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The Making of Bioshock

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the is-a-man-not-entitled-etc dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 281

Gamasutra is running a feature from Game Developer magazine in which Bioshock's project leader writes about what went right and what went wrong making last year's award-winning shooter, Bioshock. He talks about what the developers learned from fans and focus groups, how long it took them to firmly define what the game was supposed to be, and how they tried to reconcile their ideas with their capabilities. Quoting: "...just after the first beta, the entire design team plus a contingent of 2K producers headed off to see how a group that knew nothing about our company or BioShock would react to the first level. It was brutal. The first level, they said, was overly dense, confusing, and not particularly engaging. Players would acquire new powers but not know how to use them, so they stuck to using more traditional weapons and became frustrated. They didn't interact with the Big Daddies, and they didn't understand (or care) how to modify their characters. They were so overwhelmed by dialogue and backstory that they missed key information. A few of the players did start to see the possible depth of the game, but even they were frustrated by the difficulty of actually using the systems we had created."

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281 comments

the making of goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24851721)

stick large things up your ass every day... for years..

the making of roblimo's teeth (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24851851)

don't brush them ... for years.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24851731)

first post

Market research!? (4, Insightful)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851757)

Here I thought market research died with the invention of mass-advertising.

Great to see them actually test out a product, and further, fix their product before launching it.

Re:Market research!? (1, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852205)

Some middle manager finally figured out it might net them a bit more money than "blaming it on piracy". EUREKA!

Re:Market research!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852463)

Market research dead? Come on, even for a cynical Slashdottian that's baloney.

Surely it's a joke (was:Market research!?) (3, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852557)

If they're actually paying attention to market research, they would've known that DRM completely kills it for a lot of (otherwise) PAYING customers.

True, & sad what other games could have been (2)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852639)

I think of some of the gsmes I have paid good money for, some of which I beta tested, and I couldn't get in contact with anyone on the developmenbt team to give my ideas.

One company that just doesn't get it is Novalogic. Their Black Hawk Down franchise was groundbreaking and had some serious potential, but they just never solicited or even listened to feedback. A potentially great game with some easily-fixed flaws, but they just don't listen.

EA is the same way. All the cheating that still goes on with BF2, and they do nothing. Sad.

They didn't fix the DRM (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24853089)

The DRM is the reason I didn't buy it.

that's nice (5, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851779)

Funny. I recently bought Bioshock on Steam (when they were running their $15 special a month or two ago). I only had a chance to play it for a few hours (not much time for games these days). However, in the past week my system's gone completely crazy. Turned out it was due to SecuROM. I found the uninstaller utility and removed it, and now my system is behaving perfectly normally again. I liked what I managed to play of Bioshock, but unfortunately I'm not going to reinstall it again. It's a shame, really, because it seemed like a good game.

Re:that's nice (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852011)

Granted it more expensive, and not optimal for shooters but you can play this on Xbox 360 or PS3 without any secureROM bullshit.

Re:that's nice (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852025)

Yeah, I found out about the upcoming PS3 version a week or so after I bought the game. I probably would've held off for that. I may still pick it up used at some point, but I'm not paying full price--especially not after nearly hosing my computer.

Re:that's nice (4, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852027)

I think DRM has been covered extensively enough about this game, and has little to do with the topic at hand. There's a lot more lessons here for game developers than DRM issues. Sure that seems to have killed it for this crowd, but there's no arguing that the game had a significant impact seperately from that.

So can we get a little less whining about a well-whined about topic and focus on what they did RIGHT?

Re:that's nice (5, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852059)

Sorry, I literally got control back of my system about 30 minutes ago, so it's fresh in my mind (why my post starts with 'Funny'). And sorry, but not being able to use my computer thanks to a game I paid for is a serious WRONG in my book. If they remove the protection I'll reinstall it and pick up where I left off, and then maybe I might be able to tell you what they did "right" in the game. I'm sure there're plenty of good things there.

Re:that's nice (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852085)

So can we get a little less whining about a well-whined about topic and focus on what they did RIGHT?

What about people such as myself that missed out on the whining the first time round, you insensitive clod?!

Re:that's nice (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852221)

So can we get a little less whining about a well-whined about topic and focus on what they did RIGHT?

Isn't it a pity the DRM fiasco takes center stage when talking about the game instead of.. say... the game itself? Just imagine if the DRM wasn't an issue to begin with.

Re:that's nice (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853483)

If it didn't use Steam, I'd have bought it; same with HL2, HL2Ep1/2, and Portal. Stupid DRM makes them _lose_ sales, and not just from me.

Re:that's nice (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852245)

When i saw the title, the first thing that came to mind was the DRM debacle. Its definately still on people's minds, as evidenced by the comments,and taints an otherwise well done game. Whats even more disappointing is that even the steam version has it. Their DRM is still affecting people and is a hinderance to the experience to this day. So i dont understand how a discussion of the game cannot include how very badly they pissed off ALOT of their base. I will think twice about PAYING for another title from them.

Re:that's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852301)

No, actually, DRM is what killed this game. Instead of it being the ground breaking game that it purportedly could have been it will be forever tainted with what it was: a DRM and customer relations nightmare. I hope the spineless devs are happy, they killed all the heart and soul of their own creation.

Re:that's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24853227)

Except to the millions who bought it for console.

Re:that's nice (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852345)

I think DRM has been covered extensively enough about this game,

Has it been removed?

No? Then it hasn't been covered extensively enough.

focus on what they did RIGHT?

Unfortunately, because of the DRM, at least one customer won't be able to see what they did right. I know I would have loved to play the game, but I flat refuse to buy it because of that DRM -- so that's another potential customer, ready to pay full price ($60 even), but I don't know what they did right, because of the DRM.

Hear that, developers? It doesn't matter how hard you work, or how many long hours and weekends you put in. It doesn't matter how much you love your project, or how much of a piece of art it is. None of that matters if people actually avoid playing your game because of the DRM on it.

Life is too short, and there are too many games that don't treat me like a criminal for me to waste my time on yours.

Re:that's nice (0, Offtopic)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853005)

You are not alone bub.

I said it many times. I boycotted this game due to drm, same with orange box and the like. All that drm bullshits gotta go.

Re:that's nice (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852459)

So can we get a little less whining about a well-whined about topic and focus on what they did RIGHT?

And how exactly is someone who only played a few hours of the game because the DRM fscked their system up so badly they had to uninstall supposed to do that?

Re:that's nice (3, Interesting)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852617)

I wish I could take credit for this, but it comes from this post [2kgames.com] on the 2K Froums in the thread about removing the install limits, but not the DRM [2kgames.com] , and I think it's pretty applicable here:

Is a man not entitled to the game he purchased?
No says the man at 2K, he may be a thief.
No says the man at Sony, he may be a pirate.
No says the pirate, I'll give it to you free...
I rejected all those answers and did what many should do.... .... I ...purchased..... a XBOX 360, and never worried again.

Re:that's nice (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852729)

Predition: jesterboy is going to be modded down for a post that PC gamer fanboys and anti-MS uh... whatever you would call them, dislike. If "-1: advocates use of MS products" were an option, that would be the one.

I sympathize with PC gamers to some degree. I don't think you should have to choose a gaming platform based on what's available or technical problems faced. It should be about the balance of features, power, and price. I realize that's the description for an ideal world of consoles that will never come to pass.

On the other hand, PC gamers are so arrogant about their graphics on the handful of games and get violent if you suggest that mouse and keyboard is not the solution to the world's problems.

Re:that's nice (3, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853095)

What everyone seems to forget is that consoles are the ultimate in DRM. In fact, controlling both the hardware AND the software is the only time that one can actually consider it to be doing the job DRM is claimed to do.

Sell the hardware for the games, sometimes at a loss,instead of selling the games for the hardware. Getting a console may not be a bad thing in and of itself, but keep in mind that thats where the games publishers want you. Less possible spec differences, less piracy, less risk of some draconian control feature screwing up something third party (IE: the OS or some other applications you're running).

Sure that can be a solution, but in the end who is that a solution for? Granted this isn't saying owning a console is horrible and evil, it's just a good point to keep in mind if you're purchasing a console to play a game that is already available for a platform you have.

Re:that's nice (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852035)

It is a nice game but I had to alter a line in the config file to get it running on W2K. Otherwise it causes a hard reset.

Re:that's nice (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852235)

How did you know which line to alter?

Re:that's nice (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852761)

X:\Program Files\2K Games\BioShock\Builds\Release

[Default.ini]
HighDetailShaders=

Should be set to False. It will not look as good but that's a small price to pay.

You will also need two XP dlls to make it work. I got mine off the internet.

xinput1_3.dll
dbghelp.dll

Placed in the path above.

COD4 was even easier to get running.

Re:that's nice (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852069)

Perhaps the company needs an e-mail reminder to remove the SecuROM.

I thought part of the point of Steam was that Steam itself is the copy protection. Steam happens to be DRM that I can live with.

Re:that's nice (4, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852105)

I just pirated the damned thing.

Spent the money I was going to spend on it on STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl instead. Bioshock deserved the money more, but I won't pay to fuck up my machine, ESPECIALLY when the game's already on Steam. I also won't miss an opportunity to play a (reputedly) great game over principles, and paying money for a legit copy while having to pirate it anyway just to make it usable is retarded.. *shrug*

Re:that's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852283)

Is 'completely crazy' a common computer problem?

You guys at Slashdot should hang around some gaming forums and get caught up with the action of what has been going on in PC gaming the last two decades. People complaining about game problems there at least get to where the real problems are in the game like physics design problems and try to work out where the bugs are at to get an accurate report of whats wrong.

Reality is that it is easy to pirate the games and people around here love to turn a blind eye to that. It is hard to compete against free.

Re:that's nice (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852615)

Yeah SecuROM pretty much makes me buy games then find cracks and stuff so I can play without being bothered by intrusive shit. I like my computer working as intended thank you very much. Nothing is worse than the laughable copy protection that were hooked into Mass Effect. If you had several users on the same computer it would lock the game permanently if more than two of them played the game. I don't know what definition of piracy includes family members sharing one copy/computer.

What I found odd... (5, Interesting)

polyomninym (648843) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851845)

I have almost beaten this game on the PC, and I must say that I truly love it. It's creepy, weird and under the ocean, so I've gotta give 2K some props for the concept. Those Big Daddies are horrifying tankers, loved'em to bits! The thing that I find most odd about this game is the text during loading screens. they were supposed to be quotes of various citizens talking about how things of gone down the tubes. I know that they were trying to capture some old-style slangy ways of talkin' , but damn the quoted text was so riddled with bad English that it sort of undermined the whole creepy feel of the game. I didn't let it get to me, but wow, it sure feels nice to share that with ya'll ;) Please reply if you felt the same way about those quotes. Great game IMHO!

Re:What I found odd... (1)

AmonEzhno (1276076) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852289)

you have to keep in mind that the game is horror with a strong satirical theme (primarily directed towards Randian Objectivism)

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24851879)

And then the point came where DRM ruined the whole thing?

What went BADLY wrong (4, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851887)

SecureROM.

I really want this game. I've wanted it since before release, I've played the demo on an old machine, and it reminds me enough of System Shock (I and II both) that I really really want it!

However, it uses SecureROM. I contacted the company to see if this bug had been fixed yet, and they confirmed that no, it hadn't. As such, they're not getting my money. I can live without this game, if they're going to infect my computer in order to let me play it.

It's very simple:
If you're going to harm my computer, you don't get my money.
If you're going to require internet access/activation for a standalone game, you don't get my money.
If you're going to treat me like a criminal, you don't get my money.

Developers, it really is that simple.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (4, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851953)

Too bad you aren't as important as you think you are.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0, Troll)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852433)

Fsck you, "The End Of Days"

You have no idea how many sales have been lost due to SecureROM. You have no idea how many more sales could have been obtained by not obsessing over the "hardcore gaming" crowd pirating games and instead focusing on making the "customer experience" as positive as possible.

Count me as one of the "not as important as you think you are" crowd. I've been around since the Pong days and have purchased quite a few games since then. I've not purchased Bioshock due to the DRM, nor any other game from the same publisher. And I haven't (and won't) illegally copied it either.

There seems to be quite a few of us out here. Perhaps not quite as insignificant as you think.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852661)

SecuROM makes me think twice about buying a game. However if the game looks good enough I will either buy it and crack it, or buy it and download another copy from the WEB. Luckily in my country it is legal to do this.

Don't mind paying for games, but I do mind installing maleware on my system. Can't really see why Publishers think it is a good idea to share their earnings with a company like SecuROM; that take a piece of the profit; but gives no working copy protection what so ever.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853113)

"However if the game looks good enough I will either buy it..."

As soon as you say this, you have just rewarded the publisher for trying to screw you over and harm your computer. If there is no harm to companies for harming us, they'll keep doing it.

PUNISH the companies who consider your computer to be their property, and we might get somewhere. REWARD them, and we won't.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853213)

I agree with the principle. However in the real world I have urges that need to be satisfied. Nothing is better than getting a fix of digital entertainment to keep those barking demons at bay. It's either that or the loony bin for me.

Seriously though. I also dislike Microsoft and Windows, but I still have a installation of XP on my computer just so I can play games. It's a compromise I know; but when it come to how I spend my free time I not going to stand on principle. Between work and sleep I need a few hours of play and if I have to give some coin to people I don't like or agree with so be it. No different than the money I give to major record labels or the movie industry (lots of bastards in those sectors to). The world is not perfect.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853087)

Sure I am! I don't have nearly as high of an opinion of myself as you seem to think I do.

Incidentally, your .sig actually speaks volumes about my stance.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853139)

Actually, the OP is important to me... I've just been discouraged from purchasing Bioshock. It's a shame because it sounded like an interesting game, from what I've read.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851981)

I thought the horror stories about SecuROM were overblown, like most things online are. Now that I've actually been through them myself (see my post above), I'm sad to say that they're not. I'm fully joining the boycott of any game or game company that utilizes this "protection scheme". The only thing it's protecting them from is my money. Sorry game developers and publishers, but it's the truth.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852045)

I think the DRM is the major factor that is killing PC gaming. I know, PC gaming has been predicted to die every year for the last ten; but the difference now is that it really seems to be happening.

On my pc now I play emulators, old games (thank you dosbox) and small, independent games. It's sad, but I'm probably going to play only the console version of Fallout III.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (3, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852445)

EA's sales numbers for the last year show PC gaming as their largest market. The same is true at a lot of other publishers. Things are looking up, financially, for PC gaming. The memes are looking down, though.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

WDot (1286728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853251)

You know what I think the major factor that is killing PC gaming is? FUD.

I take that back, I don't think PC gaming is dying at all. Nevertheless, there can't be a single story on any major tech or gaming news website that has anything to do with a PC game without there being comments about why PC games are dying.

You'd be surprised to find that many gamers don't care about DRM. Why? Because it's easily cracked. You can find No-CD cracks, SecuROM cracks, Starforce cracks, cracks that let you play LAN games on one CD key--at worst finding a crack requires perseverance, and at best it's a couple of clicks. There are even guides on how to crack SecuROM yourself, if you're interested. It's pretty easy when you have control over your system, unlike the 360 or PS3. I find it ironic that people bitch about DRM on the PC and decide that a completely closed system is a better idea. REALLY?

I have a 360, a DS, and a PC. I'm not a fanboy of any in particular, but my pet peeve is people who spread FUD about PC gaming.

On my pc now I play emulators, old games (thank you dosbox) and small, independent games. It's sad, but I'm probably going to play only the console version of Fallout III.

Okay.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853471)

It's not really FUD. Here's an article from early 2008 that I found in five minutes with a google search. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2254019,00.asp [pcmag.com] .

There's many more articles like that. The good news is that PC gaming will never truly die. There will always be a market for it. The bad news it that as the PC gaming demand dwindles, less AAA titles will be released for it. Why, I just found out today that Gears of War 2 won't be released on the PC. Also, Crytek stated on Joystiq that they won't be making PC exclusive games anymore. I never thought I'd see the day when Valve was releasing console exclusitivities, but the upcoming Portal: Still Alive pack for the xbox 360 is apparently exclusive (though only a small fraction of it wasn't contained in either the original game or the Flash portal map pack).

The "easily cracked" excuse you gave to DRM is a bit far fetched. You know what's easier than having to research how to crack a game? Opening the console disk tray and putting the game in.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853347)

"PC gaming has been predicted to die every year for the last ten"

And every year for the last ten, somebody has predicted the release of Duke Nukem Forever and Chinese Democracy. The only people who really believed that also think that adding up sales of all console titles and comparing them against PC title sales is a reasonable idea.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853135)

Yes, mine did too with C&C3: Kane's Wraith in its last patch! See here [ea.com] for the fix. It took me a few weeks to figure out what was causing. I didn't think a game patch would cause this mess.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24853159)

So what exactly were the symptoms?

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852031)

I agree. I really wanted to play Bioshock, but the DRM prevented me from making the purchase. I was gutted when I learned of the DRM they'd employed, because I enjoyed system shock, and I was really keen to play its successor.

If they relent and release a patch that kills the DRM, or someone releases a crack that kills it, then I'll buy the game in a hot second. If not then forget it, I don't want that secureRom crap on my computer as a 'reward' for paying for the game.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852149)

There are cracked copies out there. If you really must pay them money, just buy one and then download a cracked one anyway.

I, for one, refuse to pay for a product when I'm going to be risking harassment for pirating it anyway. Thanks, I'll still play it, but the money will go to another developer who hasn't put viruses in their software.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852173)

I agree. I really wanted to play Bioshock, but the DRM prevented me from making the purchase. I was gutted when I learned of the DRM they'd employed, because I enjoyed system shock, and I was really keen to play its successor.

If they relent and release a patch that kills the DRM, or someone releases a crack that kills it, then I'll buy the game in a hot second. If not then forget it, I don't want that secureRom crap on my computer as a 'reward' for paying for the game.

the Securerom of bioshock has been cracked for ages kemosabe. I had a cracked version running on my machine 2 weeks after the game was released.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852037)

Answer = Console
It's been out on the 360 for quite a while and the PS3 version is on it's way. I got it on the 360 and I was blown away, this game was incredible.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0)

soupforare (542403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852125)

The 360 version is the definitive version. Without even mentioning DRM, the PC port is embarrassingly poor.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852747)

Different teams made each version. The 360 version was made in Boston while the PC port was mostly done in Canberra (Australia). Due to the gaming industry being a 2nd class citizen here (down under) most of the talented developers here end up getting better jobs overseas and your left with the scraps.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853035)

I've got a family member of a friend who works at irrational, so I wasn't expecting much of either version.
At this point, I'm not sure what's more depressing, how bioshock turned out or the fact that EA is fairly likely to make a SS3.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852349)

Yeah, where the DRM is built into the HARDWARE.

Talk about boiling the frog slowly.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (2, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852111)

Damn straight.

I'm friends with a designer from the Australian office and I talked with him about the development of Bioshock since it was made public (at least about the bits he could tell me before release). Believe me when I say I wanted this game - I wanted it bad, 'cus it looked cool, I'd followed it since the beginning and I wanted to support my friend's hard work.

However, the moment I heard it had activation/Securerom/crap I refused to touch it. it's a matter of principle.

I used to pay for games back in the day when games were interesting and worthwhile. I could just as easily have pirated them, but I chose to do the right thing. Then, games like HL2 started coming out - games that defacto treated loyal customers like criminals. The only people who were punished were those who actually bought the product.

In the interest of fairness, as my designer friend told me, it's not the developers who want DRM and activation (most hate it) it's the publishers. Developers have to listen to their audience to make marketable games; publishers are completely out of touch.

My friends tell me that publishers aren't going to change no matter what I do, so I may as well not fight it. That's bullshit. I vote with my dollars and urge other people to do the same.

So I didn't buy Bioshock and I didn't buy HL2. I waited until my boyfriend finished playing them, then borrowed his copy. I'm not an impulsive teenager anymore - I can wait a few months for the next shiny new thing.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852419)

In the interest of fairness, as my designer friend told me, it's not the developers who want DRM and activation (most hate it) it's the publishers.

Given that Valve has gone independent, Steam is quite obviously a development shop's idea of what DRM should be.

I actually don't have a problem with Steam, since at least it seems to work, and after playing through single-player, I'm going to mostly want it for Internet-enabled games, like Counter-Strike.

And then there's things like playgreenhouse.com, which seems to need single-activation. I really could care less, then -- I'm going to be online at least once to patch it, adding an activation step is pretty harmless.

No, where I draw the line is adding a layer on top of Steam -- and having that layer actually damage your OS.

I would say, don't boycott all DRM. Instead, boycott the truly damaging DRM in favor of stuff you can live with.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (2, Interesting)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853261)

"I would say, don't boycott all DRM. Instead, boycott the truly damaging DRM in favor of stuff you can live with."

Y'know, there was a time when I would have agreed with this statement. But I'm old and bitter, and tired of this crap.

DRM hurts sales. DRM annoys people. DRM treats customers like criminals. DRM usually does NOT prevent anyone from pirating your game, but even if it does, it's only the people who wouldn't have paid for it in the first place.

I remember reading matte red codes on glossy red paper, and entering a random one each time I started a game. I remember floppies with a bad sector, which would only run if the drive returned an error 'sector not found' on that part. (and it usually had to grind for 30-60 seconds to timeout). They're all ways of protecting...something. Not sales, not profit, just...something.

Sell me a game with no DRM, and I'll happily buy it. Insist I'm probably a criminal and have to prove otherwise--ANY way at all--and I won't bother. I don't need your game that badly.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853375)

I remember reading matte red codes on glossy red paper, and entering a random one each time I started a game.

It was actually grey text on dark red paper. Bleach my friend, bleach. Strips the color out of paper dyes but not ink dyes. Leaves you with a creame colored sheet of paper with clearly legible (as in, no insta-migrane) codes to click in.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852515)

Maybe it's time for developers to grow a pair (or two) and stop letting the publishers ruin their work. From what I understand, this is a fine example of "Faustian bargain". I don't give a damn about the publishers, but I WILL support development houses that produce quality games I want to play so they can continue to produce them.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853381)

grow a pair (or two)

Depending on where the second pair turn up, that could produce either of at least two interesting variations...

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852839)

And that's why everyone needs to support Stardock and their titles. Absolutely no encryption at all or CD key whatsoever, I bought one copy of Galactic Civilizations II and installed it on all of my machines and I'm not a lifetime supporter of their products. Its how it *should* be done.

Re:What went BADLY wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24853061)

I bought my copy from an online store located on the Swedish coast and had no problems. What this 'SecuROM' you speak of? :)

what they really needed to focus on (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24851943)

They forgot the ending! Whoopsie doopsie!

old? still interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852041)

i feel like i read this article half a year ago.

Bioshock was fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852063)

I seldom finish games but I've played through Bioshock twice and started a third time.

I played it on console so I didn't have to worry about SecureRom or anything, but can't you guys just download a 3rd party patch to get rid of it? I used to download 3rd party patches for all the PC games I bought so I didn't have to put the disk in to play.

Re:Bioshock was fantastic (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853221)

How do you know the 3rd party patch doesn't have malware/virus/etc that's far worse than the SecureRom?

Re:Bioshock was fantastic (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853297)

As far as I know the DRM is part of the installer, so a traditional no-cd crack wouldn't work. But there is a cracked version with no protection that you can install with zero hassle. Except the hassle of downloading a 6GB ISO file, of course.

DRM crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852095)

Game was fail for copy protection. I payed and got screwd cant even play what I payed for. -.- I hate this game for this one reason.

Re:DRM crap (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853401)

If you already bought it and it won't work because of the DRM, just download it. The lolcats proper release has no DRM, and it's even easier to install than the retail version.

I think I found it! (5, Interesting)

soupforare (542403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852097)

...what went wrong...focus groups...

Ah, nothing like developing for the lowest common denominator to screw potential!

Re:I think I found it! (2, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852361)

Console FPSers will always be around now that the systems are strong enough to handle it, all we can do is try to ignore them.

Look at System Shock 2 (4, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853239)

It's really evident if you've played System Shock 2 beforehand. Bioshock is basically SS2: Simple Underwater Edition With Shit-Hot Graphics.

Every feature they didn't remove is taken straight from it, except easier and with more limited options. The hacking, research, vending machines, character customisation, one-time upgrade points, upgradeable weapons, psychic powers, the ghosts, the logs, the plot... It's all basically the same, but simpler. Even the big plot revelation is the same.

The whole thing stood to gain a lot from a little more sophistication in the gameplay; I think SS2 is the better game despite its dated graphics. I know what you're thinking - I'm some old fogey gamer with rose-tinted glasses - but I only got SS2 about six months before Bioshock.

Great game (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852131)

One of the few I played and then immediately went back and replayed it again. The "good ending" was quite rewarding after fighting so hard to save all of those girls. It capped the game off nicely. The whole Atlas vs Ryan story was well done and it was rewarding to explore every inch of the game. Graphics, gameplay, atmosphere, weapons, etc were all top notch and this is definitely one of the best FPSers to date. Pick it up if you haven't already.

so they dumbed it down for the idiots? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852151)

Hmm... Game with a lot of back story, depth and complex mechanics, tested poorly with the focus group so they toned it right down to the more or less hand holding game that it was.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the game, and found it really accessible, however I would be interested to find out what got cut for the frustrated test group

BioShock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852193)

What you get when you see Joe Biden on the ticket of a candidate that's supposed to represent change.

Joe Biden - who's been in DC since Nixon was there.

he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852201)

Now now, let's not assume that the project lead must be a "he" . . . Meet Alyssa Finley [gamasutra.com]

Bioshock was way overrated (5, Interesting)

pumpkinempanada (522760) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852377)

I just finished it last week. It looked cool but even that was overrated. After you've seen the basic lighting/color scheme and art-deco look they're going to use, it doesn't vary a whole lot. All those mods and junk you could do to yourself was just boring, there was never a compelling reason to mess with any of it. Beyond that it was just the same game mechanic over and over again until it's over -- not even a good ending to the story they seemed so proud of! just my opinion, but overall in the year I've had an XBox, gears of war and portal have been the best games.

Re:Bioshock was way overrated (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852595)

I think it was overrated. I *liked* it, and the drm didn't cause me any problems, althought I oppose it in principle. The problem was just what you said - the same game mechanic over and over. I had NO desire to replay. Don't think I ever got to the end - it just wasn't interesting enough. Shame because it really was a game with a lot of promise.

Re:Bioshock was way overrated (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853075)

Yes, it was overrated, but being overrated is highly underrated these days. With all of negativity of all of the game review sites out there now a days, its tough to be highly rated from whence to be dubbed overrated. It really makes being a contraririan hipster tough these days. Now, we just have to get by with nogistalia over the dream cast, and hoping they've fallen out of memory and possession fast enough to burnish our cred.

What do you expect when you make it a 360 game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852517)

Should have been PC only, dumbasses on consoles get confused by more than three colors.

Sigh. Here we go... (1)

Midnight Voyager (803970) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852543)

Blah blah DRM blah blah blah. Gee, it's not like there's cracks out there or anything. Can we please leave the dead horse alone? It's already been completely pulped, bones crushed, etc. It's soup now. Let it go. Stop splashing it. Now: Too dense? Too hard to use powers? Did they play the same level I did or did they dumb it down after this incident? If they dumbed it down after that, they should really stop using focus groups.

Re:Sigh. Here we go... (2, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852681)

....just after the first beta, the entire design team plus a contingent of 2K producers headed off to see how a group that knew nothing about our company or BioShock would react to the first level.

I think it is safe to say that what they played at that point was not the same game that we played after launch.

Re:Sigh. Here we go... (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24852721)

It's not about whether cracks are available. It's about whether cracks are necessary at all. I will not buy a game with draconian DRM, period. Purchasing the game then applying the crack to make the game playable just validates the habit of releasing defective products. Don't give them money for defective products.

I know how the DRM got past the beta! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24852609)

They didn't have the testers install or activate it.

whats the fuss about? (1, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853079)

My qualification to have an opinion: I paid good money for this and played it to the end.

My opinion: from all the hype I was expecting something much much more and was very dissapointed.

I found Bioshock to be a fairly dull semi-on-rails shooter with an unimaginative, awkward and badly scripted plot. There were so many great possibilities plot-wise that they completely missed out on. There were parts of the plot that just made no sense and many annoying and stupidly unrealistic holes in the gameplay like when you kill a big daddy (Which was ludicrously tedious as it took so long and all your ammo but otherwise was easy) then you could walk away and turn around and the same one would be right back. Very cheap and cheesy.

The majority of reviews were ranting about the fantastic graphics but I was suprised at how obviously low-res and fake the views out of the windows were (I mean REALLY blocky scaled up 2D bitmaps instead of 3D rendered objects even though I was playing on highest poss. graphics settings). The developers have no excuse for adopting the same cpu-cheap approach to doing background scenery that they had to do for comupters like the amiga back in the 80's. The interiors were nicely 50's retro-styled, but the graphics themselves were very average and repetetive. Its like they had a library of about 50 objects that they just kept re-using. They certainly did that with the characters. The worst thing is that given the large amount of graphics re-use you could at least expect there to be a lot of levels/playing time, but it was all over after only a few hours of playing.

I guess I must seriously missing something but IMHO this is a really budget-quality game that has nothing at all going for it gameplay-wise, massively too much hype and no repeat playability.

I was amazed at the sheer number of supposedly unbiased games reviewers that gave it top scores. I didn't realise how open to bribery from games producers those guys must be.

Re:whats the fuss about? (2, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 5 years ago | (#24853269)

Maybe the reviewers just had a different opinion from yours. Mine is about 180 degrees different from yours. I thought it was a fantastic game.

I just wish all the manufacturers would make demos available for all their games so we could each sort out what game we were probably going to enjoy or not before the purchase. You could have played the demo and known it wasn't the game for you, and I would have known it was well worth my money to go ahead and buy it.

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