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America's Army 3 Has Rough Launch, Development Team Canned

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-stop-loss-here dept.

PC Games (Games) 150

incognito84 writes "The development team responsible for the creation of the freeware game America's Army 3 has been canned, days after the launch of the highly flawed game, which was distributed mostly via Steam. 'The anonymous America's Army 3 developers in touch with Kotaku unsurprisingly didn't sound too pleased with the current situation, venting that "a lot of good people [worked] insanely long hours on this game that was butchered by outside sources.' The game's launch was plagued by massive server authentication issues which inhibited most players from playing it even two days afterward. One of the developers made a post on the official forums saying they were 'effectively stabbed in the back,' and that much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy. A patch has been released to address some of the game's issues."

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Bummer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399109)

The early betas let you play as 3 characters:
  • Dwayne, an Army platoon Sergeant from Texas. A twangy cornfed smooth talkin' southern gentleman with a penchant for Jim Beam and bloodied Arabs. He don't take shit from no'one - especially not the LT.
  • Big Jim, an African-american Marine lance corporal from Georgia. He likes to agree with everything his Hadji victims say before he ends their lives execution-style. He perfers to rape the females before he kills them.
  • Avi, a liazon from the Israeli Defense Forces. All brains and no brawn, his specialty is remote weapons with live video feeds so that he can relive the moments of jihadis' dismemberments in his free time. He is rumored to be the bastard stepchild of famed war hero Ariel Sharon.

It's a shame that the game won't be completed as scheduled. Rumor has it that the Obama administration personally dipped their simian paws into the game's politics to have the development stalled because it be raciss' 'n' shit, yo. Obama would never offend his oil-buddies from the House of Sa'ud.

Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399131)

Suicide is Painless

In 2000, chief *BSD developer Matt Damon left the project after penning a long, meandering suicide note, loosely based on a novel by renowned playwright Buzz Aldrin.

        FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

        It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

[edit] Netcraft Weighs In

Not long after Matt's suicide, the United Nations Commission for Wresting Control of the DNS Root Servers from the Imperialist United States ("UN-USA")'s Netcraft project weighed in with its final judgement. In typical Netcraft fashion, the writer kept to the facts and looked to the numbers:

        It is now official. Netcraft has confirmed: *BSD is dying

        One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

        You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

        FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

        Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

        OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

        Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

        All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

That crippling bombshell sent *BSD fans into a tailspin of mourning and denial. However, bad news poured in like a river of water.
[edit] Commission for Technology Management

In 2003, the widely respected Commission for Technology Management completed a year-long intensive survey that concluded that *BSD may as well already be dead.

        Yet another sickening blow has struck what's left of the *BSD community, as a soon-to-be-released report by the independent Commision for Technology Management (CTM) after a year-long study has concluded: *BSD is already dead. Here are some of the commission's findings:

        Fact: the *BSDs have balkanized yet again. There are now no less than twelve separate, competing *BSD projects, each of which has introduced fundamental incompatibilities with the other *BSDs, and frequently with Unix standards. Average number of developers in each project: fewer than five. Average number of users per project: there are no definitive numbers, but reports show that all projects are on the decline.

        Fact: X.org will not include support for *BSD. The newly formed group believes that the *BSDs have strayed too far from Unix standards and have become too difficult to support along with Linux and Solaris x86. "It's too much trouble," said one anonymous developer. "If they want to make their own standards, let them doing the porting for us."

        Fact: DragonflyBSD, yet another offshoot of the beleaguered FreeBSD "project", is already collapsing under the weight of internal power struggles and in-fighting. "They haven't done a single decent release," notes Mark Baron, an industry watcher and columnist. "Their mailing lists read like an online version of a Jerry Springer episode, complete with food fights, swearing, name-calling, and chair-throwing." Netcraft reports that DragonflyBSD is run on exactly 0% of internet servers.

        Fact: There are almost no FreeBSD developers left, and its use, according to Netcraft, is down to a sadly crippled .005% of internet servers. A recent attempt at a face-to-face summit in Boulder, Colorado culminated in an out-and-out fistfight between core developers, reportedly over code commenting formats (tabs vs. spaces). Hotel security guards broke up the melee and banned the participants from the hotel. Two of the developers were hospitalized, and one continues to have his jaw wired shut.

        Fact: NetBSD, which claims to focus on portability (whatever that is supposed to mean), is slow, and cannot take advantage of multiple CPUs. "That about drove the last nail in the coffin for BSD use here," said Michael Curry, CTO of Amazon.com. "We took our NetBSD boxes out to the backyard and shot them in the head. We're much happier running Linux."

        Fact: *BSD has no support from the media. Number of Linux magazines available at bookstores: 5 (Linux Journal, Linux World, Linux Developer, Linux Format, Linux User). Number of available *BSD magazines: 0. Current count of Linux-oriented technical books: 1071. Current count of *BSD books: 6.

        Fact: Many user-level applications will no longer work under *BSD, and no one is working to change this. The GIMP, a Photoshop-like application, has not worked at all under *BSD since version 1.1 (sorry, too much trouble for such a small base, developers have said). OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office clone, has never worked under *BSD and never will. ("Why would we bother?" said developer Steven Andrews, an OpenOffice team lead.)

        Fact: servers running OpenBSD, which claims to focus on security, are frequently compromised. According to Jim Markham, editor of the online security forum SecurityWatch, the few OpenBSD servers that exist on the internet have become a joke among the hacker community. "They make a game out of it," he says. "(OpenBSD leader) Theo [de Raadt] will scramble to make a new patch to fix one problem, and they've already compromised a bunch of boxes with a different exploit."

        With these incontroverible facts staring (what's left of) the *BSD community in the face, they can only draw one conclusion: *BSD is already dead.

[edit] Wired Writes an Epitaph

In 2004, Wired Magazine published an article in which it declared *BSD dead, once and for all. The article also declared Linux superior to *BSD.

        IT IS OFFICIAL; WIRED NEWS CONFIRMS: LINUX IS SUPERIOR TO *BSD

                * BSD is Dying, Says Respected Journal

        Linux advocates have long insisted that open-source development results in better and more secure software. Now they have statistics to back up their claims.

        According to a four-year analysis of the 5.7 million lines of Linux source code conducted by five Stanford University computer science researchers, the Linux kernel programming code is better and more secure than the programming code of *BSD.

        The report, set to be released on Tuesday, states that the 2.6 Linux production kernel, shipped with software from Red Hat, Novell and other major Linux software vendors, contains 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the average for *BSD software. NetBSD, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis.

                * BSD software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code, according to a group of Carnegie Mellon University's pot-smoking hippies. This would be equivalent to 114,000 to 171,000 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code.

        The study identified 0.17 bugs per 1,000 lines of code in the Linux kernel. Of the 985 bugs identified, 627 were in critical parts of the kernel. Another 569 could cause a system crash, 100 were security holes, and 33 of the bugs could result in less-than-optimal system performance.

        Seth Hell, CEO of Covertitude, a provider of source-code analysis, noted that the majority of the bugs documented in the study have already been fixed by members of the Linux development community.

        "Our findings show that Linux contains an extremely low defect rate and is evidence of the strong security of Linux," said Hell. "Many security holes in software are the result of software bugs that can be eliminated with good programming processes."

        The Linux source-code analysis project started in 2000 at the Stanford University Computer Science Research Center as part of a large research initiative to improve core software engineering processes in the software industry.

        The initiative now continues at Covertitude, a software engineering startup that now employs the five researchers who conducted the study. Covertitude said it intends to start providing Linux bug analysis reports on a regular basis and will make a summary of the results freely available to the Linux development community.

        "This is a benefit to the Linux development community, and we appreciate Coverity's efforts to help us improve the security and stability of Linux," said Andrew Mumpkins, lead Linux kernel maintainer. Mumpkins said developers have already addressed the top-priority bugs uncovered in the study.

[edit] The Obituary

On September 9, 2005, *BSD was finally declared dead. The following obituary appeared in the Berkeley Observer:

        * BSD Obituary

        * BSD, 28, of Berkeley, CA died Monday, Sept. 19, 2005. Born July 3, 1976, it was the creation of a cluster of pot-smoking hippies who went to Illinois and came home with a reel of tape. Rather than smoke the tape, they uploaded it and hacked on it a little.

        * BSD was known for its C shell and early TCP/IP implementation. After being banished from UC Berkeley, it was ported to the x86 platform, where it fell into the hands of heavier pot-smokers who liked to argue. Soon, the project had splintered into 12 different Balkanized projects. Until its death, there was almost constant fighting in and amongst these groups, sometimes degenerating into out-and-out fistfights.

        * BSD is survived by its superior, Linux, as well as several commercial unix implementations. It may be missed by some who knew it, although most of them are said to be mere OS dilettante dabblers.

A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Berkeley Chapel on the UC campus, with interment to follow via the burning of the original *BSD tapes and scattering of the ashes over the San Francisco Bay. The Rev. Lou "Buddy" Stubbs will officiate.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the funeral home.
[edit] Enemies of *BSD

        * Microsoft enjoyed this. Steve Ballmer claimed that he would Fucking Killâ BSD and now it finally is happening. Bill Gates is doing the happy dance.

        * Linux was very happy, and a new version of Super Tux was made with the BSD Deamon and other BSD characters as the new enemies. Except for Rinux which seemed to only have Mario type games with enemies named Billy and Bally and Mario had to break Windows instead of boxes.

        * Apple knew that they no longer had to pay royalties for using *BSD technologies, not that they really contributed anything important to *BSD like that nifty GUI based on Aqua, or Safari, or Sherlock, or Doctor Watson, or Moriarty, or even iTunes, or those special screen savers that Apple made. In fact, Mac OSX no longer uses any *BSD code, and Steve Jobs took up Kitten Huffing after counting the profits Apple made from sales of the iPod and new Macintosh systems.

Re:Bummer (1)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399201)

"Obama would never offend his oil-buddies from the House of Sa'ud."

Considering the criticism other games with similar premises get. I find it quite reasonable that this project would be in need of, at the very least an overhaul.

Other things wrong with it include the idea that a government would provide free games to further recruitment or it's agenda.

I think if Obama has anything to do with the end of the game as it is, it would be over the social implications of the game rather than angry Saudi Arabians.

Re:Bummer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399255)

Some people think Barack Obama bowed to the Saudi King. Not true. He curtseyed, like the bitch he is.

How Ironic (0, Troll)

dyfet (154716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399115)

Like much of America itself, America's army is "broke", and lots of people involved are unemployed...life is it's own parody.

Re:How Ironic (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399157)

Doesn't help that the game is basically plagued by its "Honor" system which rewards just about everything bad and wrong a player can do. I don't expect the new version to be much better.

Re:How Ironic (2, Insightful)

dyfet (154716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399171)

And that sounds much like parts of corporate America and the "rank" system, where those best able to manipulate their managers and stab their co-workers in the back successfully are best enabled for advancement, leading to pure sociopaths at the top tier. Corporations like Microsoft in particular use the rank system...

Re:How Ironic (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399211)

Sounds more like Slashdot's mod system, where Linux Zealots can pat themselves on the back with +5 Insightful "Linux is awesome" posts, thereby gaining the power to squash anyone who might be "Pro-Microsoft".

Re:How Ironic (-1, Flamebait)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399473)

GO MICROSOFT!

O wait, IE locked up, hold on, lets try Chrome.

now i got a BSOD.

Hmm now i'm receiving messages about corrupted kernel files

anways

GO MICROSOFT!
-This post was made on a maching running Vista with all the latest patches. It does not support, endorse, or in anyway promote any Microsoft products or reflect the views of the author and or /.-

Re:How Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400797)

-This post was made on a maching running Vista with all the latest patches.It does not support, endorse, or in anyway promote any Microsoft products or reflect the views of the author and or /. and has not been spell-checked-

There, fixed that for you.

Re:How Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399829)

-1 , Troll

Re:How Ironic (1, Troll)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400441)

Linux is awesome and when I get mod points and coming back to mod you, your wife and that dumb dog of yours.

Re:How Ironic (1)

s0l1dsnak3123 (1244796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401311)

Sounds more like Slashdot's mod system, where Linux Zealots can pat themselves on the back with +5 Insightful "Linux is awesome" posts, thereby gaining the power to squash anyone who might be "Pro-Microsoft".

And the windows retards can do the same for windows posts. But you see, the windows retards know not to hang round here, because we'll drown them in all the money we save. Also, they are retards, and can't figure out the UI/read/etc.

Re:How Ironic (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399387)

Score one for Darwin!

Re:How Ironic (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399947)

True, I'd like to believe that a world where common sense and morality prevail can exist but I know that's not going to happen. Whenever an environment gathers enough individuals that rely on cooperation and mutual compromise there will appear individuals that will have a lot to gain by betraying all those "values" (read: social contracts).

Still, that doesn't mean people that do have principles and high moral standards shouldn't uphold them, just that they shouldn't expect the world to be fair and good if they do.

Re:How Ironic (0)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400003)

And that sounds much like parts of corporate America and the "rank" system, where those best able to manipulate their managers and stab their co-workers in the back successfully are best enabled for advancement, leading to pure sociopaths at the top tier. Corporations like Microsoft in particular use the rank system...

Very well put, dyfet, I don't know about your Microsoft jab in particular, but the rest is pretty much spot on. I work in a research position and I've been at the same place of work for over 8 years now. In that time we've had two sociopaths at the helm. Not only that, but these two idiotic leaders have had no idea about the work we do. So it just goes to show that talent doesn't mean much. If you want to get ahead you need to have no empathy, have no talent, and be a moronic idiot. I wish I could put aside my talent, my care for others and drop my IQ so that I could be a leader.

Re:How Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400089)

Well I guess your username is a start...

Re:How Ironic (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400187)

In my experience it generally seem that most people sitting in the break room or god forbid rant in their off hours about how "the managers don't know what we do" or that their managers are "no-talent hacks" or some other random criticism are also the employees least likely to stand out in any positive capacity to offer solutions to a broken situation and are content to merely whine about it.

Secondly managers don't as a rule have to know what it is their people do as long as they know how to manage their resources and people to meet goals set by their own bosses.

Most people when they think of management are referring to low level management (AKA Middle Management) who are little more than grunts themselves, have very little to offer as far as actual skills are concerned and are paid to make sure all their people show up on time, take their breaks on time and micromanage their people as if they are five years old and serve very little real function.

Re:How Ironic (2, Funny)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400167)

And that sounds much like parts of corporate America and the "rank" system, where those best able to manipulate their managers and stab their co-workers in the back successfully are best enabled for advancement

Phew, wow... I'm sure glad that doesn't happen anywhere else... I was worried it might be like that in other places too.

Re:How Ironic (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400541)

> the "rank" system, where those best able to manipulate their managers and stab their co-workers in the back successfully are best enabled for advancement

Funny thing is, that's how the system is supposed to be. There has always been a minority who, having more brains, or desire of control, or means, ruled over the majority of people. Nowadays their preferred medium of control is through money. The rank system ensure that the guys at the top respond to money. Scruples, ideals, would get in the way. If it's also possible to blackmail them for some bad things did in the past, that's perfect.

Re:How Ironic (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399595)

Having never played the game, how does the Honor system end up actually rewarding "everything bad and wrong"? The idea sounds good, in theory of course...

Re:How Ironic (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400061)

Lets put it this way: the worst and most common insult in AA was to call someone an "Obj nub", which stands for "Objective nub".

The honor system heavily favored deathmatching and just plain surviving a round despite your team losing to the point that the easiest way to be successful in the game was to just run off and camp somewhere and try to get a few kills before the timer ran out.

It didnt help that there were literally no controls on honor servers. They could and often did have all sorts of wierd mods running on them.

Re:How Ironic (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400877)

What are you talking about? What do you mean when you say the system "rewards just about everything bad and wrong"? I've been playing AA since 2003. The only way to get Honor points is by doing what you're supposed to be doing during the matches. You're penalized for doing things that mess up the mission (shooting your team mates and shooting civilians).

Unfortunately, this sounds typical (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399139)

"...much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy."

I've noticed a pattern in a lot of talent-based industries. On a small scale, or with an upstart CEO you can have talent-driven companies. But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor. Every company I ever interacted with in the corporate world was like this. And, once you've got suits in charge, they make sure that they're well compensated.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (5, Interesting)

JohnBlueMO (1403531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399235)

Yep. In fact, its a social phenomena that is not limited to talent-based industries. It effects governments, non-profit organizations, religious groups, clubs...you name it.

Strangely, I rarely hear talk of it. For reference, see something called the Dunbar Number [wikipedia.org] .

Any organization that grows over 150 (or so) people either fails or forms a personality-stomping bureaucracy to survive. It doesn't happen right away, but it always seems to happen. And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399481)

What about Valve? They have roughly 200 employees and they seem to be very much "talent based". Their methodology for making games has worked pretty damn well for them IMO.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399545)

WHERE'S MY GODDAMN EPISODE THREE.

also releasing left 4 dead 2 and not updating the first one all within the span of a year.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399621)

Well, if you're not happy about it then don't buy the second one. The first was updated, just not significantly. You can try to call the addition of the 2nd half of versus maps an update - it's really just finishing something left undone from release.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399651)

200 employees? Really? What's Valve actually released in the last eleven fucking years?

Half-Life
Half-Life 2 + episode 1 and 2 "expansions".
Portal
Left 4 Dead

Yep. 4 games and 2 expansions, all of the games except for one are on the same engine. All the mods were 3rd party and then assimilated by Valve. L4D was purchased too.

So what the hell are the other 150 employees doing? Steam DRM?

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399743)

So what the hell are the other 150 employees doing? Steam DRM?

Counting the huge piles of money I suspect.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399941)

200 employees? Really? What's Valve actually released in the last eleven fucking years?

Half-Life
Half-Life 2 + episode 1 and 2 "expansions".

Wikipedia currently lists 20 games, though several of them are ports
List of games developed by Valve [wikipedia.org]

Not counting ports, I see 17 games:
Half-Life, Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike, Deathmatch Classic, Day of Defeat, Ricochet, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead.

Three games are listed under "in development"
Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 2

The company is also still working on additional content for Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead (1).

Valve also has staff providing ongoing assistance to Source Engine licensees working on commercial games based on the Source Engine (eg: Postal 3, Sting: The Secret Operations, The Crossing, Mabinogi Heroes, Zeno Clash, Salvation)
Licensed Source games [wikipedia.org]

There's also the Steam Store, which has a fairly large team assigned to it for marketing, development, and support. This is all the "official" projects anyways, there's been several "unofficial" projects rumored about as well such as a whole new game engine for Ep3, a possible linux based version of the Source Engine, and CS:S2, though there's been no official confirmation on any of them.

Anyways, the point I was trying to make is there's no single project that all ~200 employees work on, the staff is instead split into "cabals" (groups of 5~10 or more employees) that are assigned to all these individual projects. This isn't Valve specific either, most major game studios work this way to maximize productivity.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400621)

200 employees does not necessarily mean 200 programming dudes. Remember that there's legal, marketing, and P.R. to consider.

Keep in mind that Valve doesn't just make games - they also work with Steam.

There's probably at least half a dozen guys dedicated solely towards bringing new games onto Steam. Not getting the licensing, but setting them up so they work with Steam and its interface (like the in-game stuff.)

There's also likely a dedicated team for updating content for certain games, like TF2. I'm sure that they have a few guys who job it is to do just that.

The Source Engine is a beast unto itself, and one of the reasons the Episodes come out so many years in-between is because Valve elects to improve the engine every time. If they did not go with the engine upgrades (HDR, particle physics, L4D engine's improvements, and who knows what is coming with EP3), they probably could have cranked out games a lot faster. The thing is, they make them so damn good that they have enough staying power where they don't have to worry about cranking out a shit-ton of games every year.

I still occasionally play through the entire Half Life 2 series up to this point because the gameplay and story is so damn good. I think that I'm getting to the point, though, where I want to drop in SMOD and have some real fun. :3

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400197)

This is woolly psychology, not hard computer science. 150 is one approximate estimate; other people have made estimates of 231 or 290.

(Source: Wikipedia. Take with appropriate dumper-truck full of salt).

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (1)

chip_s_ahoy (318689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400607)

The Wikipedia article you cite says no such thing.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400955)

Any organization that grows over 150 (or so) people either fails or forms a personality-stomping bureaucracy to survive. It doesn't happen right away, but it always seems to happen. And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

The question then becomes whether a larger organization must necessarily stomp your soul more than a smaller one. Anecdotally, the federal government is the U.S.' largest employer.

Re:Unfortunately, this...typical...extrapolating (5, Interesting)

sco08y (615665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401325)

And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

However... the typical company (or troop or battery) has approximately 100 people. You can spend as much as 10 years working at the company level before you reach Sergeant Major or Major. Some jobs, e.g. Adjutant General (which is essentially HR) are tied more closely to Big Army, but others, e.g. combat arms, are more insulated. Even now the traditional terms "troop" and "battery" are retained, even though there's some OCD bureaucrat who is waiting for the chance to wipe them out and call everything a "company."

I was a Cavalry Scout and we were aware that they were trying to wipe out personality and make us all fit neatly in to their org charts. All the (arguably stupid looking) emblems the units had painted on their HQs were painted over, they banned profanity, and of course our various alcohol sodden rituals were always causing problems for our CO, but for the most part we just ignored them and did whatever we wanted. The flip side of "don't be an individual" is that the Army also demands that you take pride in your unit.

Re:Unfortunately, this sounds typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399357)

Truth, this man speaks it.

Where I work we actually have secret projects unknown to the execs that are actually progressive. Of course, we can't tell them we are working on these projects, or else they scold us and tell us to return to our development support duties.

you say it like it's a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399509)

I can name a lot of companies that by your definition have been bureaucracy driven for decades and have put out cutting-edge products for a long, long time, like IBM, Apple, Raytheon, Dell, Northrup-Grumman, Boeing, GM (even if they recently failed), General Electric, Intel, Honeywell, 3M, AT&T/Bell, Xerox, Lockheed-Martin, Medtronic, Cisco, United Defense, Texaco, etc etc etc etc etc etc

I wouldn't call any of the above 'powerless labor'.... There are large, bureaucracy-driven companies that also have a lot of talent and they know how to use it... Proper management is a good and necessary thing....

Re:you say it like it's a bad thing (2, Interesting)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399581)

I think an argument could be made that those organizations tend to split development drivers (groups of designers, etc) into sub-150 person groups which are, at least to some extent, autonomous within their given mandate.

For example, look at DARPA, which is basically designed along exactly this principle.

Re:you say it like it's a bad thing (5, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399731)

I've heard that 3M corporation does this to an even greater degree. Each time a division is successful enough that it grows past 200, they break up that division's product lines into two subsets, so that they can break up the division into two sub-150 groups. The idea is that for the great majority of human evolution, we've lived in groups smaller than 150, so our brains are pretty well equipped to know and trust and work with that volume of people.

Get much larger than that and you'll start getting weird political BS. Not because people are bad, but because they need short cuts to help them deal with the overwhelming number of personalities they have to interact with to get their jobs done.

Re:you say it like it's a bad thing (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401137)

That doesn't really say much unless you describe if and how they then become more autonomous. Take for example the military, they divide units into squads, platoons, companys etc. based on numbers but it's all top-down management. Splitting on numbers doesn't really say much more than that you've realized that there's a human limit on how many subordinates one manager can handle.

Bureaucratic solution (2, Insightful)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400243)

But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor.

When companies *have* to be large, I believe keeping small, relatively autonomous groups of talented employees is the cure. Once a group becomes too large or the group is stripped of its autonomy to enforce mono-culture, innovation takes a back seat to sweeping, generic, stuffy rules that attempt to keep things 'safe' and 'organized'.

Just about every company wants complete control from the top -- The problem is it's dangerous to assume people from the 'top' have enough insight and knowledge to make good decisions for the 'bottom'. Letting groups of people do their own thing is chaotic, but it's probably good for incubating fresh material and novel ideas.

Still very buggy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399159)

Played it for 3-4 hours, and have crashed at least 4 times.

So there are (3, Funny)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399169)

A couple of ways to deal with their firings a)Take their skills and go elsewhere. If they're actually any decent, they can make an impressive game to knock the socks off AA3 b)Complain.. c)(and only if it's true ) realize they suck at programming and find a new career. I make no defense of the Army, I'm sure it's a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit, even more then normal(yay for government!), but c'mon. Basic things like not being able to handle auth servers? Something that is at the VERY CORE of the game, that without *the best* you can do is a plain m16 is crap. There was a pretty massive user base for AA2.x and they did a fair amount of hyping for it(hell, I heard about it and I don't even check gaming news websites.) That's one of the more *important* things to handle. Now, if it was crappy funding issues(god knows I don't know what happened), that's another story. If it was programming/design related....that's something *important* to get working right. Who knows? Maybe they are staying truth to the authenticate Army lifestyle, bullshit and all?

Re:So there are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399307)

The auth server failure is not really the DEV team's fault. All the auth related things are handled by a third party called pragmatic solutions. Pragmatic has consistently been failing over the past few years... im pretty sure the dev team doesn't deal with them by choice.

Re:So there are (1)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399353)

Ah. I didn't know that. Well, that should be WELL publicized that it was Pragmatic. Most annoying auth server in the existence man.

Three? (0, Flamebait)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399179)

I didn't know there was a two. The one I played several years ago sucked dog shit with corn through a straw.

No Linux Client is the reason... (-1, Offtopic)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399193)

It has nothing to do with bureaucrats, or money mongering. It's a failure because there's no Linux client. ;)

(I can dream, right?)

Re:No Linux Client is the reason... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399263)

I used to avidly play the game but stopped when they stopped updating the Mac client. A lot of honest (the cheats didn't work on the Mac anyway) and fun players left then, too. Despite having a tiny market share it did seem to have a disproportionate effect on the game.

So... maybe.

Abysmal builds (5, Informative)

Stray1 (862245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399213)

As a member of the beta team , I can tell you everyone was pretty damn concerned about the state of the game so close to its release.

It was obvious SOMETHING was wrong given the alpha state of the builds they were giving us.

As it is, you load, hit a button and crash, repeat. I tried to withhold my judgement until they released into open beta, but its just horrible.

This bodes ill for GM (0, Offtopic)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399223)

If the government can't even manage to make a computer game well...

I'm not surprised. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399349)

The American army has a long history of killing their own allies.

Re:I'm not surprised. (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400993)

Now either your talking about Friendly Fire. Which is in bad taste.

Or your talking about turning on allies like Russia which is in only slightly better taste.

From the standpoint of a soldier. (5, Insightful)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399365)

I spent four years in the Army myself. I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me. I've got two deployments to Iraq under my belt. Really, I have to tell you, every other iteration of the America's Army "game" I played blew ass. I had more fun going to work. Seriously, they gave you "Task, Condition and Standard" in a video game?!?! Jeeze, I'd rather shine my boots and clean my weapon. Not to mention that they just happened to leave out the whole screaming-in-horrendous-agony part of war. People usually don't just fall down and play dead when shot or hit with shrapnel from one source or another, you can trust me on that too. So, I'm kind of glad this game ate shit. The only "realistic" part of it was how outrageously boring training in the Army can be. Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army. -Reed

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399563)

Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army. -Reed

Yep. My generation has spent its' adolescence with Doom, Quake, and Half-Life. Teenagers have learned very basic things from those games like the use of cover, and the necessity of ammo conservation, maybe, and on the basis of that, sometimes decided to do something like Columbine, if they didn't end up in Iraq.

They find out that outside a game, it's a little different. ;)

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (2)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399677)

Hear, hear. The most fun I remember in America's Army was shooting the drill sergeant and ending up in the brig.

Haha so you were a 25F? Yea the title sounds so glamorous, until you actually have to setup a SSS and pound 6' ground rods all day

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (2)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399767)

Yeah, the job kind of sucked ass. That is until I knew what I was doing in the Node Center, and thus supervisors started relying on me heavily enough that I got away will bloody murder. Some of my fondest memories are of sending in network status reports to Battalion Command with our unofficial platoon motto "Balls Deep!" Pasted across the bottom. Signal Battalions in the Army are sort of a testament to how quickly communications jobs, and technology in general, has been changing. For instance, our platoon sergeant stayed the hell out of our Ops shelter. All he knew was that we turned red lights into green lights, and kept them that way (or else god damnit!). This shouldn't be all that surprising, as when he joined the army, I'm pretty sure all the signal guys were running lines to hand-crank telephone units. I mean, what the hell is a "work station" to him, right? I have to say that most of the job consisted of doing shit just like what you're talking about. Pounding in grounding rods. Filling generators. Picking up shit and moving it. But occasionally I was able to really put to use some problem solving skills and trouble shoot a fairly complex computer network (consisting of line of sight radio, satellite and TROPO links all across a battlfield). And we could do it at night, while getting shot at and bombed. I dare you to top THAT! If this had been all the job consisted of, I wouldn't have left. Unfortunately, this is the fuckin' Army we're talking about.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399821)

I spent four years in the Army myself. I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me. I've got two deployments to Iraq under my belt. ... So, I'm kind of glad this game ate shit. The only "realistic" part of it was how outrageously boring training in the Army can be. Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army.

So I'm curious - what recruitment tool worked with you? Was your recruiter entirely truthful? And did they spend a lot of time drilling the horror of war while recruiting you? When did you realize the reality of what war was and why do you think you didn't know this before hand (with the assumption that your recruiter didn't manage to get this through to you)?

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (5, Interesting)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399953)

The recruitment tool that worked for me.... hmm... being bored to tears in college... and planes flying into buildings (that happened in September, I signed up in December). I wanted some adventure. I was young and still stupid enough to think that America's foreign policy might actually do the world some good. Not going to get too political now, but rest assured I don't feel the same way now. Of course they didn't spend time "drilling the horror of war" while recruiting me. That was my point, recruiters are *supposed* to blind potential recruits with "glory" and "action" and shit like that. A joke is that another name for Army recruiters is "liar." Nothing really wrong with all of this I think, it is how you get people to join the Army after all. Now, normally I would apply the same thought process to Americas Army, the video game. But I run into a moral conundrum when doing so, because Americas Army is just that, A VIDEO GAME. And who plays video games? Children play video games. If you, as a legal adult and the Army thinking that war would be anything like what you see in Americas Army (or any other video game for that matter), you are a dumb ass, and you deserve what you get. Either that, or mentally retarded in some way, shape or form. Darwinism at its finest. On the other hand, children do not have the same cognitive ability as an adult, and therefore should not be held to the same standard. The act of killing people being a fun and relaxing experience in any situation, or being able to reset a match when you get shot in the face, are just bold-faced lies when told to children. This is because children will look at the game as being official, released by the Army itself (and who knows more about war than the Army?) AND THEY WILL BELIEVE IT. My recruiter told me a story once about how he had been driving down the road in a particular Eastern-European, war-torn nation. The Humvee in front of his (they were of course driving in formation at the time) was unlucky enough to hit a landmine. "Scared the shit out of me" is the way I believe he put it. Other than that, he didn't go into too much detail as to how well (or not) the passengers of that ill-fated Humvee turned out. Now, in this situation, it wasn't really how much he did tell me about what happened as much as it was the expression on his face and the way in which he skirted around my questions that gave me a pretty good understanding of what it was like. For myself, I don't think I realized what the hell had happened until a year or two AFTER I was out of the Army. There is no thinking about what is going on while you're actually there. No time to stop and say "what in the name of FUCK am I doing here?" Because doing things such as that are counter-productive in the long run, as there really isn't much you can do to get out of the situation anyway (until your time is up). I hope this answered your questions, asshole. -Reed

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399983)

You do know that the largest "gaming" demographic are 18-30 year old males, right?

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399995)

And because of this fact children don't play video games? And like this game isn't aimed directly at them?

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400095)

Children do play video games. They also watch tv, play games, read, and all sorts of other activities. Do any of these other activities have military ads or glorify warfare? Yes, they do. Are they aimed at children? Maybe, maybe not. The real question is what kind of dumb kids suddenly believe that warfare is all fun and games because they saw, read, or played something that said it was fun. I've known various kids and adults that have played the previous iterations of America's Army and none of them have suddenly decided that "Gee wizz, war is fun, so I should join the military for fun." Of the friends that I've had who signed up, none joined up because they thought it was going to be fun.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400989)

What kind of dumb kids believe things they saw, read, or played? are you serious?

You may not have noticed this, but children learn as they grow up. What they learn is based on what goes on around them. This is why, for example, you speak English.

That this game induces people to join the army is not even up for debate. The only question here has to do with how appropriate it is to teach our children this.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400083)

I used to joke that the recruiting tool that worked for me was Top Gun - the joke being that the movie was about the wrong branch of military service. The reality is that I joined because of the financial boost. I had Army recruiters hounding me and a Navy recruiter that played bait-and-switch. No recruiters talked about war.

I was taking a taxi during my time at tech school. The taxi driver was an older guy with long hair and a beard. He noted that he was retired and started to talk about how my "real job" was to destroy things and kill people. He seemed to be thinking he was revealing some hidden truth to me. I suppose I was supposed to be shocked.

Later the Gulf War kicked off. Suddenly we had "conscientious objectors" in our all-volunteer military forces. And I had to wonder maybe the old retired guy might be right. Maybe there are recruits who really don't have any idea what they're getting in to. But I have a hard time buying it.

I grew up doing things that were supposed to eliminate my ability to deal with reality. I read novels. I watched TV / movies. I played D&D. I played video games. I ran real-life assassination games. And yet I emerged from childhood with a reasonable expectation that none of these really reflected the reality of war were I unfortunate enough to find myself in one.

I have a hard time believing that any video game, sponsored by the US Army or not, will be any different with kids today. At worse, I don't find them being any more misleading as movies. I don't find them as being any more deceptive than TV ads showing happy soldiers living adventurous lives and glossy brochures that push the GI Bill.

I should probably note that I've never been tested. I've never witnessed war first hand. The job I signed up for involved handing me a rifle and ammo as a last ditch effort when all hell was breaking loose - and it never came close to that. I've been in danger; I was in the Khobar Towers before they were bombed. But my understanding of war is still very much theoretical. But I know now what I knew before I signed up for military service; nothing I've experienced now or in the past is war.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400157)

Yeah, I know, I'm not arguing whether video games are bad for children. In my opinion they aren't. I also realize that every child with access to a computer has that access via the consent of an adult, direct or otherwise. What I'm arguing is that a recruitment tool in the guise of a game is immoral. We had our fair share of conscientious objectors as well. This didn't get them out of the war zone, it just got the bolts take out of their rifles. Congratulations, you are no longer able to defend yourself. And like I said, I made phones work. We weren't the special forces.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401405)

A joke is that another name for Army recruiters is "liar."

My recruiter drove me to the MEPS on my first day. I had drunk too much the night before and was nauseous, so I chugged some Pepto-Bismol before he picked me up. Close to the end of the drive, it was too much and I spewed huge amounts of pink, alcohol reeking vomit onto the floorboards. There was so much material, it formed a clumpy, steaming pool. There was not enough time for anything other than a pissed off look from the recruiter as I was wisked away for processing.

Through the boring and crappy assignments of my service, that memory always made me smile.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401537)

You mention that you spent 4 years in the Army beginning Dec 2001 (and apparently leaving Dec 2005) - basic and AIT probably took you up until I'm guessing ~May/June 2002 until you hit your first unit - the Iraq war kicked off March 18 2003 (I know, I was traveling back home from my first overseas assignment at the time) - that means in your last 24-30 months in the Army you had TWO 12 to 14 month deployments? Didn't spend much time stateside did you? That sucks...I only had one deployment and a couple overseas assignments in my whole 6 years - they were trying to keep it a "small war" in the beginning after all.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399955)

It would only take one person on the team or an organized handful of technically inclined pacifists with moral objections to making war a game to take down the auth servers. Not to mention America's wars are not exactly popular right now, and many execs would have no problems pocketing the funding for reasons so well described in the parent post.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

volpe (58112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400789)

I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me.

Man, that must have been REALLY un-cool.

Re:From the standpoint of a soldier. (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400915)

As far as FPS games go, AA.2 is good for being a free download. As far a recruitment tool goes, I agree with you that it sucks, but for opposite reasons. When I first started playing it (and keep in mind I have been playing FPS games online since Quake), I was surprised by how quickly I died, especially on new maps. In the earlier iterations of the game before they introduced the mini-map and tagging enemy locations, it took a couple of rounds to even figure out where the bad guys were. It is a common occurance to be running toward a building, then all of a sudden a machine gun open up on you and you're dead. Or you're just jogging along with the rest of the team, and a 203 round comes out of no where and you're dead. I may be more analytical than most, but given how easy it was to die in that game, I thought to myself, "I wonder if kids are realizing that you don't respawn at the end of the round in real life?".

Patch Didn't Help (1)

Thermionix (1473355) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399399)

unfortunately the patch can't be said to have really helped. All the auth servers are still down, meaning no official servers currently work. the game still freezes for several people. I'm optimistic however that eventually the game servers will be functional and people will forget about the horrible launch.

Sounds Familiar (5, Funny)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399425)

Long hours unpaid, shortage of personnel, impossible deadlines, sounds like my time in the real US Army.

When it works, it's actually pretty good. (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399439)

I managed to get in a few servers and get a half hour of combat in. It's very intense and really a good tactical shooter. If the auth server had any stability or capacity there would be no story here aside from a few bugs that can be eliminated quickly. (Such as having two main menus up at the same time in-game, a few minor animation bugs, etc.)

Cute, but I'm not falling for it. (0, Flamebait)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399443)

Ha ha ha ha!

Their trouble is that they didn't give this job to the pure propagandists, (you know, guys like Westwood and. . , well Hollywood).

Heck, I'd only be half surprised if this wasn't a failure-by-design to make the military look useless and all "Beatle Bailey" in the eyes of the public while the real recruitment officers, (the News, for instance), do the dirty work.

Of course, it could also simply be the result of endless wishful thinking; you know. . . Imperial Rot and Decay before the Mongol Hoards come to raze the Empire.

-FL

the odds (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399455)

The chance that the entire team was incompetent is very small. When a project fails, look to its management, not to every single engineer on the team. Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

Re:the odds (3, Insightful)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399501)

And if they were all incompetent, then the fault lies with the asshat who hired them.

Re:the odds (3, Insightful)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399575)

If I had mod points, I would mod this up. So much rides on the shoulders of good management to allow the developers to do their job, and stop the shit filtering down from the higher ups, they also need to learn to say NO to feature creep, or feature swapping so "Yes I can do X, but to do it in time and on budget you can't have Y or Z so you choose.". Crap management just drags everyone and the project down.

Re:the odds (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399717)

Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

But it takes a special talent to fail when your funding is provided for you and you can give the game away for free.

Re:the odds (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399757)

Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

The industry has been around for a while. I don't see any evidence that it will change significantly in the future, management-wise.

Re:the odds (4, Insightful)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399783)

No it's a very mature industry. Allindustries go over time and over budget. It is a reality of life that we all think we can do more than we actually can. When that happens on the job we feel the consequences.

Now I'm not saying that is what happened here but it is a reality.

Re:the odds (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400917)

It is a reality of life that we all think we can do more than we actually can.

It's a reality of life that those not doing the actual work think that those doing the actual work can do more in the same amount of time than they actually can.

That separation of roles is important: in a large number of organizations (the military is probably no exception) the people making the scheduling and budgeting decisions and the people doing the work are not the same people. Which lends itself to exactly what happened here: when the project goes over time and over budget, those responsible for unreasonable scheduling simply say "It's the fault of the people doing the work that they didn't meet our perfectly reasonable schedule", and the people responsible for doing the work (including the overtime, loss of sleep, loss of family relationships, and so on) are canned.

Re:the odds (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400995)

That's true for schedule and budget overruns, but not true for the massive amount of failures. It's extremely rare that say a construction firm says "Man, this house is bad. In fact, it ended up so poor we can't even sell it. We'll just have to demolish it and start over." Then, again few try to redesign the house while they're building it...

Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401495)

That's true for schedule and budget overruns, but not true for the massive amount of failures. It's extremely rare that say a construction firm says "Man, this house is bad. In fact, it ended up so poor we can't even sell it. We'll just have to demolish it and start over." Then, again few try to redesign the house while they're building it...

That's an unfair comparison. Houses contain windows, but they don't have to run on Windows. Imagine how many houses would crumble if the floors were made of windows?

Re:the odds (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400341)

Only half?

Two Words (-1, Offtopic)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399461)

Socialized Healthcare.

Re:Two Words (2, Insightful)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400261)

Two Words. Socialized Healthcare.

Yes, I much prefer the warm, caring bureaucracy of a private insurance agency over the cold, sterile bureaucracy of a government agency...

Re:Two Words (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400725)

Gee, now that you've pointed out that bureaucracies are involved in both, I'd much rather have the bigger bureaucracy of government!

dochschloss! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399555)

gotta love it when unemployed army people complain about being 'stabbed in the back' by 'outside sources'.

It's not quite that bad . . . (5, Insightful)

apharmdq (219181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399645)

The situation is not quite that bad, though the summary makes it seem so. From what I gather, it wasn't a major part of the development team that was released, but rather 3-4 people in a small satellite team. Of course, there would definitely be bitterness about this, especially in this economic climate, but the job cut definitely wasn't extensive.

As for AA3 being flawed, the only major issue it's had is that the authentication servers have been overloaded by the hoards of new players trying to log in and play the game all at once. Obviously something like this can't be predicted, so no one is to blame. (I'm sure many of us recall Quake Live being hammered when it was released in open beta for similar reasons. And Demigod as well.)

The game itself is a LOT smoother and cleaner than any of its previous iterations. There are some occasional bugs and glitches that need ironing out, but thus far I haven't seen anything drastic.

(Yes, I am an AA player, and I have enjoyed for quite a long time. No, I'm not at all interested in joining the US Army. I realize it's a recruitment tool, but that doesn't mean there's any reason for me to shun it as a game.)

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400217)

Obviously something like this can't be predicted, so no one is to blame. (I'm sure many of us recall Quake Live being hammered when it was released in open beta for similar reasons. And Demigod as well.)

You just contradicted yourself; it sounds like it was actually very predictable.

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400949)

Agreed. Like the OP, I'm a long time AA player (since 2003). I remember the original versions of the game, and they had auth problems with the training content. In other words, you'd go through the training and when it came time to upload the results, they wouldn't upload. That was six years ago, and the same thing happened in this iteration. I think what really happened is the dev team knew there would be problems, but they under-estimated the impact of them. They probably figured a small percentage of auth connections would fail. This is the Army. They are working with tax dollars. The game is FREE. I doubt that they have the budget to roll out a serious number of servers to handle the load. They figure that people will look at the game, realize it is free, and deal with the issues... or just not play, and then the issues go away. I pre-downloaded the game on Steam and tried to play after it was done installing. After doing training three times and realizing that my results weren't getting uploaded, I checked the forums and saw a sticky post about auth problems. I turned the game off at that point. I will probably try it again in a couple of weeks and see if it is any better. Like I said in a previous post, the previous version of the game was a good FPS for what it costs (nothing).

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400597)

I had the authentication problem yesterday for just a couple of hours, the real problem is that everything else is bugged, I've completed one of the training mission with full score, yet at the end it says that I failed it completely, I've tried to play online but after joining a server and choosing side, I couldn't choose any class, so I changed server and it was even worse nobody could choose any side, so I changed again and with all other servers after the loading screen it sent me back to the menu. I tried again the next day, I choose a server with a ping of 32ms yet it was lagging like hell and I even spawned without a weapon, I had to find a dead body to steal his

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (3, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400665)

I had the authentication problem yesterday for just a couple of hours, the real problem is that everything else is bugged, I've completed one of the training mission with full score, yet at the end it says that I failed it completely,

That's a problem with the auth server. After you complete training, the game needs to successfully communicate with the auth server to update your stats. If it can't, it automatically defaults to "YOU ARE A NO GO!". This in an of itself was a mistake on the devs part IMO; they should have had a message encoded in which said "Unable to communicate with Authentication Server" or something so people didn't think that they failed training.

Moreover, every time you restart training, you have to sit and listen to the same diatribe by the D.I. This is not necessarily so bad for some things (where the speech is like a minute and a half long), but I feel really bad for the people who didn't get CLS (Combat Life-Saving) done the first time. You actually have to sit through a video and like a ten-minute lecture on how to properly administer first aid. Thankfully, the pass went through on my first try.

I've tried to play online but after joining a server and choosing side, I couldn't choose any class, so I changed server and it was even worse nobody could choose any side, so I changed again and with all other servers after the loading screen it sent me back to the menu. I tried again the next day, I choose a server with a ping of 32ms yet it was lagging like hell and I even spawned without a weapon, I had to find a dead body to steal his

You got further than me.

Even though I've completed Basic (qualifying on most stuff with Expert, otherwise Proficient), I can't actually join any games. Last night I was in a game where there was literally *one* guy playing and 23 people sitting in spec because they flat-out couldn't get in.

Again, it seems to be some kind of problem on the AA server's end, because more than a few people have set up LAN servers and you can play on there just fine.

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401273)

just press spacebar if you want to skip the talks

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (1)

Whillowhim (1408725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400673)

I even spawned without a weapon, I had to find a dead body to steal his

Naw, that's a feature. They're training you to recreate the human wave attacks used in WWII after they run out of funding for rifles.

Re:It's not quite that bad . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400803)

I tried AA3 on steam, did some training. But it never unlocked the training when I completed it. Annoying to say the least.

Not surprising (2, Insightful)

JayTech (935793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399879)

This doesn't come as a surprise to me... sometime around the version 1.6/1.7 release, a bunch of the DEVs were let go/fired/left (I don't remember specifics) and the game hasn't been the same since. I participated in the beta testing process at one point, and there were a bunch of great guys doing the testing and lots of reports of issues were being relayed to the developers. But it seemed that there were always issues slipping through the cracks because the Army was more interested in phasing in the overall "experience" or storyline of the game, rather than gameplay. I haven't been following the development of the game since a few years ago when the gameplay went south, and I imagine they've been losing lots of veteran players since then. Being the army, it should be easy to assume the DEV team was pressured with unrealistic goals and an unrealistic deadline for launch. Since the game is (obviously) targeted at young adults and they failed big-time on first impressions for many new players coming on board with this release, it's easy to see why someone's head was required on a platter even though the blame really lies with the Army officials. Typical bureaucracy at its finest. I hope the fired DEVs find good paying jobs with companies who don't require treading manure on a daily basis.

That said, I do hope that moving development into the military sector instead of the private sector ends up saving taxpayer money in the long run, IMHO the game as a whole isn't really an effective recruiting tool anyway. The only thing that's really useful is the virtual-reality training for our soldiers, and that should be the main focus of the development.

The glib cheap shot obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28400079)

I know how to fix this: Put KBR on the job.

Where's the Emperor when you need him? (3, Funny)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28400211)

If these guy's had use the Imperial handbook, they wouldn't be in this situation.

"The Emperor is most displeased with your apparent lack of effort" - Vader
"He asks the impossible, we need more men, we need more time" - Commander
"Then perhaps you can tell him yourself when he arrives" - Vader
"The Emperor is coming here?" - Commander
"That is correct Commander" - Vader
"We shall redouble our efforts" - Commander
"I hope so Commander for your sake, the Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Vader

Same CEO, Different Industry (0, Offtopic)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401623)

The same organization in charge of AA, is now in charge of GM. I look forward to more successful product launches!

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