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To the dev haters...

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Boogy, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Boogy

    Boogy Visitor

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    I originally wrote about 10 pages blasting about <%10 of the community. I then realized I was not really getting anything accomplished by writing this so I decided to keep it a bit shorter...

    TL;DR: Thank you Cal, Mesanna, and to rest of the dev team for keeping it working.
     
  2. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    I'm very grateful for our dev team. We've got some great folks working there.

    This afternoon alone, Stratics posters have found a substantial number of bugs in a post-beta booster that they paid for. I think some disappointment is understandable. Admittedly, I'm a little disappointed, myself.

    Expressions of frustration do not discount, on the whole, appreciation for this talented team of designers. I support them, despite occasional shortcomings. I've built quite a list of shortcomings, myself. :)
     
  3. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    Okay, it ain't perfect. But, it is... good. And I feel reasonably certain that nothing is broken that can not be fixed.
     
  4. DevilsOwn

    DevilsOwn Stratics Legend
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    :lol: I really like that
     
  5. I don't like the bugs, but people want things fast. I am sure EA demands that our devs meet customer expectations. The Devs can only work out so many kinks before meeting their deadlines. They will fix the bugs that have came up and everything will be fine.

    How long would it have taken for this booster to be made bug free? We MIGHT have it by Christmas. Just as many people would be complaining that it was taking too long.

    The fastest way to find the most bugs is to go live. Don't blame our Devs for that. Blame players that can't wait and a company without enough money or time to squash all the bugs in their releases in a timley fashon.

    The Devs are doing their job. If the current staff did not accomplish the goals their company has for UO, they would be replaced. We players can be mad when things happen that we don't like, or we can accept the world that our game exists in and make the best of it.

    To the Dev Staff's credit, SA was great and the booster looks fun. Be happy that our game is still going strong. They are working on the bugs. Go play and have fun!
     
  6. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    I can tell you from personal experience going back to programming classes in 1984...

    No program reveals all its bugs in testing, no matter how long you test it.

    Only when you release it, do the majority of bugs crawl from under the carpet.

    For example:

    I had to write a fairly complicated (for 1985) business program that would keep track of workers hours, profit/loss, and even print checks, as the equivalent of a term paper/final in my freshman computing class - in FORTRAN (which is not a language normally used for business software).

    I tested my program's individual modules, using a dummy routine to call each of them
    Each worked perfectly. I put all the modules except the check printer together, the day before the deadline - worked perfectly.

    But when I added the check printer, not only did it go from working to not-working, the rest of the program stopped working, even after I removed the module. There was no reason why it would not work after, without the module, since it worked before I added it, yet, there it was, defying all logic.

    I never did find out what caused it, but at least the professor saw where it HAD worked before, and worked in pieces, so I got a B.

    Consider, now, that the program in question was MAYBE 100k (probably closer to 50). IT only had about 2000 lines of code, including comments.

    Compare that to UO, and that 80% of the code was written originally by people other than current Dev Staff, and probably another 15% was older code modified by the existing staff. The bugs that occur when two different programmers' (or 20) code tries to interact are bad enough, when the two are working side by side - let alone with no real contact or documentation tying the work together.

    The way it seems to me, is that the speed of finding bugs is based on the square of the testing group size. In other words, If X playtesters will find Y number of bugs in a given time, 10 times X players will find the same number of bugs in 1/100 time.
     
  7. Willard

    Willard Seasoned Veteran
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    Nice! Good Post!

    Unfortunatly....some people just like to complain and be unhappy all the time.

    I am just happy that after 10 years of playing--I can still enjoy a game that has exceeded all expectations!
     
  8. Miss Smoocher

    Miss Smoocher Journeyman
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    well the way i see it i don't always agree with everyone and wont always like what others have to say but that's just life. but as for me uo is like a cup of coffee i cant go with out it everyday. but is someone says something bad about something i love i try not to look at as if they are trying to be mean.
    i see it as they have Passion for it and have big dreams for it to other wise they would not open their mouths to say it. lets just hope uo is never stop being talked about. Great Job Devs Keep up The Great Job of making my game play great!!! now if only we can have victorian furniture sets for our homes :popcorn:
     
  9. unified

    unified Guest

    Basara is correct regarding the issue of bugs from a computer programmer's point of view.

    I can relate, as I develop software. It is difficult to create something that is truly bug-free. On top of that, even when you find that something does not work right, you could spend from hours to days staring and code and running tests only to find that you might have misplaced something as small as a decimal point.

    I am very appreciative of the job that the devs have done, and I know that their job can not be easy given that they must read code written by their predecessors. As each had his/her own coding style, it can be a task just to figure out what they've written if it is was well-commented.
     
  10. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    UO Example:

    For years (2001 or 2002, whenever they were introduced), until late 2007, The ratio of Large BODs to small, and the rarity of iron armor larges, was skewed by a coding error.

    According to a dev comment, when they fixed it, it was either a missing or misplaced closing parenthesis ")" that caused the numbers to go all screwy.
     
  11. Fat Midnight

    Fat Midnight Visitor

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    LOL thanks, your second to the last paragraph was what I origionaly was trying to get at.... I can bet that it is not documented very well either.

    If upper management is as bad as I think, I can just imagine how horrendously bad the meetings are that Cal must endure.
     
  12. Siteswap

    Siteswap Visitor

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    I dont hate the Devs. Why would I? Ive never met them so have no reason to hate them. Im sure they are very nice people.

    However, their ability as Devs is questionable to say the least. They constantly churn out bug written, unfinished crap and expect us to swallow it (which to be fair, many of you fanboi sheep do).

    Ive said it before and I'll say it again ... if they were any good then they'd be working for Blizzard or on some other game. Working on UO these days does not add much credit to ones CV (I bet none of them have KR on their resumé, especially the art guy).

    So no ... I dont hate them. I just think they are not very good at what they are paid to do.
     
  13. Babble

    Babble Guest

    No one of us forced them to release this early.
    Actually most people argued that it was not enough time.

    And why were the bugs not fixed that were found in the testing stage?
    Or the Salpeter suggestions used which many people said would be a problem.

    Things as lag or so are rather unforseen (I had no lag yesterday on europa), but the rest?
     
  14. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Don't have any problems with most of the Dev team, they seem pretty competent generally and I'm sure are keen to make the best product they can.

    I do have huge problems with EA, and what passes itself off as 'management' for UO, who are responsible for ;

    Stupid deadlines that inevitably lead to bug-ridden and faulty releases

    Total disinterest in the feedback from Beta testers (going back as far as I can remember, I learned my lesson after the fourth time I was in the Beta test and huge bugs reported very early on were still in the retail release) if it means delaying a product release.

    Smug indifference to players that means feedback generally is selectively ignored.

    Failed payment systems for the game

    Almost nonexistent marketing.

    Willingness to cut anything related to customer support (the 'support' web pages are a poster for cheap, inefficient idiocy pretending to be 'customer service', GM quality remains hopelessly patchy, customer relations staff are always the first to be cut when they need to save money).....

    Sadly, 'management' that makes those decisions probably doesn't include Cal - I think he's stuck in the middle between the accountants and salesmen who can't understand the way to develop a mmo through it's entire lifespan, and a dev team and playerbase who are passionate about quality of what we all know is the best game out there. He also seemingly has roughly zero leverage on the other bits of EA that his game depends on, like the 'customer support' and gamecodes site. That's just tough though, since he's the one with the title who deals with us, he's going to be the one getting a lot of the crap.


    The motto used to be ""'Challenge Everything", nowadays it's "We're challenged by everything and we usually fail".
     
  15. Babble

    Babble Guest

    This is someone disgruntled with Mythic/Bioware

    Why Warhammer Failed | EA Louse

    :p


    But I agree with him on that, that both UO and DAOC have more subscribers than Warhammer :p
     
  16. Babble

    Babble Guest

    Anyone heard about that?

    'As a current (for now) employee of EA myself, I feel you.

    I heard about the lay offs a month ago (%25 worldwide) and I am bummed out.'

    again?
     
  17. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Is it a coincidence that cuts are being proposed for November, and High Seas was rushed out - and come on folks, there are an awful lot of problems and bugs, in the expansion and with the sites to purchase it from - in October?
     
  18. Babble

    Babble Guest

    They can't really fire anyone working on UO, hardly anyone left at all.
    Though I claim that for years and still developers go
    :p
     
  19. [JD]

    [JD] Guest

    I definitely agree there is a little too much venom against the devs and UO personnel. Beyond all the details, UO is a great game. If it was not we all would have moved on a long time ago.

    And they ahve had some great ideas, like putting out a booster we don't have to wait years to get like an expansion. To constantly keep us interested, you know? Also, a plan to bring back old friends with the Re-enlisters.

    The problem is the execution was a little off. I probably won't be buying High Seas any time soon. There's very little in it for me. I don't have the room for a fisherman. Maybe there should have been an extra free character slot. Also the severely limited time duration 2 week beta test. Granted as Basara said no matter how long you test for there will always be new bugs. But, 2 weeks is really, really too short. And it sounds like lots of reports were ignored too.

    The reinlisters was a great idea, but it only offered 2 weeks for them. If they've been gone for years that's hardly enough time to get caught up, especially if they didn't hear about it until it was too late. It would have been nice to just say a free month

    Overall, great ideas, the execution seemed to just be off. Lessons learned I hope?

    Thank you to the UO team for all your hard work.
     
  20. Theo_GL

    Theo_GL Grand Poobah
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    Having a degree in CS and working in the field for 20 years - I'm well aware of how it can be difficult to find every bug.

    However I have 2 issues:

    1 -When completely obvious bugs (like the fact that you dismount your pet and remount and there is a shadow pet) make it to release. That is something very simple to find and 15 min of gameplay finds that one.

    2- When bugs reported in beta repeatedly... and then make it to production. There is no sense in having a beta if you aren't going to fix things before go live.

    It is obvious the dev team is very date focused. We are going to hit Oct 12th or else.... And so bad code goes out the door hoping to 'fix it later'.

    It would have been better to delay the release a week and address some of the issues that were noted.

    The fact that people have a hard time paying for the expansion is icing on the cake. If anything, EA should have rock solid systems for taking orders. Its not rocket science.
     
  21. Fat Midnight

    Fat Midnight Visitor

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    That is more of a symptom of bad management.
     
  22. Nevyn

    Nevyn Guest

    Oo, another UO example. When they initially implemented luck, it was all screwy and didn't seem to do anything like it claimed to do. At least, not in a general statistically significant sense. There were some magic numbers that seemed to increase amount of loot and number of statistics on loot. Large amounts of data were collected by some good samaritans to demonstrate definitively that there was a problem. Once they went back and reviewed the code, there was an integer division error causing the screwiness.

    There's a lot of issues can can slip through the cracks in an MMO. When it comes to commercial software, a lot of problems are difficult to detect in house -- yet are so obvious when you have thousands of people running the software. This goes even for dev teams several times the size of the UO team. I met several of the devs a few years back and they all seemed like competent, passionate guys (sorry, only gal I recall was the producer). They're just stuck trying to make the best they can out of what they're given, and the underlying UO tech is old old old (are they still using flat files to store items in the game world? heh).
     
  23. Korik Bloodguard

    Korik Bloodguard Lore Keeper
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    Just to be a bit of a devil's advocate: It's not our problem in the slightest that the tools they use are out dated, pretty much unintelligible with no written docs. That's their job. Their job is to provide us with a service, if they're messing with code or sacrificing a goat on a server to make it work - that's not our problem.

    What is their problem is providing a service which people want to use, over the years it has become apparent that fewer and fewer people consider that service good enough to continue using it.

    So yes, who cares what the devs have to go through to provide a service worth using, it's their job to do what's needed and if they can't then what business do they have in this sector? Perhaps EA needs to hire better people?
     
  24. Fat Midnight

    Fat Midnight Visitor

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    The issue is EA does not give them the resources to do what really needs to be done. The current team has about half the people it needs to stay a quality product. Add that to management demanding products out the door before they are ready. The devs we have now are alot better than the UO community has seen in a very long time.

    What UO really really needs is to be completely rewritten on both sides. That means completely new server side software and a new client(s) to interact with it.

    Do you know the reason why UO is in the state that it is? They know enough people will bend over and take it, and most will be asking for more.
     
  25. Nevyn

    Nevyn Guest

    That hasn't really been true for a long time. Even around the Samurai Empire expac (around when I stopped following UO stuff), most people weren't "asking for more". They feel sufficiently invested to stay with the game, but there has been a marked loss of enthusiasm over the years. It's more like "most of the people that stuck with the game this long will continue to do so, and simply beg us to do better in the future -- they aren't likely to quit short of direct, repeated insult". This is visible in the way they've only focused on retaining current players or bring back old ones. Any other vision would require trying to pull in people new to UO.
     
  26. Korik Bloodguard

    Korik Bloodguard Lore Keeper
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    To echo what Nevyn said, I don't really think it's an issue of the developers of the game putting just enough effort into the game to scrape by. What we're seeing is really just the result of a program existing for so long but without a consistent vision. For years, EA has been hiring different coders, different art directors, different creative directors, so not only is the result a hodgepodge of undocumented code but also each lead has to somehow re-invision the world and its intent.

    If you're coming off the street and you haven't played UO before and you've been hired to somehow take the reins of this ancient lurching behemoth it's definitely a challenge. Some developers will go one way and others will instinctively find another direction more compelling - the source material is of little help, really, nor is the history of the game.

    We also have to remember how people chose to do things. Developers will observe the industry and see what makes sense, what seems to be drawing customers, and they'll try to implement it in their own design. Novelty is always a gamble.

    So in a way the state of UO isn't really surprising, but even so, I think we should be thankful that at least we still have it :)

    Edit: Also, I'm not sure about the quantity of people being a problem at all. With a small amount of developers you can still refine systems through auditing their efficiency, how people respond to them, and whether or not they engage players in a meaningful way.

    Perhaps the main problem with UO is the idea that developers have that it's essential to push content out at as high a rate as possible. Refining one's systems is the single most important thing for a game, and it's a place where UO falls short, unfortunately.
     
  27. Nevyn

    Nevyn Guest

    This goes along with your point about "keeping up with the industry". I'm somewhat talking out of my ass here since as I said I drifted after IT'S GOT NINJAS, but pushing content out at a high rate is probably partially them trying to keep up with the Joneses. Much like Age of Shadows was, was back when. It's what is done by the most successful games in the industry, so they are trying to appropriate the means and ideas used by those games (this is likely mostly something pushed by management, as management everywhere likes to point at other products and ask why theirs doesn't have those nifty features people like). This has led to a game that didn't "refine their systems" as you say, where they could have stuck to their strengths and tried to develop along their own lines. But with different coders with different visions, and different producers pushing them in different directions, it's easy to see why that didn't happen. It's just too bad.