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    PlanetQuake | Features | Rants N' Raves | Damn Patches
   

Damn Patches
Don't tell us, just do it!
  — by Pappy-R and the PQ Few

The RnR is back and ready to stir the pot with the issues you come up with. Yes it's all up to you to start the flames or fawning involved in this little piece of heaven.

This edition gets into the wide, wide world of patching PC games. Ya know'em, ya love'em...it's a point release heaven we live in. Today's rant comes in from Nick Mohilchock who wrote this back in June, but it's still pretty topical with all the hoopla regarding the last two patches for Quake III. Sing it Nick!

It's been a good two...no wait, three weeks now since the last anouncement from id reguarding their latest PR. Wasn't that last announcement something along the lines of "Did I say this week, I mean't next week"? Why must this tourment continue to breathe in the gaming community? I can understand waiting a considderable amount of time for a patch that would be worth while...improving performance, fixing a ton of bugs, adding support...so why should developers such as id (I'm not excluding anyone by any means) feel they should give us some warning as to when it's coming?

It's been a while, and I'm starting to get a little impatient. I'm greatful to the efforts of id for continuing to support their product. However, next time leve the release info up for speculation. You can't be unhappy with the surprise release of a patch after a few weeks of announcement, especially when you've been waiting 2 or 3+ weeks beyond what you were told to wait. It's just that sort of thing that gets on your nerves. Besides, I thought it was time again for another rant of some sort or another regarding patches.

So to get to my point plain and simple - id software shouldn't even QUOTE timelines of any sort without attaching some sort of mass disclaimer. It's not like they put lives, or their product in danger of anything, it's just plain annoying to anticipate something two or three or more weeks after a time was given. Maybe I don't have my facts straight, or maybe I'm just being incredibly impatient, maybe I should stop using id as an example and look at other companies or groups...how long did it take CS 1.1 to release? What about Deus Ex? That game STILL needs some good patching. Just so people won't think I'm exclusively slamming id Software, because it happens to all the big fish. Just frustrated with it...it should end. I don't even remember what the new PR was addressing anymore.

  — Nick Mohilchock

It sounds like Nick was about to go off on the whole "get it patched once and for all" issue, but he got back on his road and is maybe saving that for next time. Now it's time to toss it around our virtual room for some comments from the PQ gallery, starting with Will.

It's nice to have a solid, "politely" written rant. Nice job, Nick. I have a couple of angles of experience on this topic. I can wear the hat as the gamer as well as the developer.

As a gamer, I play a lot of games - mostly Quake flavor - but there are others, too. I know that I am always anticipating what's going to be in the next PR. For Quake specifically, I usually catch it through the grapevine that id has something coming out soon. Then kablam! - id makes a statement in a .plan or something. Why do they do this? To soothe the whining community. Yes, it's unfortunate, but there is a big chunk of Quakers out there that whine about everything from damage through floors, to cheating, to "there's too many newbies". So, id does it's best to keep us happy - trying to give us a heads up. And what does the community do about that? Whine.

As a developer (not in the game industry, but also high demand), keeping my customers happy (whining or not) is my job. If I release a build that is not solid, I need to patch it. Sometimes, I may throw in some added features at the same time - based on customer feedback - to try and make them happy. I will even provide status to some customers on occasion to help keep things flowing. I know for a fact that Paul Jaquays has been keeping close tabs with the Quake community through mailing lists. He has requested direct feedback from some of us and even replies with pointed questions to pinpoint problems. If that means that a release slides to get some last minute stuff in - kudos to id for the efforts. Development doesn't always go as planned. Deadlines are tough to keep. My customers usually forget past dates as soon as they get what they want. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

To sum it all up - I like the time estimates. I like the fact that id cares enough about the Quake community to give us a heads up. I keep a closer eye on the community knowing a release is coming soon. If they are off a month or two, who cares? I like the fact they release PR after PR to try and get things right. There's so many points of view and skill levels in this game, there's never going to be a 100% satisfaction rating. But they do a damn good job, and we play their game because we love it.

  — Will

How does that sound to you? Is Will sucking up to id for a free shirt, or are those really solid reasons for id handling things as they do. Next up we'll let Love2Play kick this one around, and this is someone who has been a hardcore software beta tester for quite a while.

Next up, more PQ opinions...


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