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Mathew Steel

New and unfinished games!

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It's come to my attention recently that the way games are developed and designed is changing. With GTA V finally being released for PC, it's brought a lot of unhappy customers, including myself with it. Straight from launch people experienced poor performance issues on computers that were well above the recommended specifications. Memory leaks, crashing, corrupted downloads, lost accounts, missing content and that's just to name a few. On top of all that, in-game comes plenty of bugs and glitches to really spoil your day. AI not being in the correct locations, houses appearing all white and more.

 

Of course, GTA V isn't the only one. The highly anticipated Watchdogs was released late last year. The console versions ran okay, a few bugs here and there, but nothing to spoil the game. Then the PC version. Again, performance issues were a huge problem, especially for those running AMD graphics cards.

 

Assassins Creed fans were completely appalled by the launch of the new game in the series, Unity. PC versions of the games were commonly rendered useless with all the bugs and graphical glitches within the game. AI floating mid-air, missing body parts, running on the spot, limbs stretched across your screen, just to name a few.

 

Even Battlefield 4 had a bad case of constant crashing. With player stating, "Battlefield 4 crashes more than me piloting a helicopter."

 

Now, I ask myself. Why? Why have game developers become so lazy to release broken games? Especially when they have several occasions to release a Beta version of the game, to allow players to locate and report bugs back to the developers to fix. When I first started getting into gaming, I noticed no bugs with the games I played, Ratchet and Clank, a favourite to the players of the PS2, also Crash Bandicoot, another favourite. Sure the games had graphical glitches, but compared to what we have today, they were miniscule issues.

 

To a point, I can deal with bugs. I'm not too na?ve to realise that with new technology, comes new problems, but at the same time, that isn't our issue, is it? As customers to these companies we pay for games that we can play. Games we can enjoy and finish and think, "I'm sad to have finished this game" and not "I better not come across a game as buggy as that again!" Right now, it's like going to a shop, paying for bananas which are covered, taking them home, opening them and seeing that they're bruised and black. It wouldn't be acceptable. Shops would lose business. So why is it acceptable for games to be released in the state of a battered banana?

 

This may have come across as a rant, which it partly was, but I feel like the information I gave was valid. The main point, was to make you all think, before you spend ?30-?50 on a brand new game.

 

Best regards,

Tom


"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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Absolutely, a very controversial topic, I'm featuring this to get a bit more attention.

 

Purchasing a game ten years ago, the game would have been complete and you would be lucky to find a single bug. Now though, game developers, specifically PC developers, seem to have the arrogant attitude that the customers should do the debugging for them. With console games it's not exactly a different story, but it is very different compared with games on the PC that are filled with bugs.

 

The only reason I can think of is that game developers want the work load cut down so they use us as beta testers - just as Microsoft use us as testers for Windows and only fix bugs when they are reported (which is the whole reason for weekly updates, I think every Thursday they're released) game development has become much the same.

 

I think the main problem as you've pointed out, is that game developers tend to be lazy now - but what about all developers? Absolutely not. I own a Wii-U, and the games on there are exactly the standard of PlayStation 2 (not graphics wise, but performance wise). You never find one bug because everything is thoroughly tested prior to being released. I feel I'm starting to ramble a bit so I'll end now.

 

But I'd like to hear what others have to say on this matter too :)

Edited by Lord_Chris

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I'm featuring this to get a bit more attention.

 

Really appreciate it, thanks Chris! :)

 

lazy now - but what about all developers? Absolutely not.

 

Completely agree with you. Not all game developers are lazy, games as Skyrim have been pointed out as "horrible buggy games" whereas, I personally, think the TES (The Elder Scrolls) series is amazing. Sure there are some bugs, but nothing major, and any bugs reported have easy fixes to them. In fact, the Stronghold series has some bugs yes, but they do not make the game unplayable or unenjoyably. I've never found myself angrily googling answers or fixes to any of the bugs I find in these games (which are very little either way).


"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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A good subject. I'll say some "common sense" stuff.

 

I think the "get rich quick" method of acquiring money is becoming more popular. Too popular. And this has spread to software and games, a market that requires time and patience to develop a decent product. Without getting into the political-moral side of economics too much, I'll say that (unfortunately) quality is not being put over quantity. Just look at the Steam Early Access part of the store, full of abandoned products with unfriendly price tags. Of course it is the consumer's choice to buy what games (s)he wants to, and I've been fooled a couple of times myself with some decent-looking Early Access games (granted, all the ones I tried worked) but were still incomplete. Not enough content.

 

The other end of things is true too. Games that are *not* under Early Access sometimes do not work, and are not labeled as requiring a really old computer in order to work. Always look at reviews and Youtube videos/tutorials before you buy a piece of software or a game, from Steam or elsewhere. You might blame the developer, the middle man, or the market itself, but no matter who's fault it is, you'll be kicking yourself for throwing money out the window. Even if you were lied to.

 

Ports have no excuse to be buggy, unless it is a Windows-Mac issue. Games and software for all platforms are made on computers, and ought to be tested on computers first to see hardware specs required before being put on console. But there was another big controversy with this where the "Next Gen" consoles did not really look too much better than the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 era games. That said, there's something more than hardware, and that's effort. People use effort to make money to spend it, and people really feel cheated when their effort pays the bills of a guy who made a shoddy computer game and sold it for $30 with no effort put in at all.

 

Conclusion: Read the Reviews!!! :)


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Well, since you put this up as a controversial topic, I might as well throw in my 2 cents into the controversy ;)

 

 

First let me say that I agree with most of what you guys have said here.

Game quality (in the sense of bug-freeness) seems to have gone down over the years and the customers are becoming more and more paying beta testers.

 

What I would like to disagree on is the notion of "developers become lazy".

I cannot imagine that they are any more lazy than they used to be and in fact I believe that most development staff are hardworking people that do overtime for a product they believe in - like most of us would.

 

I rather think that it is the increased economic pressure that is forcing companies to work with evern shorter development times and smaller budgets.

 

Let's look at our beloved Crusader 2 for example. The game concept is awesome, the game has features which give a huge lot of possibilities to create a great SP or MP experience. Yet, when it was released, it still had lots of bugs and performance and balance issues - and the FF team are still working to iron them out.

 

I am pretty sure that FireFly released the game when they did, because they had reached the end of their budget and they just had to get it out to be able to continue. They are a tiny company but extremely dedicated to their Stronghold series. But I imagine they are fighting against the odds of the economic conditions, like most small companies have to do.

 

It will be the same for many other small companies who are forced to release the product before they are really happy with it. And yes, certainly there will be a few companies who don't care and just want to make a bit of quick money. But I believe that most of them believe in their products but understimate the effort it takes to get them into perfect even just acceptable shape. At that point they are forced with the decision to either release as is (and hopefully fix it later) or cancel the project.

 

I am not saying that "release as is" is always the best answer. Maybe cancelling would have been the honest choice on many occasions. But I am just saying that I don't think it is just that developers "have become laszy".

 

 

So much for my controversial contribution :P

Feel free to agree or disagree in a lighthearted manner.

Edited by Nigel

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increased economic pressure that is forcing companies to work with evern shorter development times and smaller budgets.

 

While in some cases I agree with this, I feel that it's too often used as an excuse to bad games. For example Watchdogs, the game was delayed so they had more time to develop it. Also, Ubisoft have money falling from their hair, so again, I doubt it was a money issue.

 

Crusader 2 for example.

 

I agree (and did point out :P) that Firefly aren't one of the companies to follow the new norm for game development. I feel that Firefly put a lot more effort into fixing things than most companies do, maybe because of the lack of members of the community so less complaints, regardless, they're a step-up.


"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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I agree (and did point out :P) that Firefly aren't one of the companies to follow the new norm for game development. I feel that Firefly put a lot more effort into fixing things than most companies do, maybe because of the lack of members of the community so less complaints, regardless, they're a step-up.

Agreed, and they must. Especially after the Stronghold 3 controversy and being tied to whatever agreements with the producer / publisher (I forget which) that disabled them from fixing it completely. I still prefer SH1 and SHC out of preference, but at least SHC2 is playable and even fun, thanks to FireFly recognizing their community. We are small but mighty, and appreciate a pat on the head from time to time. :)

 

I'm getting back into some old DOS games that I can play on my Windows 7 with DosBox. I'm surprised at how well those games run, even on an emulator! The way I see it is that game technology has advanced since then, and in most cases, frontline titles are about the same price or slightly more expensive than they were back in Ye Olden Dayes. However, the new technology should not be merely graphical, it should be mechanical (the game's functionality and playability) and more bug-free too. Sure, there are a bunch of new engines and new bugs to be worked out, but I must say this: if the fault is not that of amateur coders or lazy developers, it must be an "ethical" thing ...

 

Let me explain before you get the torches and pitchforks. :P

 

Every society has ethics, be it basket weavers, hunters, or knights (huzzah for chivalry!). In this case, people who make games should also play them. Playtesters and beta testers are amazing ideas, but the guy who says "this is sellable" ought to do a playthrough of the game. It sounds stupid, right? But back in the days when one guy in a garage, or a group of friends did a game, they played the heck out of it because it was a work of love. One of my favorite DOS games is Norm Koger's Wargame Construction Set III: Age of Rifles, and you can tell the guy who made it was proud of his product, he loved it and wanted to share it with the world (and money was a good thing too!). Bethesda has grown a lot as a company, but their Elder Scrolls games (I was never into Fallout so I can't say the same there) are examples that these people still love making their games. Maybe this is enough to forgive their "lore fudging" and the Paid Mods mess (that's another issue that I actually stood with the "big men" on but I won't derail ...).

 

I still haven't bought Rome 2 Total War because I think it was an ultimate disaster, and I'm glad I did not pre-order. The "evidence" shown before the game's release was total bologna. That I would deem unexcusable, outright lying. When someone says they are making a product which they have made money on already, I think they ought to be committed to their word, at least for honor's sake. The problem is there are so many scams are questionable activities going on, but I think once more honest developers get put in the spotlight, people will flock to them. And listening to the community is very important. If someone makes a title that people want, people will buy it. Again, FireFly did this with Crusader 2. Paradox Interactive (at least the branch that does the Grand Strategy games) is also fairly bound to their word by piling tons of expansions and patches to their games. Heck, they get lots of money from those expansions and DLC, but it's stuff that people want.

 

It's these backhanded tactics that have made me go back to older games, and I think maybe that is a reasoning why people are drawn to older looking games that focus on gameplay more than anything. Minecraft is an example. While some nostalgia may be involved, it also shows that people are less willing to spend lots of money on an unfinished product than before, as better products (that often sell for less or the same, but can rightfully get away with higher tags) are becoming more popular. Games that actually are older usually don't get updates, and if stable in their final state can be very fun.

 

Ultimately I think better advertising wins out. If I am looking for new books or movies or music I will look first at covers that draw me in. Commercial advertising is also a big player, with tons of trailers and teasers that gather interest. But it is always a wise move to do research. If a developer does not want any testers at all during development, something very fishy is going on. Nondisclosure agreements exist, ya know. So look at a company's history and their reliability, and for released products look at reviews, positive and negative. Real positive reviews say more than "this is cool" and real negative reviews say more than "this is horrible." Details matter a lot. Gameplay videos are the best because you can actually see if the game is something you'd like.

 

Sorry for the wall of text, guys. A lot of this may be just common sense, but it's good to spread ideas. "Remember kids, always think twice when it comes to spending money." - Grandpa Chuck, over and out. :P


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I just sent my final reply to Rockstar support, not sure if it is too harsh, but frankly, something needed to be said.

 

"Sadly, none of these links managed to solve my problem. Personally I find it ridiculous that it's Rockstar's game causing memory leaks, yet there is no advice you can offer me. Never have I had so many problems with one game, I don't understand why a game is released when it hasn't been tested on a single laptop. I have spent ?35 pound on this game to be able to play it, not to try and fix it for you.

 

In no way am I saying this is your fault specifically, as you aren't a developer of the game, and you have tried to assist me with these problems. Overall, I'm disappointed with the launch of the game and I hope the developers are too."

 

What do you guys think? :S

 

 

 

But back in the days when one guy in a garage, or a group of friends did a game,

 

Those were the days, although I wasn't old enough to understand this would happen, I certainly know it happened when I was very young. When a couple of teenagers could make a game with a laptop and some spare time.

 

and the Paid Mods mess

 

Indeed, I personally don't use mods for Skyrim (I just never found one that appealed to me) but I can agree that the idea of paid mods is ridiculous. Not only does it allow anyone to make a quick bit of dosh, but it seems to be allowing duplicate mods, where members have downloaded a mod, then re-uploaded it for a price. It's driving me insane and it's pushing me even further away from wanting to mod my game!

 

Ultimately I think better advertising wins out.

 

Again, couldn't agree more. Games such as Call of Duty for example, it's the same game over and over again, just a different trailer. Also, I feel that labels and brands are something that encourages duplicate games. If you can make a good selling game, (Call of Duty: Black Ops for example) then you can create the same thing again with a different campaign and one new edition to multiplayer, people will buy it, because it's a Call of Duty game. I'm not saying the COD franchise it bad for everyone, just personally, I stopped buying Call of Duty after Ghosts because I saw the next few games would be more or less identical, which to me, they are.

 

 

 

I don't think that was harsh at all, you need to be very clear expressing yourself to support personnel when you're not happy with something - after all, it's the only way to get it fixed!

 

Glad you think so, hopefully they'll stop counting their dollars and start counting the problems, then get to work on fixing them.

 

 

P.S. I started editing this post before you posted, that's why everything is in the same post :P feel free to merge it into a separate reply :D

Edited by Mathew Steel

"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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I don't think that was harsh at all, you need to be very clear expressing yourself to support personnel when you're not happy with something - after all, it's the only way to get it fixed!


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⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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