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No One Lies Forever
July 10th 2000, 23:22 CEST by andy

Over the last two years, Jason Hall has ploughed through a variety of explanations for why people shouldn't be mad at Monolith for the Blood 2 travesty. Finally, he's decided to tell the truth. Sort of...



In an interview over on Junk Extreme, Jason is asked about Monolith's plans to support Sanity, as according to the interviewer, "following the release of Blood 2, a lot of gamers are not so confident in Monolith anymore when it comes to supporting their products".

In a very long and remarkably frank answer, Jason explains that Monolith was simply contracted by GT Interactive to make Blood 2. He then explains:

It bothers us that Blood 2 happened the way it did, but the bottom line is that GT Interactive controlled whether additional work and support got done on Blood 2 or not.

Bzzz! That use of the word "controlled" is questionable...

At the peak of complaints about Blood 2, a GT Interactive spokesman commented:

Technical Support isn't in a position to make a formal comment about GT Interactive's relations with Monolith, and wouldn't be likely to do so if we were, as we want the people at Monolith to continue working on making improvements where they can, and they're less likely to do so if we publicly antagonise them.

So while it is true that GT owned the franchise, Monolith was never prevented from doing additional work, and apparently was encouraged to.

In the Junk Extreme interview, Jason accepts that Monolith could have fixed the game, but he defends the decision not to:

The world can be harsh sometimes. As CEO, part of my job is to be able to look the people I work with in the eye and tell them that their paychecks won't ever bounce. [...] GT wasn't interested in paying for more development, and I was not going to send 65 families to the unemployment line just so that a minor few could have smooth internet multiplayer, or AI that didn't get stuck in corner, etc.

So where's the ugly side of this? (Sorry, the "negative spin".)

Well, the way I see it, the interviewer is essentially asking Jason why people should trust Monolith in future. And truth be told, although Jason's candour about GT is deserving of respect, when you strip it all down to the bones he doesn't say much to allay any concerns. Indeed, some people will likely take Jason's answer as confirmation of their suspicions...

The one concern about Monolith that I've heard most often is that successful products will be supported, while the commercial failures will be left to rot. Those people will probably not be surprised to read this part of Jason's answer:

Basically, Blood 2 just needed more time. Time costs money, and Monolith didn't have a business model with the Blood 2 project that could justify additional work - GT needed to step up, and really they should have because it is their game that they sold.

To be honest though, I don't blame them for dropping it. The overall interest wasn't there for the Blood franchise (except for the Blood community, which r0x0rs).

So what happens if Sanity or No One Lives Forever don't do very well? If, even with hindsight, Jason agrees with GT's decision to abandon a game due to poor sales, does this mean that any future Monolith failures will also be abandoned? Will that be, as Jason himself puts it, the "solid business decision"?

C O M M E N T S
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#27 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-07-11 00:32:24
darkseid-d@planetcrap.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
anyone else pissed off

Eidos giving chief execs 4mil bonus's ...

after sinking money into Daikatana, although to be fair that did get us the glory of Deus Ex

but not being able to keep LG open

and _needing_ to sell themselves to a bigger company.


BAH


Ds<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "BarneyQue"
2000-07-11 00:35:40
BarneyQue@hotmail.com http://N/A
<b>#27</b> "Darkseid-[D!]" wrote...
<QUOTE>

anyone else pissed off

Eidos giving chief execs 4mil bonus's ...

after sinking money into Daikatana, although to be fair that did get us the glory of Deus Ex

but not being able to keep LG open

and _needing_ to sell themselves to a bigger company.


BAH


Ds</QUOTE>

Seems out of line.  I wonder why bonus's are only performance based when it's me sitting on the peon side of the desk?<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#29 by "PainKilleR-[CE]"
2000-07-11 01:14:37
painkiller@planetfortress.com http://www.planetfortress.com/tftech/
<b>#28</b> "BarneyQue" wrote...
<QUOTE>Seems out of line. I wonder why bonus's are only performance based when it's me
sitting on the peon side of the desk?</QUOTE>

lol, because chances are, people like us aren't even eligible for 4 million dollar bonuses. Hey, I bet LGS could've stayed open a little while longer on 4 million.

-PainKilleR-[CE]
#30 by "brennan"
2000-07-11 01:15:14
scottsyoen@home.com
Andy said that a few things were "hmmm-worthy"...I concur.  One other thing I thought was hmmm-worthy from the interview was:

Jason:

<quote>
Release date??? WHEN IT'S DONE.... heheh, yeah right... actually, end of this year (but it is really up to Fox).
</quote>

Now, god forbid I should make assumptions in a transparent attempt to generate hits for PC, but doesn't that indicate, at least somewhat, that Monolith is still giving over control of their development cycle/release schedule to their publisher?  I mean, if it's up to Fox when it's going to be released, couldn't we see the same sort of debacle as we did with Blood 2?

Cause, the way I see the interview is that Jason is asserting that B2 was rushed out the door due to their contract with GT, and Lith couldn't afford to support it afterwards.  Therefore, gamers got burned, despite Jason/Lith feeling bad about this, because it just wasn't possible for both Lith to stay in business and B2 to get fixed.

Fair enough; I'm satisfied.  But now we're told that Fox controls the release schedule for No One Lives Forever, and I see B2 comign right back.  So I guess I'm wondering: Why the hell should we buy NOLF after we saw what happened with B2?  Can Jason commit Fox's resources to fixing any bugs that might crop up?  I mean, no offense to Jason, but Lith doesn't exactly have a stellar track record for releasing games that are bug-free out of the box.

Again, I just thought it was hmmm-worthy.

-brennan
#31 by "Andy"
2000-07-11 01:29:02
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#30</b>, brennan:
<QUOTE>
Jason:
<quote>
Release date??? <b>WHEN IT'S DONE.... heheh, yeah right...</b> actually, end of this year (but it is really up to Fox).
</quote></QUOTE>
Funny how things can be read two ways. ;-)
<QUOTE>
I mean, no offense to Jason, but Lith doesn't exactly have a stellar track record for releasing games that are bug-free out of the box.
</QUOTE>
Frankly, if anyone buys a Monolith game within the first month of release, they'll get no sympathy from me if it's broken. I'll understand why they're pissed, sure, but if you put your hand in a fire then you're going to get burned.

And I'll tell you right now that if the situation arises, the 'Crap threads will focus on the stupidity of consumers, not the evils of Monolith.

"<i>But mommy, all I did was put the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. And now I'm dead! Life is so unfair.</i>"
#32 by "BarneyQue"
2000-07-11 01:30:45
BarneyQue@hotmail.com http://N/A
<b>#30</b> "brennan" wrote...
<QUOTE>

Andy said that a few things were "hmmm-worthy"...I concur. One other thing I thought was hmmm-worthy from the interview was:

Jason:


<quote>
Release date??? WHEN IT'S DONE.... heheh, yeah right... actually, end of this year (but it is really up to Fox).
</quote>

Now, god forbid I should make assumptions in a transparent attempt to generate hits for PC, but doesn't that indicate, at least somewhat, that Monolith is still giving over control of their development cycle/release schedule to their publisher? I mean, if it's up to Fox when it's going to be released, couldn't we see the same sort of debacle as we did with Blood 2?

Cause, the way I see the interview is that Jason is asserting that B2 was rushed out the door due to their contract with GT, and Lith couldn't afford to support it afterwards. Therefore, gamers got burned, despite Jason/Lith feeling bad about this, because it just wasn't possible for both Lith to stay in business and B2 to get fixed.

Fair enough; I'm satisfied. But now we're told that Fox controls the release schedule for No One Lives Forever, and I see B2 comign right back. So I guess I'm wondering: Why the hell should we buy NOLF after we saw what happened with B2? Can Jason commit Fox's resources to fixing any bugs that might crop up? I mean, no offense to Jason, but Lith doesn't exactly have a stellar track record for releasing games that are bug-free out of the box.

Again, I just thought it was hmmm-worthy.

-brennan


</QUOTE>

For sure, he's got a nice escape clause in there, we need to keep an eye on these guys, wait for the critical reviews to come in.  While I feel his assessment of the situation is worthy, we still need a couple of decent releases before we can let our guard down.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#33 by "BarneyQue"
2000-07-11 01:32:22
BarneyQue@hotmail.com http://N/A
<b>#31</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>


<quote>

And I'll tell you right now that if the situation arises, the 'Crap threads will focus on the stupidity of consumers, not the evils of Monolith.


</QUOTE>

This sounds fair to me.  No excuses next time.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "Baytor"
2000-07-11 01:40:45
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
(sigh)  Andy, I think you mis-understood the basic premise of Jason's recent comments.  He's not saying that GT prevented him from making a Blood 2 patch, but that they refused to give him the money to do it.  Sure, it's a Pontious Pious defense that allows him to wash his hands of the whole thing, but it's fairly understandable in this version of the story :)

I'm sure GT never told him that Monolith couldn't support the game, although for a couple of months there, Jason Hall tried to make the gaming community believe that they were.

The only thing I object to is Jason Hall's front-ending most of the blame for what happened to Blood 2 to GT.  Sure, he takes responsibility for what Monolith did wrong a later on in the answer, but IMO, he should of taken a more "we f**ked up" approach, instead of saying for several paragraphs, "GT made us f**k up."  

Maybe I've been reading too much Ayn Rand lately, but when a publisher comes up to you and says, "we'd love for you to make a game in 11 months," you either a) try to get more time to do it right or b) stick to what you know you can do and don't get ambitious.  Of course, Monolith seems to have done neither, launching an extremely ambitious game design with a developing engine, something few companies would have been able to complete in the standard 18 month game design cycle, much less the 11 month one they accepted.  

Oh, well.  Here's hoping he really learned the right lesson fron that episode.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#35 by "Andy"
2000-07-11 02:06:15
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#34</b>, Baytor:
<QUOTE>
(sigh) Andy, I think you mis-understood the basic premise of Jason's recent comments. He's not saying that GT prevented him from making a Blood 2 patch, but that they refused to give him the money to do it.
</QUOTE>
No, I understand that. Jason mentiones it a few times in the interview. But his comment about GT "controlling" additional work could be misleading.
#36 by "Desiato"
2000-07-11 02:11:23
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
Making games is a *business*...as much as we'd like to believe that it is all about making "cool stuff" the harsh reality is making things that _ship_ and sell.

Jason may have slowed the red ink leaking from the project by not deciding to sink more funds into a black hole, but I think you have to look at the initial design plan and implementation.

All of this "after the fact" analysis of why it wasn't patched isn't nearly as important as how the game got to the state that it was.

Publishing deadlines can be a dark influence, especially if problems cropped up late.

So two questions -- the date was too early? Or was the project flawed no matter what the date was?

Desiato
#37 by "Emjoi Gently"
2000-07-11 02:40:30
Companies like Epic, id and 3DR have buffer zones.
They had big selling games, so they have money in the bank.  They can afford to say "When It's Done", they can afford to spend another 6 months churning out patches.  They have the leverage to negotiate release dates.

If your company's got no money, and you are at the mercy of your distributor, then doing the moral, "right" thing isn't always possible.
#38 by "|SnappY|"
2000-07-11 02:44:09
snap@nwlink.com
Jason Hall says:
"KNOW THIS - Monolith has many new employees working for it that have come from a bunch of these "noble" business that have gone out of business or had severe staff layoffs.

The world can be harsh sometimes. As CEO, part of my job is to be able to look the people I work with in the eye and tell them that their paychecks won't ever bounce, and that they can be confident in the company's financial stability so, "go ahead and buy that house..." The people of Monolith (LithTech included) are my friends and my family and I will do everything I can to ensure their future and give them the opportunity to make great games and technology."

As a former employee of Monolith who was layed off along with perhaps 20-40 other people, and not because I got looked square in the eye by the CEO, I had to laugh and say:
That's funny. I really really ENJOYED getting unemployment... yeah.


<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#39 by "Show Time"
2000-07-11 04:05:29
bmw@carolina.rr.com
I think the solution is for companies to stop making such buggy games (obviously.) And I think the way to do that is for more companies to have open betas. It makes customers happy, and they get alot of free testers on alot of different systems. Is there a bad side I'm missing? Anyway, sorry if this was covered, I usually have the time to read all the responses but not today.
#40 by "Show Time"
2000-07-11 04:09:49
bmw@carolina.rr.com
#31

Andy, do you think that's fair? Not all gamers have the time, resources, or even the knowledge to go around learning about company reputations. Alot of gamers don't even know about Monolith, if I hadn't been reading this sight for a long time, I might not even know the extent of the problems with Blood 2. It's debatable, but I still think the blame should fall on the developer, what ever happened to not releasing buggy games in the first place?
#41 by "Andy"
2000-07-11 04:24:38
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#40</b>, Show Time:

Oops, I really wasn't at all clear in that post. :)

I'm thinking of the sort of people that read PlanetCrap, or any of the more honest Monolith fan sites. Anyone who has had a bad experience with Monolith before, and doesn't learn from that.

Not regular consumers. Sorry, I should have said that.
#42 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-11 05:03:55
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
We are the minority.  Sometimes we may overloko that fact, but we're are a very small community of gamers.  Get this! Many times when I mention Quake, Age of Empires, Duke Nukem, or just about any current game to somebody I know, they're spellbound.  They have NO idea what I'm talking about.  They are like deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi.  They may pause for a second, pretend to comprehend what I just said, then say "Uh, yeah, you're little gaming things, whatever, pass me a beer, let's play Mario Brothers (16-bit)"...

I'm still considered weird, Abby Normal, and freakishly good looking by most of my family, my neighbors, the mailman, the entire Indianpolis Colts cheerleading squad, and all of my friend.  

That's why I feel that we are in the minority.  A majority of people who buy games, buy 'games' like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" (I don't think anybody has won the home version yet), Barbie Trailer Trash Hair Fashion Designer Deluxe, Tiny Toons Molest the Elderly in Toontown 3D, Deer Hunter VIII, and just about anything else with a recognizable licensed property. They will probably gobble up the upcoming Duke Hunter game too, and that's only because 3D Realms has done a great job of getting Duke's name known to a larger audience through a variety of efforts.

Don't get me wrong, those are not bad games, okay, well a few of them are, but they just have massive distribution channels and appeal to a wider audience.  We are hardcore gamers, we follow this stuff daily, we know the ins and outs, who fucks up, who doesn't, and that's why the guys at the game companies watch this board.  Some of the truly do care.  It's hard to pinpoint who, but having gone through what I've been through over the last three years, I can sympathize with Jason at Monolith.  Plus, if I say anything bad about him I'll have to wrassle him in the ring!
===============================================
The world will never be safe unti nerd persecution ends!
#43 by "Jason Hall"
2000-07-11 07:01:52
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
Notice:

Evil Avatar has banned me from posting in his forums. Since I had been making some headway in the various debates with him going on over there, I have been silenced with a ban. Nice move Evil, you win!

Ah well, for those of you who been following the "attack Monolith" threads over there, they are going to get a lot less spicy cause I can't answer to any of the accusations flying around on that site.

I'll be keeping my debates to planetcrap from now on, so please don't take my absence from that site as a sign that I'm not willing to discuss the issues at hand.

Jace
#44 by "Dethstryk"
2000-07-11 07:05:24
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#43</b> "Jason Hall" wrote...
<QUOTE>I'll be keeping my debates to planetcrap from now on, so please don't take my absence from that site as a sign that I'm not willing to discuss the issues at hand.</QUOTE>
Perfectly understandable, Jason. It *is* Evil Avatar anyway.. and besides, we have some hot stuff over here for you to defend if you're up for it. :)


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#45 by "Andy"
2000-07-11 07:13:06
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#43</b>, Jason Hall:
<QUOTE>
I'll be keeping my debates to planetcrap from now on
</QUOTE>
But won't that help us to "generate more hits"?
#46 by "Baytor"
2000-07-11 07:36:29
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
<b>Andy--45</b>

<i>But won't that help us to "generate more hits"?
</i>

Innay on the more ithays.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#47 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-11 07:36:50
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
Yeah Andy, Hits! Hits! Hits!  You're so controversial.  You're a wiseguy, luring those folks in with the nasty talk and the hate mongering.  You're a used car salesman, using the old Bait and Switch, I bet you even wear a plaid suit jacket and smoke a cigar! You probably used to be a carnival barker!  You're deceptive and only lure us here for the hits!!!

Just imagine that cool Ferrari you can buy from all those banner impressions, wait a minute.. Uhmm.. Eh...  What banners?  

Don't feel so bad Jason, I was once banned from the EA forums because I once posted one of Andy's articles that talked about the company you work at.  He later let me back into his brood of beautiful people, so perhaps if you click your red slippers together three times and recite "There's no place live Evil, There's no place live Evil, There's no place live Evil"  You'll be back in defending your position on the issues of the day at EA.

I'm glad I didn't have to go that far, my red slippers haven't fit me since I was 24.
#48 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-11 07:38:59
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
Sorry, typo, what I meant to type was "There's no place like Evil"...  Damn my eyes!
#49 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-11 07:40:04
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
#46 - What happened to the

- I AM BAYTOR!  sig?  I used to love that.
#50 by "Crusader"
2000-07-11 07:41:29
crusader@linuxgames.com http://www.linuxgames.com/
Hey Jason, I know what the company line is (Hyperion will be porting the engine and has the vague responsibility of porting future LT titles)... but what's your personal opinion of Linux? Would you <b>like</b> to see AvP2 or NOLF ported to the Linux platform (and I'm talking clients, not dedicated server-only)?

All too often it seems that developers either don't grok Linux, see it as just another minor OS market like MacOS or BeOS, or ignore it entirely.
#51 by "Ian"
2000-07-11 07:43:54
terrencelaukkanen@hotmail.com
Remember that old ad campaign for the playstation that went enos lives?

You know enos lives is almost like "evil son-e" backwards. Translation: SONY's EVIL!

Yes, sony called themselves evil, presumedly to avoid the defamation lawsuits they would have gotten had they called sega evil, which they did in their earlier campaign "AAAA! Guess Live!"

Those crazy Japanese!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#52 by "Baytor"
2000-07-11 07:47:17
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
<b>Sgt Hulka--49</b>

<i>What happened to the

- I AM BAYTOR! sig? I used to love that. </i>

Well, that makes one.  Good enough for me.


I... AM BAYTOR!!!!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#53 by "Ian"
2000-07-11 07:49:33
terrencelaukkanen@hotmail.com
Before I go to bed, here's a Christmas in July gift for my favorite right-wing lunatic, Hulka:

<a href="http://www.salon.com/news/col/horo/2000/07/10/patriotism/index.html">See? You were right all along...</a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#54 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-11 07:54:25
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
Thanks for the long lost sig Baytor, and Thank you Ian for the link!  Very good piece.
#55 by "George Broussard"
2000-07-11 08:22:23
georgeb@3drealms.com
No game that sells poorly will EVER be supported well after it's release.  Ever.  It simply isn't worth it.  The publisher will cease spending money on it's distribution and the developer will move on to a new project, or a job at McDonalds.

Games like Quake/Unreal/Half-Life warrant additional support after release for one reason.  They have a million fans and it's in the interest of a developer to nurture that fan base.

But if a game sells 100K or less?  Forget it.  You're simply not going to see much support after release.  It then becomes a bad investment.

A poor selling game will be left to rot.  Simple realities of economics.  You can only afford to support hits.  

I bring you the dirty side of game development :)

George Broussard, 3D Realms
#56 by "Baytor"
2000-07-11 08:31:46
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
<b>George Broussard:</b>

<i>No game that sells poorly will EVER be supported well after it's release. Ever. It simply isn't worth it. The publisher will cease spending money on it's distribution and the developer will move on to a new project, or a job at McDonalds. </i>

Hey, that's the sort of defeatest attitude which prevented DC Comics from finishing the Sonic Disrupters mini-series.  Now, I'll never know if the United States of Rock ever beat the United States of America :)

I... AM BAYTOR!!!!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#57 by "Andy"
2000-07-11 08:41:39
andy@planetcrap.com
I'll tell you what really stinks:

Finishing a game is seen as "support".

Read that sentence again. Here:

<b>Finishing a game is seen as "support".</b>

Sad, isn't it?

For one company, support is glQuake, QuakeWorld and CTF. For another, it's Team Fortress Classic and the official Counter Strike. For many others, it's mod development kits, add-on levels, complete missions and episodes, and lots of other goodies.

But the best that some other companies can offer is: "If our game sells really well, we'll finish it. So please buy it." (And I'm not meaning only Monolith here. This is a problem outside the FPS market too.)
#58 by "Dethstryk"
2000-07-11 08:45:14
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
Is anyone else suprised that the Daikatana patch has been delayed? I hope not.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#59 by "Show Time"
2000-07-11 09:12:21
bmw@carolina.rr.com
Didn't Tribes sell 100k or less? I thought I had heard that somewhere. But that was mainly because it was warezed like mad (I think.)
#60 by ""
2000-07-11 10:32:05
hi i have a hewlett packard
i'm not computer (sic)illiterate
i'm not in front of my computer
i'm NOT going to mobve my phone
i cant get webpages up
NO i dont know what the error message is!
I want you to FIX IT NOW!
#61 by ""
2000-07-11 10:54:01
i am paul's overhwhelming sense of annoyance
#62 by "Desiato"
2000-07-11 10:59:05
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
#57 -- Andy..

"Finishing a game is seen as support"

Did *anyone* read my post? Are we still full of Peter-Pan notions when thinking of game companies? This isn't some Willy Wonka Magic Chocolate Factory, turning out dreams at a minimal-to-no-profit.

I still have yet to hear *why* the project involved got to the point where massive patching was required. Lack of time? Of skill? Of simply giving a shit? Did a defeatist attitude swamp the team until they did a death-march walk to finally dumping the reeking corpse on the shelf of retailers?

I think I'm just saying that perhaps if things were run a bit differently, it wouldn't be in the dismal state it got left in.

But hey -- shoulda/woulda/coulda isn't going to make it get patched.....ever. And that is the reality.

Had Blood done well enough like Quake did, I'm sure "BloodNet" or whatever the hell would be more than worthwhile, but usually (99.9999%) of the time people don't offer to work for nothing. (Strange eh? People have an expectation to eat and pay rent, the bastards.)

Desiato
#63 by "Show Time"
2000-07-11 12:12:55
bmw@carolina.rr.com
Actually, I tend to think that the gaming idustry is more focused on making cool stuff, and less focused on being a business, which causes alot of these problems. Alot of developers would admit to being starry-eyed gamers just like us, who make games because they want to play their ideas. They get so excited that they keep adding features and ideas throughout the whole project. I think some buggy games happen because they just can't stop adding stuff, until those who write the checks step in and say, "Hey, it's time to get it done already." So suddenly it's time to make it all that stuff work perfect, when all they've been doing is dreaming up new stuff to pile in with the original stuff. The result is bugs.

There are actual interviews that will back me up, I've read ones with Valve employees saying that they can't give an accurate release date on TF2 until they stop adding new ideas. If the industry worked like a business maybe the ideas would be preset, there would be no last minute additions, and it would be more likely that the game would be out on schedule.

Bleh, anyway that's my theory. It's about 6 am here and I haven't slept, so I hope it still makes sense.
#64 by "RandoM"
2000-07-11 14:37:09
random1@speakeasy.org
Basically, Jason has told you, "Don't buy Monolith titles until/unless they're very successfull".

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I don't mind gambling $50 on whether or not I'll like a game, but gambling $50 on whether or not it will even work?  I thought B2 was pretty cool, when it worked, over the top weapons, nifty characters, etc.

If you're so strapped for cash, you should set your sights a bit lower, shoot for something like Duck Hunt II.  Stay out of the FPS business where you have to develop a new engine every 2-3 years.
#65 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-07-11 15:28:13
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
<quote>But the best that some other companies can offer is: "If our game sells really well, we'll finish it. So please buy it." (And I'm not meaning only Monolith here. This is a problem outside the FPS market too.) </quote>
OK, I'll bite. Just how many games have fallen into this category?

(And I'm really talking about critical game-killer bugs. Stupid AI in Blood II isn't the complete death of the game, and it technically may have just been bad engineering, not a bug. It does affect your enjoyment, but it doesn't keep you from finishing a game. In fact, were there any bugs in Blood II that were bad enough to keep you from finishing it? It may have been unpolished, but I believe you would finish it, unlike say Sin or, in my experience, Daikatana.)

All games have bugs, but not all games are buggy. "Support" is fixing whatever compatibility problems pop up, maybe changing a few things people don't like, tweaking performance a bit. And most games get this sort of support, regardless of sales.

The support id and Valve have shown is the exception, not the rule. Personally, I want these guys to work on new games, not keep rehashing and tweaking their old ones. My God, a game is only $40... do we really expect years worth of gameplay from it?

Look at it this way. Would we all be playing Team Fortress 2 today if Valve didn't decide to keep pumping, erm, life into Half-Life? And if we were playing Team Fortress 2, might they be working on Half-Life 2, or better yet some all-new game that's bubbling around in their heads up there in Seattle?
#66 by "Dethstryk"
2000-07-11 15:38:43
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#65</b> "Steve Bauman" wrote...
<QUOTE>Look at it this way. Would we all be playing Team Fortress 2 today if Valve didn't decide to keep pumping, erm, life into Half-Life? And if we were playing Team Fortress 2, might they be working on Half-Life 2, or better yet some all-new game that's bubbling around in their heads up there in Seattle?</QUOTE>
Who's playing Team Fortress 2 today? Better give me a name and a location so I can mug them for the copy, but the game isn't out Steve. Just a nitpick. ;)

But I understand what you are saying, but I think you need to realize that they are putting this much support into the game because of its intense popularity. I'm sure if Blood 2 somehow (who knows..) could have managed to become just as popular, the same thing would have happened for it as well.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#67 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-07-11 16:16:57
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#66</b> "Dethstryk" wrote...
<QUOTE>But I understand what you are saying, but I think you need to realize that they
are putting this much support into the game because of its intense popularity.
I'm sure if Blood 2 somehow (who knows..) could have managed to become just as
popular, the same thing would have happened for it as well. </QUOTE>

It could also be argued that they are using hl's popularity to beta-test their next product. Almost all the technology that are in tf2 are creaping into tfc or tf1.5 (whatever it is currently called). Even voice tech should be there. The tf2 will only have an updated renderer (or at least I hope it will), more tactical play - and have more tribes-like feel. I believe it is also planned to have bots. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#68 by "Dave Long"
2000-07-11 16:40:32
ogv@gamestats.com http://ogv.gamestats.com/
I posted this on my own forums, but it fits well here too... (and I'm a lazy bastard right now)

One thing to consider is that he was attempting to launch Monolith as a publisher which costs a LOT of money. They failed pretty miserably on that count, but I'm sure Blood 2 was a good way to make some of the money needed to get the company stabilized for the long time. It's not an excuse but it's probably a contributing factor to the money problems.

I also think that if companies like Epic Games and Valve (the only two doing this really) wouldn't be pumping out free content hand over fist, no one would worry too much about what Monolith did before. So many games were very unfinished that Christmas. Same as many other Christmases. The industry was trying to mature and Hall was trying to put Lith in a good position to reap the benefits of that maturation. He got bit because they didn't get the game done in time and then made a second bad decision doing the X-Pack. If that was the only way to try to patch it, that stinks for him and for the gamers who bought it. GT should have supported it but were already in trouble with Cavedog missing Christmas with Kingdoms, so it made more sense for them to get another quick cash maker on the shelves. GT is now Infogrames USA so you can see where these kinds of decisions got them.

In the end, it's business and nothing more. These are commonly used methods to make money. The cheaper you can produce a good-selling product *cough*Deer Hunter*cough*, the higher the rewards if it's successful. Blood was a reasonable property so it stood to reason that they'd make some money from a sequel no matter how bad. In the end it was an average game and it did average sales which met the needs of GT and probably of Lith too. Get used to it. I don't think this release now patch later mentality of the large publishers is going away any time soon. Diablo II anyone...?
#69 by "Dave Long"
2000-07-11 16:45:38
ogv@gamestats.com http://ogv.gamestats.com/
Oh and about Valve, I've said this before and I'll say it again. They have made ONE game... they don't have the kind of respect an id, 3D Realms/Apogee or even an Epic Games has IMO. There's lots of talent there, but nothing to show for it. The current stupidity of Team Fortress 2 development going on interminably doesn't instill any confidence with me. Half-Life 2 should have been done by now but instead we're waiting for what started out as a free mod to be made into new game for the third time. (X-Pack for Half-Life, Full game using Half-Life engine, Full game using it's own brand new engine)
#70 by "PainKilleR-[CE]"
2000-07-11 17:40:43
painkiller@planetfortress.com http://www.planetfortress.com/tftech/
#65:<quote>. In fact, were there any bugs in Blood II that were bad enough to keep you from finishing it? </quote>

The only bug I've seen (other than the ones where you fall out of maps) is the one where it doesn't play for longer than 15 minutes on my machine without crashing, textures breaking apart (you ever tried to play a game in wire-frame?), and generally becoming unplayable on my nVidia cards. Hell, I can barely start the game, let alone finish it, and I didn't even buy it until after the last patch Monolith put out for the game.

-PainKilleR-[CE]
#71 by "Dethstryk"
2000-07-11 17:55:28
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#67</b> "RahvinTaka" wrote...
<QUOTE>It could also be argued that they are using hl's popularity to beta-test their next product. Almost all the technology that are in tf2 are creaping into tfc or tf1.5 (whatever it is currently called). Even voice tech should be there. The tf2 will only have an updated renderer (or at least I hope it will), more tactical play - and have more tribes-like feel. I believe it is also planned to have bots.</QUOTE>
Team Fortress 2 will have it's own, new engine. That was stated by one of the guys from Valve in an interview a while back. Personally, I think having them test their technology now is great, because they know Team Fortress 2 will be a success. They don't want to let people down, much like Blizzard is doing with Diablo 2 and the Battle.net situation.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#72 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-07-11 19:14:51
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Steve :
<quote>The support id and Valve have shown is the exception, not the rule. Personally, I want these guys to work on new games, not keep rehashing and tweaking their old ones. My God, a game is only $40... do we really expect years worth of gameplay from it?</quote>

This really is an excellent point.  I try to bring it up from time to time with people, and usually get ripped apart by the rabid animals, but it's true.  :)

It's $40.  What should that buy you?  A week of gameplay?  2 weeks?  A month?!  If you can squeeze more than 2 weeks of gameplay out of a game, you're doing well.

This is what I usually think to myself when I see people screaming for this patch, or this change, or whatever ...

Now, granted, I work at Epic and I have the Unreal1 patch looming over my head so I'm an easy target ... but I'm also a gamer.  I buy games, the same as you guys .. I have the same set of expectations.  :)
#73 by "Rantage"
2000-07-11 20:15:44
rantage@hotmail.com http://www.steelmaelstrom.org
<b>#72</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE>
It's $40. What should that buy you? A week of gameplay? 2 weeks? A month?!
</QUOTE>

I think the level of support and amount of gameplay you purchase with the box should depend heavily upon the claims of the developer and publisher and the amount of hype generated for the game.

Am I <I>really</I> playing the "Game of the Year?"  Is this a "truly hardcore deathmatch experience?"  Am I playing in a "fully immersive environment?"  Well if I can't answer "yes" to all of these, then keep throwing patches at me until I think so....if this is what was claimed on the box or in the ads.

Of course, that would mean that Daikatana owners would be supported through 2024.

It wouldn't work, obviously.  But where <I>do</I> you draw the line?  One can argue that some classic games such as Monopoly, Risk and Sorry! can generate <I>years</I> of gameplay, <I>without</I> updates or added content from the developer.

The industry seems more inclined nowadays to produce software versions of <I>crossword puzzles</I> (and ones with incomplete clues, at that) rather than a replayable game such as Scrabble.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#74 by "David Long"
2000-07-11 20:26:12
ogv@gamestats.com http://ogv.gamestats.com
<b>#73</b> "Rantage" wrote...
<QUOTE>
The industry seems more inclined nowadays to produce software versions of <I>crossword puzzles</I> (and ones with incomplete clues, at that) rather than a replayable game such as Scrabble.</QUOTE>

But that's brought on by the people who buy the games, not the developers. They all want a "story" or a "campaign". Well, when those are done, what have you got left?

Games that are totally replayable like Quake 3 Arena or Unreal Tournament in turn took their lumps for NOT offering a linear beginning to end single player experience. So it's only the gamers we have to blame for games not being of the old arcade variety where they last for years on gameplay alone. (As a side note, I'm playing Warlords Battlecry like a madman because of the gameplay and RPG elements alone. So some companies are doing what you want, but the first person shooter market is mostly trying not to go down that road.)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#75 by "JeffD"
2000-07-11 21:35:09
jefdaley@microsoft.com
<b>#69</b> "Dave Long" wrote...
<QUOTE>


Oh and about Valve, I've said this before and I'll say it again. They have
made ONE game... they don't have the kind of respect an id, 3D Realms/Apogee or
even an Epic Games has IMO. There's lots of talent there, but nothing to show
for it. The current stupidity of Team Fortress 2 development going on
interminably doesn't instill any confidence with me. Half-Life 2 should have
been done by now but instead we're waiting for what started out as a free mod to
be made into new game for the third time. (X-Pack for Half-Life, Full game using
Half-Life engine, Full game using it's own brand new engine) </QUOTE>

Honest question, Dave:  How would you react if TFII was released and was buggy all to hell?  

While I'll agree that Valve doesn't deserve the kind of respect that companies like id (allthough they're certainly blowing through their karma pretty quickly) and Blizzard get, I have to disagree with you regarding TF2.  

The economic reality is that Valve can afford to not release TFII.  They can afford to enhance the game, provide a better experience, and fix bugs.  This can only be considered a good thing - in the end, it's better for the gamer.

Valve is one of the few companies who really can handle the When It's Done philosophy.  Like Blizzard, they are still selling their last product (Half Life for Valve, Starcraft for Blizz).  They've got plenty of cash flow, and can thus afford to hold off on their release.

With PC game design, you either get a buggy "me too" type game (Shogo, Blood II, Quake II) in a short time, or you wait forever and get a well polished, well designed game with few to no bugs (Half Life, Diablo II, Quake III).  It's rare that a game is released promptly and still provides a great experience (Thief II, System Shock II), but all too common that a game takes forever and is an utter pile of crud (Daikatanananananananana).  

Personally, I think Valve is going to take forever, but in the end we'll get a damn good game.

=JD<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#76 by "Show Time"
2000-07-11 22:37:21
bmw@carolina.rr.com
If you were to listen to Valve, updating and supporting half-life doesn't effect TF2's developement. Although, since Yahn works on TF2's netcode, and has been working on connection problems in HL, I would think one must effect the other. I would tend to agree with any theory that has TF2 arriving sooner. I don't think sooner means buggier, if they had spent more time on it and less on HL, wouldn't it have less bugs AND be further along in the process? Anyway, all I need to get a year's worth of gameplay out of HL, is an SDK so people can make mods. I appreciate all the work Valve has done, it's amazing in fact, but it wasn't necessary IMO. Although I'm sure a few 56k'ers would argue that Valve only delivered on their promise of 'hardcore deathmatch' when they released the new netcode.
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