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This May Take A While or Keeping Your Sanity
July 25th 2000, 21:06 CEST by Istari

This morning the Sanity demo was released. According to Jason Hall: "This Sanity demo will be the first official game product Monolith has released in a very long time. We are VERY proud of our work on Sanity and sincerely hope that the game community will see that Monolith has been extremely focused on creating an awesomely fun, top quality and well supported game product."

His hopes will most likely be in vain, because the demo is the least stable piece of software I've used in quite a while. In fact I cannot comment on the gameplay itself, because I don't even get that far.



The first thing I noticed after installing was that the installation routine messes up the start-menu entry on non-english systems (like my german Win98). It's a minor issue, but I'm only used to this from cheap shareware programs and it doesn't exactly smell like a "top-quality product".

I started the demo and it happily told me that it was "now loading". In fact it was crashing. A reboot later (just to make sure) I tried again. This time the game did load and I headed for the first single player level. The next thing I learned about Sanity was that if the game tells you that "this may take a while" it really means it. A cup of tea later the game began. After a few camera moves around the room, I was given control of the character. Or so I thought...

I was told that clicking and holding my right mouse button would move Cain (the protagonist) around. It didn't. I tried the arrow keys, which according to the readme should also do the job. They didn't. I tried to remap the keys. No effect. I clicked a few icons on the screen. Ice-T told me that "I don't have that yet" and then the game crashed.

At least I didn't have to reboot Windows myself this time. Sanity took care of that for me.

I restarted the demo. This time it crashed even before I got "control" of the character. Another reboot later Cain still didn't show any inclination to move around. Then I started the second level and could actually throw a few spells around (but still not move). I decided that the game looked and sounded at least stylish enough to give it another try.

I reinstalled the demo. Twice. The same problems. I tried the official Sanity boards, to see if others had the same problems. There were exactly three posts. One of them was headed: "Kind of quiet here." Exactly.

I tried multiplayer. The game found four servers, all of which were empty. I still couldn't move my character around. Other people I've talked to told me that they actually can move and the game would be pretty good, if it didn't crash all the time. That sounds a lot like what everyone was saying about Blood 2.

So the question is: Is all this just coincidence or has Jason Hall been slightly exaggerating when he called this an "awesomely fun, top quality and well supported game product"?

There's another thing that makes me think: Judging from the use of ALL CAPS and exclamation marks in the readme, Monolith is pretty excited about the "booster pack" concept they're using. Read Jason Hall's .plan for a detailed description. Essentially you can buy more talents for use in multiplayer games. What worries me are two things. First of all I don't like the fact that I have to pay extra to get the maximum enjoyment out of a game that I've already bought for a good amount of money. Monolith compares their system to that of "Magic - The Gathering" and anyone who has ever played that game can tell you that it becomes a very expensive hobby if you're not careful. Sanity also doesn't seem to support trading the talents, an element which is an important part of the fun of trading card games. The second problem I have with this is that this may mean that you have to buy the booster packs in order to stand a chance in multiplayer. Monolith says that the game has been balanced to prevent that, but I have a hard time imagining how to do such a thing. There seems to be quite a strategic element to Sanity multiplayer and just the fact that you have more options at your disposal should give you an advantage. It also seems to be in Monolith's best commercial interest to make the booster packs as attractive as possible and that would include making players who own them more powerful. Comments?

Update: According the Monolith (and many comments below seem to confirm this) the problems with the demo only occur on non US Windows versions. They have declarded the demo for "US version of Windows only" and I'll have to wait for a localized version to see if it's really as buggy as I thought. The issue with the extra charge for the booster packs remains, however.

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#1 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-07-25 21:06:43
tc10@st-andrews.ac.thinkaboutitdipshit http://www.fisty.com/~tom
Many would claim that doing this is abusing my privileges as a PC staff member... in reality, of course, I'm just blocking the path of the moronathon :)

ph34r M3! ph1r5t!!1!!!

:)
#2 by "enyak"
2000-07-25 21:15:44
enyak@numonium.de
I played the Sanity Demo for about 15 minutes before it crashed my system. I had quite a good time actually - nice graphics and moody music. Even though I am curious how the story will continue, I am actually too afraid to retry it - it will crash my whole system again.

-enyak
#3 by "Jason Hall"
2000-07-25 21:23:33
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
There may be issues with some foregin (non US)keyboards and versions of the OS. Sanity has not been localized yet. That is happening now...

The localization will take care of these problems.

Jason Hall
#4 by "Mike"
2000-07-25 21:26:09
I know all about the hobby that is Magic: The Gathering.


I currently live in a box to feed my addiction.
#5 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-07-25 21:29:32
tc10@st-andrews.ac.thinkaboutitdipshit http://www.fisty.com/~tom
<b>Monsterking:</b>
<quote>The localization will take care of these problems.</quote>
<i>All</i> of them? Some of those problems don't seem to me to be that sort of problem. Not that I'm trying to sound like I know more than I do - you're the guy with his arse in the grass (grarse ;), so to speak, but they just don't sound like regional problems to me.
#6 by "Andy"
2000-07-25 21:30:21
andy@planetcrap.com
I've not played the Sanity demo (or the KISS demo) so I can't say whether I agree or disagree with Istari's comments. So if you're reading this, Jason, I'd like to ask you one question...

Is the Sanity demo a good indication of what people can expect from the new version(s) of LithTech?

(I'm referring to stability and quality, not gameplay or game-specific features.)
#7 by "Jason Hall"
2000-07-25 21:32:11
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
After, re-reading your intial topic, I can ASSURE you that the Sanity Demo has not been localized for the GERMAN version of windows yet. I'm surprised you got it to work at all.
The Sanity demo is for the US version of Windows.

We are localizing the full version now, and after the product is gold, we will most likely go back and update the demo with the new localization code.

Agreed that this should have been in the readme.txt

Jason Hall
Monolith Productions Inc.
#8 by "BloodKnight"
2000-07-25 21:43:54
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Why do I get the feeling that this is going to be like Blood 2 and bitching will be left and right?

I am not saying Sanity is going to be crap, it looks promising, but so did Blood 2.  This is already a mistake on Sanity, a buggy demo.  Didn't you guys did a mass beta test?  A demo is the first impressions of the game, if its so buggy that people can't play it, they are not going to buy it.  

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#9 by "Istari"
2000-07-25 21:45:54
istari@planetcrap.com
Are you sure that the localization (or lack thereof) is the reason for the constant crashing? I can see why this may be responsible for the control problems, but I'm not so sure about the general instability of the demo. I also know someone who runs the same version of windows as I do, but does not have problems controlling the character.
I'll try the demo on another computer now. Let's see if I can reproduce the problems.

-Istari
#10 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-07-25 21:48:35
sgt_hulka@hulka.com http://www.hulka.com
Bloodknight, most of the people like us (The Minority) who play a buggy demo might not buy it.

But how many people (Joe consumer) actually play game demos and know about these bugs before plopping down $30-$50 bucks at the local Wally Mart?  My guess, not many.  

It's kind of like bad movies.  I can tell everyone I know that the latest Pauly Shore movie is a steaming pile of crap, but it will still make $56 kazillion dollars.  

I firmly believe America loves crap.  Not that Sanity is crap, I haven't seen it yet, but Pauly Shore movies sure are. I plan to download the demo later today and try it out.
#11 by "Jason Hall"
2000-07-25 21:52:01
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
"Buggy" is relative.

This particular version of the demo was not made and/or excessively tested for non us versions of the Windows OS. The demo was made before the localization work was scheduled.

The full version is being localized now, and these issues are being addressed. Of we are going to make sure the full version works well worldwide.

If Istari had simply e-mailed me or Monolith and asked, WTF? I could have told him the situation - but I think instead he seems to have preferred to spend his time writing up this article. That's ok though. This isn't anything we don't already know about.

Jason Hall
Monolith Productions Inc.
#12 by "Chet"
2000-07-25 22:03:43
Listen to Jason - if anyone knows anything about bugs its Jason.  Hell he is so close to bugs he considers them part of his family.

How are those patch cds coming for Shogo?  You know, the ones you promised to send to anyone who sent in a registration card and marked they didn't have Internet access?


Chet
#13 by "The Joker"
2000-07-25 22:07:26
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
The Sanity DEMO ran EXCELLENT on my PC. No issues whatsoever.

Joker.
#14 by "Jason Hall"
2000-07-25 22:07:54
Hall@lith.com http://www.lith.com
Istari -

We are pretty darn sure that it is the lack of localization modifications that are creating your issues (just from looking at what we are doing with the full version for localization). When we release a version of the Demo that is designed to run on non us versions, it will work properly.

Jace
#15 by "Istari"
2000-07-25 22:08:05
istari@planetcrap.com
How could I have possibly guessed that all the crashes are caused by my non US Windows? (I still that, BTW.) I have never before in my life heard of a game that crashes because Windows has the wrong language. There are some occasional annoyances like the fact that the y and z keys are swapped, but downright crashes are new. How the hell did you do that?

-Istari

PS: Just tested the demo on another system. Keeps crashing like hell.
#16 by "Istari"
2000-07-25 22:09:32
istari@planetcrap.com
Damn typos. It should read: I still doubt that, BTW. Not: I still that, BTW.

-Istari
#17 by "The Joker"
2000-07-25 22:10:47
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Nice introduction though, it was hilarious :)

Joker.
#18 by "None-1a"
2000-07-25 22:12:23
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
Downloading now will comment in a few hours.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#19 by "[KAG]formerly known as Seth"
2000-07-25 22:15:01
d_k_denz@hotmail.com http://www.aelk.org
downloading, got an US-win installed ;-)
anyone found some european mirrors yet? I only get 1.9Kb/sec.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#20 by "Morn"
2000-07-25 22:16:50
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#14</b> "Jason Hall" wrote...
<QUOTE>We are pretty darn sure that it is the lack of localization modifications that are creating your issues (just from looking at what we are doing with the full version for localization). When we release a version of the Demo that is designed to run on non us versions, it will work properly.</QUOTE>

Okay -- shouldn't you be putting a warning message up somewhere? After all, you wouldn't want the largest part of the world's civilization to download a demo that doesn't work for them, would you?

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-07-25 22:19:00
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<quote>Damn typos. It should read: I still doubt that, BTW. Not: I still that, BTW. </quote>

Leaving an entire word out isn't a typo ... that's a brain lapse.  ;)
#22 by "[KAG]formerly known as Seth"
2000-07-25 22:23:01
d_k_denz@hotmail.com http://www.aelk.org
<b>#20</b> "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE>Okay -- shouldn't you be putting a warning message up somewhere? After all, you
wouldn't want the largest part of the world's civilization to download a demo
that doesn't work for them, would you?

- Morn
</QUOTE>
For some people, non-US-citizens don't count at all...at least when it comes to support, etc. Same thing applies to many(if not all) internet contests. Funny that people never realize, that Europe is actually overtaking the US in many aspects.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#23 by "Morn"
2000-07-25 22:24:49
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#22</b> "[KAG]formerly known as Seth" wrote...
<QUOTE>For some people, non-US-citizens don't count at all...at least when it comes to
support, etc. Same thing applies to many(if not all) internet contests. Funny
that people never realize, that Europe is actually overtaking the US in many
aspects.</QUOTE>

If this thread turns into another USA vs. Europe war, I will have terrible revenge on you and everybody else involved. :)

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "Nobody"
2000-07-25 22:25:56
nobody.com
There is a big difference between the French, German, and English verions of Windows products.  There are some French companies that deliberately run the English version of NT server simply because it is more stable than the French version.  It is my understanding that the French and German versions use some chunks of code developed by different groups than the the ones that worked on English NT.  I know this thread is related to Windows 98, but I think the example above is still relevant.
#25 by "JeffD"
2000-07-25 22:27:53
jefdaley@microsoft.com
<b>#15</b> "Istari" wrote...
<QUOTE>I have never before in my life heard of a game that crashes because Windows has
the wrong language. There are some occasional annoyances like the fact that the
y and z keys are swapped, but downright crashes are new. How the hell did you do
that?
</QUOTE>

Different codepages cause all sorts of problems.  Especially when they use systems like DirectX that tend to utilize lower-level driver functionality.

When we test localized versions of windows for app compatibility, we run into *tons* of issues with non-localized apps.  From a programming standpoint, there are things you need to do beyond tweaking your UI to account for the y-z switch.

=JD<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#26 by "[KAG]formerly known as Seth"
2000-07-25 22:29:24
d_k_denz@hotmail.com http://www.aelk.org
<b>#23</b> "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE>If this thread turns into another USA vs. Europe war, I will have terrible
revenge on you and everybody else involved. :)

</QUOTE>

Respect my AUTHORITY!!!
BTW: when was the last USA/Europe war??Did I miss something in my hostory classes? ;-)
I really was just angry 'cos I once again failed to find european mirrors, downloading from california isn't funny<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "None-1a"
2000-07-25 22:33:31
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#22</b> "[KAG]formerly known as Seth" wrote...
<QUOTE>For some people, non-US-citizens don't count at all...at least when it comes to
support, etc. Same thing applies to many(if not all) internet contests. Funny
that people never realize, that Europe is actually overtaking the US in many
aspects.</QUOTE>

There are normaly really good reasons for contest not appliying to many areas. the paperwork and fees required by some contries (or even states for that matter), will run up a major bill for doing it worldwide. An easy way to do it would be to only file the paper work in areas where people acctaully won, the only problem is that some places do not allow that. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "Morn"
2000-07-25 22:35:34
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Regarding different versions of Windows:

I know of 0 (zero) games that run unstable on my German Windows, but run stable on a standard US Windows. There are games which check the language version and won't install if you're running a German Windows (Kingpin [Demo], Daikatana Demo, and probably some others), but I have never seen a game is simply "unstable" because I'm using a German Windows.

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#29 by "Andy"
2000-07-25 22:37:45
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#26</b>, [KAG]formerly known as Seth:
<QUOTE>
I really was just angry 'cos I once again failed to find european mirrors, downloading from california isn't funny
</QUOTE>
If the demo is only supposed to be used on US versions of Windows, surely it's right for them to only provide US download servers?

Although having said that, I agree with Morn that there should be a warning on the official download page(s) so non-US people don't waste time downloading something that won't work properly for them.
#30 by "Charlie Wiederhold"
2000-07-25 22:39:04
charliew@3drealms.com
You can just say Jason started it Morn. ;)
#31 by "Istari"
2000-07-25 22:42:49
istari@planetcrap.com
The games Morn mentioned above won't install for censorship reasons, not because they are unstable on German systems. If you change your language settings to English, they do install and run fine. (The latest example of this was the Deus Ex Demo.) Just as Morn mentioned, there are no games (at least none that I know of) that crash on a German Windows version but work fine on the US version. So if there actually are problems to be overcome, then Monolith is the only company that has problems with that. Not a good sign...

-Istari
#32 by "BloodKnight"
2000-07-25 23:02:15
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>Chet</b> (#12):
<QUOTE>Listen to Jason - if anyone knows anything about bugs its Jason. Hell he is so
close to bugs he considers them part of his family. </QUOTE>

Thats one BIG family
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#33 by "ajb"
2000-07-25 23:13:43
aaronjb@ime.net http://nuthin'!
yeee-haw!

Chet makes it to PC!

<QUOTE>"Listen to Jason - if anyone knows anything about bugs its Jason. Hell he is so close to bugs he considers them part of his family.

How are those patch cds coming for Shogo? You know, the ones you promised to send to anyone who sent in a registration card and marked they didn't have Internet access?"</QUOTE>

Ouch.

-aaron
#34 by "fyrewolf"
2000-07-25 23:15:19
Wow.  Valve just released TFC for free.  I wonder what this will do to the CS/TFC server balance.

f.
#35 by "Jafd"
2000-07-25 23:27:34
jafd@whatthefuck.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
You know usually when I see that crap about "shut down all programs before installing" I just scoff; this time, however, I suspected prudence would be wise. :)

Demo runs fine for me, except for those loooooooong load times.
#36 by "SunTzu"
2000-07-26 00:01:30
Suntzu8@earthlink.net
I can assure all of you that the demo is not very buggy at all and is in fact pretty damn stable.
Have any of you actually checked your specs? What video card and drivers do you have?
This game has successfully been tested on a wide variety of machines without incident,(minus below spec machines)
#37 by "Warmonger [AI]"
2000-07-26 00:07:25
warmonger87@hotmail.com
Works great for me. I did have one crash for some random reason, but after that, I played for over an hour with no problems. I gotta say, the artwork in this game is amazing, especially for a 16 bit game. Well, I'll be back in a few hours to answer to all the flames that I'm going to get.
#38 by "None-1a"
2000-07-26 00:22:19
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
Ok just tried it out, not a single crash on my us system, jason's probably right about the no localization thing casuing the crashes. There was one thing I don't get about it, why do the force fields in the HQ kill me? I mean really a small 1 point of damage shock I can get but I walk into on for jut a few seconds and cain was nothing more than a stain on the walls. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#39 by "RzE"
2000-07-26 00:22:19
rze@counter-strike.net http://csnation.counter-strike.net
#34:
wtf?
#40 by "The Joker"
2000-07-26 00:39:41
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Whoa! I just played through the DEMO. And I realize how terrible these guys (Lith) really are!! I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!!! MOOORE SANITY!!!!!!! I WANT THE FULL GAME! NOOOWWWW!!!!!!

It's a damn shame they let developers do this to people. It's torture! Like making you stand in front of a naked Britney Spears and telling you "look, but don't touch!". Sanity is damn fun, I really love it!

Joker.
#41 by "Baytor"
2000-07-26 00:43:26
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
<b>#23</b> "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE>If this thread turns into another USA vs. Europe war, I will have terrible
revenge on you and everybody else involved. :)

</QUOTE>

USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!  USA!!!

I... AM BAYTOR!!!!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "Whisp"
2000-07-26 00:56:23
whisp_@hotmail.com
Cool!

Me too!

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Only one question ... who's Usa?  Game designer or webmaster?

-Whisp
#43 by "Baytor"
2000-07-26 00:59:38
baytor@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/baytor
<b>#42</b> "Whisp" wrote...
<QUOTE>

Cool!

Me too!

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Only one question ... who's Usa? Game designer or webmaster?

-Whisp </QUOTE>

I seem to remember it being a city or factory in Japan at one time or another.  They would stamp "Made in Usa" on everything to make stupid American consumers believe they were supporting home-grown products.  Of course, this was ages ago, possibly even before WWII.

Then, I may have dreamed the whole thing :)

I... AM BAYTOR!!!!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#44 by "Whisp"
2000-07-26 01:04:37
whisp_@hotmail.com
I knew a girl named Usha once.

-Whisp
#45 by "[KAG]formerly known as Seth"
2000-07-26 01:15:35
d_k_denz@hotmail.com http://www.aelk.org
<b>#29</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>If the demo is only supposed to be used on US versions of Windows, surely it's
right for them to only provide US download servers?

</QUOTE>
Sorry I have an US version of Windows installed ;-)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#46 by "ramtin"
2000-07-26 01:15:41
Yeah, sanity.  i haven't played it yet but I guess it would pretty fun to play on a rainy day like this one in my hometown.  if it didn't crash my pentium 333 mhz processor that is probably outdated.  It is wednesday yet?
#47 by "BloodKnight"
2000-07-26 01:17:02
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
downloading the Sanity demo, lets see if this will be a gold or a flop
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#48 by "Dogman"
2000-07-26 01:36:12
nathan@lith.com
None-1a wrote:

There was one thing I don't get about it, why do the force fields in the HQ kill me? I mean really a small 1 point of damage shock I can get but I walk into on for jut a few seconds and cain was nothing more than a stain on the walls.
#49 by "Dogman"
2000-07-26 01:38:41
nathan@lith.com
None-1a wrote:

"There was one thing I don't get about it, why do the force fields in the HQ kill me? I mean really a small 1 point of damage shock I can get but I walk into on for jut a few seconds and cain was nothing more than a stain on the walls."

This is fixed in the final version:)  Now you'll receive about 10 points of damage per second instead of 100.
#50 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-07-26 01:55:27
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#43</b> "Baytor" wrote...
<QUOTE>

<B>#42</B> "Whisp" wrote...

<quote>

Cool!

Me too!

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Only one question ... who's Usa? Game designer or webmaster?

-Whisp </quote>

I seem to remember it being a city or factory in Japan at one time or another. They would stamp "Made in Usa" on everything to make stupid American consumers believe they were supporting home-grown products. Of course, this was ages ago, possibly even before WWII.

Then, I may have dreamed the whole thing :)

I... AM BAYTOR!!!!</QUOTE>

Naw you got it all wrong.  You need to spend some time in the southern US.  Den youd kno dat it means "you sa" as in you is a mighty fine looking woman.

:)

V<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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