HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 13:46:48 GMT Cluster-Server: WEB1 P3P: CP="NOI ADMa OUR STP" X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Connection: close Content-Type: text/html

404 Object Not Found

Mailbag

HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 13:46:48 GMT Cluster-Server: WEB1 P3P: CP="NOI ADMa OUR STP" X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Connection: close Content-Type: text/html

404 Object Not Found

 Buy Games

News
 Current / Submit
 Archive / Search
 POTD / Submit

Files
 Main Files

Community
 Hosted Sites
 Forums
 Chat
 Help Wanted
 Mailing Lists
 Get Hosted!
 Contact Us
 Advertise With Us
 Staff

Features
 Index
 Articles
 Mod of the Week
 Levels of the Week
 Model of the Week
 QuakeScopes
 QuakeCon 2005
 Dear Mynx
 PQ Poll
 Mailbag
 Rants N'Raves
 Tech Tips
 Week in Review
 Classic PQ


HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 13:46:48 GMT Cluster-Server: WEB1 P3P: CP="NOI ADMa OUR STP" X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Connection: close Content-Type: text/html

404 Object Not Found


    PQ | Features | Mailbag | November 14, 1998
   

Without any further ado...


The P Word

Yes, the eternal battle of the patches continues, with yet more feedback winging it's way to PlanetQuake, even though I haven't a posted an editorial about patches for .. ooh .. at least two weeks.


From : MuuMuu
Subject : The patchquilt times

To the Funky Drunken Monkey helping Gestalt,

Yes, indeed the companies were pressured to create the games as soon as possible by the vocal minority of folks. And yes, the companies were suddenly being slapped on their cheeks by both the vocal minority, who whined about the bugs, and the others, who shared the common distaste for buggy software.

However, I'd have to say that the companies have to really learn to have a finished product go out their shop. Sending a premature product in any other industry can be fatal -- would people buy a toaster if the toast strength was permanently stuck on the "burn bread" selection due to a slight mishap from development? Nope.

It may be difficult, but it'll make more people happy in the end. But for that matter, the vocal part of the community shouldn't be asking for the release forever. Some may find it hard to wait for some big game another month. But the end result will most likely be better.

Oh well.

Personally I'd rather wait the extra few months for the game to be "done" than get it early and have to patch it for the next year...

To see what everyone else thought, check the November 2nd poll results, where almost 40% of people voted for the "Give me it when it's done - I'm sick of patches" option.

Then check this week's poll which features the question "What is an acceptable number of patches for a game?" Hurry up though, as this week's poll ends on Monday 9th November...


Next a word from Uncle Scrooge .. sorry .. Nathan Albury of Raven Software.


From : Albury, Nathan
Subject : Patches...

In all of the discussion about patches so far, one important thing hasn't been brought up - Christmas.

Somewhere on the order of 3 to 4 times as many games are sold in the last 2 1/2 months of the year as the rest of the year (or something like that - big number, anyway).

As long as the game buying public continues to spend ALL their money during the final months of the year, developers are going to be forced to toss out games to the public whether they like it or not. That's just the financial reality of it.

Think back to most of the games released prematurely in the past few years and think of how many were at Christmas time. If I had my way as a developer I'd get rid of Christmas all together :) [ bah! humbug ]

You want someone to blame for shoddy premature software? Blame yourselves for the software buying bottleneck that is the holiday season.

Does that mean that all developers have sold out to the Man... Um, yeah - of course they have. As much as we want to make great games, we've gotta eat too :) Or did you all honestly think we ENJOY releasing something we've spent upwards of a year and a half of our lives on before we get a chance to polish and perfect it?

I don't know any DEVELOPERS that like the idea of a patch.

Nathan Albury
Programmer (and occasional effect artist)
Raven Software




Finally some feedback on my public beta comments...


From : Steve Humiston
Subject : Public Beta Testing

After weeks of reading never-ending bitch sessions about patches I think I may have a solution to the problem.

Games have gotten so large and hardware so diverse that conventional beta testing has become obsolete, but your comment in the last mailbag about public beta testing intrigued me.

My first reaction was to reject the idea of public beta testing. Hell, I donít want to be an unpaid beta tester but maybe I donít have to be. We canít expect software companies to pay tens of thousands of beta testers but there are ways to encourage public beta testing and make gamers feel they are a valuable part of the development process.

Software developers could place demos of their unreleased games on their web sites and ask that gamers playtest them and send the developers comments and complaints about the gameís merits and faults. In return for this favor the developer would offer discount coupons toward the purchase of the game when it is finally released.

This would increase playtesting and interest in the game, and would result in higher volume of sales. If I felt that my input would earn me a 10 to 15 percent reduction in price on a game I was interested in, I would be delighted to playtest it.

Also I would feel more loyalty to a developer who cares about my opinions. Mr. John ĎI really donít take that many cues from public opinioní Carmack could learn from this. (Alright, maybe he can't)

But just imagine; gamers being enticed to send their comments to the software developers instead of harassing PlanetQuake!

It's been revealed recently that there will be a Q3Test release before Quake III Arena. This gives John Carmack and id the perfect opportunity to try the public beta approach. The advantage id have here is that Q3A is multiplayer only...

Other games with a story-based single player section can't be fully tested with a public beta, because the company would need to release all the game's levels to test all the scripting, monsters, weapons etc. With Q3A the whole game, multiplayer and "ranked bot ladder" alike, can be tested with just a few maps.

The way I would do it would be to release the latest build of Q3A with say half a dozen maps and two or three player models, but everything else fully intact. In other words, we would be playing the full version of Q3A, but with only a few of the maps and models that would appear in the final version.

As bugs and issues are reported, id simply fix them and release a small patch every week or two to keep us all up to date.

Once it seems bug-free that's the final public beta, in other words the public demo that they can then release to magazines for their cover disks. And the retail version is just the same, but with the extra maps, textures and models thrown in.

If id do this right, they could have 1000s of devoted beta testers playing Q3Test day in, day out for as long as it takes for all the bugs, hardware issues and "features" to be ironed out.

The advantage of the public beta system is that we get to play the game months before it would otherwise be released, much of the pressure to release the game prematurely is taken off the company, and the company has the kind of beta testing that money just can't buy, allowing them to track down almost all the bugs and hardware / software issues before the game hits the shelves.


I've no idea if this is what id will do, but in the mean time keep an eye on my own company, The Coven, as we're going to be putting this approach into effect within the next week or two by releasing a free public beta version of our next project.


[Main Page] [Features] [Files] [Forums] [Contact] [Hosting Info]

HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 13:46:49 GMT Cluster-Server: WEB1 P3P: CP="NOI ADMa OUR STP" X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Connection: close Content-Type: text/html

404 Object Not Found