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Become a Strike Fighters Beta Tester!  Buy it at Wal-Mart Now!
July 30th 2002, 01:15 CEST by Pie4Foo

Earlier this week Canadian publisher Strategy First published a run of its new flight-sim, Strike Fighters Project 1 and issued them to Wal-Mart for sale.  Although the game is not scheduled for release until at least August 6th (according to EBWorld; later according to other sources), the game was packaged up and released as a full-fledged finished game on July 20th.  When customers began discovering the title in stores, they reacted on the enthusiast webzine SimHQ.  On the 21st, developer ThirdWire posted a quick response on the SimHQ boards:

"Strike Fighters: Project 1 is still in beta testing. We still have beta testers putting in good comments and suggestions on our bug tracking system, and we believe we still have anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months left to go on this project, depending on how fast we can fix bugs and how many of these suggestions we decide to implement.

"But unfortunately, we do not have much control over the release date, and we cannot prevent our publisher from putting it in the box and getting it out early. And as I understand it, we do have a version released now, based on late-June beta build, that were sent out to select retail chains. We were assured that the number of this run is very small, and that there will be a full CD-exchange program made available to anyone who bought this version.

[...]

"ps. So all you guys who were asking to be a beta testers, here's your chance :)"

Here's the official statement from Strategy First regarding this release, made a few days afterwards:

“We understand your frustration and hopefully we can clear up some of the confusion surrounding Strike Fighters for you. The release of Strike Fighters that everyone is talking about is a limited commercial release, special only to one specific retailer, and is NOT a beta copy as some have insinuated. The release is a "basic version" that is targeted towards that specific retailer's audience. We admit that we have discovered more bugs than we thought and we are fixing them as quickly as we can in a patch that will be released shortly. The next release, which is the "fully featured" version, will be released in September and will be distributed through the regular distribution channels.

"Those who have bought the "basic version" will be able to upgrade to the "fully featured" release for free. If they do not want to download that patch they will simply have to contact Strategy First at market@strategyfirst.com and we will gladly send them the upgrade on CD directly.

"Strategy First supports TK and the developers in this project and we have not gone against what was discussed and agreed upon. The release is targeted to a specific retailer and its audience, while the next release is targeted to the rest of the distribution channel for a more hard-core gaming audience."

Although it's likely we'll never really know the whole truth behind this embarassing story, it appears Strategy First had agreed with Wal-Mart to release this title by a certain date, and when the development slipped, it was obligated to ship this "basic version" to Wal-Mart.
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Home » Topic: Become a Strike Fighters Beta Tester!  Buy it at Wal-Mart Now!

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#1 by m0nty
2002-07-30 01:18:16
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
ObTroll:

WELL THAT"S NOT MUCH DIFFERENT TO HOW EVERY PC GAME IS RELEEASED THESE DAYS!!!!!!!1111
#2 by crash
2002-07-30 01:23:41
Strike Fighters Early Non-Beta Not-Quite-Complete But Hey We Got A Deadline Here Version: You Get The Spin For Free!

such a deal.

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#3 by crash
2002-07-30 01:26:03
hm. shouldn't have hit post so soon. so now we add a new type of retail packaging. we've got:

* the original game
* the collector's edition
* the bargain/"classic" version
* the limited edition (not collector)
* the pre-pay version (with l33t stuph!1!1!!!)
* the E3 edition
* the "random award" version
* the "game of the year" version
* the expansion pack version
* the free-with-another-game version

and now?

* the new, special "LOOMING DEADLINE" edition

joy!

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#4 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-30 01:26:12
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
So very lame.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#5 by Bailey
2002-07-30 01:34:14
The rape buck gets passed to the consumer. Huzzah!

Then again, if you're shopping at Wal-Mart for anything besides garden hoses or tupperware storage bins, you pretty much get what you deserve.

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#6 by Shadarr
2002-07-30 01:37:54
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Poor ThirdWire.  Depending on how un-gold it is, the word of mouth from this could kill the game.
#7 by HoseWater
2002-07-30 01:42:57
barneyque@hotmail.com
So sad.

Buncha lamers all around.

Hope they remembered to oil the PR machines reverse gear.
#8 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-30 01:53:29
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
MARKETING!

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$208,000,000.
#9 by jafd
2002-07-30 02:17:49
I can imagine how it must have been, many, many years ago.

"I wish these fucking dodo birds would just die off. I'm tired of washing the poop off my head."

#10 by Desiato
2002-07-30 02:28:28
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
Crash - you forgot the "We have no more operating capital - so here it is" version.

Great list, if only it wasn't so damn true.
#11 by Matt Perkins
2002-07-30 02:30:56
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
This topic is to wide and hence, makes baby jesus cry.

I like pretending I can spell.
#12 by Your Friend
2002-07-30 02:39:26

ObTroll:

WELL THAT"S NOT MUCH DIFFERENT TO HOW EVERY PC GAME IS RELEEASED THESE DAYS!!!!!!!1111


Sadly, I don't think that's a troll at all.  The only difference here is that they handled it poorly from a PR perspective.  Companies better at the dirty M word Matthew used would have just released it, kept the developer in the loop (and made sure they didn't spill the beans) and then would have issued a 'patch' later which represents the real finished game.

 You'd have a much easier job of counting up the PC games released that don't have a patch available on the day of release or within a month of it than counting those that do.  And while driver issues and such are to blame for some of them, many, many(, many) of these patches fix basic and obvious gameplay or general crash bugs that there's no way in hell the developer didn't realize existed before release.
#13 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-30 02:42:11
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
You'd have a much easier job of counting up the PC games released that don't have a patch available on the day of release or within a month of it than counting those that do.  And while driver issues and such are to blame for some of them, many, many(, many) of these patches fix basic and obvious gameplay or general crash bugs that there's no way in hell the developer didn't realize existed before release.

Food for thought : maybe those bugs would have been caught/fixed if the developer didn't have to worry about compatibility problems with hardware, drivers, etc.  In other words, time spent in one area is time lost in another.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#14 by Your Friend
2002-07-30 03:00:26

Food for thought : maybe those bugs would have been caught/fixed if the developer didn't have to worry about compatibility problems with hardware, drivers, etc.  In other words, time spent in one area is time lost in another.


Yes, that is true.  But there are other issues at play as well, such as the fact that lots of game development is done using extremely poor programming techniques by egomaniac 'l33t c0derz' who can optimize the hell out of a 10 line C function but would have trouble explaining many basic CS concepts.
Please note that I don't consider Epic to be such a place.  Its fairly clear even as an outsider looking in that Epic's programmers are top-notch in a lot of different areas.  The design of UnrealScript and the general flexibility of the engine (not to mention the net.communications of Tim Sweeny, Dan Vogel, etc) shows this.  

Being familiar with some other development houses either firsthand or via second hand information from friends who do work for them leads me to believe that Epic is not even close to the norm and that a large number of games are programmed by functional retards.  For every one Chris Hecker, Tim Sweeny, John Carmack, Tom Forsyth, Charles Bloom or Thatcher Ulrich you're going to find an infinite amount of coder monkeys who are proud of the fact that they can write a texture manager subsystem in a day, and then do that, neglecting things such as gracefully handling surfaces being paged out of vram.. The fix? Disable alt-tab and the Windows key, of course....  Uh..  DIRTY MONKEY!
#15 by Post-It
2002-07-30 03:15:44
keithlee@speakeasy.net
Crash,

Are you goignt to start rotating your user icon to match whatever brand of liquid refeshment you are favoring each week?

Comment Signature
#16 by Bailey
2002-07-30 03:22:23
But there are other issues at play as well, such as the fact that lots of game development is done using extremely poor programming techniques by egomaniac 'l33t c0derz' who can optimize the hell out of a 10 line C function but would have trouble explaining many basic CS concepts.

It's a fact!

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#17 by "Sgt Hulka"
2002-07-30 03:28:32
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
Is this any different than what id has done in the past with their games?  According to this Robert Duffy plan update today, they're STILL not done with Quake III .
#18 by Leslie Nassar
2002-07-30 03:40:11
http://departmentofinternets.com
Fuckers.  Creating patches 2 1/2 years after the game is released to combat new and evolving methods of cheating.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#19 by zarathustra
2002-07-30 03:49:23
anti_kre8er@yahoo.com
Alt-tab is sacred and should never be disabled.
#20 by ProStyle
2002-07-30 03:57:15
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
Has anyone ever noticed the disturbing trend that just about every single topic posted here is some "news" announcement relating to something we should all be disgusted at being the niche market we are (or SOMETHING?!). Why must we continue this cycle of self-deceit and bitching? Lets be constructive instead and post happy topics or... something

For example, hey there's this really cool new game or really cool new technology or maybe just some blithering idiots predictions for how certain things could affect your future or not and your thoughts on that. Anything but pointless rantings of how the publisher/developer relationship can be so warped and twisted or that goats are really more exciting when shorn, because (here's the best part) YOU SAY SO.
#21 by Bailey
2002-07-30 04:00:57
Why? There's nothing cool or new anymore.

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#22 by zarathustra
2002-07-30 04:01:31
anti_kre8er@yahoo.com
Yes lets post nice happy thoughts about the new doom 3 screens-dont think itll ruin yer mind!

Im kidding, actually im pretty ecxited to see if shadowbane will be all that was promised-a mmorpg with *gasp* actualy gameplay.
#23 by bago
2002-07-30 04:01:58
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Then it's not stupid and horrible.

iamelectro
#24 by BobJustBob
2002-07-30 04:18:20
I would submit a topic about how great Nintendo's fall lineup is and how happy I am that so many great games will be out by the end of the year, but that's not nearly happy enough. I talk about it in the irc channel and the Nintendo-haters attack. Nova_Z becomes positively rabid when I mention Mario, let me tell you. Not to mention Metroid.

So there.
#25 by jjohnsen
2002-07-30 04:21:41
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Submit away, whats the worst that can happen?

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#26 by Slappy
2002-07-30 04:26:28
Yet another nail in the coffin of the jet-era combat flight sim. Goddamn bastards. Go LOMAC!!!!
#27 by Your Friend
2002-07-30 04:33:40
Bob,

  I love Nintendo.  Including all the major Mario games (and a few of the minor ones), Zelda series, Metroid (though I still have some reservations about Metroid Prime.... I'll reserve judgement until I've played the final though), etc.  Also I seem to be one of the few people over the age of 12 that thinks the new cel animated style of Zelda looks great, once you've seen it in action (still screenshots don't do it justice).

   So, here's to the fall lineup!
#28 by zarathustra
2002-07-30 04:35:26
anti_kre8er@yahoo.com
the new zelda reminds me of when i used to paw all over the olda nes manuals and wish the game really looked like that-now it finally does
#29 by chris
2002-07-30 04:37:40
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Super Mario Sunshine is quite good. Least, what I've seen/played of it.

First person metroid makes baby jesus cry. The fact that I'm still going to buy it makes him cry harder.

-shiny, happy chris
#30 by jjohnsen
2002-07-30 04:49:42
http://www.johnsenclan.com
I think if we listed all the things that make baby Jesus cry, we'd all try to be nicer to him.

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#31 by zarathustra
2002-07-30 04:52:04
anti_kre8er@yahoo.com
Jesus was over for beers last tuesday and he specificlly said that buggy ass games make him cry, and taffy because it sucks
#32 by Your Friend
2002-07-30 04:57:32
Having limited experience with baby Jesus, but having a couple nieces and a nephew, I'd guess shitting himself makes baby Jesus cry.   Add it to the list.
#33 by Bailey
2002-07-30 05:12:44
I really need to get to work on that device that crushes peoples' skulls over the internet.

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#34 by zarathustra
2002-07-30 05:32:27
anti_kre8er@yahoo.com
:(
#35 by crash
2002-07-30 05:32:43
Post-It:

Are you goignt to start rotating your user icon to match whatever brand of liquid refeshment you are favoring each week?

i mentioned this in another thread, but it bears repeating: i'm in "corporate whore/shill" training. right now, as i'm just an intern, i have to provide the logos myself with no pay, but if i get lucky enough to get into The Show, i'll be makin big dollars for every pixel of endorsable real estate. of course, i'll be PayPal'ing Morn a significant chunk of the revenue (lease space, etc) but i should be able to skim enough to get by just fine.

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#36 by Gabe
2002-07-30 05:34:49
http://www.dartpublishing.com
Please Bailey. Soon.
#37 by BobJustBob
2002-07-30 06:00:51
Topic is being written now.

So there.
#38 by Bailey
2002-07-30 06:05:41
I knew we'd find a middle ground on a subject matter someday, Gabe.

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#39 by Gabe
2002-07-30 06:06:23
http://www.dartpublishing.com
There's always vodka.
#40 by Bailey
2002-07-30 06:11:00
Not until you try the Luksusowa, by gum.

I am a loud man with a very large hat. This means I am in charge!
#41 by jafd
2002-07-30 06:45:19
crash -- you have the boobless Starbucks icon. Please recitfy this immediately.

#42 by crash
2002-07-30 06:48:23
ProStyle:

Why must we continue this cycle of self-deceit and bitching? Lets be constructive instead and post happy topics or... something

in a nutshell, what you're looking for, i think, is the answer to the age-old dilemma:

How many times do you have to be hit in the head with a 2x4 before you learn to duck?

and you wanna see a happy topic? there is no restriction on who may submit topics, or what those topics are, to the submission bin (to the apparent dismay of many).

have at.

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#43 by crash
2002-07-30 06:48:24
ProStyle:

Why must we continue this cycle of self-deceit and bitching? Lets be constructive instead and post happy topics or... something

in a nutshell, what you're looking for, i think, is the answer to the age-old dilemma:

How many times do you have to be hit in the head with a 2x4 before you learn to duck?

and you wanna see a happy topic? there is no restriction on who may submit topics, or what those topics are, to the submission bin (to the apparent dismay of many).

have at.

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#44 by crash
2002-07-30 06:49:22
and hi i swear to GOD i only hit Post once.

and jafd: there's a boobed version? i didn't know. i figure if i'm gonna be a corporate whore, i'm gonna nab their branded stuff right off their site, because those graphics are clearly Marketing Approved™.

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#45 by BobJustBob
2002-07-30 06:49:55
and you wanna see a happy topic?

Look in the bin.

So there.
#46 by crash
2002-07-30 06:50:36
i never do, Bob. it ruins the surprise.

*shrug*

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#47 by jafd
2002-07-30 06:58:42
Back in the day, that little mermaid had boobies, yes. On all their official stuff. I misremember if there was actual nipplage, but, that'd be easy to 'Shop right up.

Look around, I daresay you could find the original image :)

#48 by wabut
2002-07-30 07:35:37
alright, so far I've only read the Topic, and post #47 by Jafd.  

I am not even going to try to figure out how the topic led to a post about the little mermaid and nipples. I don't think i want to know either
#49 by Squeaky
2002-07-30 07:39:52
I got your little mermaid with nipples right here!

Understand? Good. Play! -- Hatsumi-Sensei
#50 by PogoTribal
2002-07-30 10:10:56
note: bold letters are meant to be thought of in a drunken', deriving manner with cigar in mouth and Luksusowa in hand.

The release is a "basic version" that is targeted towards that specific retailer's audience. Mainly the retards. They don't have a fuckin' clue what a "advanced edition" is, BUT... We admit that we have discovered more bugs than we thought since we kinda forgot to eliminate them during the game creation process and we are fixing them as quickly as we can in a patch that will be released shortly... but not so shortly that you'll still be playing the game after beating your kids. The next release, which is the "fully featured" "non-retard" version, will be released in September please buy our game and will be distributed through the regular distribution channels like... ummm... uhhhh... RUN!!.

Love... biochemically related to consuming large quantities of chocolate.
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