11 06:16:39
keith.johnson@sternpinball.com www.sternpinball.com
re #22

I know for a fact that Evolution (1) has some bad bug in it, because I've run into it.  Locks up the DC when you go into certain battles.  I actually contacted tech support, and actually got an answer from someone saying they ran into it to, and ot go back to a previous save and use a different party.  I wound up just running through the levels without battling, and it finally worked OK.

There are probably other console bugs that I've run into but forgotten...  Actually I'm positive I've gotten stuck somewhere in either one of the Banjo games or possibly Rayman 2.
#36 by "Craig"
2001-03-11 06:36:44
craigl@globalnet.co.uk http://www.planetcrap.com/crapspy/
Of course I'm just messing with you, Warren.
#37 by "Jamie"
2001-03-11 06:39:35
gdougless@hotmail.com n/a
well lately alot of games have been getting delayed so developers can fix bugs (operation flashpoint demo/ black and white) and it makes the fan base angry, but if the game is brought out on time and is buggy the fanbase gets angry again, the developers must be confused on how to go about pleasing the people..................... my 2 cents
#38 by "ToadWarrior"
2001-03-11 07:49:23
Doh, I can't believe I forgot about that GT2 bug.
#39 by "None-1a"
2001-03-11 11:21:44
none1a@home.com
Doh, I can't believe I forgot about that GT2 bug.


A lot of people do. Then go on to rag it because of the 500Cr car wash, the cars droping in value, and that 98.2% complete game (none of this is really a big deal and a value thing is they way it supposted to work). The games really goten a bad rap for a bunch of little stuff and features people didn't like, yet the one bug that caused problems is totaly forgoten.
#40 by "deadlock"
2001-03-11 15:57:54
deadlock@eircom.net
Warren:
I agree with this, with the exception of Quake2. It was patched many times, and it didn't even ship with DM maps (they were available for download lateR).

I don't remember Quake 2 as having all that many bugs, at least not major ones. I played all the way through on the retail version without a problem. I wasn't a DMer back then (no net connection) so a lack of multiplayer wasn't something that bothered me - in fact I never noticed it.

deadlock
#41 by "PHroot"
2001-03-11 22:37:33
phroot@ntlworld.com
Yeah, all id games have worked fine for me straight out of the box.  Up until TA, which freezes my system every time I try to play.
#42 by "Doormat"
2001-03-11 23:40:24
doormat_mr_c@hotmail.com
Frankly I don't care if a game has bugs, as long as they don't affect singleplayer...
Cos I usually just EXPECT to download a patch for online play, I do get pissed off at singleplayer patches, tho luckily no games I ever bought needed one. Thief 2 was cooler withthe patch tho. And yeah, Quake2 - not important cos I played it sp before branching out into multiplayer....

Games which are too bloody hard irritate me tho - Z, AvP without save patch! Two that come to mind... Z I nearly bit the fucking keyboard in two over.
#43 by "Creole Ned"
2001-03-11 23:44:10
cned@telus.net
I played Quake2 single player from beginning to end without patching and had no problems. However, when it came to multiplayer, I patched frequently and usually out of necessity. As for lacking DM and/or CTF maps, that was mainly due to the game being rushed out in time for Christmas, I believe. The point release that included the DM maps came out about two months later, didn't it?

One could argue id was a pioneer, as some games are coming out now with the entire multiplayer component not even in the game until a patch is released (Deus Ex, etc.) ;)
#44 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-12 01:11:28
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Creole Ned (#43):
One could argue id was a pioneer, as some games are coming out now with the entire multiplayer component not even in the game until a patch is released (Deus Ex, etc.) ;)

Well, there's a difference between multiplayer never being planned (Deus Ex) and it being ON the box but not IN the box.  ;)
#45 by "Creole Ned"
2001-03-12 02:09:26
cned@telus.net
Well, there's a difference between multiplayer never being planned (Deus Ex) and it being ON the box but not IN the box. ;)

True enough, but Quake2 *did* ship with multiplayer support - you just had to play it on the single player maps. Some of them weren't too bad, actually. Most of them didn't exactly scream "I gots flow, baby!" though. :) And yes, multiplayer in games like Deus Ex or System Shock 2 is a nice bonus, not something people expect to get.

It was interesting that Jedi Knight shipped ahead of Q2 and included not only DM but CTF as well. Too bad the peer-to-peer networking basically killed any long term multiplayer support (except on the Zone). I rather liked the lobby idea JK used, too, where you entered a neutral room, then jumped through a portal to choose which team you were on. Funky.
#46 by "Anonymous"
2001-03-12 02:39:11
Steve Bauman wrote:


Sure, games may have post-release play-balance issues, and some combatibility issues, but those are inevitable. No amount of internal testing will produce the same results as a million people playing your game.


I've found it interesting lately that when id releases a beta or a demo of a patch or a game, they're often flamed severely on message boards, with people crying that id's getting the public to beta test their games for free. And yet if the patch has bugs on release, those same people are crying about how buggy it is.

As Steve said, there's no testing quite like millions of people playing your game. And gamers DO put intense pressure on developers to release their games, and yet at the same time they expect these products to be polished and bug-free. In fact, lately the cry seems to be, "Jesus, this game is gonna suck. So hurry up and finish it already."
#47 by "Speed"
2001-03-12 03:06:12
speed@crew.fragland.net http://www.fragland.net
PHRoot : TA is alot heavier than Q3A. I can play it without problems on my P3-600 (256 Mb and GeForce DDR) but I know alot of people with smaller systems that can't run it although they run Q3A without any problem.
#48 by "charred"
2001-03-12 05:57:13
jgollner@sympatico.ca
#6 by Steve Bauman
Sure, games may have post-release play-balance issues, and some combatibility issues, but those are inevitable. No amount of internal testing will produce the same results as a million people playing your game.


I'm not talking about minor compatibility issues, or play-balance issues. I agree that those types of problems ARE inevitable, and to an extent, they're completely acceptable. But again, I'm not talking about minor issues. What I'm talking about is the type of game that is released that is, for the most part, completely unplayable. If I pay $40 for a game that doesn't even RUN (or crashes very, very often), it's not a "minor compatibility issue." Now, I got Ultima 9 after the 3 patches came out, and I'm not so much of a masochist to try and play it without the patches, but it still had many annoying problems. In Covetous, I believe, where you had to swim in an underwater cavern... I got stuck in the walls at least 10-15 times. Frustrating, to say the least.. and it's not exactly the type of situation where only having "millions of testers" would let the problem show.

To release a game that runs horribly, and causes serious problems for pretty much everyone who uses it... that's when it's time to draw the line. These types of games shouldn't even MAKE it to the consumers, let alone massive displays in stores around the world.
#49 by "charred"
2001-03-12 06:02:02
jgollner@sympatico.ca
#46
As Steve said, there's no testing quite like millions of people playing your game. And gamers DO put intense pressure on developers to release their games, and yet at the same time they expect these products to be polished and bug-free. In fact, lately the cry seems to be, "Jesus, this game is gonna suck. So hurry up and finish it already."


The line between "polished" and "unplayable" isn't all that hard to see.

In this case, it's hardly one of where the fans are demanding UO3D to be released as soon as possible -- in fact, it's almost the opposite. They're saying NOT to release it, because the testers KNOW how buggy it is, and they KNOW it's more than just simple balance issues and "minor" incompatibilities. But it's not the fans who want it out now... it's EA.
#50 by "Greyjack"
2001-03-12 06:12:42
greyjack@greyjack.com http://www.greyjack.com
I bought Ultima 9 right when it came out, 'cause I'm a sucker for the series.  Stupid me, I shoulda known I wouldn't be able to play it until my next system upgrade (this summer, hopefully, Thunderbird!  w00t!)

Origin games always run great on your next computer :)

Well, they used to, that is, back when they still did single player games.  But hey.
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