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A programmers perspective on a buggy release.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Bug Reports' started by civhawaii, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. bjbrains

    bjbrains Man of U-235

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    You have a very strange threshold if you think Civ 5 crosses it. It's one of the least buggy strategy games on release I've ever played. Certainly much less buggy than Civ 4.
     
  2. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    I am surprised you'd have such an opinion. There are notable differences between business softwares and recreational software. First and foremost, business softwares are designed for dealing with important matters, such as storing sensitive client data and computing statistics. When bugs occur in these softwares, they can cause security breach, information leak, and potentially make companies lose lots of money. On the flip side, recreational softwares are not used for anything important and thus the consequences that come as a result of bugs are limited. This, in turn, would justify the difference in standards for release.

    Although a perfect QA is desirable, one needs to note that games are among the more highly complex softwares out there and can be much more sophisticated than an average business application. While a lot of number crunching programs can simplify the process with a load of test cases, games generally cannot be test this way especially if it has many states and many UI-dependent features. At the same time, one also needs to consider that utility softwares are made to make things as simple and predictable as possible while games tend to strive for fanciness and ubiquity. This, again, adds another layer of complexity to testing.

    By the way, the Blizzard team is among the most highly skilled (game) programmers and they still manage to release faulty patches.
     
  3. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    Write a program sometime and you'll realize how hard it is to release a large software that is so thoroughly tested that it is bug-free.
     
  4. DefoesRightBoot

    DefoesRightBoot Former Daimyo x3...

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    I'm not going to go into all the differences between gaming and business software as it's all been done above... what I will say is that I'd rather have the game earlier with a chance of bugs than six months later with everything ironed out (although in reality it'd be more like two years later.)

    I also play a lot of Football Manager (known as Worldwide Soccer Manager to the Americans) and there are currently 5,896 threads in their 'bugs' forum (admittedly the game came out nearly a year ago), but still Civ fans are quite lucky with the quality of product they get first time (IMO)
     
  5. Sofar Sogood

    Sofar Sogood Chieftain

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    Honestly? I can deal with a fairly buggy initial release (so long as it's not crippling or nothing, y'know). I don't like games getting released with notable bugs, but such is life.

    It's if the issues are not subsequently patched or fixed up or improved in a timely manner that I get cranky about it. So, yeah, we'll wait and see. Innocent until proven guilty and all that jazz.

    Also, patches that introduce new bugs aren't very enjoyable either (I understand Civ 4 had some of those), but whatever.
     
  6. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    this is another reason why i'm waiting a few years to buy it, just saying.
     
  7. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    I much prefer games to be finished before release rather than released with known problems and then patched to completion. But I believe it should be the developers' and producers' choice as to which way they do it. Some consumers actually prefer to get the game 'on time' even if it means getting an unfinished product.

    I think a bit disappointing and annoying to buy software only to find that it isn't finished yet, but all we can really do about it is just learn to not buy new software from such companies in the future; and those who don't mind buying unfinished games don't have to worry about it at all.
     
  8. chadsexington

    chadsexington Chieftain

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    I can't find the +1 button so I'll just reply.

    I'm in the same boat - to categorize people who complain because the game is incomplete or buggy as "haters" or telling them "there will be a patch" is a copout. Releasing buggy or incomplete software with a promise of fixing it later is not only poor business strategy, its irresponsible.
     
  9. Bringa

    Bringa Chieftain

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    What is everyone complaining about? I've played for about 9 hours and didn't notice any bugs.
     
  10. shamsael

    shamsael Chieftain

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    I haven't hit any bugs yet in SP, except once when Ramses was speaking German.

    If you're talking about the Multiplayer, isn't that gamespy's fault?
     
  11. Soro

    Soro Chieftain

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    I guess it depends on what you mean by the term, "bugs." If we include a combat AI that places ranged fighters in front of infantry, or attacks piecemeal, or a negotiating AI that gives away most cities when you've just conquered only a minor one, then use, it's pretty buggy. This certainly doesn't mean it permanently that way, though it will be much more difficult to correct than a simple problem with bad feedback, say. Think of it this way: when the AI used to be able to create Stacks of Doom, it could use might to substitute for savvy. Now it can't, and it has far more complex rules to compare and analyze, it's got a much tougher job at hand.
     
  12. CossackProblem

    CossackProblem Chieftain

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    I've played for 11-hours and have not experienced any bugs yet aside from the red splotches in the ice/tundra hexes.

    *knock on wood*
     
  13. psstt

    psstt Chieftain

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    more likely:
    -release date for coders was some time in aug, to have cd's made, and everything done for the release date
    -coders were all rushed, and did their best
    -they know about many issues, and have since been working on a patch, which should be ready soon.
    -it is not the programmer's fault, as they do not determine deadlines. They tend to be very competent but overworked, as is the norm.
    -only serious/critical bugs were fixed for the release build, all the rest were left for patching.


    There, that is more like reality.
     
  14. rastak

    rastak Chieftain

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    I played 35 hours without a single issue. I'll defend it because it's met every expectation.
     
  15. squadbroken

    squadbroken Chieftain

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    Unless the AI is being kept back due to actual bugs, then no, poor AI is not a bug.

    As far as actual bugs go I have personally ran into zero.
     
  16. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    I'm not saying that your experience doesn't give you an insight into this, because obviously it does. But the fact that you're not a game developer does however mean your insight on this fails you massively though. I develop games, now doing indie games, but have worked in the past in small teams and large ones, for independent studios and large publisher owned ones, and have also developed non-game software in the past, both in my flat and working for large organisations so I have a personal insight into both of these arenas and I really really don't think people know how difficult it is to develop PC games.

    You have MFC or .NET, oracle frontends, or web 2.0 applications, or practically any other non-game development, then that will work on practically EVERY PC in the world with little worries. If you're writing software for business clients then again, your target PCs and users are a lot more predictable. I'm not saying this is always the case, but there is no comparison really. It's why console games are generally more reliable than PC games. EVERY console is identical. By comparison it's a piece of cake.

    PC Games on the otherhand are a living nightmare to develop. You could pump millions into QA but still not be able to test 1/100th of the possible configurations of video cards,OS's, system settings and processors that combinations of could for some reason or another cause fatal problems. On games that are built on existing technology this effect is mitigated with time,so you do get products that are reliable on most configurations, but they are very much standing on the shoulders of giants (using existing 3D tech or whatever) with good QA these games get lauded as being the antithesis of these kind of games, but the fact this game is built using completely new technology is overlooked by the consumers, even though they would be quick to complain if the same tech was milked to death.

    People who cry foul when a selection of people have problems (who are, in all likelihood compared to the actual amount of people who bought the game worldwide, less than a percent of a percent) simply do not understand. It can't be predicted and QA can't just magically ensure there aren't hidden demons in the code ready to strike, no matter HOW long or HOW much money is spent on it. It's this understanding that makes all the ill-informed and reactionary feet stomping so infuriating to read.

    Not to downplay what you do, programming is a hard job and requires a lot of talent regardless, but you have literally no idea the sheer gulf of difference between game development and business development. Especially since gameplay design is often an iterative process where business software development tends to have more fixed goalposts. Sure features may need changes or extra development due to not being easy to use, or fast enough, or whatever. But again I found the potential for goal posts to move dramatically much more severely in the commercial games industry.

    And dare I say it? AAA 3D game development is many orders more complicated than application or database programming. I have done both extensively, and this is fact. Hate to be blunt about it, but there you go. Sorry.

    Lastly, and most importantly... it's 2K that are dictating release dates and whatnot, not Firaxis. I'm pretty sure it's not the coder's fault, the QA department's fault, or Sid's fault... It probably goes pretty far up the chain of 2K before the order on an immovable release date was made, and this will have been down to hundreds of reasons way beyond our possible understanding or awareness. To simplify it and say 'they should have waited two weeks' without any of the facts, and just to assume some kind of 'money grabbing greed' is wildly ignorant.

    Look at Elemental's release. It was released before the release date, and was a buggy mess that makes complaints about Civ look laughable, to be honest. Add to that Stardock previously released the 'Charter' that said that everyone deserves a finished game out the box. How embarrassing!! Was that decision to release greed?

    No. They clearly HAD to release it when they did, for whatever reason (probably financial) and they get dragged through the mud. I'm sure they knew the situation with the game when they released, so why didn't they just spend an extra six months sorting out all the issues? Well they couldn't, clearly, or they would have. Obviously.

    Finally, let us not forget that QA from Firaxis were made redundant prior to the release of the game. The reason for this? Who knows. But obviously there is more going on here than fits into most people here's little cosy simple view of game development and you shouldn't be so quick to judge and cry foul. Certainly not at Firaxis.

    Yeah, so Civ 5 could have done with a couple of weeks extra for testing and bug fixing. But most people seem to have pre-ordered the game. What difference does it make whether you have it with a few bugs, or whether you get it a couple of weeks later with less / no bugs? I'd rather have it sooner rather than later, frankly. If I had to wait another two weeks I'd probably go insane, I'd rather get a taste of the experience even if it's not initially perfect.

    Just put it in a drawer and consider it an early beta, if you like, and come to it a couple of weeks later and pretend it's release day. I fail to see what the problem is? Like paying $60 and not getting what you want the millisecond you part with your money has never happened in the history of humanity and not been some massive scandal outside buggy games.

    It's very easy to play the victimised consumer card, which is why everyone seems to have such joy in doing it. But sometimes consumers can be unreasonable, the adage 'the customer is always right' is just something they tell shopkeepers to make sure they're polite to the customers it's not just 'automatically so'.
     
  17. PotatoOverdose

    PotatoOverdose Chieftain

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    Look at all the bugs vista had when it was released. And bugs in an OS are much worse than bugs in a piece of software because they affect everyone. Its an industry standard. I've coded some pretty complex programs and from experience, I know its very difficult to create something that is relatively bug free on one machine, let alone hundreds (if not thousands) of possible permutations of cpu's, gpu's, hard drives, ram types (yes, different types of ram can cause performance issues), operating systems, drivers, etc. The amount of bugs in Civ V is not above the usual amount of bugs for a video games. Even console games get released with game breaking bugs (and those only have 1 set of specifications to worry about).
     
  18. ZCM

    ZCM Chieftain

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    I've had one crash and some minor stuff, but nothing worth crying home about. Still, my $0.02:

    The reason why so much game software is released with horrible bugs boils down to some basic facts.
    1) Software development projects slip, leading to a choice between delaying the release, cutting features, or releasing buggy software.
    2) Game software has very expensive marketing campaigns which are planned months in advance and are very expensive to change.
    3) People tolerate buggy or incomplete game software, especially if there's the promise of a patch soon.

    If you're the president of a game publisher, a highly anticipated game is behind schedule, and you have to decide to delay your whole marketing campaign or just cut some features, skimp on testing, and promise a patch later ... well, it's pretty obvious which is better for shareholders.
     
  19. croxis

    croxis Chat room op

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    When Civilization 2 came out by Microprose in 1996 it was 1.0. The release was so bad that the final patch for vanilla civ 2 was version 2.42. I remember hearing from the old old vets that at one point there was about a patch a week for a while.

    I'm looking at my games sitting on the shelf and almost all of them needed some serious patching to become playable. Civ IV had some NASTY issues. So did supreme commander. It seems that the only games that didn't need serious patching was the sims. Windows also needed some serious patching and some very bad releases. Anyone remember Windows Me or Windows Vista?
     
  20. NecroDMI

    NecroDMI Chieftain

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    I am at home and I decide to dedicate a large portion of my day to play and I discover that I just spent 4K on a high end laptop + $100 Civ 5 SE and $20 on a software program that causes more frustration during multiplayer than it is worth. My hopes of pissing on gamespy execs is unfortunately still alive. I am so dissapointed in the gaming community. Your expectations are way to low. Free time becomes more and more important as you grow older. Don't settle for "close enough". Do you know why old people say "they don't build 'em, like they used to"? It's because they have been around long enough to know what a quality product is. Have some self respect and stop letting people piss down your back and tell you it's raining kiddies. You control the largest market segment in the world. Be responsible with it. It's your job. It's called free market. Don't let it degrade into a basterdized version of itself.
     

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