A programmer’s perspective on Civ VI

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Hescumeth, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. player1 fanatic

    player1 fanatic Fanatic

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    HI,
    QA engineer here.
    Let's talk about that perspective.

    There are various bugs regarding reporting UI functionality, like not giving correct data or even missing data (like all factors in earning gold not being counted). Or some in game information not being showed anywhere at all (what luxuries/strategics are traded in diplomacy).

    Someone else could say that these panels look like from some early access game.

    But my perspective is different.

    This tells couple of things. Either these panels were changed really late in the release cycle, so they never get proper QA testing. Or the issues were found by QA team but were deprioritized by the devs, due to more pressing tasks being required to be fixed for release. After all, if some reporting panel is giving wrong info, it will not affect game economy and it will still function as needed.

    This may also explain why some reporting info is missing in the game. Maybe those panels were just not really for release, and scheduled to be finished for the later date (diplomacy trade info, etc....)

    That's all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    1. Never said the game was fine.

    2. Never denied the game had bugs.

    3. Never said the code was anything approaching a form of beauty. Because, as the point I have been making, none of us (assumption, sure) have seen the code.
     
  3. Furycrab

    Furycrab King

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    Is this even remotely close to the situation? I watch and play a lot of 4x and strategy games. 99.9999% of them all have game crashing bugs, immersion breaking AI, flaws that can sometimes softlock a game or worst...

    I know very little on programming, but we put Civ games on damn pedestals. If they had to wait to release anything that was "found" for this game, no one would ever release any 4x strategy games with more depth than a kiddy pool.
     
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  4. Sagax

    Sagax Emperor

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    On topic: at the end of the day, this is the textbook case of a product meeting the deadline at any costs. One's programming background and worries are kinda irrelevant when the publisher wears pants in the relationship.

    If there's anything worth worrying about then it is whether Firaxis took game balance into consideration to begin with. If yes, then it's just a matter of time until the patches fix the current exploits and inconsistencies. If not, then it'll be part of a larger conversation.
     
  5. idjit

    idjit Chieftain

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    I think this may be what folks call a false dichotomy (I could be wrong *shrug*). I don't expect any software to run "perfectly" out of the gate. That would be absurdly unrealistic. But there's a rather large difference between the words "perfectly" and "reasonable."

    "Oh, THIS thing bugged out? Yeah, that looks like it took some scary programming - I'll give 'em a pass on that until a patch."

    "Wait, THAT thing bugged out? Are you kidding me? Placeholder text? Who QA'd this?"

    I am rather forgiving when it comes to bugs that experience tells me were the product of mind-boggling complexity. That is why you will notice that I will rarely if ever gripe about any games' AI or pathing programming - INCLUDING CIVx. But from what I have seen, read and played myself, in my opinion, we need to focus more on "reasonable" before we even start worrying about "perfect."
     
  6. avguy2

    avguy2 Chieftain

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    Nobody in this thread demanded a perfect game or called the programmers dumb. We probably don't all aggree with his specific conclusions, but basically the OP is right. What he was saying is they rushed the game to release and there's a lot of work on the code to be done and there are no quick fixes to be expected - sounds about right to me. Just take a look at the game and name one major area that doesn't seem sloppy or unfinished or poorly designed or like a placeholder. The ideas and concepts are all there (more or less) but the code is not. Saying it wasn't possible to improve the game before release is bs. Of course it was possible but what they would have needed is more time or skill or simlpy the will to do so.

    But yeah, silly me - how can I expect a finished product at release when everyone knows that Civ games are barely finished by the time they got 2-3 major patches and/or expansions, right?!
     
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  7. Photi

    Photi Governor

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    re: (c), did you take into account any production overflow as well as possible unit type production bonuses from policies?

    (d) i agree something is off with the trading screen. often i can play around with items to be traded, deleting and reselecting items, and get a better deal with persistence in doing that.

    (e) i have not yet seen an "end turn" message on 6, there is a "next turn" message, which indicates one of two things. usually the first 'next turn' means that all units that did not already have orders from a previous turn have been given orders this turn, and now it is time for units with orders from a previous turn to move. if for instance a unit's movement from a previous turn ended by attempting to move onto a tile without the necessary movement points available, that non-move is entered as a "go-to" move and will be completed during this first phase of "next turn" (which comes after player acts on un-ordered units). if there are multiple units with existing go-to orders (even unintentional go-to orders like what happens when not enough mp available) that both complete orders and have movement points left during this phase, then the player will have to click on "next turn" one or multiple times to give these units orders. The final "next turn" on any given turn then hands over action to the AI, with the end of this phase being the beginning of the player's next turn.

    is it possible this is what is going on with your workers? that they are completing an incomplete movement from the previous turn? i definitely agree the unit cycling needs work with implementation and presentation, i hate that the camera doesn't always jump to next unit

    edit: i'm 90 hours in and have had one crash to desktop so far. well actually it was two crashes, but the 2nd happened after i re-loaded from the first, and occurred on the same turn under the same circumstances, so 2 crashes caused by the same event. The trader screen popped up to assign a new route to an existing trader, and a second or two later the completed civic screen popped up. The first two times i went through the civic screen and assigned new policies and then exited, at which point both times everything froze then crashed before i could address the trader screen. after i re-loaded the game for a second time, i addressed the trader screen first then the civics screen, which did not result in a crash.

    two (but really, one) crashes after 90 hours feels pretty stable to me. as a long time player, i am personally loving 6 and do not understand all this "game breaking bugs" melodrama, and to me that is what all this *****ing is. other than complaints about AI warfare, which has been ever-present in the series, voiced by the warmongers mainly (irl warmongers are adult children fighting over who gets the most), most everything else are exploits discovered by ppl looking for exploits. which is not to say there isn't more tweaking to do with the balance of things, but man, this game is sweet and adds much newness to an over-played game (is that what OP means? lol)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  8. Lay_Lay

    Lay_Lay King

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    Pretty lightweight analysis here for a programmer.
    What matters is the perspective of the publishing company's finance and marketing departments :gold:
    I want to hear from them.
     
  9. Lanthar

    Lanthar SPQR

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    I'm a software architect, and have been a software engineer for a long time. I also worked on a AAA title, and through direct experience and the experience of others, feel I have some familiarity with realities in the game business.

    From what I have seen and read, the bugs that are present in the game seem to have been prioritized well. The game largely plays (for most people) through from beginning to end. Many more casual players, or players less experienced with paying attention to game systems, probably don't notice many of these bugs.

    There are some players that are going to hate the remaining defects, but that's a subjective dislike more than an actual game breaking defect that prevents you from progressing. Annoyances or misreported values on a panel are absolutely right to be deprioritized in favor of more severe issues.

    As has been mentioned before, it looks like the game had a target date that was not moveable. I think Firaxis has done a pretty good job this time (better than CiV) of fixing the right issues, and leaving the others for future patches and expansions.

    Like it or not, it takes a large team and millions of dollars to make a AAA title. Any large software project is going to have issues. I, too, have worked at jobs where the level of defects present in Civ6 would get me fired - but that's not how the game industry operates in general. Games are entertainment, and what matters most to the big publishers is sales, not perfection. Different focus than other industries where precision is necessary to save lives, keep people safe, or report accurately so important decisions can be made.
     
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  10. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    The OP is written within the same context as your perspective. It acknowledges that bugs are inevitable, but argues why bugs of this level in the release of VI offer a dangerous suggestion of a product that couldn't be fixed even after significant time and attemnew pts to fix. You literally can't apply your own perspective to VI and not agree with the OP. To wit: if everything you say about how hard it is to release a simple project is true, how discouraging is it that VI's dev team chose to pander to critics by throwing in a huge amount of new features that possibly can never be finessed in patch within their own budget limits? (just to avoid the 90 metacritic score that V suffered from for its pared down nature, even though V was financially a success in the long run, OOPS). If even small projects face a gargantuan mountain of work to surmount bugs, then the most important thing in any release is to scale your ambitions to your budget. That's literally the perspective of the OP - and your own reply, read correctly.
     
  11. Ezumiyr

    Ezumiyr Warlord

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    1. No matter if the OP is a real programmer or not, he definitly used that word to give him more authority. This is just a player's perspective. So let's not take it too seriously, because it's just someone's opinion about bugs is a video game that just launched.
    2. The most recent other strategy game I played is Stellaris. Stellaris IS a game that was ridden with bugs AND lacked content, and people STILL found it playable. Civ6, by comparison, is one of the most complete, most bug-free strategy games I've seen in a while.
    3. Games are too big today to not have bugs, but players also became harder to please, and better informed about game development. More people go to the forums, even if it's just to read threads like this one. There's going to be people making this kind of thread, asking if "the code is a mess" or if "it was properly tested", one of the most common ones being "how could they not see this bug ?!" - and trust me, it's not particularly a programmer's remark.
    4. About the nature of Civ6's bugs : yeah, they are annoying. But it's really not that many, tthey don't cause many CTDs, and aren't game-breaking (literally speaking).

    Which leads me to the conclusion that people are overreacting to Civ6's bugs, and that this kind of thread is borderline troll. Just look at how fast it degenerated in a "who's the true programmer / civ player" joust. So let's report bugs and wait for a patch. If they don't fix the bugs, then we'll have a reason to make such complains.
     
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  12. viper_1986_1986

    viper_1986_1986 Warlord

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    haha that is what i thought!
    I have programmed for fun, with friends, little teams. And the last thing we worry about would be tweaking the values for balance, or the 1 in 1000 chance X would happen causing bug Y to show.
     
  13. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Except that if you cut back on features, you risk your game being decried as shallow, or lacking in complexity. Where's the balance? Surely it's to compromise on the maximum amount of features with the minimum amount of bugs. Which a lot of people seem to agree is what they've done.

    I'm completely ignoring Metacritic here because it has basically nothing to do with a programmer's perspective at all. It may factor into perceived team value and post-launch prospects, but that's speculation.

    There was no pandering, at least none that you have proven. Firaxis made the game they want to make, and it came with some bugs. Even if the game had had less features, it still would've had bugs. Bugs are unavoidable.
     
  14. avguy2

    avguy2 Chieftain

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    Yeah, let's all just lower our standards because Stellaris had more bugs than Civ VI! (And guess what, there are games that are even worse. And people still play them. And games that are even worse than those games. And... See where this is going?) In a discussion about what kind of quality someone expects from a newly released game (and how long it might take for the game to actually get there) this isn't much of a counterpoint, is it?

    Yeah if you consider bugs to be just things like ctd there probably aren't too many. Yay, just a couple times ctd, this game deserves 110% ratings!! But if you consider things like the ai not working, dimplomacy being broken etc. a bug, then you find plenty. Call it bugs, call it messy code, call it whatever you want. In the end it boils down to the game not being finished. (A few days after release there already are mods that deal with some of the issues. And people are posting project ideas to mod the core parts of the game, AI, balance... Doesn't this seem like the developers job?! Obviously people don't even expect it from them anymore. It worked for Civ V, so why not let the community do the heavy lifting for Civ VI, too. While Firaxis gets paid.)

    I aggree, that was totally unnecessary. So stop jousting, too. ("This is just a player's perspective. So let's not take it too seriously")
     
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  15. sanchopanda

    sanchopanda Chieftain

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    Of course bugs are unavoidable. I am a programmer myself so most of the time I encounter a bug, I see and handle it based on my developer perspective. Civ 6 has bugs like every software has bugs, but it has so many bugs that my gamer perspective starts taking over. I cannot enjoy this game anymore! I've tried it again and again but quit the game within minutes. The number of bugs is incredible and I'm not talking about one ore two dozen bugs. I found so many really annoying bugs that I stopped playing because of frustration. And it's not only the bugs, the AI is really dumb, there are many missing features (small ones), the UI is really inefficient and they clearly had no time to polish or balance the game. If you look at the steam reviews, 23% are negative and many of them (if not most) mention the incredible number of bugs as the biggest or at least one of the biggest problems. That number is huge and will continue to rise the longer the customers play.

    It's obvious that this game was released to early. I wouldn't say that they rushed it because it doesn't look like that, but Civ 6 is not in a releasable state.

    I know that it's not the developers to blame. Firaxis made the decision to release it whatever the current state is. They have done it with other games before and they will continue to do so if nobody cares. That's the reason I'm writing this and it's the reason for my negative review on steam (which I will adjust when they fix the most annoying issues).
     
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  16. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Your enjoyment being affected is completely understandable.

    However this does not mean the game was released "early". It might have been rushed? Most products are, in every industry (note: not a defense). But "early" is hard to define because "complete" is also hard to define. You'll also want to note that the publisher is 2K - not Firaxis. 2K will set release schedules and related deadlines.
     
  17. avguy2

    avguy2 Chieftain

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    It's pretty easy to determine that Civ VI had an early release. They didn't even accomplish their own goals (if not to say big mouthed promises) yet.

    Let me cite lead designer Ed Beach on the AI: "[W]e’ve rewritten the A.I. from the ground up, learning all the lessons that we had from Civilization V, so we know how best to solve some of these problems in military combat and so forth."
    Unfortunately "some" problems is a far ways off "most" problems... In fact, it seems to me they've learned a whole lot of nothing, judging by what the AI does in the game. It's different, but just a different shade of bad.

    And another quote from the same interview: "[W]e also assign secret agendas to the leaders [...]. And so the diplomatic landscape is much richer. The more you mix all the different personalities into a big soup, the more you end up with a very interesting diplomatic landscape."
    On the diplomacy front things aren't exactly "interesting" unless you consider everyone hating everyone interesting. I'm pretty sure though there are some kids out there who love the game for exactly this.

    I know this is not a bug, but again I'm quoting the Interview with Beach on the UI: “We’re aware [...] we have to make sure this game is just as easy to play as any of our other titles [...]. We've taken a whole new approach to user interface development, and there’s a lot that helps players understand what’s going on in the game.”
    I don't know why anyone is complaining about the intuitive and not at all ridiculous UI. And if there's any information you can't for the life of you seem to find anywhere, why don't you just look it up in CivPedia? [/sarcasm]

    But "comlpete" is such a big word, right? Who's to say what it means anyways? When is a game ever actually complete? Aren't games by default just giant big works in progress, just like life itself?! Edit: Btw. here's the link to the article on time.com
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
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  18. StittsvileJamie

    StittsvileJamie Chieftain

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    As a father, I like the passion that I'm seeing in this thread, on both sides of this argument. That is an admirable quality.

    It's quite refreshing, as a transit rider, to have something like this to read whilst on the bus. It makes the ride much quicker.

    However, from my perspective as a Canadian, the animosity is quite alarming. speaking as a Netflix watcher, maybe it's time for some of you to chill.

    So, as a home brewer myself and an Ottawa Senators fan and proponent of wearing hats, I'm having fun with he game regardless of some issues, and I really hope you guys are too (speaking as a person who's pretty good mechanically with their hands).

    Thanks for listening!
    Signed - An avid gardener.
     
  19. sanchopanda

    sanchopanda Chieftain

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    Thank you and sorry Firaxis :)
    I will change that on my steam review.

    I don't have to define "complete" to see that they had not enough time. Of course I cannot say when the game is exactly 100% complete, but I can say when it is way less than 100%. If you sum up all the things:

    - Huge amount of bugs
    - Bad AI
    - Broken game systems especially diplomacy and trade
    - Agenda system does not work as intended (most of the time you have one or zero friends and everyone else hates everyone else)
    - Bad balance/fine tuning
    - Impractical UI and missing information
    - Missing functions (e.g. shortcut H, alert unit action)
    - Missing game options (e.g. unit cycling, multiplayer teams - which both are present but not "accessible")
    - Mediocre Civilopedia
    - Nearly "Google-Like" German translation
    - No Mod-Tools at release
    - No world map although they talked a lot about TSL and that they know how much players love this
    - A placeholder because a model is missing
    - Async issues in MP that occur way to often

    ...and looking at the amount of problems submitted at Civfanatics bug forum and Reddit and the number of bugs I found myself I can only assume one of two things:
    1. They are really bad developers
    2. There was not enough time

    For me it's obviously the latter.

    They don't have to fix all of this for the game to feel "complete". But taking everything into account I have to call this incomplete.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  20. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Every game by the presented metric is incomplete. Every game has bugs. Missing functions are incredibly arguable (what players are used to vs. what players desire vs. what is actually necessary). Games rarely actually align 100% with the original vision as laid out by the developers.

    Sadly, we've gone away from the original topic and people are just voicing the same criticism we've seen in every other thread in the subforum. I leave ya to it :)
     

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