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T O P I C
Time Turns, and Patches Come and Go
May 23rd 2000, 00:22 CEST by andy

Do you live outside the States? Did you buy The Wheel Of Time? Good news - your game is finished! Sort of.



Legend's TWOT, as I insist on calling it because I have a very puerile sense of humour, has now been out for around six months. In that time there have been several patches to fix server and rendering issues, but those patches were only available for US copies of the game.

Today, the non-US version of the patch was released. Legend's QA Manager, Craig Lafferty, made this announcement:

Six weeks ago I sent the Wheel of Time International patches off to GT International for testing. Good thing I didn't hold my breath.

I think at this point it is safe to assume the patches AND GT testing have been sucked into a black hole or time void... So, we have decided to just release the patches and call them "beta". I don't foresee any problems, they just haven't had the GT seal of approval stamped on them.

Now, at this point I could start getting all bitchy and take a few shots at GT and Legend for such blatant apathy towards their international customers, but what's the point?

They know they've screwed up and they probably don't care. We know they've screwed up and I doubt any of us are surprised. And as we oh-so-annoying watchdog types have been saying for two years now, the only thing that will stop this from happening is if people refuse to buy games until they have been fully patched.

If GT had known that TWOT sales wouldn't even start until this patch was released, would things have perhaps moved a little faster?

It's not realistic anymore to pass this off as games companies betraying their customers. Some of TWOT's most hyped features were being culled in the time leading up to release so it was obvious that corners were being cut. Every man and his dog could have predicted that the game would have problems.

So the moral of the story is this: If you bought The Wheel Of Time at any point before today, and you feel at all ripped off because it took so long to be patched, then tough. You're a schmuck. You were suckered big-time and it's nobody's fault but your own.

That said, though, the patch is still just a beta so strictly speaking the game still isn't finished. Will it ever be? Does anyone care?

C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-05-23 00:41:11
rhiggi@home.com
me first

v<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#2 by "Titan"
2000-05-23 00:41:27
tcm@home.com http://-
Hmm interesting, but its been going on for ages, the international market is growing rapidly for games however many publishers are still ignoring them as a major player and still respond to the American customers first. I think that its in part ignorance but it may take some times before its changed
#3 by "Valeyard"
2000-05-23 00:45:26
valeyard@ck3.net http://www.ck3.net
If Legend was done six weeks ago, and they've been waiting on GT...surely the brunt of the blame must rest at GT's feet.  Legend has done the only thing they could do after being ignored by their publisher - release the pathes as beta.

I didn't think the game was unplayable without the patch, so it might not be that big of a deal.  If this patch simply fixes a few issues for a few people, then this isn't a case of the game "finally" being finished.  In the broad scheme of things - all widespread software (game or not) is a "work in progress", due to the diversity of possible PC configurations.

So how serious was this patch?

Legends next step?  Find a new publisher.

-Valeyard<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#4 by "Pete Closs"
2000-05-23 00:46:32
With the Infogrammes (or however the damn thing is spelt) acquisition of GT things should get a littler better. And hey, we got outcast and Silver months before the states.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#5 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 00:49:52
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#1</b>, Vengeance[CoD]:
<QUOTE>
me first
</QUOTE>
You know better than that. :)


<b>#2</b>, Titan:
<QUOTE>
Hmm interesting, but its been going on for ages, the international market is growing rapidly for games however many publishers are still ignoring them as a major player and still respond to the American customers first. I think that its in part ignorance but it may take some times before its changed
</QUOTE>
Generally I think that's right, but coincidentally there's a story just been posted on Blue's about "Earth 2150". Apparently the US version has just been released, with the international versions having been available for a while. Published by Mattel, which is a US company.

The Earth 2150 screenshots looks awesome...
#6 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-05-23 01:09:44
rhiggi@home.com
Thats funny, I was just thinking about getting that game (I liked the books until i realised they were going nowhere).  I'm glad I didn't.  Is it any good now?

<quote>If GT had known that TWOT sales wouldn't even start until this patch was released, would things have perhaps moved a little faster?</quote>

Yes, of course.  It sounds like Legend at least tried to make things right.  Going as far as blaming GT in public.  I'm sure there are some happy campers over at GT right now.  They probably care about thier image even if they aren't too concerned about the international market.
I truely hate patchware but as long as enough people are willing to pay for it, the situation won't get any better.

I also want to point out that I was first post on this topic.  Whats that you say?  <i>FIRST</i> as in numero uno.  It doesn't make me better than the rest of you [snicker], so don't feel sad mooo cow :-)  

V
first (frst):
The winning position in a contest: finished the season in first.
Corresponding in order to the number one.
<b>Before or above all others in time, order, rank, or importance</b>
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-05-23 01:09:53
Darkseid-d@planetcrap.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
Uh wtf ?

someone needs to do a little research.


Wheel of time, plays _perfectly_ right out of the box, I know because I did so as soon as it came out.

The recent 333b patch just improved D3d driver performance a touch on my Geforce DDR.

So, Andy old boy, exactly HOW is the game unfinished ?


I could understand this over say Ultima IX ascension which _was_ shipped in a totally unplayable state and later fixed.  But WOT was a good experience out of the box.

Ill also say this, it ran _just fine_ under windows 2000 without any song or dance routine about it.

Great game, some stunning level design and visualisation, if youve read the books wait til you see Shadar Logoth and better yet Maachin Shin :) Oh and the citadels multiplayer mode is awesome, its just a shame you cant run a loopback server to practice with.


Ds


<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#8 by "Pete Closs"
2000-05-23 01:12:24
<b>#7</b> "Darkseid-[D!]" wrote...
<QUOTE>Uh wtf ?

someone needs to do a little research.


Wheel of time, plays _perfectly_ right out of the box, I know because I did so as soon as it came out.

The recent 333b patch just improved D3d driver performance a touch on my Geforce DDR.

So, Andy old boy, exactly HOW is the game unfinished ?


I could understand this over say Ultima IX ascension which _was_ shipped in a totally unplayable state and later fixed. But WOT was a good experience out of the box.

Ill also say this, it ran _just fine_ under windows 2000 without any song or dance routine about it.

Great game, some stunning level design and visualisation, if youve read the books wait til you see Shadar Logoth and better yet Maachin Shin :) Oh and the citadels multiplayer mode is awesome, its just a shame you cant run a loopback server to practice with.


Ds </QUOTE>

I wouldn't even call the patched Ultima IX fixed. Not by a long shot. Barely playable on a P3 450 is just wrong. Shame as otherwise its a great RPG.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#9 by "SiliconVortex"
2000-05-23 01:12:48
siliconvortex@oreantar.com http://www.oreantar.com
<b>#5</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>Generally I think that's right, but coincidentally there's a story just been posted on Blue's about "Earth 2150". Apparently the US version has just been released, with the international versions having been available for a while. Published by Mattel, which is a US company.

The Earth 2150 screenshots looks awesome... </QUOTE>

It should be very awesome.  I played the demo, which was cool, and played the german multiplayer demo, which was cool even though I wasn't sure at all what the computer was saying.  Turned out it was "Our base is under attack!" most of the time :).

It needs a killer machine though, at least the demo did.  It sent my TNT2 to the 7th level of hell, nearly burned the card right out of my computer.  That and the load times were not speedy on my computer (p2 400, 384Mb ram).  It was a demo that was a few months old, so hopefully it got better.

They did a lot of things right, especially in making it 3d.  Terrain deformation that makes sence, build trenches, hills, ect.  Supposedly you can dig a trench to a lake/river and have it fill with water, making a moat.  Haven't seen this demonstrated in game yet.  A tunneling system that works fairly ok.  Chassie, gun, and ammo types that are combined to make the type of tank you need.  The controls are ok, the menu and hud design is fairly good.  The mouse control over the camera is nice, with easy zooming and rotation.

Movement AI was fairly smart, they could usually get where they are going, and they always stayed grouped up, when you told them to stay grouped up.  The platoon system is nice, and resupplying is handled very logically.  The over all AI was rather standard, following the same path, grunt rushing the base then sending 5 tanks from then on out for the rest of the level.

Of course this is all about an old demo, but even if it held the same level of "goodness" that the demo demonstrated, it should be a really fun game to play.  It's been on my "Gotta have it today" list for a couple of months.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by "Matthias Worch"
2000-05-23 01:19:33
mworch@legendent.com http://www.langsuyar.com
I would comment, but it's too ridiculous...
Well, real quick: the game ran fine for most people out of the box. That's a fact. The D3D issues that people had were adressed with a quick D3D patch that worked for ALL customers, US or international. If you want to make a "buggy game didn't work without patches" story out of that try to, you have no ground to stand on.

The US patch was released some three months ago. The international patches got caught in the middle of the GT/Infogrames takeover. The  entire GT testing department in Salt Lake City was restructured, ppl lost their jobs etc. That's unfortunate, but there's nothing we (Legend) can do about it. We've finally decided to release the patches without approval from GT QA to please all customers (the "beta" is a disclaimer we got to put on them). And now you start bitching? Geez Andy, get a grip...

I guess I'm sounding pretty self-confident and maybe even arrogant here, but well, this IS a ridiculous topic.
#11 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-05-23 01:24:49
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
I told people I wasn't going to comment in this thread, but I can't help myself. ..

Andy
<quote>That said, though, the patch is still just a beta so strictly speaking the game still isn't finished.</quote>

Are you even aware of what's in this patch?  Can you explain to me exactly how the game isn't finished without this patch?

Your policy since the Crap came back up seems to be to ignore me, but I'd appreciate your honest answer on this one.

Thanks.
#12 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-05-23 01:24:55
Darkseid-d@planetcrap.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
yeah I liked the earth 2150 demo I got recently, quite fun, might pick it up when it hits here.

oh btw, TDR2000 demo .. *yawn* even worse than the 1st 2 carmageddons .. nothing new, boring in fact. Runs like a slug on a k7 800, 384mbs Geforce DDR.

Ground Control demo YEAH BABY YEAHHHHHHHHHH .. _this_ is a very very very well put together demo/game, emphasis is NOT on outproducing and rushing, but on using what youve got properly, recommended download.


BTW , since my admin password is horked...

if you run CrapSpy youre logged into an irc server automagically .... Click the bubble/green tick icon to expose it and CHAT to us :)

Ds<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Gwog"
2000-05-23 01:29:08
gwog@stormtroopers.com http://www.stormtroopers.com
this game absolutely <b>kicked ass</b> without any patches.
#14 by "Pete Closs"
2000-05-23 01:38:54
The first Carmageddon was cool for a time, more for the insane car damage possibilites and OTT stuns than the ped squishing. You could drive at 300mph, fly off a ramp and be air borne for about a minute, hit a wall on the way down and then hapily repair any damage and keep going. Carmageddon two was the same, but the car must have been made of tinfoil because it broke when you hit a lamp post at like 100 mph. TDR2000? Well, I haven't bothered with the demo more because its alpha but all I've seen thats new is the missions. "New" is used oosely here as I believe the second one had objective based missions too so whats actually genuinly new. Who knows. I reserve judgement for the final game or demo.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "Scott Dalton"
2000-05-23 01:52:01
sdalton@legendent.com http://www.wheeloftime.com
Okay...  I usually just let stuff like this go...  But Legend has always been very actively involved with our community, so I'm going to say something here...

Way before the game was released, Glen weekly gave updates on how the game was progressing, giving honest and behind the scenes info on the development.  Aside from that, much of the development team took an active role on our forums, answering questions and encouraging discussion of both the game and the books.  We have a devoted crowd of players that unlike most forums are helpful and friendly rather than the trolls you see in most places, something I am very thankful for.  

The game did have a few bugs at release.  We did our best to avoid these altogether, but some did slip past, something which none of us are happy about.  A few of them (such as the copy protection interfering with the server - which was installed after the gold master left our hands and we didn't get back until after the game was already on its way to stores) were simply beyond our control. We did have a patch waiting when the game hit the shelves, however.

This patch improved things for players, adding new multiplayer features and improving performance - that's not to say that it couldn't be played perfectly well without it.

Furthermore - we sent this patch off to GT soon after finishing the English version of the same patch.  This is normal procedure when releasing a pathch.  We didn't hear anything back, so we followed up on it repeatedly.  Eventually we said enough is enough and simply released it ourselves without their approval.  If this shows that we're trying to shit on our customers and community, fine.  But I don't see it that way, and I hope that our community doesn't either.

I was once part of the fan community - I was an active player, mod maker, mapper, etc. for a long time before I got into the industry.  I am grateful everyday that I made it into this industry, and I'm not about to forget about all the gamers out there because I still am one and I owe my job to being an active gamer.

Also - a bit more fact-checking for you - other international patches have been released (like the server fix mentioned above) - it was only the most recent one which had yet to be released as an international patch.

The game was done when released, it still is done - the english patch was not released as a beta, and aside from the international compatibility for the install this is the same patch as the english version.  We've done internal testing on it and didn't run into problems, but we've never heard if it made it through GT's testing department, so we're calling it a beta.  Keep in mind GT was recently acquired by Infogrames, and the whole organization has seen massive restructuring in recent months, something which undoubtedly has contributed to the problems.  We're not trying to blame anyone there - we just don't wish to keep our international customers in limbo on this patch.

If people bought the game and felt ripped off, they should have returned it.  We're not in this to rip people off - we make games because we love them.  Please don't crap on us for trying to give people a fun game.  That being said - I think if you ask on our forums, you will find an overwhelmingly positive response to the game.  


Scott
Level Design
Legend Entertainment
#16 by "loonyboi"
2000-05-23 04:27:39
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com
<b>#7</b> "Darkseid-[D!]" wrote...
<QUOTE>Wheel of time, plays _perfectly_ right out of the box, I know because I did so as soon as it came out. </QUOTE>

You obviously had a very different experience than I did. Out of the box, the game was completely unplayable on my TNT2 Ultra. I ended up reinstalling my Voodoo 2 SLI setup just to play the game (fortunately a month later when Ultima IX shipped it came in handy again). Pre-patches anything but 3dfx drivers worked like crap. At least for me, anyway.

-jason<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#17 by "loonyboi"
2000-05-23 04:29:03
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com
<b>#8</b> "Pete Closs" wrote...
<QUOTE>I wouldn't even call the patched Ultima IX fixed. Not by a long shot. Barely playable on a P3 450 is just wrong. Shame as otherwise its a great RPG.</QUOTE>

To their credit, the game is in fact much different once you get away from the first area. I know it's a lousy excuse, but it runs much smoother (i'd go so far as to say it runs "well") in the later parts of the game.

Of course, it was still so buggy that I didn't finish it...it got too frustrating. Now that i've got my new installer CD, I plan on trying it again, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

-jason<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#18 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-05-23 04:39:07
Darkseid-d@planetcrap.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
#16


this was on a Celeron 300 @ 450 on a tnt2u under windows 2000 beta 2

Played just fine, crashed a few times due to dodgy quicktime, but that was fixed with a new install of quicktime :)


ps anyone else driven crazy by apple only releasing a download installer that WONT WORK BEHIND A FUCKING FIREWALL....

/rant mode


Ds<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#19 by "None-1a"
2000-05-23 04:45:11
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
Acctaully darkseid I'm a lot more pissed about the stupid upgrade to quick time pro pop up every time I watch a movie with it (even wrose that the older versions don't do this at all)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#20 by "loonyboi"
2000-05-23 04:45:47
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com
Andy:

some thoughts on the international issues brought up here:

someone already suggested it, but Infogrames' acquisition of GT means they will become MUCH more euro-centric. Take Two has always been deeply involved overseas, and whats more, the Xbox will be the first major console system (aside from the Gameboy, of course) that will <i>not</i> feature region-encoded games (although DVDs will still have territorial lockout on it).

A representative from Microsoft was quoted as saying the days of territorial lockouts are "at an end". I'm paraphrasing, of course, but this is a huge deal. There will always be the issue of PAL vs. NTSC (well, until you brits come to your senses anyway) but at least with the Xbox US gamers will be able to freely import games without worrying about any sort of mod chip or some other hacked together piece of hardware.

I've been tempted to mod my Playstation over the years, and really tempted to get a territorial switch for my Saturn (in Japan, the last Saturn game was <i>just</i> released) but I never really trusted some of those methods. The first game that may push me over the line is going to be released later this year in Europe (in English), but not America. Vib Ribbon, a wacky game by the creator of Parappa the Rapper, was released in Japan by Sony. Sony Europe decided the game was worth bringing over, so they had it translated, but Sony America passed on it, and no American publisher has stepped in to do it as of yet. It's a quirky game with vector graphics. It's a tough sell, to be sure, but the game's already been translated, so I'm probably going to import the thing.

My point in all of this, is that the world, particularly when it comes to videogames, is becoming much smaller, but we keep running into red tape that holds the little things back. So long as multinational companies are split into sub publishers, things like the Sony/Vib Ribbon example are going to keep popping up. I chalk up the delay in the WoT patch to another example of this (well, that combined with merger issues, of course).

-jason
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-05-23 04:50:41
tc10@nospam.st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
<b>Darkseid-[D!]:</b>
<QUOTE>ps anyone else driven crazy by apple only releasing a download installer that WONT WORK BEHIND A FUCKING FIREWALL.... </QUOTE>
Well, uh, call me a moron if you like, but why not just turn off the firewall for a few minutes? :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#22 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-05-23 06:55:11
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#21</b> "Tom Cleghorn" wrote...
<QUOTE>Darkseid-[D!]:

ps anyone else driven crazy by apple only releasing a download installer that WONT WORK BEHIND A FUCKING FIREWALL....

Well, uh, call me a moron if you like, but why not just turn off the firewall for a few minutes? :)</QUOTE>

usually you are firewalled by company/provider and have no access to proxy (or if you do have access can't legitimately pull it down even for 10 mins<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#23 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-05-23 07:02:43
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
WOT ran fine out of the box here (G400) and I can't really see how anyone who actually knew anything about the game could get off saying it wasn't completed. It was some of the best cut-scenes that I have seen in a game especially a FPS and most of the models/art were of extremely high standard. Theres only two things that I think you could really complain about ..

*gamplay was basic get key - open door - kill monster (you could also get into trouble/stuck if you killed everything before getting key). Some people like this thou ...

*multiplay wasn't all it could be ... <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 07:03:15
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#11</b>, Warren Marshall:
<QUOTE>
Are you even aware of what's in this patch? Can you explain to me exactly how the game isn't finished without this patch?
</QUOTE>
Objectively, if the game was finished, it wouldn't need a patch. "Finished" means that it doesn't need anything else done to it. The games industry seems to have lost sight of this simple definition.

Subjectively, people may  be happy to play a game that is "very very very nearly finished", but until the final patch comes out it's fair to say that the publisher/developer doesn't consider the game to be finished. Otherwise, they wouldn't still be patching it, would they?

Exception: Patches that <b>only</b> add new content. No fixes to existing content. But that's not really a patch, it's a free add-on.
#25 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-05-23 07:12:45
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#24</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>Objectively, if the game was finished, it wouldn't need a patch. "Finished" means that it doesn't need anything else done to it. The games industry seems to have lost sight of this simple definition. </QUOTE>

And if a new card comes out then it may need a new patch to support it. Damn this developer shikanery how dare they release a game that isn't complete !

<QUOTE>Subjectively, people may be happy to play a game that is "very very very nearly finished", but until the final patch comes out it's fair to say that the publisher/developer doesn't consider the game to be finished. Otherwise, they wouldn't still be patching it, would they?</QUOTE>

So therefor by this defintion no decent MMORPG is ever finished because most likely be patched, nor will a game that is patched to add features based on fans/modders requests. Broad blanket comments really annoy because in many cases the whole point of the game is to be constantly updated both content and featurewise.

So while I agree with the sentiment that patches can be bad they do not necessarily mean the developers are selling a half-finished game or whatever you are trying to claim.

Quote of the Nanosecond: (appropriate don't ya think)

"New content on a monthly basis and a developing storyline that is already written far in advance of what appears on the servers makes it fresh to go back each week." -- by: David Long<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#26 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-05-23 07:14:52
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Andy

OK, so you have no examples that are WoT specific.  We're speaking in generalities ... basically, you're crying out against the injustices of the industry again.

As long as I'm clear ...
#27 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 07:20:35
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#25</b>, RahvinTaka:
<QUOTE>
And if a new card comes out then it may need a new patch to support it. Damn this developer shikanery how dare they release a game that isn't complete !
</QUOTE>
That is a good point. But rather than fixing something, the patch would actually be adding something new - support for more hardware. So that would class as "new content".

But yeah, to be clear, if the game is broken by something else (new gfx card, sound card, OS, whatever) then the patch to fix it should of course reflect well on the developer, not badly.
<QUOTE>
So therefor by this defintion no decent MMORPG is ever finished because most likely be patched
</QUOTE>
Correct. If the patches are fixing things that are broken in the release version.
<QUOTE>
nor will a game that is patched to add features based on fans/modders requests.
</QUOTE>
That would class as new content.
<QUOTE>
Broad blanket comments really annoy
</QUOTE>
Well nothing I've said here contradicts what I originally said. Perhaps you just needed to think it through a little more to see that my "broad blanket statements" covered all possibilities.
<QUOTE>
because in many cases the whole point of the game is to be constantly updated both content and featurewise.
</QUOTE>
In other words, new content, not fixes. Like I said.
#28 by "Gabe"
2000-05-23 07:26:45
gakruger@hotmail.com
It seems to me that no complex piece of software is ever truly bug free. PC games are even more difficult due to the interactions of different system configurations and hardware. If the definition of done is zero defects, no game will ever be finished. I guess we are left hoping the developer will do their best to release high quality software and to rectify the problems that will inevitably sneak through the cracks.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#29 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 07:29:03
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#26</b>, Warren Marshall:
<QUOTE>
OK, so you have no examples that are WoT specific. We're speaking in generalities ... basically, you're crying out against the injustices of the industry again.
</QUOTE>
You asked me a question, I answered you. You could have responded with an explanation of why you think I'm wrong, but instead you resort to empty vitriol.

Perhaps you didn't notice this part of the topic, bold added:
<QUOTE>
If <b>you</b> bought The Wheel Of Time at any point before today, and <b>you feel</b> at all ripped off because it took so long to be patched
</QUOTE>
I made no mention of my personal feelings about the game. The topic allowed for subjectivity on the part of the reader. As I said, some people (maybe even myself) may be happy to play a game that is very nearly finished. But some may not, and their opinions are equally important.
#30 by "Dethstryk"
2000-05-23 07:30:14
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#28</b> "Gabe" wrote...
<QUOTE>It seems to me that no complex piece of software is ever truly bug free.</QUOTE>
This is as about the truest statement that has been posted thus far in this thread, since it is hard for any human being to track down every single bug in a program as complicated as a game, or worse, something like big-end applications such as SoftImage or GPS software.

Have a programmer sit down and write a simple tic-tac-toe game, and it shouldn't be hard to find all the bugs. The more complex a program, the complexity and ability to fix the bugs rises proportionally.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#31 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-05-23 07:47:37
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
<quote>Objectively, if the game was finished, it wouldn't need a patch. </quote>
But are you making a distinction between bugs (reproducable on all machines) and compatibility issues (which only effect certain users)?

If it's the latter, not all people have a problem, hence for them the game IS complete. And if the patch merely improves performance, that's an improvement, not a patch.
#32 by "Valeyard"
2000-05-23 07:53:25
valeyard@ck3.net http://www.ck3.net
<b>#24</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>Objectively, if the game was finished, it wouldn't need a patch. "Finished" means that it doesn't need anything else done to it. The games industry seems to have lost sight of this simple definition. </QUOTE>

And you seem to have lost sight of the simple concept that the PC is INFINITELY customizable.  Do you really expect developers to test every configuration?

The only way to be sure that the game functions properly on EVERY system is to test it on EVERY system.  I've got news for you, it won't happen.  You reach a point of diminishing returns, where any additional effort to make the game work for that last x.xx% of the population simply isn't worth the time or effort.

Surely by now you <b>must</b> have realized that the only time software is <i>finished</i> is when the developers stop working on it.  That doesn't mean that it isn't playable for 99% of the population.  Most software works fine for most people right out of the box.  Most software still ends up needing a patch or two or ten...because you always find something new.

Everyone else seems to understand and accept this, why can't you?  They had a problem with their publisher, so the released the patch themselves to try to please the customer - yet you try to make them look like the bad guy?

I really hope that someday you'll grasp that this is a BUSINESS, and that sometimes decisions have to be made that aren't going to be in the consumer's best interest.  That means features get cut and some people will NEVER be able to play the game with their current system configuration.

It is possible to get a refund, you know?  Even in the UK.  I did it while I was there.  I bought a snooker game that was unavailable in the states, the CD wouldn't work with the DVD player in my laptop, though it installed on my desktop just fine.  I took the game back to PC WORLD and got a refund.  Simple.

-Valeyard
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#33 by "Jeremy"
2000-05-23 08:03:03
jnthornh@eos.ncsu.edu
A minor delay for a minor patch for a game which already works as designed for most systems...

I don't really think that's much of an issue.

If <B>this</B> bothers you, I'm glad I wasn't around to see what you had to say about the original release of Unreal...

Jeremy
#34 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-05-23 08:07:44
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#32</b> "Valeyard" wrote...
<QUOTE>#24 "Andy" wrote...
And you seem to have lost sight of the simple concept that the PC is INFINITELY customizable. Do you really expect developers to test every configuration?
</quote>
I don't believe you, Prove it :-).  I've seen this same excuse for some of the worst software ever written.  Even I could have done better.  Sometimes its valid sometimes its not.

<quote>
Surely by now you must have realized that the only time software is finished is when the developers stop working on it. That doesn't mean that it isn't playable for 99% of the population. Most software works fine for most people right out of the box. Most software still ends up needing a patch or two or ten...because you always find something new.
</quote>

Basically, <i>never</i>, in the software industry in general.  It doesn't mean it is playable by 1% of the population either.  51% success rate isn't that hight of a goal :-).

My first post at PC was <b>exactly</b> this sort of thread.  I remember writing pretty much a novel on work ethics.

Instead, I think this time I will some it up in a few words.  Most things are ok in moderation.  Some patches are merely enhancements to a product, others are an extension of the core product developement cycle.  First is good, second is bad.  We have examples of both in plenty.

V


<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#35 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-05-23 08:11:03
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#34</b> "Vengeance[CoD]" wrote...
<QUOTE> bunches of stuff...
</QUOTE>

I should also have said I have no knowledge of the WOT game.  Never bought it at any rate.  I was discussing the topic in general terms as I believed some of Valeyard's comments to be.

V
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#36 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-05-23 08:20:01
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Andy

<quote>You asked me a question, I answered you. You could have responded with an explanation of why you think I'm wrong, but instead you resort to empty vitriol.</quote>

OK, I asked...

<quote>Are you even aware of what's in this patch? Can you explain to me exactly how the game isn't finished without this patch?</quote>

... to which you answered ...

<quote>Objectively, if the game was finished, it wouldn't need a patch. "Finished" means that it doesn't need anything else done to it. The games industry seems to have lost sight of this simple definition.

Subjectively, people may be happy to play a game that is "very very very nearly finished", but until the final patch comes out it's fair to say that the publisher/developer doesn't consider the game to be finished. Otherwise, they wouldn't still be patching it, would they?

Exception: Patches that only add new content. No fixes to existing content. But that's not really a patch, it's a free add-on.
</quote>

How does this answer my question?  The topic attacks WoT directly ... I was asking what about WoT isn't finished, that this patch is inserting.  Your response was very general, and doesn't give me any kind of information.

I understand the problem with releasing unfinished software and patching it later.  I agree with you, it sucks.  But this thread is dealing with WoT specifically, and I don't think that's fair.

My position is this ...

Could you complete the SP game with WoT, out of the box?  Yes.  Could you play multiplayer?  Yes.  Were there any major holes in gameplay, missing angreal or missing maps?  No.

This patch addresses a few technical issues for certain cards and such.  I don't see how that warrants an entire thread singling out WoT.
#37 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-05-23 08:24:06
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#27</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>That is a good point. But rather than fixing something, the patch would actually be adding something new - support for more hardware. So that would class as "new content".</QUOTE>

Well at what point does adding "new content" become fix patches. Say I releas a game and it only works on G400s. Is it new content if I add support for other cards or is it just fixing problems that stoped current setup from working. ie would this count as new content ?

<QUOTE>But yeah, to be clear, if the game is broken by something else (new gfx card, sound card, OS, whatever) then the patch to fix it should of course reflect well on the developer, not badly. </QUOTE>

Define the something else category. How much can we put in it ? If I write a game that runs well on a 400 hz mahine but user has a 600 hz machine and it runs too fast can that be put into the something else category.

<QUOTE>Correct. If the patches are fixing things that are broken in the release version. </QUOTE>

define broken. Is something broken if it works badly and thus patching it "fixes" the badly working bit or is it adding "new content" to as you say in next bit ...

<QUOTE>Me: nor will a game that is patched to add features based on fans/modders requests.

You: That would class as new content.
</QUOTE>

<QUOTE>
Well nothing I've said here contradicts what I originally said. Perhaps you just needed to think it through a little more to see that my "broad blanket statements" covered all possibilities. </QUOTE>

By covering all possibilities you say exactly nothing. Basic scientific methodology.

<QUOTE>Me: because in many cases the whole point of the game is to be constantly updated both content and featurewise.

You: In other words, new content, not fixes. Like I said. </QUOTE>

You seem to be in a situation as defining anything that is added in a patch that you approve of is "new content" anything you don't want is a "fix". Is it any surprise that you disapprove of "fix" patches ?

Having said that I agree 100% with you point but I just don't like the way you put it. I would have put it something along the lines of

Developers must put a reasonable effort into making sure the game is compatibnle with the hardware they recommend and that the game can be played by the majority of users.

By using words like "reasonable" and "majority" it may mean the statement is less strong but at it is likely to be accepted as reasonably true. Now you just have to decide what ypou mean by these words :P
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-05-23 08:26:08
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#32</b> "Valeyard" wrote...
<QUOTE>It is possible to get a refund, you know? Even in the UK. I did it while I was there. I bought a snooker game that was unavailable in the states, the CD wouldn't work with the DVD player in my laptop, though it installed on my desktop just fine. I took the game back to PC WORLD and got a refund. Simple. </QUOTE>

Damn, I really need to go to sleep, but this topic always gets to me.  
So its ok to release a buggy product?  How much time did you spend on this endevor?  I usually find that by the time I've taken all the time to get to that point, I've paid for the game a couple of times over with <b>my time</b>.  Getting a refund only helps me recover some of my <b>losses</b>.  Thats why I get pissed and bitch and moan.  That and the fact that there are times companies know the state of the product they are giving you, they are just playing the odds to make a buck.

V


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#39 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-05-23 08:39:33
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#38</b> "Vengeance[CoD]" wrote...
<QUOTE>Damn, I really need to go to sleep, but this topic always gets to me.
So its ok to release a buggy product? How much time did you spend on this endevor? I usually find that by the time I've taken all the time to get to that point, I've paid for the game a couple of times over with my time. Getting a refund only helps me recover some of my losses. Thats why I get pissed and bitch and moan. That and the fact that there are times companies know the state of the product they are giving you, they are just playing the odds to make a buck.</QUOTE>

you mean like microsoft ?
/me runs for cover<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#40 by "Fooz"
2000-05-23 08:44:55
foozmelon@quakemail.com
This thread clearly shows that no matter HOW wrong Andy is- he will still defend his argument.

Andy, I'm still waiting for your rebuttal to Warren's first question. You've made absolutely no points but twisted a bunch of words around so that it fits your words.

You owe Warren an explanation, your sidestepping of his arguments don't help your case.

I see nothing wrong with what Legend did, sure, I didn't personally care for the game. I still feel that they were within ethical practices.

I have a feeling that Andy got tired of waiting for news to happen, so he made his own.

Fooz
#41 by "Houston"
2000-05-23 08:52:46
houstonx@pacbell.net http://www.www.www.www
Well, this is just frickin' silly

Patches, the bane of the hardcore, the pain of the developer, and the necessity of business.

I remember with Accolade, sometimes a game had to ship incomplete, or kill off features,  because we had to make money or paychecks would bounce.

Until you've worked inside a publisher and/or developer, I think the best argument anyone can make is a random potshot and gripe.

Walk a mile in my shoes, the producer's shoes, the C.F.O.'s shoes (or at least go out drinking with a group of 'em) and know your role.

Why do I love the PC yet hate it so?

Do not associate to evil what can be blamed by ignorance.. something how it goes.  A lot of people in this industry care.  Y'know, I've rare seen the evil dictator behind the curtain laughing at the folly of those increasing his/her wealth while giving out a shoddy/incomplete product or whatnot... known a few, but, they've all in some way cared.. the way things "should" be done isn't always possible.
#42 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 09:08:02
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#32</b>, Valeyard:
<QUOTE>
I took the game back to PC WORLD and got a refund. Simple.
</QUOTE>
You managed to get a refund from PC WORLD? Yikes, not even I've been able to do that and I'm happy to stand in a store until an hour after closing time until I get what I want.


<b>#36</b>, Warren Marshall:
<QUOTE>
How does this answer my question? The topic attacks WoT directly ... I was asking what about WoT isn't finished, that this patch is inserting. Your response was very general, and doesn't give me any kind of information.
</QUOTE>
Because I know better than to get into specifics with people who will nit-pick endlessly until they think they've won.

The patch fixes stuff. Otherwise it wouldn't exist, would it? End of story.

Besides, the point of the topic was GT's six week delay, not the patch. I'm not aware of us ever reporting a patch just because it's a patch.
<QUOTE>
Could you complete the SP game with WoT, out of the box? Yes. Could you play multiplayer? Yes. Were there any major holes in gameplay, missing angreal or missing maps? No.
</QUOTE>
Never played the game so I can't give any personal perspectvie, but this thread is now up to forty posts and already some people have said that it worked perfectly for them while others said it hardly worked at all. Thread: justified.
<QUOTE>
This patch addresses a few technical issues for certain cards and such. I don't see how that warrants an entire thread singling out WoT.
</QUOTE>
It warrants the thread because of the extraordinary delay in releasing the international patch so long after the US version. This was explained more than adequately in the topic.
#43 by "Andy"
2000-05-23 09:13:40
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#42</b>, Andy:
<QUOTE>
Because I know better than to get into specifics with people who will nit-pick endlessly until they think they've won.
</QUOTE>
That wasn't a personal comment, btw. It was about this site in general.
#44 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-05-23 09:18:11
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
So much went wrong with WoT.

I started a website 3 years ago that was dedicated to the Wheel of Time video game (Words Like Violence, and I coordinated along with Nick Crow the launch of worldofdreams.com shortly after). The details released along the way (as well as the screenshots) sounded like Glen Dahlgren and Legend were truly set on making WoT one of the greatest games in World history. Instead, for the most part it was an above average FPS with some incredible architecture in the level design (I was always ashamed for never even pimping Paul Mock on my web page, there is a man who deserves a whole lot of money for the standards he helped set for future level design). After Legend was sold to GT, it sounded very exciting for the community - Glen sounded excited about it because the influx of cash would allow him to fill out the team, and hurry the project along. So I was happy about it, there was even a point where we were contacted to become an official WoT news site, but the idea disintegrated rather quickly when the person at GT who made the offer to us stopped replying to emails. Glen is an incredibly nice person and given the resources I believe he would be considered among the top game designers of all time. Everything about the game sounded perfect, the added strategy of the Citadel Editor, solid NPC character interaction - all set in a world I had spent the better half of my teenage years absorbed in. But the frequency of comments that started pouring in like 'best to start large and trim down' and a whole lot of talk about 'rushing to make milestones for the publisher', I started to get the shaky feeling that it just wasn't going to happen. And if Glen weren't legally bound to talk badly about GT Interactive, I believe he'd say GT was instrumental in WoT's rush to release (and overall commercial failure). I still talk to Glen occaisonally on ICQ, but I'm not looking forward to his next game because of how WoT shipped. I personally, felt really burnt by GT by the game's release. Through the early/mid development cycle, the WorldofDreams.com staff (Nick Crow, Anders Hallin, among others) updated our site with damn near religious like zeal, Glen and Legend had embraced us as a legitimate resource for getting the word out on how great WoT was going to be, and it felt great to have such a close knit relationship with the developer of a game I had literaly waited years for. But once the buyout happened, we started getting more and more polar, more negativity appeared on my website which was amplified more and more with the arrival of the beta of the game being sent to every site in existance (except us), and all the sudden (of course) PlanetWheelofTime comes along, gets loads of gear from Legend/GT to give away to "celebrate the opening of the site" which pretty much made me want to wretch. 2 fucking years of following that game day in day out and we didn't get (nor did we ask for) a god damned thing. Since this is at least partially our fault, because I never wanted to ask Glen for stuff to give away (we were a very anti-commercial site, and the only thing we ever did give away was a signed (by Robert Jordan) copy of The Path of Daggers that I bought with my own money, Nick also gave away a copy of Half-Life he bought with his own money) and those went to our 200,000th visitor. After the PWoT ascention to god's right hand, when I did mention something, he told me to contact GT and he was sure they'd be glad to help us out but guess what - never got a reply. That's how we got treated in the end. The situation made my physically ill. And I commented from WoD's mainpage about it. Joost Schuur of our beloved GameSpy Industries had contacted WoD's host because of those commments (which were along the lines of "get the fuck out of our community" I believe is an exact quote) and I had to agree to leave the site or else our entire directory would be deleted in 48 hours time (This was later rescinded by Lorien at GAGames). But the entire situation made me bitter enough where I actually would loathe visiting my own home page.

Ok, this was about GT isn't it? Lemme correlate real fast, Legend had been a marvelous company to follow because of how ideal they were, I've always been such an idealistic person it seemed like a perfect match. But everything, I mean <b>everything</b> that went wrong with WoT I lay at GT's feat. The death of the community, the premature release of the game, and the total lack of support for the game post release (the supposed botmatch feature Ryan Ovrevik was working on, but had to abandon to work on Unreal 2, and this patching issue).

Darkseid: The game is not done, open up the manual and look at the screenshot in the "how to use the citadel editor" section, and have a good laugh.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-05-23 09:19:55
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Andy

<quote>The patch fixes stuff. Otherwise it wouldn't exist, would it? End of story.</quote>

I'm glad you think so.

I'm inclined to drop this too since I can't seem to get a straight answer out of you.  Until you can actually argue this subject with me, armed with some facts, I guess we're done.

Do some research and get back to me ...
#46 by "Fooz"
2000-05-23 09:22:13
foozmelon@quakemail.com
"But everything, I mean everything that went wrong with WoT I lay at GT's feat. The death of the community, the premature release of the game, and the total lack of support for the game post release"

Sounds like another FPS game from GT.

Hmmm.. could we be onto something?
#47 by "Fooz"
2000-05-23 09:24:34
foozmelon@quakemail.com
"Until you've worked inside a publisher and/or developer, I think the best argument anyone can make is a random potshot and gripe."

Wow. This quote is probably the best quote I've seen on this forum.

Can we frame it anywhere around here so others can use it as a reference?
#48 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-05-23 09:37:17
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Seth

WoT's original design was too ambitious.  It was HUGE when we started.  Just HUGE.  But as with all things, reality set in, and we built the game we could, not necessarily the game we wanted.

This is what you get when you have such a clear insight into what developers are doing.  If we announced WoT a week before it went gold, and you never had any inkling of what the original design was, would it still be a problem?  I doubt it ...

Oh sure, maybe you wouldn't like it or whatever, but there wouldn't be this feeling of letdown or disappointment that it didn't turn out the way you originally thought it would.

More and more companies are clamming up about their products until they're pretty far into the cycle.  Like 3D Realms with DNF ... they aren't talking about that game at all.  Nobody knows what the original plan for that game was, so nobody will be able to point fingers when it comes out that they cut corners or whatever.  What they will end up giving us, as far as we know, is their original design, pixel for pixel!
#49 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-05-23 09:58:57
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#48</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE>Seth

WoT's original design was too ambitious. It was HUGE when we started. Just HUGE. But as with all things, reality set in, and we built the game we could, not necessarily the game we wanted.

This is what you get when you have such a clear insight into what developers are doing. If we announced WoT a week before it went gold, and you never had any inkling of what the original design was, would it still be a problem? I doubt it ...

Oh sure, maybe you wouldn't like it or whatever, but there wouldn't be this feeling of letdown or disappointment that it didn't turn out the way you originally thought it would.

More and more companies are clamming up about their products until they're pretty far into the cycle. Like 3D Realms with DNF ... they aren't talking about that game at all. Nobody knows what the original plan for that game was, so nobody will be able to point fingers when it comes out that they cut corners or whatever. What they will end up giving us, as far as we know, is their original design, pixel for pixel! </QUOTE>

I believe you can do both. Look at Half Life, 3 click internet connectivity promised (<b>delivered</b>). An absolutely incredible amount of AI (<b>delivered</b>). A story that actually drove you to finish (<b>delivered</b>).
In fact, other than the weekly update feature Glen engineered (endured), and the feature set focus, I really can't say HL's
goals were any more ridiculously higher than WoT's.

And now Valve is the ruler of the FPS industry while you personally left Legend.

On the opposite end you get Tresspasser, but somewhere between is Wheel of Time. And it disappoints me to this day to say that, probably a pride issue, aha, so it IS my fault after-all. :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#50 by "CliffyB"
2000-05-23 10:02:36
cliffyb@cliffyb.com http://www.cliffyb.com
Ugly, ugly thread.

Cliff
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