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What has Beyond Earth ever done for us?

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Mount Suribachi, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    No. I made no such assumption.

    I don't blame people for "choosing to enjoy the game". I blame people for their contribution to the market not punishing development teams for not reaching their own stated standards or worse, false advertising.

    Advertised features not working for a substantial portion of a game's life cycle is not a "minor issue". The game itself lying to the player is not a minor issue, even if you try to say these things are minor issues or imply it with vague analogies.

    If the market held development to development's stated standards, they would be meet those standards. If people consistently avoided games with misrepresented feature lists and poor UI, we'd see more good UI and less dishonesty in feature lists.

    It's not like we don't have games that do the above properly already, so I'm not buying a "no product" conclusion; evidence points against it.

    What standard should you compare against for "not as bad"?
     
  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    * shrugs *

    I must've read your post wrong on that first point, re-reading it gives me no insight into what I was talking about yesterday morning. Sorry about that!

    However, on the second point, you are blaming people for enjoying the game. You flat-out state that peoples' opinions on the severity of issues you classify as important are wrong. If someone buys the game, and doesn't feel the need to repeatedly castigate the developer for every flaw they encounter, they are a part of the problem. This is directly-associated with enjoying the game (as it's hard to enjoy it without owning it).

    2. I didn't claim the issues you were talking about were minor. I said demographics would perceive it as minor, and other demographics would perceive it as major. Hence my entire set of examples around AI. Which is a pretty substantiated and precise analogy given the issues the AI had in both CiV and BE / RT. You don't get to just call them vague and leave them at that!

    3. If the market held marketing to marketing's advertised standards, there would probably be a better chance of those standards being met. You're conflating what goes on the box with the development team itself, which is both an incredibly tenuous link (nobody directly on the development team in the vast majority of cases goes anywhere near the box art or the promotional text on it. That's PR / marketing, which usually sits with the publisher - and indeed will do in this case) and in general an obvious conflation of role. A programmer won't be writing the box blurb. A game artist might mock up some background image for use on the box art, but they won't finalise the box art itself, nor sign off on it.

    I mean I don't think at any point I've ever held CiV up as a paragon of a working game here. Well, it works, as a baseline, but sure, it has faults. Whether these faults stop people from playing outright however is a much more arguable matter, which takes me on to my next point.

    4. The games are playable. That alone lifts the games in question (though let's focus on CiV because if you get me started on Paradox games I'll be helping you create an entire database of UI issues :p) above the rather heavy-handed adjectives you're using to describe the UI paradigms on display. "utterly pathetic", "laughable", etc. These games would not sell if such a core point of the game experience (which the UI is) was widely-agreed to be in such a state.

    Hence, perspective. Do the delays on the End Turn sync making a double-click often necessary prevent the game from continuing? No. Ergo, in definitive software development terms, that isn't a critical bug. It isn't even major. It'd probably be classified as an enhancement. This matches my expectations as a software engineer knowing the bugs that are reported with the product I work on, and how we prioritise fixing them.

    To take a completely different example, but a game franchise I'm very familiar with. Dawn of War II - Retribution recently (a couple of months back) had a bugfix patch. I helped collate well-known issues that have plagued the game (as solid as it was considered to be especially in light of the instability of its predecessors) and Relic then took them on-board and assigned dev-hours to working through them.

    A relatively-minor subset of all the issues listed were fixed. Gave the usual naysayers the usual ammo to complain that the developers didn't fix the "real" issues. Despite the fact that some severe CTDs affecting a subset of users was fixed, and a CTD I think you and I would both agree takes precedence over "this unit does too much damage to this other unit in this specific matchup". But that's the perspective of the remaining (primarily multiplayer) community for you. Entirely valid within the context of that MP scene, with its own user-provided tech support and minimal exposure to system crashes. Developers prioritise things on a stringent scale with game-stopping issues at the top. A delay on UI interaction? That's never, ever going to be a critical bug (unless the delay actually ends up hanging the game). A text box getting too long if too many players are in the game? Minor / enhancement depending on utility of the screen and relevance of keybind shortcuts to alleivate the UI flow.

    These are not things that developers prioritise for reproduction and thus fixing, because the developers won't be assigned tasks of this level of importance. They'll be tasked (in the case of CiV) on Worker efficiency (through AI cycles) - efforts were made for BE from what I remember and the improvements backported to CiV around the time of that patch that kinda nuked what was left of CiV's MP functionality (which Firaxis then continued to remedy, but again, the naysayers received ammo to use instead of being thankful that Firaxis were committed to improving a product for which the support lifecycle was effectively over). They'll be tasked on memory usage on low-end systems.

    Why do you think modding tools are always the last on any list ever? Or why game engines frequently aren't designed for effective, efficient modding? Priorities. It's not critical, it's not a game-stopper, it's not even a bug in this case. Feature request. Enhancement. Low priority compared to getting and keeping the game working.

    Hopefully I was able to explain myself clearly. I have no idea of your own experience with software development, so for the sake of clarity I made no assumptions either way.
     
  3. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    I am no doubt going to regret getting involved in this discussion, but I'm confused about what you said about mismatch between what the developer is developing and what the publisher's marketing team is saying is being (or has been) developed.

    I cannot believe that you mean to say that the developers can and should ignore what the marketing side is saying about what the game's features will be. To take an extreme example, if the developer is building a single-player game that only runs on Windows, but marketing is saying "unparalleled multi-player experience, with full cross-platform support," you don't think alarm bells should be going off at the developer's offices? They are supposed to just shrug and say, "Ah, well, those kooky marketing types are at it again. What're you gonna do?" I don't think so.

    Now, of course, there's an important difference between outright lies ("MP support" when there is none; "play as [pick a civ]" when they aren't in the game, etc.) and marketing puffery ("Best in class" "Unparalleled [whatever]"), but I cannot fathom a development team so ignoring what marketing is saying that they effectively countenance affirmative misrepresentations about the game and its functionality.
     
  4. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    That's not what I said at all. The disconnect is in the reverse. Often marketing makes promises that the developer team can't keep. The responsibility is obviously then wider than on the marketing team solely, but to blame the developer team core is conflating roles somewhat.

    Would alarm bells be going off? Absolutely. But there's not much you can do about that apart from cram as much in before the deadline as you can.
     
  5. Davor

    Davor Chieftain

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    Not sure if it belongs, but I find it, is what has Civ IV taught me. It taught me that Firaxis lies and you can't trust them when it comes to specs of a game. It has taught me Firaxis can't make a good game on release and on release day it will be very buggy. It has taught me Firaxis cuts parts out of a game makes the day one release a dull, bland and very boring game. It has taught me Firaxis will make 2 or 3 expansions and after 2 years of expansions and patches the game will become AWESOME.

    So I never bought Civ V. I waited until 2 years and I was correct. Civ V became Awesome after 2 years and 2 or 3 expansions and patches.

    So I didn't buy Beyond Earth. Only one expansion and what 2 patches? Still waiting for the second minor expansion and third major expansion.

    So the thing that Beyond Earth taught me, was to keep waiting. I guess I will not buy Civ VI and I HELL WON'T be pre-ordering it.

    I guess Beyond Earth has taught Firaxis or is it 2K a thing. People will wait now and buy their games on sale. S now they increased the price buy $30 Canadian so when people do buy it on Steam Sale it will be for $50 and people will think "great $30 off" but hence be paying full price like it should have been in the beginning.

    So it seems Beyond Earth has taught everyone something even 2K/Firaxis. :p
     
  6. LetMyPeopleGo

    LetMyPeopleGo Chieftain

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    Couldn't agree more, waited two years to buy a very good Civ V game which I play and enjoy a lot, will do the same with BE if development continues for further expansion and patching, would hate to skip it entirely.
     
  7. Sauron 3

    Sauron 3 Chieftain

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    It was a brilliant time while was plating it, especially the emotions when started for the first. Being loved or not by the classic Civ fans I can say it's original game and I'm very proud to beat this game on the Apollo difficulty as like the made all the achievement achieved in the X-Box 360 Civilization Revolution. The worst thing I was espected for the second add-on, but the same bad stroty like it was with Alien Crossfire.
     
  8. LetMyPeopleGo

    LetMyPeopleGo Chieftain

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    Alien Crossfire?
     
  9. LORD ORION

    LORD ORION Chieftain

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    That's what Civ 5 did...
    BE escaped in the rocket ship...
     
  10. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    Alien Crossfire is the expansion for Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC) and is usually abbreviated as SMAX. It added several new Factions including 2 Alien factions.

    But that's not something that I think would be good for Beyond Earth's narrative.
     
  11. LORD ORION

    LORD ORION Chieftain

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    Maybe...
    Non playable, optional, aliens could be an interesting gameplay element.

    eg:
    -Indigenous per-industrial aliens like the Na'vi in Avatar
    -Progenitor colonialism
    -Heh, if the game goes on to long, earth begins to invade
     
  12. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    I don't know, I feel like it distracts from the focus on humanity.
     
  13. LORD ORION

    LORD ORION Chieftain

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    Oh look, the indigenous intelligent aliens are blue....
    I can fix that... burn villages and attack units...
    Now they are red and all is good in the world.

    Sounds like it puts more of a focus on humanity than the nuisance of normal BE aliens. ;)
     
  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Yes, I flat out state they are wrong. False advertising taken as a minor issue is definitely wrong and has a significant, measurable impact when ignored...one I experience directly as a consumer.

    Lying UI is wrong in the objective sense, but has less clear severity. However, the market buying it consistently regardless impacts my experience also.

    However, AI quality is not an easily objective measure. It's not even on the level of UI, where you can measure inputs required to complete tasks and accuracy of representation directly. How do you "measure" good AI? Product list is less ambiguous still: can you do what the box says or not?

    When you see MP allowing up to x players and map sizes of up to y size plus recommended specifications, having the game routinely, knowingly fail to run on those settings with recommended specifications is failing to meet objectively measurable standards the company itself set.

    If someone wants to say "I think the AI is good enough", I'm not going to come down on them. When someone says "oh, well you should have a better machine or not play large maps", they're wrong. The product advertised I could do that, and it didn't deliver. No matter what they think about it or how much they use it, it's not okay. The market letting companies get away with such practice lowers the quality of the average title without question. The firm has no incentive to meet its stated standards if it isn't held to them!

    I'm not talking about box art. I'm talking about a feature list and defined specs, seen on the box or elsewhere. If the developers don't have some interaction there, the process of development --> game on (electronic) shelves is GROSSLY flawed.

    Can you play all game settings on a "recommended specs" (you can leave graphics settings default or turn them down), including MP and large maps, without running into issues? If no, then the game does not work "as a baseline".

    Yes, civ is better than pdox at UI, though I'm not sure stepping over a bar that's several feet underground should be seen as an accomplishment :p.

    I stand by my assertions of the UI. If I had to say them to the developer's face, I would probably use nicer language but make no mistake: the UI of BERT and Civ 5 was surpassed by Civ 4 and numerous other titles more than a decade older. That much I would tell the lead designer of either game to his face in a heartbeat. They are really subpar by any measure. The amount of inputs to navigate for information, the amount of inputs to build a unit or change something in a city, the amount of inputs to move units, the presentation of trade routes all leave something to be desired...and are so desired because old, otherwise inferior games trivially destroyed it when I was in undergrad.

    I don't care if you want to look # of inputs, look at how the game input buffers orders, the amount of time it takes to accomplish inputs/mandated waiting, the UI representation of what will happen vs what actually happens, or crap like units being force-unselected...these are all things the past two civ titles have done poorly in an objective sense. People who don't know better or don't care might not see it, but the game is without question at low standards in these things. As you point out, this obviously isn't the majority opinion of the market despite being easily measured, and so the market's acceptance of it influences how they impact me/others like me who care about quality in this regard.

    I'm not talking about this kind of stuff. I'm talking about stuff like:

    - You will attack...no actually you will move close to a counter-unit and do nothing else instead. Rekt.
    - You want to select this unit? Too bad. Select that unit. Trying to select that first unit again? Nope.
    - Think your city has a food surplus this turn? Let's tell you that, then starve it down a pop between turns.
    - You have a promotion available, would you like to take it? Yes? PSYCHE ACTUALLY YOU PUT YOUR UNIT ON AUTO EXPLORE! Haha! (this one is Civ 4 though)
    - Ah, I see you've ordered these 5 units to attack before we processed the first one (for some reason). Let's see then...we'll attack with units 1, 4, an 5. Units 2 and 3 did nothing. Next order? Oops, can't select unit 2 yet either, you have to select unit 7 per above.

    That kind of thing, along with "take 3x the number of inputs your franchise has proven is necessary to queue something up", are the UI gripes I have. As you say, CTD has to take priority over these...yet magically these are somehow still present in a game with no stops in their occurrence for years as it adds more and more DLC and even some mechanic changes, including some to combat...yet somehow this stuff keeps going on.

    Is that still better than Paradox's UI, which actively lies to the player about the reason he can't do something on half a dozen occasions I can recall offhand in a single game? Sure. Would I like a bar aimed a little higher than one's own foot? Yes, I would prefer at least seeing the bar they're making it over.

    You want people to "be thankful" for continued patching for a product that, even now, can't handle more than 5 people in a MP game without it falling to pieces?

    No. I expected the advertised features to work as advertised, not only work within a range of selectable options as advertised.
     
  15. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    I won't bother to quote the whole thing... I know you are speaking about the entire series, but I'm curious if you thought performance was still a major issue in BE.

    For me, Civ V was a performance nightmare and I swear I spend 1/4 of my in game hours on loading screens or recovering from crashes.

    I had no issues with BE's performance. It never crashed and was always responsive. Even huge maps were playable.

    I don't play MP, but I suspect that is where most of your annoyance stems from.
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    BE > Civ 5 in performance without question, though the UI is similarly poor (little difference between, any "streamlining" done in 6 would do well to "streamline" UI as a priority). I did not test turn times to see how much better. From my experience between the two games, BE had less issue with absurd unit deselection too, but I'm not sure I've played them both enough to give the comparison a fair shake. Everyone moved away from it in our MP sessions and the game itself is a bit lacking for me for SP purposes.
     
  17. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    * shrugs *

    At this point it's just semantics over what you consider important (UI) compared to what others consider important (AI). You dressed down AI concerns there because they're subjective.

    A person's ability to navigate any number of UI paradigms is also subjective. It's why, despite many, many (many) best practise documents, systems, templates, etc, et al . . . UI as a field is grossly divergent even within the same genre and platform.

    You're also using bugs as examples of the UI failing to deliver on an objective level, which is conflating the issues being argued. Something can be feature-complete, but have bugs impact on performance and realtime usage of said features. This doesn't make it not feature-complete. This doesn't make it false advertising. The game runs as a baseline. It might run slowly. It might forget your units or carry out similar such incredibly-aggravating actions. A baseline doesn't mean the game won't have issues. "minimum recommended specifications" doesn't mean you won't run into issues - especially around performance (which can lead to input game, unit deselection, and other things besides). All the product has to do is run. Preferably without crashing. Anything else and you need to build an unprecedented and thoroughly entertaining legal case to prove considering you'd be up against a professional legal department used to defending the quality of their products (for a baseline of "runs on your computer").

    (and this is without getting in QA and how it's fundamentally impossible to guarantee the product runs on every minimum possible combination of software and hardware)

    I mean, are these important for you? Undoubtably. But they're not as important for me, and nomatter much how you throw around absolutes, your personal priorities on what you personally consider a working game are not mine, and they never will be. Sorry, genuinely. I know how frustating that can be, and I know how it looks trying to convince someone who disagrees with you on fundamentals (this ain't me referring to you at all, either :p). But we are going in circles at this point, so I'll bow out here. I'll read any responses, though.
     
  18. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    Let's be fair, though, what does "not being okay" with it usually boil down to?

    Terrorizing/dominating a game's forums so that people who are enjoying the game can't communicate? ( Like the price whingers with the Beastman DLC in WarWar: Total Hammer right now )

    Giving exaggerated negative reviews? ( Register 25 accounts on Metacritic and vote 0 on all of them, for instance. )

    Both are so common and so cliche that they're totally played out and ineffective. Total War continues to juggernaut along despite such tactics and, from what I've seen, DLC prices AND sales are both still going up.
     

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