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Players Furious Over Buggy GTA IV PC Release

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the strike-two dept.

Bug 384

Jupix writes "It took Rockstar most of a year to port Grand Theft Auto IV to the PC, and while they claim this was because they wanted polish and quality with their PC release, it appears the result has been less than satisfactory. Players all over the internet are furious over numerous bugs in the release, ranging from nonfunctional internet registration and graphics glitches to completely inoperative installations. One of the game's largest retailers, Steam, has reportedly gone so far as to start handing out refunds to hordes of unsatisfied (and no doubt uncomfortably noisy) customers."

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384 comments

I'm slightly astonished (4, Insightful)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000541)

One would think that the Xbox 360 port should come right over...I'm just not sure where all the extra bugs would arise. The actual game logic and assets should be identical.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000565)

If I had to pick a target to blame it would probably be the DRM.

Fortunately the good people of the scene have provided a quality release that doesn't suffer from such problems.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Interesting)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000777)

I'm no DRM fan (I've been working against it for years, e.g. El Tunes and PyMusique), but there's no reason that it'd cause these problems, outside of the authorization problems. Once the game has started, the most the DRM will be doing is decrypting game code, if it's not decrypted entirely at loadtime.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (5, Informative)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001519)

Actually, this DRM is special. I think it could be responsible for the bugs people are seeing. Rockstar has gone out of their way to add in extra crap: dozens of little "easter eggs" like a spinning camera, missing textures, similar stuff, to copies that don't validate. It's more than a simple one time Securom check, there's at least a dozen different hooks that check to see if the version is legit.

This might be why the scene is having such trouble cracking the damned game. FeDOR may have finally cracked it, but it's taken more PROPERs than your average release.

Note/Disclaimer: I'm not going to pirate or buy this game, I'm nowhere near the minimum system requirements, and I don't generally pirate stuff anyway. I'm just following the scene releases so I can be the first one to laugh at Rockstar's "uncrackable, no really this time" DRM.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (3, Insightful)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001591)

Ugh, sad to hear. When will people learn that this nonsense only hurts them?

Re:I'm slightly astonished (3, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002211)

I'm not so sure. One of the more interesting 'success stories', if you can call it that, is the DRM in Cubase [wikipedia.org] . Cubase used to be massively pirated but version SX 3.1 released in 2005 took 9 months to crack and version 4 hasn't been cracked after 2 years.

They achieved this by wiring many types and layers of protection into as many diverse areas of the code base as they could. They made the job of reverse engineering just too frustrating and time consuming. You would effectively have to QA test the entire thing for various use cases and time delays. This obviously has knock on effects in performance for your paying customers of course.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000815)

Ah, the joys of DRM. Remember kids, stealing is wrong, unless you're a multi-billion dollar company.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000583)

An easy port have been the case with the original xbox, as it was just a pentium 3 computer running a windows varient, but the new xbox 360 uses a power pc chip (used in macintoshes from the mid 90s until 2006) with an os that is based off of an early version of windows nt that supported power pc prcessors. I imagine the differences in modern pc architecture and the modern xbox actually make porting a game quite difficult if it is not written on a common platform that runs on all systems, which I assume because of it's nature, gta 4 is not

Re:I'm slightly astonished (5, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000633)

As a modern geek, you should realise that CPU architecture doesn't matter a lot when coding in modern languages.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

willisbueller (856041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000773)

Dude, we aren't talking about a note taking program.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000801)

Assembly will only be used for small, high-cost operations. These pieces are small enough that if they malfunction, it's in a way that will be immediately visible.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001139)

Assembly will only be used for small, high-cost operations. These pieces are small enough that if they malfunction, it's in a way that will be immediately visible.

Nonsense. Here's one counterexample. There is the assembly routine in Excel 2007 that formats numbers for display; it had a subtle bug with some input values. Bug description from Microsoft [msdn.com] , Technical explanation (PDF) [lomont.org] .

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001609)

Where in either of these documents did it say that the routine was written in assembly? I believe you were confused by the PDF's use of a disassembler.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (2, Interesting)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000905)

And so what? Did you think Microsoft wrote DirectX for note taking?

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001463)

I dont think he does, not even nearly.

But for example look at the playstation 2, look at its specification, then look at the specification required to run a PS2 emulator.

The architecture differs greatly, there is far greater parallelism, and its a beast to sort out. Whether or not the CPUs run the same instruction set is neither here nor there, when your dealing with dedicated console hardware your software isnt necessarily going to look anything like what your writing for a desktop machine, quadcore or otherwise.

Go back to your 2-2 degree and try again.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002233)

Well said anon. However, doesn't the Xbox 360 run on a modified NT kernel? There should be *some* overlap, somewhere. Or have they really modified it that much? I'm not a game dev so I wouldn't even venture a guess.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001295)

Dude, we aren't talking about a note taking program.

No, but Windows vs Xbox 360. And game development.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

azuredrake (1069906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002257)

Windows XP game development and xbox 360 game development are virtually identical, if you go from console to PC. If the PC is your primary platform, you have to be careful that nothing you did on the game is above the capabilities of the console.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (2, Interesting)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000793)

I imagine the differences in modern pc architecture and the modern xbox actually make porting a game quite difficult if it is not written on a common platform that runs on all systems

Such as C++?

Here's a quick-and-dirty proof: debian has tons of stuff written in C++, and it runs on $BIGNUM architectures. I don't write fetch_to_L1_cache() or kill_instruction_pipeline() calls in my code.

Sure, you can add inline assembly, but you can also ifdef it out and write replacement C++ on incompatible archs.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001037)

Debian doesn't have the performance constraints of a game. While ISRs need to be fast, everything else can take up gobs of CPU without really noticing it. Games don't have that luxury. Talk to actual game programmers- they do use assembly, and they do have to worry about CPU and system architecture. I have a few friends who worked as recently as the PS2, they still have examples of hand rolled assembler for the shaders.

PS is a slow POS (0, Troll)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001725)

PS2 is hardly a 2ghz monster, its a slow year 2000 POS, hell, my mobile phone runs at higher mhz.

But yeah, if each system is identical, then its no issue using assembly, or even asm macros, or C based good code, rarely you really need asm as C it self is good enough, unless you can achieve 2x speed based on mem speed alone.

But even then its only a few critical setup functions or calc functions that need to be in asm, most of the code doesnt need that level of optimizations.

1. do it all in C
2. profile it and find the slow bits.
3. try asm versions and compare against C funcs.
4. if gain is 2%, who gives a crap.

Anyway, arent most 3d games identical, just different maps and reactions?

Again, you do no ASM, you buy an engine such as renderware, and pay your 500k.

Idiot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26002127)

My god are you a total fucking idiot.

Every dumbfuck who kind of thinks he knows some shit about the shitty desktop PC architecture thinks he is entitled to run his fucking mouth off about console development.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (3, Informative)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000923)

The Xbox and Xbox 360 do not run Windows derivatives. They run a custom operating system which implements a portion of Win32 and DirectX API's. See Xbox developers post [msdn.com] .

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001119)

How is anything based on Win32 and DirectX not a Windows derivative?

I once wasted close to an hour watching a Microsoft guy give a history of "big icons in a tool bar at the bottom of the screen" before he demonstrated the Mac OS X panel on Windows 7. They can claim all day long that it isn't what it looks like. But when you see it, it looks pretty obvious as to what it is.

And I suppose WindowsCE isn't a Windows derivative either for the same reasons stated by that developer's post?

People have hacked into and examined the XBox and XBox 360 code extensively and they rather disagree with the assertions of the developer. And to make a car analogy, I would rather trust the word of a mechanic than a salesman. "Oh no! A Lexus is not a Toyota!!" Right...

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001207)

wine implements win32 and directx, that doesn't make it a windows derivative.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001861)

How is anything based on Win32 and DirectX not a Windows derivative?

Those are APIs. Windows is an OS. Two completely different operating systems could use the same APIs, but handle the API calls completely different behind the scenes. That's kind of the point of an API.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26002135)

Right, and MS...the company that has never started from scratch on anything has suddenly decided to build a new OS for their game system from the bottom up - implementing only similar APIS of windows.

Bullshit.

The xbox360 and original xbox run derivatives of Windows. Period. It's not a horrible thing but don't act like an idiot.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (3, Insightful)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001097)

I guess you've already been refuted, but I'll point out anyway that the PS3's cell processor is Power PC as well, and the PS3 has no problem with GTA 4 and didn't require a year to port to.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

bobbagum (556152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001471)

Ithe PS3 has no problem with GTA 4 and didn't require a year to port to.

Porting from which platform exactly? GTA4 was first released on PS3 and Xbox360 simultaneously.

Rockstar uses RenderWare? (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001595)

Doesnt rockstar use renderwares engine?

They did used to sell the engine for 250k, so if it runs on 4core intel or 3core xbox360, it shouldnt matter. Its like an OS.

Maybe renderware is buggy, or rockstars usage of it is shite.

Doesnt anyone do testing? Is it really that hard to find 200k to find 8 testers?

Re:Rockstar uses RenderWare? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001809)

No, they used to until EA bought out criterion. They used their new RAGE engine (R* advanced game engine) for GTA4.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001773)

Have you ever used the sdk? it's a write once run on both sorta thing. the fact the 360 uses something that looks like powerpc means nothing.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (5, Insightful)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000661)

It's the DRM. Many of the crashing problems seem to be Securom crashing, which causes the game client to exit to desktop imediately. It also needs you to upgrade to the latest Games For Windows release, which doesn't support Vista64 at the moment. So that's all the hardcore gamers with 4GB+ of ram out of the picture.

Only cost them $200k to inconvenience players to such a high degree.... I hope everyone who's having problems returns it to the store. High levels of returns make the distributer very uneasy, which in turn should send a message to the publisher.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000703)

Unofrtunatly I can't show my displeasure quite as easily. I don't want to buy the game with that kind of DRM on it, no way no how no never. No game will ever be so good that I will put that kind of crap on my own computer. It's kind of ironic because I've decided to not pirate any games any more. And I buy games online these days (appstore, steam), and I loved GTA 3 so I want to play GTA 4. So now they have made me seriously contemplating getting through other channels. Idiots :( I might get the game at a discount on a console in the future (don't own any current generation ones), but I hardly think they make much on those.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001661)

You know, Steam is a pretty popular example of DRM.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (5, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000845)

It's the DRM.

      Is that what they call Christmas now?

      It's not DRM, it's the "we have to get this out the door before Christmas z0mg Xmas sales!!!11" mentality from the short sighted marketing department. Ship now and patch later is typical for this time of year. It probably does not bode well for the franchise, however.

      Yeah, the DRM probably broke the game, but QA HAS to have seen this problem before shipping. Obviously $50 a copy was more important than the trivial fact of the game actually working or not.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (5, Informative)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001089)

Huh... I guess I've just been very lucky so far. I've been playing GTA4 for two days now with no stability issues. I've got Vista64 installed with 4GB RAM. That's the gaming side of my PC (I do everything else in Debian), so I try to tune it towards better game performance... things like turning off services that I'll never need for games.

Now, the port does have some issues. I've got a fairly decent machine and, especially when compared with games like Crysis or Farcry 2, this engine clearly needs some optimization. Strangely, it seems CPU limited rather than GPU limited. After I quit the game, I can see on my CPU graph that both cores have been running at ~100%. I spent some time tweaking the video settings and right now I've got it running with both decent quality and a decent framerate.

One "feature" that seems to be annoying a lot of people is the video memory "calculator" the game uses. For each setting you modify, it calculates how much video memory that will cost. Your total is your installed video memory (512MB on my card). Not everything affects it, but increasing resolution, texture size, and draw distance will. So depending on how you set these you can't necessarily have them all high. But, it doesn't seem to work very well. You can override it from the command line. I forced it to use my LCD resolution (1280x1024) with high textures and a decent draw distance. This puts me at about 730/512MB on my "budget" yet the game still runs just fine and it looks better too.

They added a "dynamic shadow" feature to the PC version which you can adjust in the graphics menu. The values range from 0 to 16, but the quality at any setting is mediocre. It's a nice idea, but poorly implemented, and the game will run a bit faster when I turn it off.

Another annoying bit already mentioned is the control scheme. Fortunately, I purchased an XBox360 controller for use on my PC because that is the only gamepad supported by GTA4 (though I didn't know that when I bought the controller). Also, you can't actually *change* any of the mappings. There is a "Controller Configuration" menu item, but when you select it you are shown a picture of the controller and a diagram of what each button does. You can press R-stick left and right but all that does is show you the mappings for on foot, in vehicle, etc.

Like previous GTA ports, the PC version will let you play your own music on one of the radio stations (Independence FM here). They've even improved it for GTA4 and one of the modes will automatically insert fake commercials and DJ banter between your music if you like. But... it doesn't support Ogg (my preferred format) or many others. I do have some MP3s, though, and could always transcode if I wanted. The game specifically says that you can put shortcuts to your music or music folders into the user music directory. But... it doesn't work with networked mounts. I keep all of my music on my server and access via Samba from Windows or NFS in Linux. But not for GTA4... it just ignores any shortcuts that access another machine. Lame!

Still, despite these issues, it's been working far better for me than it has for most people and I've certainly been enjoying it so far.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (4, Insightful)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001333)

I do have some MP3s, though, and could always transcode if I wanted. The game specifically says that you can put shortcuts to your music or music folders into the user music directory. But... it doesn't work with networked mounts. I keep all of my music on my server and access via Samba from Windows or NFS in Linux. But not for GTA4... it just ignores any shortcuts that access another machine. Lame!

Does the old "Map network location to a drive letter" standby work? That way the shortcuts would refer to e.g. E:\Music instead of \\FILESERVER\MUSIC...?

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001273)

I'm running GTA IV on Vista 64 with 8 GB Ram with no problems. The Games for Windows software needed to be downloaded and installed before GTA would continue installing.

The mechanisms for loging in and playing GTA is intrusive and annoying though.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (2, Informative)

balthan (130165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001283)

It's the DRM. Many of the crashing problems seem to be Securom crashing, which causes the game client to exit to desktop imediately.

Most of the problems are being caused by the dual online accounts required. The Rockstar Social Club servers initially couldn't handle the volume, which was causing the game to crash on startup. And people were having problems getting Games for Windows live installed right with its dependencies (such as .NET Framework 3.5). My guess is something isn't quite right with the GTA4 installer.

It also needs you to upgrade to the latest Games For Windows release, which doesn't support Vista64 at the moment. So that's all the hardcore gamers with 4GB+ of ram out of the picture.

False. I have Vista64 and 8GB of RAM and am able to run GTA4 and GfW just fine.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001369)

I really don't see what the problem is...

I haven't had *any* trouble with my pirate copy

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

Plantain (1207762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001825)

It also needs you to upgrade to the latest Games For Windows release, which doesn't support Vista64 at the moment. So that's all the hardcore gamers with 4GB+ of ram out of the picture.

Bullshit. I just upgraded myself, running Vista x64 with 8GB of RAM. Works fine.

I'm not (3, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000685)

The Xbox version does not have SecuROM. But, while certainly a factor, that does not account for all of these issues. I'm guessing the rest is down to insufficient testing on a variety of configurations.

And let's not forget that Chrismas is around the corner. It wouldn't be the first time a release was rushed to make a holiday season.

Personally the game fell off my radar when they confirmed they'd use SecuROM. Hopefully they'll release a non-restricted version in the future. Not to mention a bug fixed one.

I would like to point out that this version of SecuROM has some FADE type functionality in it. That makes it even more difficult to separate bugs caused by the restrictions software gone haywire from the actual game code.

Deciding to never buy titles with SecuROM and similar draconian schemes was the best decision I ever made I think. It saved me from the mediocrity that was Spore, and now from this bugfest.

Re:I'm not (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001063)

Yes, EA still owes me money for Spore. You can't return opened PC games after all.

I might pirate GTAIV. I hear it works better that way and, again, they still owe me one.

Re:I'm not (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001537)

Take Two/Rockstar owe you money because EA's DRM on Spore was rubbish? How do you figure that?

Yes, Rockstar. (2, Insightful)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001621)

Yes, Rockstar, please tell us: Why is it so hard to write good Windows code? How is the PS3 so much easier? Why don't you let us play the games at much higher resolution on much better hardware? Is it really that important to sell mediocre crap and scrape every miserable penny? Is that also the motivation behind the DRM? Why don't you just sell a good product at a good price and stop trying to coerce the market. It won't work. Eventually some other game house will make your type of game, only better, and with better graphics and performance. And people will buy that instead.

Re:Yes, Rockstar. (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001655)

PS If you're hiring a beta tester... I'd love to help you solve these problems. I require late hours and long lunches.

Re:I'm slightly astonished (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001735)

Well, nice idea in theory. The reality is however the 360 has a power PC architecture: the byte ordering in all of the assets needs to be reversed; the code that's been split to run over 6 threads has to be reduced to run on dual/quad core; The hand crafted maths routines using the altivec instruction set (with 128registers) need to be ported to SSE (with 8). And the list goes on. The original xbox was similar in architecture to a PC, but the 360 is much nearer to an old G5 PowerMac.

Trust me, there is actually very little indeed that would be identical.

annoyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000561)

i played just over an hours worth when i got home from the store it crashed twice. the second time it crashed it went straight to the desktop and could not use my mouse any more

"Please do not turn off the system" (5, Funny)

Tojo-Mojo (707846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000589)

The port is very faithful to the console versions. My favorite part is the "Please do not turn off the system" message when saving. I was just about to hit that big 'ol power button, too!

Re:"Please do not turn off the system" (3, Funny)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001099)

This has become a running joke in my friends' house. When someone's playing a console game and that message comes up, they will usually interrupt everyone else doing whatever they are doing (playing cards, playing on a PC game, making a cup of tea) and say "Hey, don't turn off the console!"

could be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000595)

that it was outsourced ...

Ha-ha! (4, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000597)

Makes you wish you could have tried it first before buying it, huh? Oh wait, thanks to "copyright infringement" laws making YOU the criminal and DRM, you can't.

      Enjoy being ripped off your $49.99. I guess eventually they'll get a patch out. But remember to support the industry! They obviously want your money more than you do.

Re:Ha-ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000683)

someones mom was raped by capitalist software engineers.

laws dont keep you from doing something, it merely adds a penalty if you get caught.

the description says they are handing out refunds.

Re:Ha-ha! (5, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000701)

People are getting their refund requests denied now. Presumably Valve were being nice to the first few, but shut the door when a lot of people started asking.

Re:Ha-ha! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000779)

I don't think the game has been out long enough for the credit card chargeback period to have expired, has it?

Re:Ha-ha! (5, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000811)

If you charge back you risk Valve shutting down your Steam account, apparently. The joys of someone else controlling access to games you've bought I guess.

Re:Ha-ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001015)

Almost every steam game, you can find and write down your product keys. It would be a hassle, but you could always "add a new steam product" or just download and reinstall without steam if they did such a thing.

I pulled my COD4 Key out of my registry after getting it from steam. Just in case.

Re:Ha-ha! (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001563)

Almost every steam game, you can find and write down your product keys.

I bought all these games [steamcommunity.com] on Steam, some of them don't even have product keys, like X3: Reunion, X2: The threat, original Unreal Tournament, Unreal, Unreal II etc.

What do I do in those cases?

I pulled my COD4 Key out of my registry after getting it from steam.

You cannot register CoD4 keys with another Steam account.

Re:Ha-ha! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001079)

It's all part of the "value added" by Steam's DRM ... for the vendor.

Sigh.

The worst part is... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001597)

that people LOOVVVVEEEE steam.

It's still a piece of shit system.

Steam is the ONLY reason counterstrike has ads. Since they can force updates down your throat whenever they like, it's far easier push out ads without having a portion of your players reject that particular patch.

Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

Yahya Ibn Tuma (1366889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000621)

Rockstar has had a serious contempt for PC gaming since 2005 or so. On the other hand, It just might be run-of-the-mill incompetence of programmers who can't program.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (0, Flamebait)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000669)

Do you know what I tell people? "Don't play commercial big publisher/big dev house games on PC's, it's a sucker's game. You're better off going console. If you want to play some obscure indie game or some old Flight sim of the type the Clancy-istas or Dale Brown-ites go gaga over, or Nethack, fine. But don't play off the shelf games on PC's."

This is sad... (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000735)

I was really expecting a high quality release for the PC after what they did for the PS3 (crashing issues with data being handled the way it was by Gamespy servers). I am a huge GTA fan. I used to play the 10 minute trial of GTA on my PC as a high schooler and when I finally played GTA III, GTA:VC(best GTA imo) on the PC, I was sold enough to buy a TV and a PS2 to play GTA:SA.

I then bought GTA:SA for the PC, beat it. I bought GTA:4 for the PS3 and then for the XBOX360 and beat it on both (different ways of doing things was fun). I was hoping to play it again on the PC just for the improved aiming mechanics but this is a major disappointment. Cmon Rockstar, you guys can't be failing like this :(

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000817)

You're better off going console.

That's good advice. I discovered this for myself a few years ago when I bought 'The Incredibles' on PC for my daughter. Just could not get it to work. Bit the bullet and bought a PS2 and managed to persuade the shop to trade versions of 'The Incredibles' (they're always reluctant to take PC games back). Every PS2 game subsequently bought 'just works' with no fuss at all. Also, there's a healthy pre-owned/trade-in market with consoles that you don't have with PC games.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

TheMuon (1424531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001259)

I wouldn't use a gimick game as a good example. Games based on whatever popular movie is out at the moment are almost certainly going to be very poor quality. The developer/publisher aren't trying to sell the game based on the game's merits, simply its title. So they don't really care if the game is of very good quality. They just want to make a quick buck off of it.

I'm not saying there aren't sometimes problems with PC games being compatible with a particular system. Games being guarenteed to work right out of the box is an advantage of consoles. Its just, that's not a very good example.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (4, Insightful)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000835)

And you tell this because?
There are numerous (high profile) games I've been buying the past years which didn't give me any problems, and even added the advantage over consoles of being able to tinker with it (for example, mods).

The past few GTA releases on the PC were also nearly flawless, so don't know where your advice comes from. I guess you conveniently forget about the PC-games that have no problems whatsoever.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000947)

And you tell this because?

Fewer hassles, less expensive over the long run, lots games in genre's other than FPS, RTS or MMORPG, and although consoles do have DRM it's transparent to the user. Although mods have their appeal, they also reduce the # of games people buy, thus reducing developer income, we've all read of folks who have been playing CounterStrike+Mods to the exclusion of all else (and not buying games) for the past 8 years or so. There's no incentive to make new games if devs know some broke eastern european geek with a lot of time on his hands who pirated the game in the first place is going to be doing mods and give them away so that everybody is going to be playing the same game for 5 years or more.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001145)

we've all read of folks who have been playing CounterStrike+Mods to the exclusion of all else (and not buying games) for the past 8 years or so.

You mean the same crowd who also immedeately ran to the (digital) store to buy Counter-Strike: Source/HL2 when that got released, because they knew it'd be a quality game?
Of course I don't deny that the creation of mods can cause someone to not buy any games over a longer period; Then again, it should definitely be taken into account that the amount of goodwill created by allowing a game to have mods is being paid for in the future.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

TheMuon (1424531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001161)

...Really? First, most RTS's aren't even available on console so if you like that genre you're going PC Second, playing an FPS without a keyboard and mouse is unbarable once you've become used to a keyboard and mouse. Just like joysticks are the best interface for flight sims, keyboard/mouse is the best interface for FPS's. Finally, your arguement that mods destroy the incentive for developers to make games for the PC makes little sense. You're essentially saying its not in the interest of a developer to make good games with any longevity. Developers that make very good long lasting gmaes often earn customer loyalty. It gives them a dependable base of consumers who will buy the company's games and sing the praises of that company's games to their friends. I'm going to buy the StarCraft 2 Terran campaign the day it is released, only available on PC/Mac btw, maybe Linux not sure. I have already know I will love the game and it will be of very high quality, as I've loved every single game every released by Blizzard. Why? Because they've only ever released good games. StarCraft being a great game that I've even found myself playing earlier this year. That did not stop me from buying WarCraft 3.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001717)

Can't agree more - when a developer creates a great game then people will go back to it time and time again. In between bouts of Rainbow Six, I'm bashing through Jade Empire which has just got me back to reinstalling KoTOR with a mind of playing that again... but in amongst that I have a little old ultraportable I use for surfing from my sofa which also runs the classic, original UFO - not there is a game that has eternal appeal...

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000855)

Let me know how the folks who took your advice and bought Fallout 3 for a console instead of PC feel when they don't have access to DLC.

The fact of the matter is you can get screwed either way. The only real advice you can give is for people to "wait and see". Some people aren't patient enough for that, so they're going to be taking a chance, one way or the other. Best that they not blame you, right?

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000973)

As far as I know Fallout 3 DLC has been announced for the Xbox version as well as PC. I figure the PS3 will get the major DLC eventually, perhaps as a GOTY edition disk, that's what happened with Oblivion.

And yes, it's possible to get screwed either way, but in the case of the console game you're not going to get screwed with a game that wont even run at all.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (1)

lukrop (1302325) | more than 5 years ago | (#26000975)

But don't play off the shelf games on PC's."

Honestly, shooters are just crap on consoles. So, I don't understand why games like Call of Duty 3 (CoD1/2 where both best-sellers on the PC) are released _only_ for the PS2..

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (3, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001029)

Money! They're going to sell a lot more copies, sometimes it might even be 10x as many. Ever hear of a game called Summoner? It was a simultaenous PC/PS2 release. The PC version sold 50000 copies, not bad for an actiony RPG type game. The PS2 version sold 500000. You can imagine what happened,the sequel, Summoner 2, was PS2 only. Something similar probably happened to CoD.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001157)

People... played Summoner? They bought it, even? I thought there was some gigantic rock quarry made to hold those games, one that rivaled the E.T. landfill in size.

Re:Incompetence?, or passive-agressive attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001819)

Although I don't have a direct comparison for some obscure low volume game like this Summoner. I found, although a somewhat confusing list, in wiki. It details the number of copies sold for all the consoles and as well as the PC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games#Top_PC_sellers_by_genre I'm sorry to say but for comparable games, your 10:1 doesn't hold true. Actually pc titles hold up rather well once you factor in the the age of a console and the release date of the game, like the ps2 verses the ps3 and PC. There are exceptions, but PC game titles hold up quite well. I don't think a company wants to give up those PC sales figures just yet.

Alternatives (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000695)

Saints Row 2 > GTAIV

You know you really fail when... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000699)

Pirates can't even fix your game.

Throw the anchor, this is one bad port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26000769)

The controls menu is non-existant, it has a picture of an xbox 360 controller and prompts you to push left and right to pick a control setup.

Also, at least Devil May Cry (terrible game, btw) had a feature to pick resolution!

Bought this POS. (5, Informative)

juuri (7678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001047)

Despite my concerns over all the hoopla DRM I purchased this via Steam. Let's go over a few of the problems:

a) ~15 Gig. Really? Really.
b) Needs new versions of at least 2, maybe 3 Microsoft programs to be installed before playing.
c) Installs some fucking crap ass community software that was never asked for or mentioned when making the initial purchase over steam. This shiet from Rockstar goes in the system tray and puts up a fricken splash screen at every reboot on your desktop just to play their game.
d) The inane pushing of the new Games for Windows stuff. Oh I have to create a local G4W profile even if I never plan on playing online?
e) During loading it displays a black screen for 3-4 minutes on my box with 4gig/7200rpm disk. It's a laptop so at least I can feel the disk spinning to make sure it is doing something.
f) The resolution change takes SO long I never get to confirm it before it switches back when I am actually in the game.
g) The first time I ran it with defaults, no textures loaded until about 30 seconds *after* the opening cinematic was done and my player was sitting in the car.
h) Running the benchmark twice within one session causes a crash on my machine.
i) It has already crashed multiple times. ... since I only boot into windows to play games like this it has basically rendered itself a total fucking disgrace. Valve better be refunding my money or they will lose an up-till-now loyal customer. I've been playing games for like 28 years (GIT AWF MY L4WN) and this is the most buggy piece of shit my eyes have seen since some of the Atari Jaguar games.

mod parent up (1)

FugitiveMind (1423373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001153)

I also ran into the 'no textures' issue when I first started a new game. Tire skid marks and shadows also result in really strange graphical 'twitching' on my system.

I bought the HD4870X2 so I could run demanding games, but GTA4 doesn't seem to want any part of it. This is definitely the worst gaming purchase I have ever made.

Re:Bought this POS. (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001841)

Well GTA hasn't finished downloading yet (seed fuckers! Err, I mean, come on Steam!) but having played Bully, I'm not surprised at all.

I'll start with what was my first experience after installing and starting the game. At the first start I actually got stuck in the menus for a while because of the retarded default bindings. Who the hell sets Left Alt as "action" or "confirm"? What's wrong with the Enter key? I think returning to the previous menu used also something stupid, like left shift, though it seems that I've successfully repressed that memory. Thankfully you can change most of the keys, but still, did they even try playing it once with the defaults? Of course, there's also no mouse in the menus.

Since it took them almost two years to port, it looks like ass now, but also runs like that as well. Seriously, Crysis is much smoother (and much much prettier) than this piece of shit. I'm talking about 30fps and sometimes 10fps on a 2.8 Q6600 and 8800GT, while Crysis averages at about 35 in benchmarks on the same hardware. While almost everything is just ugly, the crosshairs in aiming mode are horrendous. They stretch to most of the screen (at 1680x1050 at least), but it looks like they're actually the size of regular FPS crosshairs like those in Q3 and UT, making them very pixilated and jaggy.

Now back to input and controls. Not only are the defaults retarded, but you're also supposed to repeatedly press some of the buttons just to move on a skateboard, for instance. Since one of the keys is alt while Tab opens the map, from time to time the game gets unexpectedly minimized. Aiming's extremely awkward as well, since you have to wrestle with auto aiming as well as almost unusable mouse sensitivity, which no amount of dicking around with the Razer drivers or game settings could fix.

Of course it also crashed a few times for no good reason. I think I've had much more complaints about it while playing, but this should be enough to demonstrate the point.

Re:Bought this POS. (4, Informative)

mike2R (721965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002013)

c) Installs some fucking crap ass community software that was never asked for or mentioned when making the initial purchase over steam. This shiet from Rockstar goes in the system tray and puts up a fricken splash screen at every reboot on your desktop just to play their game.

This really annoyed me as well - Startup Guard [mlin.net] caught it trying to register that community crap to run at startup. Denied it but it still keeps itself running after closing the game. I mean why? What chance is there that I want that crap running 24/7 on my PC? Reminds me of the last time I installed Real Player. Right click on the tray icon and you can uncheck "run at system start" so at least you can turn it off, but it is still out of order.

Not had any of the other problems you mention though - well except the 15GB (!!) download from Steam, I'd have bought a physical copy if I'd known it was that big.

Re:Bought this POS. (5, Informative)

Degro (989442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002251)

Games for Windows is a load of crap. I thought it was great at first because Crysis and Fallout 3 both had full support for the USB XBox 360 controllers out of the box. All I had to do was plug it in. Great, I like to relax and sit back with a controller at my PC like I do at with actual Xbox. Then I rushed out to buy Call of Duty: World at War for my PC because it also had the logo. No controller support whatsoever. WTF? What does Games for Windows even mean then if it's not going to be a coherent Xbox like experience for windows gaming? The whole effort feels very much like scam now.

Anyone but me think this is a great strategy? (5, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001261)

Seriously, so many developers and publishers have been complaining about the huge rate of PC title piracy (e.g. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20567 [gamasutra.com] or http://www.videogamer.com/news/18-10-2008-9693.html [videogamer.com] ) and how much more they love their locked-down consoles. Isn't this move the smartest thing Rockstar could have done?

I mean If I made 400$m with my latest game on the consoles alone and I feared I wouldn't sell as many PC copies as I could have I just make the PC version the shittiest experience you can have. Horrendously high hardware requirements, terrible online components, cluttered with spy/mal/adware. That will turn off as many PC customers as possible and make it less attractive for pirates.

I bet the console sales figures of GTA IV will go up again now that many PC gamers have realized that they'd rather buy this for their console than deal with all the crap. Watch for the spike!

Re:Anyone but me think this is a great strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001339)

I rather hope many PC gamers have realized that they shoudn't buy the game at all.

Re:Anyone but me think this is a great strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001545)

I bet the console sales figures of GTA IV will go up again now that many PC gamers have realized that they'd rather buy this for their console than deal with all the crap. Watch for the spike!

It's 6 months on since the console release, I'd be willing to bet more on a spike of *used* GTA4 console sales.

Re:Anyone but me think this is a great strategy? (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001603)

It's 6 months on since the console release, I'd be willing to bet more on a spike of *used* GTA4 console sales.

I didn't even think about it that way but you're probably right to some extend. But that just goes to show that no matter how you try to "shape" your customer's options it will backfire.

Re:Anyone but me think this is a great strategy? (1)

GravityStar (1209738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26002093)

I currently have gift-certificate (50 EUR) for a free game. I've had it since 3 months ago, and I've yet to buy a game. Why?

Because I already know I will be disappointed. It's happened too many times to ignore, every time I buy a game, it manages to suck.

seriously, rockstar fucking knows better. (3, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001373)

This is either a strategy or a colossal fail. Since there is G4W live shit and FailRom drm installed bundled, I'm leaning towards strategy.

I own every GTA game ever made. I opted for GTA IV on 360. I actually got a 360 for it. That being said, I'm a diehard PC gamer. I prefer PC for every game.

I could have waited, but when I heard GTA IV was a 'G4W live' only release, I knew rockstar had fucked up.

The others have all been flawless PC releases. They just know better.

customer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26001421)

I'm not really satisfied with the release and I was hoping for much better graphics than on xbox, but as far as crashing goes, I haven't had any. And I read here that there is no update for windows live for Vista 64, yet it updated mine just nicely and it works as it should.

There is obviously way to much of ballast that comes with the game, little to no improvements comparing to the xbox , huge hardware requirements and some graphics bugs I have noticed. All and all this game shouldn't be released for another six months for the developers to adress all the issues, it's too bad that greed prevailed. Good polished story driven games are dying, and i'm very sad about it.

Oh and i have a Mac Pro 8-core 3.0, 8800 GT with 10 GB of ram and because of the 512 vram i cant set the settings as i wish but am limited to medium texture quality and maximum resolution of 1680x1050.

how is this very newsworthy? (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001611)

if a product is bad enough, you have a right as a consumer to seek a refund. now if they had been class-actioned due to the product, or the corporate headquarters had been razed by a swarm of angry customers bent on the flesh of the board of directors, that would be news.

personally i like pc games. i keep an old windows box around for 'em, and i could never get used to the "mystery box" feel most consoles have.

But why are they so upset? (5, Funny)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001647)

I mean, you get 4 programs on your harddrive for the price of one -
1) SecureROM
2) Games for Windows LIVE
3) Rockstar Social Club
4) An early Beta version of some game

Sounds like a great deal to me.

I wouldn't know - boycotting (4, Interesting)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26001693)

I was really looking forward to buying GTA4 for the PC. I am the proud owner of GTA3, GTA:VC, and GTA:SA. But I can't buy GTA4, and this was so deeply dissapointing I actually sent Rockstar/Take2 a physical paper letter (which I am sure they will laugh at, ball up, and throw in the trash).

The problem? Mandatory online activation enforced by SecuROM. It isn't so much the latter I object to (though I DO object to it) as the former. I sometimes actually go back and install a game 5, 10, or even more years later and replay it if it was any good. What happens 10 years from now when the machine I am required to connect to no longer exists? Sure, I'm sure I can download a crack, or a patch, or something by then, but I want to own a fully working game right out of the box, not crippleware.

I know that the same applies to MMORPGs as well, but guess what? I have never, and never will, buy one of those, either.

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