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Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the more-or-less-finished dept.

Bug 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."

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Saboteur, hey? (5, Funny)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374496)

Sounds like they've been sabotaged.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374508)

Who gives shit about PC games?

Re:Saboteur, hey? (4, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374530)

I get very tired of these sorts of bugs. I had experienced a title screen bug for Fallout3. After spending 4 hours trying to get it to work, I just gave up and returned the game.

It seemed that I was not alone either. Unfortunately, the games industry is being pushed by customer demand and sabotaged by shrinking budgets from the corporate side. In the end the only thing that can be cut from the budget is QA, which is a fatal mistake.

Worse still is places where you cannot return your product. Talk about non efficate product.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (2, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374600)

I'd love to know where you shop. No matter how much I bitch and whine they never take back my opened software.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374708)

Try Costco. They'll take back Windows 3.1 and give you a full refund.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374730)

Welcome to CostCo. I love you. Welcome to CostCo. I love you. Welcome to Costco...

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374738)

And they have a great legal program. I only got in because my Aunt was an Alum.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (2, Funny)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375340)

They can have my Windows 3.1 when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375760)

No idea where you live, but most countries have some laws about the merchantability of products sold. If it does not meet this, whether it is opened doesn't matter 1 bit.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376234)

Good luck enforcing said laws when you're up against a faceless corporation that can drag you out in court.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376218)

I've run into this same issue and constantly wonder if that is even legal -- how the fsck can they sell you something that DOESN'T WORK and then still tell you that you can't return it? I would think that the sort of thing ought to be covered under consumer protection laws... but I guess not.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (5, Insightful)

arQon (447508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374896)

For all that "the industry is being pushed", it's not ALWAYS the game developers' fault. For a "real" game (ie "not a crappy movie tie-in generic copypaste with new art") you can easily go through dozens of driver revisions during years of development, all of which work fine, and then have a new set come out after you ship the master which suddenly doesn't work with your game.

ATI, much though I love their hardware, border on completely indifferent to driver bugs, and nvidia aren't really that much better. Unless your game is a "showpiece" for their hardware, they simply don't care if something doesn't work the way it's supposed to or even has catastrophic errors in it. Case in point, every ATI driver release from April through OCTOBER this year *hemorrhaged* memory if you used VBOs a certain way. 6 months to fix a bug that critical is pretty miserable.
Yes, modern graphics drivers are horrifically complex, but still...

Sometimes it works the other way too. There's a tiny little bug in Quake3 that can make an invalid GL call at times: it "worked" for 7 years because the drivers gracefully ignored it, then suddenly started to cause *massive* slowdowns on nvidia cards (from 400+ fps to 100). Technically, it's id's "fault", but it's pretty hard to blame them for it - or to blame nvidia for the drivers going into Sulk Mode, since it IS an invalid call.

That's an extreme example, but the point is that you're dependent on drivers that you don't "own" for your game to work, they frequently don't, and you've got no control over them at all.
If you're id / Epic / Valve, and pushing a AAA title that will prompt players to upgrade their cards, you can doubtless get someone at the IHV to look into the problems. If you're at a company like Pandemic that basically folded before even finishing the game, good luck with that even if you actually have any developers left to try to get a fix or hack up a workaround if a driver rev pulls the rug out from under you.

Of course, the developers COULD have been so completely half-assed that they didn't run a single build on an ATI card, in which case they should indeed be beaten to death with cluebats. :P

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374986)

How exactly is EA supposed to make their number's for this quarter if they have to delay releasing product until after they get it working? It's better for them to get you to buy the product now, and then actually provide you with the working product sometime later, than for them to delay getting your money until after they fix even grossly apparent bugs.

Especially in the October-December timeframe, as they can get WAY more people to buy games now, when people are in the mode of buying things for themselves and other people, than it is in say, January, when people are trying to pay for all the crap they bought in October-December.

Wait a few months to buy games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375022)

This is why I started waiting at least 3 months before buying a game.
You find out if it is a piece of crap. Bugs are fixed. And the best part is that the price tends to go down (after more than 3 months)

I violated this rule for Neverwinter Nights (trusting BioWare), and NWN at release was a buggy nightmare. I also returned it.

Wait until the game has been properly tested in the wild.

Re:Wait a few months to buy games (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375436)

But...but...(lips trembling)...but I thought we were the wild?
 
/** runs sobbing **/

Re:Saboteur, hey? (5, Informative)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375500)

Unfortunately, the games industry is being pushed by customer demand and sabotaged by shrinking budgets from the corporate side.

Definitely no.

I worked for the video game industry, and this has nothing to do with QA or anything...
The period of the year when the games sell well is Christmas.
But selling your game at Christmas means that the game MUST be ready by the end of September.
If you miss September, you can say goodbye to make money with your game (especially if it's crappy).
There is also a small period at the beginning of January: parents gave money to their children, and the children tend to buy games.

In general, the company does not care if the game is ready for launch or not, because it does not want to miss the launch date, so the game is sold in the state it is in September.
Also, the company believes that a patch will be available by December and won't affect most of the customers, since the game is scheduled to be played after the Christmas sales.
Only the early customers will discover the problem.
Note also that when a crappy game is published, the company behind the game does not send the game to the magazines, since it does not want to ruin its Christmas sales.

QA has probably found the problem before September, but the marketing department told that the game must be available whatever the circumstances are.

So, instead of blaming QA or developers, blame the marketing department instead !

Re:Saboteur, hey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375646)

THIS is why PC gaming is dead to me.

I just pop a DVD into the console and forget all about it. I am so much happier now 3

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376240)

Unfortunately, console games can have bugs too. Unfortunately for you, when they crop up, there is nothing you can do, whereas for PC a patch should be along shortly.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (2, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376494)

That used to be the case, but now since they have bulit in storage, they can patch them too. That's also encouraging developers to ship now and patch later even on the consolesm and I'm not happy about that.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

sabre3999 (1143017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376498)

This was true before the current console generation, but not now. Thanks to the addition of large storage devices, new consoles like the PS3 and Xbox360 can use updates to fix bugs, among other things. I still prefer my PC for gaming though.

Re:Saboteur, hey? (1)

ExKoopaTroopa (671002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375912)

I also had enough of this sort of bugs, so I gave up on PC gaming, bought an Xbox and have never stopped playing since

That's no promotion, it's a warning label (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374544)

Like the surgeon general of gaming telling you to stay away if you have ATI...

ATI bugs... (1, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374550)

Eve Online just introduced a new graphical problem (which actually results in a CPU spike too) in the latest expansion (Dominion) that's causing problems with a lot of ATI cards.

This is why I go with nVidia: my card may be slower than your ATI and I may have paid more for it, but I'll have driver updates twice a week that almost universally work flawlessly. Never had any luck at all with ATI's drivers for any product.

Re:ATI bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374586)

While I have experienced plenty of issues with ATI drives I can attest to the fact that they are doing way better than at any time in the past. I fully recommend ATI over NVIDIA anymore. ATI has even given code to the xorg radeonhd driver project to enable 3d on its latest cards. It sucks that there are issues but hopefully they can work them out.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374594)

I've never had any luck with Nvidia hardware. I even had one card overheat and burn out the motherboard it was installed to.

besides this isn't a video card issue this should have been discovered within two minutes of Q&A testing. I guess they just skipped the Q&A

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375046)

Unless the card was actually made by Nvidia, its not Nvidias fault. My first GeForce was from Asus and their card design caused it to overheat easily. I saw many overheat problems with the company at that time and some after. I also noted that their support site was in china and I never got a response to my support request. I have never bought Asus again.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375662)

I've been using nVidia hardware since the GeForce 2.

I've had zero problems, and the models I buy have been one of "PNY" "OCZ" and "BFG"

The 3-letter acronym is a coincidence, I have to say I never went for a particular brand but went for what I was looking for at a sale price at the given time.

Inversely, whenever I have tried ATI, I've had nothing but issues. You can blame drivers, but I even have issues using the GPL 2D driver. I personally think ATI graphics hardware just plain sucks, but remember that is just an opinion backed by anecdotal evidence.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375668)

er, to clarify since i bring up the GPL driver... I'm talking about Windows primarily, but used that as an example of why I don't think it is entirely the driver's fault.

I've had a few (very minor, very few) niggles on Linux, but not in a long while (at least a year now).

My current hardware is a 9800 GTX+. I can't remember the vendor, though. Either PNY or BFG... fairly certain it's PNY.

Re:ATI bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374596)

Yeah, we could all start using the same vendor's equipment. Or, people could stop writing shitty code that is only checked for compatibility with one hardware vendor.

Re:ATI bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374610)

"Never had any luck at all with ATI's drivers for any product." Way to generalize. I've gone back and forth between ATI and Nvidia over the years and at different times I've had issues with both camps concerning drivers. Also prior to 2008, Nvidia's stereoscopic support caused me more BSOD than any other piece of hardware I've had. As the technology changes there's a chance in every generation of cards the drivers won't be up to snuff.

Re:ATI bugs... (2, Interesting)

Zardus (464755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374684)

I'll chime in on nVidia's side. Been using them ever since I switched to Linux, and thanks to their 100% consistent, solid Linux support since like 2000 or something, I will almost certainly never switch away. Out of the probably more than a dozen nVidia cards I've had, each one has worked flawlessly with great 3D in Linux and Windows alike.

In contrast to that, my friend who used to be an ATI fanboy had nothing but issues with both the open source and the ATI-provided Linux drivers until like 2006, when he finally gave up and switched to nVidia chipsets on everything.

The performance leader seems to trade off between nVidia and ATI depending on generation, but nVidia always has the driver support. There's just no reason to risk the driver issues by going with ATI.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375450)

AMD is now being helpful with open-source drivers, and they're progressing at a great rate. Would you switch back when open-source ATI drivers mature?

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375806)

I will. I keep up to date with it whenever I need to buy a graphics card.

Nvidia just came out with vdpau which will keep my media computer with them for some time to come but my computer and my wifes are always up for grabs.

That said, I probably not would run out and buy a new card I didn't need. It would determine my next purchase, though.

Last I saw, I only noticed solid development on the old cards. While this would not be a deal breaker it would be something I would consider.

Re:ATI bugs... (0, Troll)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375472)

Sorry for the doublepost, but I should note that nvidia deserves credit for keeping their closed driver up-to-date, and fixing issues quickly when KDE4 turned up bottlenecks in some rarely-used features. However, the future does not lie in closed-source drivers.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374688)

Yeah, because nVidia [cnet.com] never put bad shit out the door.

Re:ATI bugs... (2, Interesting)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374700)

Funny you should bring up driver quality; the latest nVidia driver update for my Win7 laptop (9600M GS) broke suspend (to RAM) and an older one (for a Vista laptop, 7600 GO) broke hibernate. I'm used to this kind of garbage with proprietary drivers on Linux, but on Windows I really expect better.

Furthermore, during Vista's beta period, ATI already had solid, functional, stable, and fast drivers. By comparison, at least for the GeForce 7600 GO in my older laptop, it was some 6 months after Vista RTM before I could get a driver that would give me decent performance (the drivers at release ran at about 40% the proper framerate) and features (many things, such as scale but maintain aspect ratio, were unavailable) without using hideously unstable beta drivers (that would crash every time I switched out of a full-screen 3D app). Even once drivers were available, they were initially only for desktop cards (modifying the .INF, or using downloads from laptopvideo2go.com, were workarounds that shouldn't have been required).

I will grant you that if a game is going to have problems with ATI or nVidia graphics, it's more likely to have a problem with ATI. However, in light of nVidia drivers managing to break parts of the operating system, I really don't think they can legitimately be considered better than ATI. Cost for performance, especially in the mid-range, they are also much worse - and in my experience you really don't get what you pay for there.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376170)

So you're modifying INF files to install drivers when the drivers would otherwise not install for your card. Now you have issues and blame Nvidia?

Blame the vendor of your laptop for not giving you updated drivers.

Re:ATI bugs... (1, Troll)

garry_g (106621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374920)

So, your card is "working flawlessly", and yet you still have to update it twice per week? Wonder why ...

On I side note, the last nVidia I had was a mayor PITA ... several games (actually, all, which isn't many) always froze up within a couple minutes of gameplay, unless I cleanly rebooted my XP machine first ... (and that was after a fresh install, too!) Switched to an ATI card which was less power-hungry, only slightly slower, passively cooled, and cheaper, and haven't had any problems since ... and that is without the need to update the drivers constantly in the hope if finally getting the stuff to work ...

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375148)

I use ATI cards since Mach64 was introduced, with some short detours to Nvidia, 3dfx, and PowerVR. I was even an early adopter of the ATI Rage Fury and I never had a single problem with ATI drivers. Never ever.

Re:ATI bugs... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375332)

Amen to that. NVidia > ATI (price, quality, and reliability). Who you fly for in EVE?

Re:ATI bugs... (2, Insightful)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375432)

Then again, I haven't heard of a notebook being rendered useless due to ATI's inability to properly specify the package for their GPU. That very thing happened to me with a NVidia IGP. Experiences like that or NVidia's horrible OS X CUDA drivers (that may or may not work and may or may not negatively affect regular rendering) tend to make one suspicious of the quality of their offering.

Note that I didn't have many issues with their discrete graphics cards under Windows and Linux but that was before I used Mac notebooks almost exclusively for a while; plus, my current desktop's ATI IGP (didn't yet have the time and money to go discrete) also performs without any issue.

XP is too popular (0, Troll)

Parallax48 (990689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374580)

It sounds like the developers choose to use the fastest and most reliable Windows version available for development.

Re:XP is too popular (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375132)

A game I worked on that was released in March was developed on XP-32. All the workstations at my new job are brand new Vista-64 machines.
I think it's more of a case of not wanting to change the version of Windows running on the dev machines mid-project, or even at all.

QA should have tried it on Vista / ATI though, so despite the possibility of the Saboteur devs not being on Vista themselves this should have been noticed.

Re:XP is too popular (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375158)

I'm not blaming QA btw, it's just as likely that they did find the bug but it was swept under the rug due to being "a crash that affects a small minority of customers and would be very difficult to fix" by people in charge.

I bet I know who the "Saboteur" is... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374648)

It's Nvidia!

On a serious note, 29% to 63% market share is not even close to "nearly equal".

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

This is where consoles win (0, Troll)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374654)

As an avid non-gamer, mostly because PC gaming sucks and console gaming is too costly, I have to say, this is why console gaming is where it's at.

Now, if they'd standardize on an architecture and throw a hardware abstraction layer into the mix, each new iteration of a console would be backward compatible with the old (X-Box seems to be pretty damned close), and the major complaint used by PC gamers to justify their sickness will be void. Once your new machine can do everything your old machine could do, PC gaming no longer has that advantage; upgrading your console no longer means having to keep the old or lose those games.

Console gaming FTW, from a non-biased non-gamer who's able to see both sides.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374692)

Console gaming does avoid most of the hardware problems of the PC side, and is fine for some kinds of games such as sports. However, it mostly sucks for game types like first person shooters and strategy games. If you are into the latter types, then you don't have much of a choice but a PC.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

FearForWings (1189605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374732)

Consoles could be fine for all types of gaming if the manufactures allowed for full keyboard and mouse support on their systems.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

Evelas (1531407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374760)

Couldn't agree with you more. Sadly they don't, so PC for me.

Re:This is where consoles win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30376414)

Play FF7 Dirge of Cerebus. It's a FPS game on a PS2. You can use a keyboard and mouse on it.

Sadly, not all FPS games allow this. Console games rarely allow for devices that are not shipped inside the box.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374804)

Yes and no...

You're more specifically talking about PC-style FPS games and strategies, with PC-style game mechanics and UIs - one which revolve around pointing at things.

There are different game mechanics possible...though not used for the most part because of hybridization of gaming market brought mostly by Microsoft - since devtools, code, assets are almost the same it's "sensible" for publishers to create hybrid kind of games, not exploiting the strengths of both platforms.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375138)

You're more specifically talking about PC-style FPS games and strategies, with PC-style game mechanics and UIs - one which revolve around pointing at things

Yes, that's what sets a First Person Shooter is.

I remember playing GoldenEye on the N64, a decent enough game but not equal to Half Life in any way. It had the option to turn auto aim off and it quickly became impossible to play on the easiest settings. It did make for an interesting multi player match though, lasted 5 times as long because no one could hit anything.

FPS's on consoles all use auto aim to compensate for the lack of finesse in a console controller. This is also why you cant have strategy games.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375240)

Yes, that's what sets a First Person Shooter is.

No.

Descent 3 is also regarded as FPS game. Yet it doesn't use pointing mechanics (as a matter of fact, there was a clone of it for PS1; DualShock worked beautifully). For another example - there were melee combat FPS games for PC. But it's hard to argue that such game with Wii-like control wouldn't be great (well, assuming the game generally is ok...). Another example are lightgun games - totally different kind of "pointing", also FPS (yes, there are lightgun games which aren't on rails)

GoldenEye is exactly the bad example - it was using mouse mechanics on non-mouse controller. You just don't know any other. But the short list above shows they do exist.

Similarly strategies -, you can have them, there are lots of Japanese ones with long tradition (spanning to SNES times usually). Their devs know for a long time that pointing UI simply won't do. But there is a good working alternative - nested menus.

Re:This is where consoles win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375268)

And yet GoldenEye is the most popular of these by a long shot.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375324)

Yes, that's how primitive* PC trends are destroying good console gaming for some time.

*walking, inherently a 2D thing, in a 3D game? (oh, right, the simplistic control scheme can't handle more, not efficiently) Game mechanics determined by showing off shiny GFX and players falling to it?

(yes, such pointless "argument" can go both ways)

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375656)

Yes, that's how primitive* PC trends are destroying good console gaming for some time.

*walking, inherently a 2D thing, in a 3D game?

How primitive indeed! Ever since I realized we live in a 3D universe, I've only traveled by jet pack and pogo stick. Why let that third dimension go to waste by walking or driving around in 2D?

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376376)

Popular != good -- Miley Cyrus is massively popular...

Re:This is where consoles win (5, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374974)

From a non-biased GAMER who's still sees both sides, I would say consoles (as an experience) today suck!

Consoles today are basically the worst of the PC world and the worst of the old console world.

Consoles used to be about highly polished games that the developers (not the artists & marketing) put a lot of work into. Now a days with the net connection, most games deliver as betas (like the PCs), and then after 2 updates become... ok. The graphics are better, but the controls, storylines, action, and overall game play has gone down the crapper. We have games that are cross platform on the PSP, Xbox360, and PS3! So those games basically cater to the lowest common denominator of all three and not take advantage of any specifics. Xbox360 ports to the PS3 look like crap (I am looking at you EA)!

The worst of the console world... the price tag. Cause its on a "console," there is a huge upfront price tag. And with the net connection, you get the rest of the game delivered via additional charges! There is also the bombardment of marketing (which I think is the major reason for the price tags) that drone on and on about the latest upcoming game that is either a sequel or must have new concept. Which of course rarely lives up to the hype. Not to mention, we mostly lose that big benefit of consoles... local coop play. With the net, every bloody stupid game wants you to connect to some random 12 year old to play what should be local coop, or a rip off of counterstrike.

All consoles today are: locked down, controlled, 2 year old proprietary hardware... PCs! The only advantage is the massive number of games made for it (cause its a great way to lock in customers).

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375072)

Luckily there are not only some good console games still being released, but there's also little hassle generally with running older games.

But nice to see that some other people also see roots of the problems (on both consoles and PCs...) in similar way to mine. Unfortunately I almost lost hope for the situation to improve, with so many people simply pointing fingers at "teh evil consoles". It's almost like publishers are playing them, with convenient scapegoat that people swallow, not seeing incompetence and greed of publishing houses.

BTW, DLCs came from PCs - they was called expansions in the past.

Re:This is where consoles win (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375130)

Luckily there are not only some good console games still being released, but there's also little hassle generally with running older games.

I've got a bunch of old N64 and SNES cart (yes, spot the fanboy*) but why I cant play these in my Wii. Yet I can play Mean streets and Martian Memorandum on my new gaming PC. Not a problem via DOSBOX, I can also run Half Life 1 and System Shock 2 without a problem on XP.

* - Yes I still have an N64 and SNES, although the SNES was not my first one.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375190)

There's a lot of games that can't be run on DOSbox (well, perhaps on a ridiculously overpowered PC), don't run well on modern OSes and look much better with 3D acceleration (meaning VMs aren't optimal). The only way to sensibly play them is to maintain some old machine...

HL1 is not a typical game. SS2 does have problems on current OSes/GFX drivers.

Consoles...yeah, you must also "maintain" some old one, but if one breaks another is easy to find for the time window I'm talking about.

Re:This is where consoles win (3, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375720)

There's a lot of games that can't be run on DOSbox...

And there are a lot of games that CAN be run on a modern system. Just for a laugh, I tried one of the oldest games taht I could find in my collection under Windows 7 (beta). It is Microsoft Fury 3 [wikipedia.org] , released in 1995 (before the N64). It played perfectly! The game never came with an option to change the resolution of the game, so it looked better when playing it in a window rather than full screen.

I have tried some older ones under DOSBox before, but they were non-action ones so they didn't really stress the system. So at least you have SOME chance that a game that old will play on a new PC system.

Also, it should be pointed out to the GP that you can still play some old SNES and N64 games on the Wii using Virtual Console [wikipedia.org] . But this requires that you buy the games again, which annoys me when I still have the original in my hands. At least there is no hassle having to transfer the games from the old catridges.

Re:This is where consoles win (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375850)

Uuuuhhhh...you DO know that the same argument applies to a PC, right? Cost of a 2 port KVM switch? Around $10 at Newegg. Cost of a Win2K era PC? Under $30 but can usually be had for free at places like Freecycle or just watching your local curbs. Being able to run Redneck Rampage under actual DOS? Priceless baby, priceless.

I am sitting here looking at an old 733Mhz SFF Office box that came with XP that a local company was tossing, throw in a Geforce FX5200 Lo Pro and it makes a great Win9x/WinXP dual boot for old games that don't run correctly on modern OSes (like MechWarrior 3 and the bouncing APC bug) and the cost for the whole smash was $24 for a 4 port KVM. Considering how shitty some of the older consoles were, like the 3 NES (those early flip loaders sucked!), 4 Sega CDs, and 4 PS1s I went through before finally moving to PC for good, finding a decent running console for older games can be expensive or damned near impossible.

Comparing the 16 years I've been PC gaming (93-current) to the 18 years I spent console gaming (77-95) I'd have to say with the exclusion of the damned near impossible to kill woodgrain VCS that I've had less hassle overall with the PC. Of course I'm not stupid enough to try to surf on my gamer box so I don't have to deal with AV, firewall, or any of the other FPS sucking crap, so that may be why I've had better luck. Every customer I've dealt with that had serious problems with PC gaming were trying to do everything on a single box and just weighing the poor things down. I tell them to pick up a cheap PC for use as a "netbox" along with a KVM and save the gamer rig for gaming. They always come back talking about how much "nicer" everything works now,LOL! Like having over a dozen programs running at startup isn't gonna effect performance!

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376432)

Not to nitpick, but VirtualBox recently added support for 3D acceleration inside of a VM. I have not yet, had the chance to try it out, though I think I will tonight now that it is on my mind...

Re:This is where consoles win (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375050)

Anybody who claims that consoles "just work" obviously haven't tried loading Borderlands on PS3 - it takes 3 hours to download and install all the patches to make it work... besides, playing a first person shooter on a console is like eating soup with fork - sure you can do it, but it's awkward as hell and will take you forever to get used to. And once consoles do everything the PC's can do - they will just become PC's and then the point is moot anyways.

Re:This is where consoles don't win (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375102)

As an avid non-gamer, mostly because PC gaming sucks and console gaming is too costly,

This is offset by PC games being cheaper to buy. A$10 cheaper in fact. Lets look at Modern Warfare 2 shall we, Xbox 36 = A$119 [ebgames.com.au] , PS3 = A$119 [ebgames.com.au] ,PC = A$99 [ebgames.com.au] . OK that's A$20 dollars cheaper but I'll argue at A$10 because I'm nice.

I buy two games a month, that's A$540 off the cost of my A$2000 gaming rig over two years. So that reduces the cost of the rig to A$1460. The cost of a PS3 is still $600, a new HDTV is A$1000. The price of a PS3 when I built my gaming rig in Feb was A$999. A$2000 is a top of the line gaming rig, Phenom II 955BE with a Geforce 985

This is of course ignoring digital distribution. I can pick up steam and Impulse games for A$50 easily.

Beyond price there's usefulness. After the Xbox 360 is superseded the Xbox 360 is useless, my PC can be re-rolled into a word processing/email machine.

There's also the question of graphics, As FarCry 2 proved the PC is still the superior graphics machine. I also get flash games for free, a superior control system, cheaper add-on packs and strategy games. In fact I just bought the latest add-on for Sins of a Solar Empire for US$10.

PC gaming is only more expensive for those who do not know the real costs.

Re:This is where consoles don't win (1)

kklein (900361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375416)

Sorry, I've tracked my spending. At least for me, moving games to the living room has been way, way cheaper. I never pay full price for the games, though.

Re:This is where consoles win (2)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375222)

How sad that you got modded troll when what you say is true.

I've been playing The Saboteur on my XBox for a week now without any problems, despite being a PC gamer for years I switched to the 360 in 2006 and have never looked back. The key drivers have been no fucking around with drivers and stuff to make things even work, and also no real serious issues with cheating. Sure you get people exploit game glitches but at least there are no aimbots, radar or anything stupid and game destroying like that.

I have tried PC gaming since 2006 on multiple occasions, but it's just not as good and I end up back on my 360. Shit like Crysis ran like crap even on a £1500 PC and still didn't look as good as games like Gears of War 2. Then there's the fact you have to deal with DRM shit from the likes of Steam and on EA games.

Contrary to popular belief amongst PC gamers, FPS and even RTS games are just as fun with console controls, I always figured I'd never play an RTS on the 360 because I thought it wouldn't be as good without a mouse, but it's just not true, when you get used to using a console controller it's just as easy. Some games, like Overlord for example actually worked better on the console in terms of controls than they did on the PC. In terms of RTS games I complete C&C3 and RA3 on hardest difficulty on the 360 no problem and find no issue playing online either.

The issue is for PC gaming that it's getting worse rather than better too- if I buy a 360 retail game I can still sell it on second hand, I can't even do that now if I buy a game in a shop for the PC and have to activate it on Steam. Some issues are the fault of the platform- the PC's openness is the reason it's easier to cheat and cheat more spectacularly, whilst others are the fault of game developers- i.e. DRM, and other problems again are half developer, half platform fault- i.e. bugs like this caused by hardware with millions of combinations of different configurations to cater to and developers not catering to them.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375696)

Contrary to popular belief amongst PC gamers, FPS and even RTS games are just as fun with console controls

You say that as if PC gamers hold those beliefs mistakenly and have never actually tried it.

I have. It isn't fun. For instance, Halo 2 only became fun for me after I bought a SmartJoy Frag (keyboard+mouse adapter for Xbox), and even then, it wasn't as fun as Halo 1 was on PC.

In terms of RTS games I complete C&C3 and RA3 on hardest difficulty on the 360 no problem and find no issue playing online either.

Playing online against other console players, right?

Ever wonder why games that are released on both console and PC rarely have cross-platform multiplayer?

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375964)

"You say that as if PC gamers hold those beliefs mistakenly and have never actually tried it."

You say that as if I wasn't a PC gamer who knows first hand that if you give it a chance and get used to the controller just like you had to with mouse and keyboard originally then there is absolutely no issue. This is mirrored by the fact there are so many console players playing online now, enough to dwarf the PC playing population in just about every dual platform multiplayer game- because it's just not a problem, or at very least not enough of a problem to be unable to outweigh the rampant cheating issue on the PC.

"Ever wonder why games that are released on both console and PC rarely have cross-platform multiplayer?"

Not really, it's primarily because XBox live requires a specific networking model and unless the developers are willing to use Live for Windows it wont work, if you want to develop say a Mac or Linux version too then this option is out the window. But then, games like Shadowrun that had PC vs. XBox multiplayer worked fine and XBox players were certainly at no disadvantage, you really couldn't tell if you were playing against another XBox or a PC player from the XBox and vice versa.

If it was for any other reason than the networking models/licensing issues as you suggest then there'd be more PS3 vs. XBox 360 multiplayer games as console vs. console wouldn't have the disadvantage you claim exists, but currently there is none.

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376278)

Console gaming is fine for most, but for those of us who care, PC gaming will always be far superior. My main reason: user created mods. These will never be easy to create on consoles and will never proliferate the same way we have seen on the PC. Mods extend the shelf-life of a game by several years at the very least. Just look at Half-Life, Doom, Quake, or more recently, Oblivion and Fallout 3. You can completely customize and alter your gaming experience to the point that the game feels completely new. This is not even to mention the increased graphical horsepower you get with a PC -- I have played GTA4 on PC and on PS3, and there is absolutely no comparison. The improvement is actually great enough that it makes it easier to see what you are doing and actually makes it easier and more enjoyable to play the game. There is still a place for PC gaming, and I hope that the game companies will continue to see it (though the chances of this seem slim).

Re:This is where consoles win (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376478)

You're right, consoles never have these issues...

You didn't hear about Ghost Recon for the PS3 that was unplayable until the patch came out 1+ month later?

If it really is a driver issue, then I think that the problem lies with a lack of communication between the game industry and the video card industry.

I tested Saboteur (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374662)

I tested Saboteur across all platforms and, of all the titles I tested, the Pandemic devs were more open to fix issues than any development studio i've had experience with. Unfortunately the 360 and PS3 versions were much more thoroughly tested (we're talking a few weeks a piece). This was because 4 days into Saboteur PC testing (of which 4 of 5 testing stations were nVidia, btw) EA (the publisher and last end-tester before final submission) laid off 2000 people, which included almost all North American testers (essentially cutting the amount of testers globally by half).

The bottom line is this: the company's agenda is to release the product on a set day, and regardless of the quality of the product it WILL be out that day. You may see street dates pushed ahead a few months in advance but people test until a week or two until it hits the shelf, and if issues arise during the final hour most times the bugs will be swept under the table until one day they may get patched (if enough people bitch). It's sad that first day patches are not only considered acceptable, but are the norm these days.

Re:I tested Saboteur (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374754)

This is exactly the problem and I don't blame you for posting anonymously. Every single EA game I have owned after a certain point shipped with horrible bugs. Things that you could have caught in testing after about an hour of play time. Game stopping bugs. Only to be fixed a MONTH later when I shelved the game or had taken it back and swore off EA. It's getting harder and harder to avoid their games, though, since they keep buying out good ideas and then turning them to shit.

You know, EA, games take a while to develop. If you don't have the resources, time, or patience to deal with it, you're welcome to go eat a bowl of dicks. I'm tired of promising games being snatched up by EA, only to have them lay everyone off at the last minute and skip testing. They've done this with pretty much every single game, even their successful ones.

Re:I tested Saboteur (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375006)

EA is a blacklisted company in my book. If I hear EA, I just ignore anything from anywhere about it till the game has come out and at least a month has passed. Then I do a google search for " sucks" and see what the results are. Even if everyone thinks the game is great, I still just rent it.

EA needs to learn to pay its developers and testers like it does its marketing/sales, artists, reviewers, and copyright owners.

Re:I tested Saboteur (2, Informative)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375030)

EA is well known for forcing game developers to release Beta and even Alpha quality software as final.

Another thing EA is well known for is the, after release, quick redirection of resources from bug-fixing/patching to making (paid for) expansions.

I strongly suspect that EA's recent "downsizing" simply exacerbated the negative-effects of their usual pattern of behavior.

As long as people keep buying their games, EA will keep doing the same thing again and again and people will keep getting shafted.

"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (2, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374706)

The studio is being retired; there's no value in having the product work at launch. If it takes them a month to get the patch out, so be it, people will blame (the now defunct) Pandemic, and people will continue to buy EA games. If they ever revive the Pandemic name (why? what notable titles have they made? Dark Rein comes to mind, if only because my buddy was obsessed with Dark Rein 2 for so long in high school) nobody will remember this flop in 5-10 years time. The only flop anyone ever remembers is Duke Nukem Forever. I doubt most geeks could tell you the name of the rouge iD developer who made his own FPS (which failed miserably), or what the name of his game was. In two years nobody will remember the "Pandemic studios Pandemic of 2009".

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (2, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374778)

People won't blame Pandemic, they'll blame EA. But what chance do we have of boycotting EA for it's well-known and shitty practices? Seems like 90% of all big name games come out from them. Perhaps the various Departments of Labor should look into how they treat their staff? Finish this project, lay everyone off, skimp on pay, hours, blacklist people, contract violations, etc.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (2, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374816)

Hey, there are people who think Daikatana was rather good...

O RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374890)

And just who are these "people"?

Re:O RLY? (1)

iosq (1084989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375056)

John Romero and his e-p33n.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375014)

Hey, there are people who think Daikatana was rather good...

And it's easy to tell who they are too, what with "John Romero's BITCH" tattooed on their foreheads.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374884)

The studio is being retired; there's no value in having the product work at launch. If it takes them a month to get the patch out, so be it, people will blame (the now defunct) Pandemic, and people will continue to buy EA games

There's definitely value in having the product work at launch - if there wasn't value in that, why develop the game at all? EA has spent most of the title's budget by now - now is the time to get income. Looking at EA's results, that income is sorely needed too.

And of course, I recall Daikatana and John Romero. Not a lot of other fiascos from that time, though.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375248)

If they ever revive the Pandemic name (why? what notable titles have they made?

Battlezone 2. Though that franchise seems to be long forgotten (which is a pity... it was a very interesting genre).

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375402)

I doubt most geeks could tell you the name of the rouge iD developer who made his own FPS (which failed miserably), or what the name of his game was.

I "remember" John Romero and Daikatana, and I wasn't even aware of the PC games scene when it was current news.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376574)

I "remember" John Romero and Daikatana, and I wasn't even aware of the PC games scene when it was current news.

That's because John Romero made you his bitch. Duh.

Re:"EA released Pandemic Studios' final game" (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376606)

Ditto, but the game was also released on the N64.

Problem with Sabateur, with DirectX, or with ATI? (1)

Mhrmnhrm (263196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374728)

This is the second game in just the past two weeks to suffer MAJOR headaches with ATI video cards... CCP's EVE-Online Dominion expansion has also been plagued by ATI-related video problems, artifacts, and outright crashing.

Wasn't that the exact experience with GTA SA? (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374756)

I friend of mine bought it, back then. And it hat not one, not two, not three, but four points in the loading of the game, where it could crash. Which means that pretty much everyone got into one.

And then, on all nVidia cards, all triangles were messed up. With one of the 3 points of each triangle being wayy off in its position, moving all over the screen. Like a ton of spikes.

There was not a single comment from Rockstar. Let alone a patch.

And now for the funny part: I loaded it of bittorrent, and as always, I went to gamecopyworld.com, to look for a crack.
They not only had more than one working crack. No. They hay patches for every single of those four crash points, *and* the nVidia bug!

I couldn’t hold back to laugh at him. ^^

With GTA 4 it was not much better. Right from the start, the input lag was around 3 seconds! The intro was full of weird graphical errors. And the game still runs slow as hell, even on computers that have the power to run a game with those weak graphics and physics twice or thrice!
18 fps at 1024x786 with a Radeon 4850? Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me??

ATI, in my experience, has always... (1)

dikdik (1696426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374758)

...had wonky drivers. Especially on their more recent cards (radeon forward). I'm guessing they get their cards so cheap by not paying their driver team. For instance, on my mulitmonitor system I used to have the Radeon VE (Win2k). I installed Wolfenstein and Jedi Knight. Wolfenstein would crash all the time, but Jedi Knight was okay. So I upgraded drivers. Then Jedi Knight didn't work, and Wolfenstein did. Bah. Not to mention going from TV out to Monitor out and back again was a terrifying ordeal because their saveable settings "themes" don't work. Or at least didn't work up until the time I took out my *last* ATI card. mmmmmm Parhelia....

Because most gamers have zero awareness (3, Insightful)

trawg (308495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374802)

...about the games they're going to spend money on, and then find out too late that it has problems (ie, after they've paid for it).

Gamers need to get over that urgent, gripping need they have to rush out and buy a new game the second it is released. They've become too complacent and accustomed to game developers not releasing demos, and - sadly - this has become the status quo. Instead of a demo being something that absolutely has to happen before people even glance at your game, publishers have figured out that they can release some PRs, screenshots, and trailers, and slap anything in a box and it will /still/ sell enough to justify doing it that way.

Once they've gotten your money, it's basically too late (unless you have the energy to go and demand a refund).

BE A DISCRIMINATING GAMER. Read reviews. Try demos, and if they don't have one post on their forums asking where their demo is. Check out their forums and see what people are complaining about. It's all about knowledge.

Further, anyone that has touched an EA game in the last 10 years should know by now that they make games based on a deadline. Unless a game is catastrophically not ready, then it will be shipped and shelved, and any problems will get fixed later (maybe). They make a lot of great games, but a good rule of thumb is to only buy them after it's been out for a month and they've fixed all the critical bugs (a good rule for PC games in general).

Note: I'm not trying to justify shitty development practices. Far from it. I'm trying to make sure people understand the most effective way to vote on this stuff is with their feet - don't buy broken video games.

Re:Because most gamers have zero awareness (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375124)

I'd advise against reading reviews most of the ones at launch at pretty much bought and paid for in my experience.

My habit is to wait at least six months after launch, the games are cheaper, the bugs will be well known and most importantly if a Publisher hasn't released a patch by then they never will.

I recently bought Mirrors Edge and Far Cry 2 for the PS3 brand new for £5 each the Internet told me neither was particularly great but at £5.....

Re:Because most gamers have zero awareness (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375774)

My habit is to wait at least six months after launch, the games are cheaper, the bugs will be well known and most importantly if a Publisher hasn't released a patch by then they never will.

Also excellent advice generally - living 6-12 months behind the latest and greatest will save you a ton of money on hardware.

The only time it's not great is for games that are primarily multiplayer in nature. Unless they're exceptional (and few are), the multiplayer is often much less viable after 6-12 months, simply because people have moved on to other games.

EA? Bugs? UNPOSSIBLE (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375012)

It's not like EA is any stranger to releasing games with major issues that prevent a large chunk of their customers from playing them. EA is a huge company, and not every subdivision has people who type with their fingers. Many of them lick the keyboard.

What Pandemic? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375036)

Patches? What patches? In order to release the patch you would actually have to have the developers to write it and since EA shut down Pandemic studios and fired its 200 employees [cnet.com] shortly before they released the game... well you can draw the conclusions on whether there will be any patches any time soon.

Temporary workaround (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376434)

The game is playable (low FPS) with ATI cards if you revert the processor to single core, either through task manager / process affinity, or right at boot with (e.g.) the msconfig utility.

Of course, you're better off exercising some patience and waiting until a proper fix comes out than running with a crippled game. The game isn't exactly *gorgeous*, but running at 800X600 and all settings at minimum is a surefire way to sabotage the experience

Re:Temporary workaround (1)

CannedTurkey (920516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376552)

Any bets that the patch does exactly this?

Wait a minute, people buy games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30376510)

I just had a thought about this. Remember the thing about the 95% piracy factor or whatever bullshet number the ESA made up?

Here's a free way to get the game tested. Deliberately leak an unfinished version, label it pre-alpha or "E3 Demo" or something with none of the storyline, only the finalized game mechanics/engine and have it "phone home" all the crashes.

Once the crash report rate dwindles or few people are reporting, release another demo that "demos" a different part of the game. Repeat until people are not reporting bugs with it. Keep internal testers for the storyline, use external players for multiplayer tests.

This worked so much better in the day of shareware because if the first episode was terrible, you didn't buy the rest.

Win-win here, you get a bunch of free beta testers, and they can't excuse pirating it later for the game being crap.

Yawn (1)

Akita24 (1080779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30376514)

ZOMG! EA shipped a game that was not ready for prime time! OH NOES!!!! Give me a break. The day EA ships something that doesn't suck it'll be a vacuum cleaner. I quit giving them my money a long time ago after waiting months if not years for them to fix crap that should never have shipped that way. Oh, and for the apologists: The shipped that crap hugely broken without caring about their customers. And you want the customers to "understand" how difficult life is for poor little EA games? Get a life. I'll give a shit about their problems in the gaming industry just as soon as they show an iota of concern for their customers. We don't owe them shit other than the profit (that BTW they already got from thousands of users for their broke-dick product).
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