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When Will Developers of Online Games Learn?
August 21st 2002, 18:39 CEST by Nova Z

So here we have one of the funnest multiplayer games to be released in a while, and playing it is a chore.  Well, not playing it per se, but trying to find a game so that you actually have the ability to play.  See, no matter how much fun an online game is, if you can't join a fucking server, you can't exactly enjoy the game.  

Of course, breaking new ground in the obvious path of common sense, yet again, is Blizzard.  With their magical 'Play Game' button, you can just start playing an online game without having to worry about anything at all.  Pick your preferences, click the button, Voilà!  You are nowing playing their game online, with a minimal amount of bullshit in between.

Contrast that to the Battlefield 1942 demo, where finding a server is like taking a shot in the dark at a moving target.  And if you think that game has one spot -- nope, server full.  And then they reload the server list, just to make you happy.  And then when you finally get on to a server (probably not one of the EA ones), it's laggy, and filled with a bunch of tards who can't figure out not to shoot the people who are their color.  If only the server list specified if Friendly Fire is on or not.  Or you get in to that nice 32 player game that is mostly empty... only to find out that it's probably being hosted by some guy on a 56k.  If only the browser mentioned connection speed.

Now, maybe it's just me, but if these problems are so painfully obvious to anyone that plays the game, shouldn't they be just as obvious to the developer?  Add in the fact that they are the same kind of problems that get repeated over and over and over, and you'd think that at the very least, a developer could learn from other developers' mistakes.  

Though, perhaps they've fixed some of these issues in the final game.  But if they were only discovered during the demo, there isn't much chance of that, since they've gone gold already.  Leave it for the patch I guess.  You'd think that a developer would at least put a bit of work in to making sure the interface that the player must use to play the game is of a quality equal to the game.  

The fact remains:  for a game that is so damn good, and so damn fun, it would have been nice to see a little more effort put in to their server browser.
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#1 by LesJarvis
2002-08-21 18:42:51
i've never had a first post before!

*giggle*

Don't, for heavens sake, be afraid of talking nonsense!  But you must pay attention to your nonsense.
#2 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-21 18:45:43
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
So to sum up ...

Waah  waah  waah?

"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."
#3 by chris
2002-08-21 18:48:50
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Would've been nice to see a little more effort put into the overall UI, too.

BF1942 suffers from the EXACT same problems that kept Codename Eagle as a cult game, instead of garnering it a massive online following (it was probably the single most fun multiplayer game ever made, in its time).

Specifically: It's interface sucks and is buggy (hello, mouse sensitivity slider), and the gameplay is buggy.

Now if you get PAST THAT, it's an awesome game. Tons of fun. You learn to use the bugs (like yesterday, when I was riding on Post-It's head as he sat in the machine-gunner position in a tank), and you learn to deal with the UI, and then it's fucking great.

Just like Codename Eagle.

Still, the whole thing is just another entry in a long run of games that needed someone (preferably someone OUTSIDE either the publisher or developer) to come in and go "you need to spend six weeks fixing this, this, this and this."

-chris
#4 by Fugazi(werking)
2002-08-21 18:53:31
funnest multiplayer games


Ugh.

As for the browser...it's ugly but it works. Gamespy Arcade (or All-Seeing Eye) can be used if people are not comfortable with the built-in browser. I don't think this is that big of a deal.

"Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.
#5 by chris
2002-08-21 18:55:30
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Fugazi -

You didn't play it enough.

Or are you simply commenting on my loathesome grammar? =)

-chris
#6 by chris
2002-08-21 18:56:02
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Oh, wait... that's YOUR loathesome grammar!

-chris
(phew!)
#7 by Ergo
2002-08-21 18:58:34
Actually, it's Nova's grammar. Or lack thereof.

"Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits! It says 'OOOOOOO'!"
"Peter, those are Cheerios."
-The Family Guy
#8 by Fugazi(werking)
2002-08-21 19:05:47
The demo is 3 month old code so I am going to reserve judgment on the overall game until the full retail version is installed on my hard drive. Yes, the UI is f'ugly and not intuitive...but after a few minutes of messing around and I launch the game...all thoughts about the UI are gone. The gameplay is where it's at. I'd rather have a command line interface and a great game than a beautiful interface and a shitty and/or boring game.
I've played Commodore games where I had to hit every key on the keyboard to find out how to start(!) let alone play the game. Was it annoying? Maybe. Did it detract from my enjoyment ultimately? No. Will the BF1942 UI hurt the game? I don't think so. The game is too much damn fun.

"Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.
#9 by Fugazi(werking)
2002-08-21 19:06:20
Sorry about that monolithic wall of text.

"Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.
#10 by Shadarr
2002-08-21 19:06:58
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
When a company leaves out a standard feature like displaying ping time, they better have a damn good reason.  Lord knows why developers insist on re-inventing the wheel just for the sake of being different.  Ooh, look at me, I left out some stuff that's been in every game since '99, but it has flavour.
#11 by Leslie Nassar
2002-08-21 19:20:35
http://departmentofinternets.com
The demo is 3 month old code so I am going to reserve judgment on the overall game until the full retail version is installed on my hard drive.

That kind of defeats the purpose of having a demo, doesn't it?  Isn't it supposed to be representative of the final product?  "Don't worry, it'll be fixed when you buy it" doesn't fill me with confidence.

PS. Secret message to EA:  Fix the fucking dedicated server.  Sweet zombie Jesus, people.  What's wrong with you?  The game may have a shitty UI but it least it has one.  The dedicated server has a big, ugly, black flickering window.  Impressive!  While you're at it, how about not consuming 97% of the CPU and not having a leak so severe that after 18 hours it has accumulated 400mb of memory?

;-)
#12 by Your Friend
2002-08-21 19:33:25
What happened to the Planetcrap battlecry of 'Developers owe you nothing'?

If the game is so annoying, just don't play it and don't buy it.
#13 by Matt Perkins
2002-08-21 19:36:25
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Annoying doesn't mean it's not fun.  It just means it's not as fun as it could be.

Take for instance any blizzard game released recently...no matter what you think of the game, you have to say they have a clean, simple interface.  Why don't more game developers think this is a big deal?  It's what made Warrior Kings just a good game, the LONG load times and annoying UI.

This post made sense in my head.
#14 by jjohnsen
2002-08-21 19:38:33
http://www.johnsenclan.com
I'd rather have a command line interface and a great game than a beautiful interface and a shitty and/or boring game.


But do you want more people to buy and play it?  I'd rather have a good interface that works, than have to use a command line to get what I want out of it.

I played for a whle last night and it's a lot of fun.  My only complaint to add to those above is there is no way to fix the gamma.  No brightness or gamma slider to offset my crappy monitor that is having darkness problems.

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#15 by Bailey
2002-08-21 19:39:19
#12

They can't not complain, because everyone in #planetcrap is playing the damn thing all hours of the day and night, and they're left out in the cold. Sure, it doesn't work for four or five people that I've heard of, but I've also seen 24 or so people in at once with no complaints. For me, this demo is a about three months from being purchase-worthy, and if it's three month old code... Well, if they can sort out the problems with machine guns and dogfights, I'd say it's a great game. However, the SP AI is so laughably horrible, I doubt it'll ever be worth playing. I'd rather they entirely ignore that aspect and focus on the MP. More maps! More vehicles! More ethnicities to wipe out the amerikani with!

This alcohol will make me funny.
#16 by Matt Perkins
2002-08-21 19:41:51
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Bailey

And that's what I think is great about this demo as say opposed to the SOF2 demo...  there's much more waiting in the full game.  In SOF2, I'd already played with just about everything.

I don't know, I'm not buying on day one, but it sure is making me consider it after a couple of positive reviews from you fools who do.

This post made sense in my head.
#17 by Matthew Gallant
2002-08-21 19:42:10
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
I would love to have a desktop shortcut that would connect me directly to butter. And bypass all the logos at the beginning. And order a free pony from freepony.com.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#18 by Your Friend
2002-08-21 19:48:08
It is in fact true that many developers are stupid.  When I'm playing a game and I die and the game goes and reloads the whole level before it starts me out again, I have to wonder what kind of idiot programmers were responsible for the garbage I'm playing, but instead of making online petitions or whining online I just fire off email to the developers that consists of many funny "YOUR MOMMA IS SO (FAT|STUPID)" jokes.  Then I never buy software from them again.
#19 by jjz
2002-08-21 19:48:35
There's an "Adults only" button at freepony.com.  I don't want to know.
#20 by Bailey
2002-08-21 19:55:13
MattP

I'm going to run over you with my submarine when you're sniping.

This alcohol will make me funny.
#21 by Creole Ned
2002-08-21 19:56:35
Delete the movies folder from the BF1942 directory and it'll take you straight into the game at launch.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#22 by Cathcart
2002-08-21 20:00:34
cathcart@penguinhed.org http://www.penguinhed.org/
Sorry, I was having too much fun playing BF1942 to complain about the interface. I completely agree with everyone who said that it sucks, but I also don't care. Then again, I run Debian, so I guess that makes me an interface masochist or something.
#23 by Greg
2002-08-21 20:02:27
Your Friend:

What happened to the Planetcrap battlecry of 'Developers owe you nothing'?

But isn't now the perfect time to voice concerns? Ignoring that the game went gold earlier in the week, people who have played the game and like it want to see it get better. If they want my money, I would hope they would at least take the time to try to fix the obvious problems.

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#24 by chris
2002-08-21 20:07:05
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Developers *don't* owe me anything.

I just figure they'd like their game to sell as many copies as they want, and while many people can and do get past the issues in the BF1942 demo, if those issues aren't fixed in the gold release, it will turn others off.

(and, of course, many will not even play the gold release because they couldn't get past the issues in the demo).

-chris
#25 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-21 20:07:32
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Well, that's usually the point of a demo ... 1)  to get people interested in the game, and 2) to find out if there are any horrific problems that need fixing.  I would hope they'll address the really obvious stuff ...

"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."
#26 by Your Friend
2002-08-21 20:10:37

Well, that's usually the point of a demo ... 1)  to get people interested in the game, and 2) to find out if there are any horrific problems that need fixing.  I would hope they'll address the really obvious stuff ...


These days its seems like more and more games go gold at just about the same time as the pre-release demo comes out (NWN, BF1942, etc), which makes it pretty difficult to fix such issues before actual release.  Thus the drastic increase in the day-of-release 1.01 patch.
#27 by Creole Ned
2002-08-21 20:11:11
The kindly souls at the Infogrames forums are the very model of patience and civility as they wait for the demo of Unreal Tournament 2003, knowing that the longer it takes, the more polished and representatitve of the final game it will be.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#28 by Matthew Gallant
2002-08-21 20:12:13
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Delete the movies folder from the BF1942 directory and it'll take you straight into the game at launch.


You'd think I'd remember by now to try stuff like that. Thanks. Do you have a pony, too?

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#29 by Your Friend
2002-08-21 20:13:42
I have a couple of great pony video clips that you could insert into the bf1942 movies folder to replace the movies you don't like watching.
#30 by Greg
2002-08-21 20:15:23
I like how Raven handled the SOF2 MP Test. They released it a few weeks before the game, and all of the glaring issues had magically disappeared by the time the game hit the shelves.

Magic I tell you!

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#31 by jjohnsen
2002-08-21 20:15:33
http://www.johnsenclan.com
From the submission bin
Have you ever heard of World Games Inc, (WGI)? Not? World Games Inc, or WGI as it is known, gives you the opportunity to establish your own business on the Internet. And we’re not talking just any business here – we’re talking about giving you your own casino, your own sports betting, a worldwide lottery and a stock market that you have never seen matched anywhere.


I'm just waiting for Morn to push this one in.

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#32 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-21 20:16:14
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Ned
The kindly souls at the Infogrames forums are the very model of patience and civility as they wait for the demo of Unreal Tournament 2003, knowing that the longer it takes, the more polished and representatitve of the final game it will be.

Well, they've got us figured out ... They know that Microsoft is paying us to hold back the demo.  They know that the demo was done months ago and we're just holding onto it out of spite.  They know that the demo doesn't need to be good or bug free ... we should just release it!  This is obvious to everyone because what we desire most is endless bug reports about shit we already know.

They've totally nailed it.

"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."
#33 by Bailey
2002-08-21 20:18:26
Warren

Well, that's usually the point of a demo ... 1)  to get people interested in the game, and 2) to find out if there are any horrific problems that need fixing.  I would hope they'll address the really obvious stuff ...

They seem to worry a lot more about 1 rather than 2, however. Many is the time a company has been deluged with "THIS IS BROKEN AND EASILY REPRODUCED, PLZ RECONCILE, KTHX" e-mails and the same game-jarring bug still makes it retail. Of course, we all remember the horror stories more than the happy endings, but it does seem to be a trend in the big-boy companies.

This alcohol will make me funny.
#34 by Ergo
2002-08-21 20:31:19
They've totally nailed it.


AHA! I knew it all along.

"Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits! It says 'OOOOOOO'!"
"Peter, those are Cheerios."
-The Family Guy
#35 by ProStyle
2002-08-21 20:42:17
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
I'd say all of Novas' complaints can be traced back to that Little Green Icon right below the server list. I think it says something to the extent of "powered by gamespy". Heh, now, I don't know what all of you think, but it is indeed quite obvious that it should say "restricted by GameNazi"; so much to the extent that you can't even tell the fucking thing to STOP REFRESHING EVERY FUCKING SERVER after you fail to join a game because it wouldn't display the correct players and it kicks you back after being full. Hoo-RAH. I think I remembered when they actually made useful software like quakespy, but now for some reason every developer likes to include a half-assed version of that into their games and it really pisses everyone off. The same thing happened with the last couple Q3:TA Engine games that've come out so none of this is new, but it is all equally retarded.

And, Fugazi, I don't know about you but I haven't been able to get BF1942 to work with ASE after reading the message on day 2 after the demo release that clearly stated "Gamespy is holding the server list hostage, there's nothing we can do about it. Sorry". :|~
#36 by Duality
2002-08-21 20:46:24
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Why its using GameSpy tech have anything to do with what features, buttons and other server browser specific doodads the developer decides to add or leave out?

Have you used GSA and noticed that it does, in fact, have the ability to stop a server list refresh?  Not only that, but GSA does not automatically refresh the list when you exit a game.  So to blame this on the technology is rather silly.

But I know that I'm feeding into a trolltrap, I can't help it.

-Jon
#37 by Duality
2002-08-21 20:46:58
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Pretend I speak engrish good.

-Jon
#38 by Leslie Nassar
2002-08-21 20:49:33
http://departmentofinternets.com
i'm blaming chris for BF1942's UI now.

;-)
#39 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-21 20:50:28
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Duality

Now, now, those babies aren't going to eat themselves.  Let the GSA bashing run free ...

"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."
#40 by Greg
2002-08-21 20:58:04
Mmmm.... babies....

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#41 by chris
2002-08-21 21:01:57
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
You should see the recipe book we've been compiling! Babies Almondine, Sweet-n-Sour Baby, Baby-Kabobs... some of them are just incredible.

-chris
#42 by ProStyle
2002-08-21 21:06:15
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
Duality:
I'm talking about playing the Battlefield 1942 demo. I'm not talking about downloading a peice-of-ass software like Gamespy Arcade so I can be spammed with ads every fifteen seconds, only to close them in a frantic pace so I can read the wall of noobish spam coming from chat rooms I didn't even want to join. Nonetheless, the faults I was speaking of were directed at the in-game-server-"browser" implemented with "gamespy technology", not a full blown product from them. I wouldn't say this is trollish at all, it's exactly what the topic is entirely about, and I don't even agree with it being voted in... so... meh.
#43 by Shadarr
2002-08-21 21:09:31
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Baby back ribs?
#44 by Hugin
2002-08-21 21:27:59
lmccain@nber.org
#13 by Matt Perkins


Take for instance any blizzard game released recently...no matter what you think of the game, you have to say they have a clean, simple interface.


I have one quibble with your statement, and that's that I hate hate hate the stupid system Blizzard has in WC3 to separate/delineate/navigate between different game chapters, and exiting the game.  Say you're in a mission, and getting hosed, and decide to exit out of the game.  You can easily get caught in a menu path that forces you to click four, five, six times just to quit the game, waiting for animated menus to pop up and down all the while. Inscrutable Chapter headings within the individual race chapters that don't really indicate where you are in the mission tree. Also, lists of saves with no date or timestamp. At least it doesn't force you to quit when you want to save.

Between Diablo 2 and WC3, I'd really like to sit down with the folks who make all the "Load/Save/Restart/Quit"-type menus.
#45 by Ergo
2002-08-21 21:51:41
Add Dungeon Siege to that list.

"Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits! It says 'OOOOOOO'!"
"Peter, those are Cheerios."
-The Family Guy
#46 by TheTrunkDr.
2002-08-21 21:52:28
Haven't played much Diablo 2 have you?!!? the game is perpetually saving your info, every time you use a town portal or enter a new area it saves. The whole 'save and quit' bit just lets you know that it saves as well as quiting the game, it's not the only time the game ever saves your data though.

As for WC3 the chapter headings don't bother me but I see your point. I do agree with your bit about the animating menus, everything takes way longer than it should with them, if all I want to do is go onto bnet chat, I have to wait for the opening menu, then wait for it to go up then for the animating doors so I can log on, then wait for them to open and the inital bnet menu to fall, then click chat and wait for the menu to switch again, the select or type in the channel I want and then wait for the menu again! it's way too much, the animation of the menus should be an option that can be turned off. It should also have a favourite channel list and be able to designate a default chanel setting instead of the dumb ass 'warcraft3-ZWE-1' it always sticks me in when I'm at home! what the hell does ZWE stand for anyway??!?! zimbabwe?! does zimbabwe even have a net connection?!?! and if they do, how many are really playing WC3??

ooohh floor pie!
#47 by Shadarr
2002-08-21 22:11:45
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
My favourite non-game feature is the "exit to windows" button.  Even if it's followed by an "are you sure" dialog, it's still pure joy compared to exiting out of every single choice you made on the way in.

By the way, I haven't played WC3 but I know that the Penny Arcade folks weren't exactly overjoyed by the multiplayer matching service.  Their main beef seemed to be that the server put more emphasis on finding you someone to play quickly rather than finding someone who wouldn't kick your non-korean ass all over the map.
#48 by Duality
2002-08-21 22:12:35
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Baby back ribs?

Babies back ribs.

ProStyle: These functions you are at issue with sound more like implementation on the developer's end, not issues with the technology itself.

How does its using GameSpy tech have anything to do with what features, buttons and other server browser specific doodads the developer decides to add or leave out?

(Proofread to remove idiocy)

-Jon
#49 by Post-It
2002-08-21 22:18:34
keithlee@speakeasy.net
Okay, well then what does everyone want out of an interface? Just 5 big red buttons:

New Game
Load Game
Options
Credits
Exit

Which would take you to new screens with more large red buttons.

I mean that would be the simplest and most straightforward. I think the trouble starts when whoever designs menus for game companies start to try and get too creative. I do want the menu system/UI to have some sense of style and feel for the game, it helps the immersion just when a player boots it up. However, I think too many times people start to value style over usability and that's where the problems come in.

Comment Signature
#50 by deadlock
2002-08-21 22:21:19
http://www.deadlocked.org/
ProStyle:
I'm not talking about downloading a peice-of-ass software like Gamespy Arcade so I can be spammed with ads every fifteen seconds, only to close them in a frantic pace so I can read the wall of noobish spam coming from chat rooms I didn't even want to join.

That's why I exercised free will and downloaded GameSpy3D instead. And purchased a key, thereby freeing me from ads and entitling me to upgrades for life (mine, or the program's, not sure which). Also, I downloaded All-Seeing Eye, which does an equally good - some would say better - job.

Ireland: The Australians of Europe!
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