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Peter Molyneux Apologizes for Fable

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the at-least-they-tried dept.

XBox (Games) 113

InFoMaD writes "On the official Lionhead Studio forums Peter Molyneux apologized for announcing features that did not make it into the final version of Fable." Their forums are already getting hammered. Post text available below.Text from the Lionhead Studios Post -

A message from Peter Molyneux.
There is something I have to say. And I have to say it because I love making games. When a game is in development, myself and the development teams I work with constantly encourage each other to think of the best features and the most ground-breaking design possible.

However, what happens is that we strive to include absolutely everything we've ever dreamt of and, in my enthusiasm, I talk about it to anyone who'll listen, mainly in press interviews. When I tell people about what we're planning, I'm telling the truth, and people, of course, expect to see all the features I've mentioned. And when some of the most ambitious ideas get altered, redesigned or even dropped, people rightly want to know what happened to them.

If I have mentioned any feature in the past which, for whatever reason, didn't make it as I described into Fable, I apologise. Every feature I have ever talked about WAS in development, but not all made it. Often the reason is that the feature did not make sense. For example, three years ago I talked about trees growing as time past. The team did code this but it took so much processor time (15%) that the feature was not worth leaving in. That 15 % was much better spent on effects and combat. So nothing I said was groundless hype, but people expecting specific features which couldn't be included were of course disappointed. If that's you, I apologise. All I can say is that Fable is the best game we could possibly make, and that people really seem to love it.

I have come to realise that I should not talk about features too early so I am considering not talking about games as early as I do. This will mean that the Lionhead games will not be known about as early as they are, but I think this is the more industry standard.

Our job as the Lionhead family of studios is to be as ambitious as we possibly can. But although we jump up and down in glee about the fabulous concepts and features we're working on, I will not mention them to the outside world until we've implemented and tested them, and they are a reality.

Thank you for reading.

Peter.

cancel ×

113 comments

Honest (1)

hejog (816106) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406227)

thats good of a company to do that. I'm impressed.

But wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406236)

so?

Re:But wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406811)

Peter Molyneux is the new John Romero

(isn't that great?)

Missing apology! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406323)

Where's the apology for Black & White? :-P

Re:Missing apology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10407071)

Apologize for what? B&W was a decent game...

Re:Missing apology! (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410572)

I think you misspelled "dreadful".

Neither of the two fairly high-end PCs I had could play it on launch day - it didn't like my 3dfx 5500 cards which, like it or not, were still very common hardware at that point. Basically, the game would crash within two minutes of starting.

Strike one.

Strike two was the unbelieavable level of micromanagement required to get a given result. Once I actually downloaded all the patches to make the game functional (on 14.4 dialup... I didn't have any other option at the time) on my PC I found myself spending all my time trying to teach my pet not to crap on houses or whatever, and on trying to keep the unbelievably whiney villagers in food (there's a field of crops RIGHT THERE guys!).

Strike three was getting to about the fourth mission of the single player game and finding another game-killing bug that hadn't been fixed, all the while realizing that the game wasn't getting any better and I wasn't having any fun.

I got my money back from EA for Black and White. To this day I can't understand why anyone played it.

Re:Missing apology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10412793)

it didn't like my 3dfx 5500 cards which, like it or not, were still very common hardware at that point.

Er, no, the 3DFX 5500 was never common hardware. Nobody bought that range, that's why 3DFX died.

Now, the Voodoo 2 was common hardware, and the Voodoo 3 was pretty widespread (though that was the point at which NVidia overtook 3DFX). By the time of the 5500, though, 3DFX was long irrelevant. You may have had one, I doubt more than a dozen other Black & White players did.

Re:Missing apology! (3, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407195)

Black & White wasn't a bad game. Sure, there was a ton of hype about it, but not all of it from Peter. The press had a ton of hype about it also.

And when all was said and done, it wasn't that bad of a game. Over-hyped for sure, but not bad.

I had fun with it and it brought a smile to my face...what else should a game do?

Re:Missing apology! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10411607)

It may not have been bad, but it wasn't a game.

Reality. (5, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406325)

It's Gutsy for him to come out and say it. His statement:

However, what happens is that we strive to include absolutely everything we've ever dreamt of and, in my enthusiasm, I talk about it to anyone who'll listen, mainly in press interviews. When I tell people about what we're planning, I'm telling the truth, and people, of course, expect to see all the features I've mentioned. And when some of the most ambitious ideas get altered, redesigned or even dropped, people rightly want to know what happened to them.

Anyone who has ever developed software for a living knows this is the truth. Early on you spec out cool features, come up with great ideas, etc, etc. Your game/app is going to be the "BEST EVER!"...then somewhere along the way in the development process reality kicks you in the face. Bad features sometimes get added, good ones need to be dropped for technical reasons or time constraints.

The crappy part about it is, usually you only talk to people in your company about an app early on. Or maybe if you are in a small shitty company you talk to the press and no one cares. But the "big name" programmers are expected to deliever on everything they say and then some. It takes a lot of guts for Molyneux to step up and say sorry I couldn't give you everything I said.

Re:Reality. (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406975)

"It takes a lot of guts for Molyneux to step up and say sorry I couldn't give you everything I said."

I'd be more sympathetic if he didn't do this with every single game he's ever made. Remember how the creatures in Dungeon Keeper were going to learn your personal playing habits and adapt to them? Remember how Black and White was going to end world hunger? I'm frankly surprised that people can be disappointed with Fable, since they should know better than to listen to the crap that comes out of Molyneux's mouth. From the sounds of it, it's a good game if a little short. That's enough for me.

Re:Reality. (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407000)

yes. but the guys a pro. he should know better to not shoot his mouth off about things that are not certain.
except that by now he has probably figured out that big hype == big pre-orders and that big promises == big hype.

games biz is almost as much about the hype(pr) as of creating the actual games, big pre-hype enables them to get funding without questioning.

and for example, the trees could still have been made to evolve probably somehow, just with a differenct tactic(without wasting some magical 15% of cpu time on it).

and yes, he has the option to not tell about features that he just figured out last week and is not even sure if they're good or not.

Re:Reality. (3, Interesting)

nocomment (239368) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407058)

and for example, the trees could still have been made to evolve probably somehow, just with a differenct tactic(without wasting some magical 15% of cpu time on it).

I was wondering that too. Why not instead of gradually grow, they jump a little? But only when they are off screen and not visible, and not during combat, if the hieght changes were subtle you would not notice them grow, just one day they are bigger, and you don't have to have the cpu calculating every second how to draw them.

I'd rather hear about it (5, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406352)

I dunno, but as long as he makes it clear that whatever features are what he wants to have in the game, if adding them in is reasonable, then he should talk.

I don't know about you guys, but personally, I love talking with friends about theory, however practical or impractical that might be. What would be cool in a game, how you could implement it, races, ships, whatever. I think Mr. Molyneux should talk with the enthusiasm that he has for his games, as long as he's not promising that those features will be there.

Let's be realistic: trees growing doesn't matter. I mean, really, it's immersive, but also irrelevant. I'm not going to notice if it's not there (well I might, but I won't care). That being said though, just talking about the possibility opens up dozens of possibilities in my mind, ideas and theories that I can discuss with my friends, and we can say 'wouldn't it be cool if we made a game that could do this or that or the other thing?'

As long as he's not influencing sales by guaranteeing anything, I'm fine with him saying 'we're working on realtime tree growth and you can watch the textures change as paint dries, and the shorelines will gradually recede or encroach depending on the phase of the moon and the changing climate and passing meteors'. If they really are working on it, then A+, and if it doesn't make it in, then hey, that's the way she goes.

--Dan

Re:I'd rather hear about it (1)

pat_trick (218868) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409723)

Perhaps it's not so much that he shouldn't talk about features, as perhaps the media that he talks with shouldn't report those features as "In the game" despite it being in development? So long as you precursor it with a disclaimer that they are ideas, and not yet reality, then it should be okay to have a discussion of ideas.

Standing firm (2, Interesting)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406394)

Usually the creator of a title should stand firm behind the final product. It doesn't happen often enough with apologies that I honestly don't know what to think either way. The Nintendo side of me feels confidence in all my MS-hating ways to see hype fail, but at the same time, he made a game to the best of his potential and realizes he's human. I make games, I can understand his enthusiasm to add lots of cool features and see them get removed at the last minute.

What I'd really like to see is an apology from Warren Spector for DX:IW, but all we got is that post-mortem on IGN on how he prefers console games and that it was a wonder the first Deus Ex didn't completely bomb.

My only problem with the game (4, Interesting)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406411)

... is that I beat it in about 9 hours of gameplay. I guess I really expected it to take a lot longer than it did (and yes, I did side quests, maxed fame / karma, got up to 17 silver keys, etc, and opened all but 2 demon doors) While the character development was pretty kewl, I was disappointed at the end. I was left feeling like, 'Thats it???' Dont get me wrong, I enjoyed myself a ton while playing the game, and there are a ton of cool features scattered around, but overall I was disappointed.

Anyone know of a nice long RPG in the works? I remember playing Wizardry 7 for months before I was able to get all the way through it.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406752)

> Anyone know of a nice long RPG in the works? I remember playing Wizardry 7 for months before I was able to get all the way through it.

You completed Morrowind and the 2 expansion packs?

It's no Ultima 7, but it's pretty good.

Peace

--
Original, Fun Palm & Web games by the Lead Designer of Majesty!
http://www.arcanejourneys.com/ [arcanejourneys.com]

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407062)

I agree, Morrowind is a unique, lengthy RPG. The only caveat is that items that items that increase your running speed are a key factor to have an enjoyable game. I recommend everyone that wants to give Morrowing a try to play a Breton and look for the location of the Boots of Blinding Speed in one of the many FAQs for the game. Once the walking speed becomes tolerable, there's a fantastic game hiding underneath.

Re:My only problem with the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10412827)

No need to play a Breton. You only need magicka resistance for the fraction of a second it takes to put the boots on, then you're in the clear till you take them off, so just make a spell "resist magicka 100% for 1 second" - practically anyone should be able to cast that, as the game thinks a 1 second effect is useless - and bingo!

Re:My only problem with the game (4, Informative)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406765)

Anyone know of a nice long RPG in the works?

Not in the works, but already out: Tales of Symphonia by Namco for the Gamecube. Took me 49 hours to complete, and that's without doing much of the optional stuff (though there isn't a lot of it). I'm also not a slow player...

I found the story a bit cheezy at times, but that's pretty standard for Japanese-style RPGs, no matter how serious they try to be.

Beten Kaitos is coming out in November, also from Namco, and has been receiving positive buzz since its release in Japan last year.

--Jeremy

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408082)

Blech.

Tales of Symphonia, while a good game, is barely an RPG. It blurs the lines with action/adventure.

When are publishers going to get over this recent craze and realize that turning battle into a crappy button mashing version of SNES street fighter isn't going to make the game appeal to new audiences, and it's going to alienate existing fans. Star Ocean and the FF VII sequel are like this too. Add to that the delay of Xenosaga and this has been the most disappointing year for RPGs in memory.

Re:My only problem with the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10410456)

???

Tales of Symphonia is the latest game in a lineage that goes back to the Super Famicom. The active battle system is the series' trademark.

Star Ocean is the latest game of a series that started on the Super Famicom as well.

Your post about both games would make more sense if they weren't always like they are now. Are you trolling?

BTW, other than Tales of Symphonia (THE big RPG of the year for me), Shadow Hearts Covenant was released in September. This year wasn't that bad for RPGs.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408618)

I find the TOS gameplay very compeling. It is a nice mix between the 80s and 90s beat'em ups, and a standard RPG.

The history has some nice turns and twists, and there is a lot of extra things to see. I was not a fan of Namco until this game. yay!

Re:My only problem with the game (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406806)

Black-and-White was the same way. It was beautiful. It was fun to play just because you could sit there and watch things happen around it. But the enemy AI was so weak it was just as fun to play the game alone.

Re:My only problem with the game (2, Informative)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407231)

Tales of Symphonia - Fairly good RPG. I call it the game of anime/RPG cliches, because it is, but it's fairly long(40 hours+) and fairly enjoyable.

Star Ocean - 1-3 hours of utter boredom and then the game gets good. About at the 30-40 hour point.

Shadow Hearts - Just came out a few days ago, haven't played it yet, but I've heard good things about the series.

Baten Kaitos is coming out for the Cube in november. It's got a wierd card-based combat system.

Paper Mario should be pretty good, albeit wierdly genre warping like everything else in that series has been. Comes out here in a week or so.

Then, well, there's not much for a while.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#10411117)

In the non-Japanese milleau(sp?), Gladius was great for turn-based combat and leveling madness. Along with many long side quests (you must get a Minataur to join your party). The story is fairly thin, but I don't dig on Japanese melodram anyway.

Re:My only problem with the game (2)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407233)

Anyone know of a nice long RPG in the works? I remember playing Wizardry 7 for months before I was able to get all the way through it.

Are we talking Xbox only?
Jade Empire
Star Wars KOTOR 2
Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (done up as if a japanese style CRPG)

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

aafiske (243836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407743)

That's because Wizardy 7 was brutally hard. :) The whole rattkin area practically drove me to tears. Still, one of the best RPGs I've ever played. I always thought the roaming NPCs that could beat you to the maps was pretty cool. (And then you could track them down and kill them to get it back. Handy, that.)

Have you tried Wizardry 8? Still pretty cool, although a definitely different feel from 7.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407966)

Ultima 7, both of them.

The games are more than 10 years old, but still the best couple of RPGs ever produced, imho.

Re:My only problem with the game (4, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408258)

Anyone know of a nice long RPG in the works?

Well, this Life game I heard of takes about 70 years or so. Don't know if it's any good though. I have heard really good things about Life II, but it may turn out to just be vaporware.

Re:My only problem with the game (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10410398)

I hear Life II is open to beta testers.

I can arrange for you to start playing if you'd like :)

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

euxneks (516538) | more than 9 years ago | (#10412097)

I've been playing Life for a while. The only complaint I have is that it costs a lot, constantly. Other than that, the graphics are sweet - I think I'll keep playing unless a better version comes out - then I'll upgrade.

Re:My only problem with the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10412926)

I got stuck with a crap character. His Charisma values are through the floor, and he only started out with a few GP. Unfortunately, despite claims to the contrary, Charisma and GP are all that counts.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408949)

You could try importing your Wizardry 7 party into Wizardry 8. IMO a good (but late) end to Sir Tech and it's flagship title.

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409247)

If you haven't already played it, you should definitely try out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

It took me 78 hours to complete, but I taking my time, and I think I did pretty much all of the side quests that I could.

And the best thing about KOTOR is its replayability - I finished it playing as a light-side Jedi, and I intend to start playing again soon, as a dark Jedi. Will be a completely different playing experience, different side-quests are available, different force powers...

Re:My only problem with the game (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10412375)

Uh, the different side quests are minimal. The different force powers are very nice, absolutely, but for a Guardian like myself it's not a drastic change. That was a very overhyped feature if you ask me. The game just asks you whether you want dark or light points every once and a while, big deal. And the dark side option almost always gives better rewards!

Still, even the small differnces between light and dark are just a bonus to an already exceedingly good game, and I can't wait for the sequel....*drools*. I do hope/expect the differences in that one to be a little more pronounced with Feargus at the head, but come on -- the game can hardly be worse than the original, considering the circumstances of its development (a staff that's already famous for half-open-ended RPGs using the original engine as a starting point), and can certainly get even better.

Refreshing... (4, Insightful)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406481)

I must say, it's nice to see someone with as big a name as Molyneux apologize to the community for this. Most people that are in the "industry pioneer" category tend to be just [johnromero.com] a bit [mailto] arrogant [penny-arcade.com] . He made some claims about features, gamers were pissed they weren't there, and he took the blame. Admirable.

Maybe next time, he won't blab every wild feature he plans.

Re:Refreshing... (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407094)

In what ways was John Romero arrogant?
You're relaying the rubbish spouted forth on messageboards and the general "it's cool to hate on Romero" attitude everyone else does.

The only time Romero has ever been linked with arrogance is the "make you his bitch" advertisement, which happened to be made up by someone else and he said "what the hell"

There's a HEAP of gamers who've emailed him personally and had pleasant responses from the guy. (go do a comment search on shacknews.com - there's several people spouting forth the same stuff you are and every couple of threads someone chirps in who actually HAS delt with him, instead of just "heard" and they say he's a good guy)

On top of this he raves in an almost childlike manner about games, he's a GAMER not a money grubbing developer like some, or focused more on tech than gameplay (Carmack)

Have you actually delt with John Romero before, because I've emailed him several times personally and got good responses from him.

Yes daikatana sucked.
Yes the company flopped.
Yes he was fired from id.

This doesn't mean he's a "horrible" guy.
Also have you read this article? it goes quite in to depth on the whole situation.
http://www.gamespot.com/features/btg-d aikatana/

As for Gabe - again, something went wrong, the public got shafted almost a year ago exactly today but again I've delt with him (email) personally, he's a good guy doing his best.

Shift away from the mentality of "everyone hated daikatana therefore John Romero sucks and I hated it too, even if I've never played it or delt with him" - this mob mentality is the shit which developers are no doubt sick of.

Re:Refreshing... (1)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407692)

I don't have time to search for links to interviews, but he basically stated things like:

Daikatana would be the game that not only changed the industry, but would make people stop playing all games that existed before it.

He whined about the stuff that happenend at iD, and basically took all credit for Quake being good.

Ion Storm would be God's gift to gamers, and the way he ran it is the only intelligent way to run a studio.

Now, post-Ion Storm Romero is a different story. After he was taken down a few knotches, he has come around, and seems to be a pretty cool guy.

As for Newell, his attitude towards anyone who does things contrary to what he wants is a bit much. Like the way he slammed NVIDIA. It's one thing to say that a they have an inferior product. It's another to totally slam thier engineers the way he did.

He shouldn't (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406520)

He shouldn't apologize for not getting this or that feature in, but he might consider apologizing for not making games that are actually fun.

With 'actually fun', I mean "beyond the first hour". Every recent Molyneux game is the same. Hype, hype, hype -- which he "explains" above (personally I feel that it goes beyond him getting exited about his own product, but that's me). Then the game comes out, gets rave reviews (like B&W getting "9.1" from GameSpot, IIRC) and impress people who watch it but utterly fails to deliver a good game

I think the problem is that he's having his fun actually developing the game, forgetting that the people who are to buy it doesn't get to share that.

Re:He shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10407618)

He shouldn't apologize for not getting this or that feature in, but he might consider apologizing for not making games that are actually fun.

Hi, this is Peter Molyneux and I apologize for not making a game that every single person on the planet thought was fun. What was I thinking. I'll do better next time.

Re:He shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10407864)

Hi Peter.

The problem isn't that we can find one or two people in the world who enjoy your games past one hour, the problem is that many other developers manage to produce games that are fun for whole weeks on end.

Could be worse (3, Interesting)

jammer2kbigfoot.com (726158) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406536)

At least he doesn't act like Derrick Smart. We need more developers like him, willing to admit things are perfect. Never played any of his games, but like his style.

Re:Could be worse (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406849)

We need more developers like him, willing to admit things are perfect.

Don't be ridiculous; Dr. Derek Smart, Ph.D, is more than willing to admit that he's perfect.

Impulse Control (1)

Omroth (673505) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406543)

Peter Molyneaux needs to stop talking full stop. He has been responsible for some fantastic games but everyone I know agrees that he comes accross like a complete smug tit in every interview he's ever done. But I believe his forum post: he doesn't hype to get sales, he hypes because he's an excited little child who can't control himself.

The games should speak for themselves. Sometimes they will say fantastic things like Magic Carpet did, and sometimes they will sound exactly like Molyneaux himself (Black and White).

Omroth

Re:Impulse Control (2, Interesting)

CodeWanker (534624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407144)

Yup. I remember the painfully pretentious National Public Radio [npr.org] bit on Black and White. And it sounded like you'd get a Ph.D in philosophy by playing the game.

Re:Impulse Control (0, Offtopic)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409003)

Ya know, I think we could use a "updated" Magic Carpet type game. Been wishing for one actually for quite a while as I am tired of using cpu slow utilities to play MC1 and 2.

Fable Features (3, Insightful)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406625)

A feature in a game like this doesn't mean much unless it adds to the gameplay.

Is it possible for real-time tree growth to improve gameplay? In fact, yes. Remember, Nintendo was planning something a little like that in the (vaporware) N64 sequel to Earthbound/Mother, where the player could plant a seed in a location and come back later, when the passage of time detected from the machine's real-time clock would tell the game when it had grown to a point where it could be harvested for useful fruit. Not quite the same thing that Molyneux's talking about perhaps, but indicative of the kinds of ways tree growth can improve a game. However, if the tree growth is merely decorative it doesn't influence the game *that* much.

I was actually fairly jazzed up about Fable until recently. The more I read about it the more I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't be so excited after all. I was hearing things before about a world that evolves around the player and dynamic gameplay, but now I'm hearing things that sound more like a 3D Zelda with Harvest Moon elements mixed in. Perhaps an interesting game still (HM isn't *that* bad, and if you're gonna copy, copy the best -- it's still better than almost anything else I'm aware of for X-Box), but it no longer is making me consider buying an X-Box again to check it out.

Re:Fable Features (1)

EddieBurkett (614927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406745)

Is it possible for real-time tree growth to improve gameplay? In fact, yes. Remember, Nintendo was planning something a little like that in the (vaporware) N64 sequel to Earthbound/Mother, where the player could plant a seed in a location and come back later, when the passage of time detected from the machine's real-time clock would tell the game when it had grown to a point where it could be harvested for useful fruit. Not quite the same thing that Molyneux's talking about perhaps, but indicative of the kinds of ways tree growth can improve a game. However, if the tree growth is merely decorative it doesn't influence the game *that* much.
This sounds exactly like something Nintendo did do. In Animal Crossing, you can plant seeds/fruit, and after a few days, sprouts will spring, and ultimately a plant will bloom or a tree will grow bearing fruit. I don't know if it improved the game play, but it certainly was a fun little enhancement (especially when you could grow money trees.)

Re:Fable Features (3, Interesting)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406984)

Actually, this should be a real enhancement, where plants (potato, wheat, lettuse, tomatoes, need to be planted, harvested, in order to "sell" to the local inn. That way, people can be farmers for real and when wizards and ghouls wan to kill the farmers just for fun, the local musclemen will go knock their heads, because they want to eat in 2 weeks/3 months.

This should also apply to woodcutters. Want a wooden shield? Need some wood, buddy. "but there isn't a single tree for thirty leagues!". "Well, then, better plant some, no?"

Also, fish, and ore. Ore should be interesting. It has to be mined. Miners are needed to go down there and the more "enterprising fellows" should be able to hire people to mine the mines and extract the ore. "Want a full body armor? Need 50 kilos of metal ore, buddy." "But, there isn't any ore around here!" "Well, then, better mine some, or get a wagon and go to the land of the dwarves and bring me back some."

This would then effectively create a merchant class.

It would also be fun to have food shortages, and fights outside the inn to break into the storage and steal their food so the 30 paladins could be bested by three enterprising thieves and three oxen carts, for lack of food.

Of course, same goes for leather. Want leather greaves? Find me a cow and a tanner. "But there's not a single cow for miles!" "Well then, buddy, wanna wooden shield instead?"

And a million GP won't make a difference when you hear "Wizard needs food, badly".

Finally, rangering skills would be invaluables: "Just got this deer, we can eat folks."

Re:Fable Features (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407165)

Sounds like the type of things the WorldForge [worldforge.org] projects have been intending to incorporate and handle.

Re:Fable Features (2, Informative)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407143)

While I find Fable to be a good, albeit short, game, it has very little to do with Zelda or havest moon. No 'dungeons', in the zelda sense, about 2 puzzles in the entire game, lack of a sense of exploration (you walk on 'tracks', no expansive countryside/ocean to explore. It's more like a more RPGish version of an action RPG like BG:Dark Alliance. If you're looking for Zelda+Harvest Moon, you're better off with Dark Cloud & Dark Cloud 2 for the PS2.

Re:Fable Features (2, Interesting)

prockcore (543967) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409900)

Remember, Nintendo was planning something a little like that in the (vaporware) N64 sequel to Earthbound/Mother, where the player could plant a seed in a location and come back later, when the passage of time detected from the machine's real-time clock would tell the game when it had grown to a point where it could be harvested for useful fruit.

And nintendo did exactly that with Animal Crossing. You can plant an apple, after a few days it'll be a full size tree, after a few more it'll produce apples.

Plus if you don't play in a while, your town will be overgrown with weeds and the residents of your town will wonder where the hell you've been.

I thought it was a great game anyhow (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406656)

Sure it was a little short, no doubt but it was unique, which is typical of Peter.

Black and white sure copped him some flack, but the man is always coming up with wacky new idea's, look at Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Black and white - Populous - the man does things differently and he's not frightened to experiment.

Too many 13 y/o fanboys are whining their butts off (and I beleive it's school holidays giving them too much time to boot) because the game doesn't alsorts of outlandish things.

I do admit I've been on a few fable forums and heard discussions of "super secrets" and distant islands you can get to only by unlocking some really crazy stuff but unfortunately I beleive it's all rumours - it would be cool though if something "uber" hard to find was in there.

None the less,...... the game is good, I'm an RPG newbie but it had great graphics, brilliant audio, a fairly good storyline AND lady grey has nice boobies boot!

Someone should be cheering these kinds developers on, it's no wonder we get shit shovelled at us time and time again with kiddies whining at the good guys.
(much like hollywood)

Re:I thought it was a great game anyhow (2, Funny)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406879)

  • ...brilliant audio, a fairly good storyline AND lady grey has nice boobies boot!
13 year old fanboys... you don't say!

Re:I thought it was a great game anyhow (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406905)

You can see why they loved and hated it at the same time - opposite ends of the spectrum so to speak, much like peter's games, black and white - good and evil ;)

I'd mention my girlfriends boobies, but then everyone would definately know I'm not a real slashdotter for sure then ........

Re:I thought it was a great game anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10409413)

No problem, everyone at /. has pretend girlfriends also....

Re:I thought it was a great game anyhow (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407998)

Black and white sure copped him some flack, but the man is always coming up with wacky new idea's, look at Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Black and white - Populous - the man does things differently and he's not frightened to experiment.

I wish for a remake of Syndicate and Magic Carpet. What I would really love would be Syndicate with more maps/areas (smaller countries), ability to play more players in multiplayer, and so forth. It was one of the coolest games I've ever played. Add TCP/IP options to Syndicate! :)

Magic Carpet would be similarly cool as a remake. It was one of those Great Games, and it would be really, really, really cool to be able to play it over the Internet. :)

Ooh, how I wish those could come true.

Oh, and I want linux ports. ;)

Still Disappointing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10406750)

I respect him for coming out and making a statement like that, but the game is still pretty disappointing. It's a decent enough RPG. You can see tiny glimmers of greatness as you play the game, which makes the game's flaws stand out even more.

I am not just referring to missing features. Those were disappointing enough, particularly given how much this game was hyped. For years this game was presented as the second coming of RPG's. The results were so far from the boasts one can't help but be disappointed. If you promise to feed people steak, you can expect to hear some grumbling when you serve them a ham sandwich no matter how good the sandwich is.

But more than that are the obvious game flaws:

- awkward controls (WHY DOES AUTOLOCK KEEP POINTING ME TOWARDS THE FREAKIN BARREL WHEN I AM FIGHTING 5 BALVERINES!)

- clichéd story elements... honestly, aren't we passed the forced failure being acceptable in a game, particularly one that claims as it selling point the concept of player choice?

- the fact that temple donations make the game's alignment system seem pointless

- and for a game that was supposed to be an genre changing epic RPG, isn't the game kind of short?

I am just going to go into a corner and quietly whimper until Jade Empire comes out.

Re:Still Disappointing (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 9 years ago | (#10413189)


- awkward controls (WHY DOES AUTOLOCK KEEP POINTING ME TOWARDS THE FREAKIN BARREL WHEN I AM FIGHTING 5 BALVERINES!)
The barrel is considered very special... there's a small chance it contains an ultra-rare artifact... :)

I can't comment here, as I don't know exactly what Autolock is supposed to do. If it is a bug that autolock is choosing the wrong object, then this sort of thing should have been detected during the testing period.

- clichéd story elements... honestly, aren't we passed the forced failure being acceptable in a game, particularly one that claims as it selling point the concept of player choice?


The only case where a "forced failure" would be acceptable would be in Operation Flashpoint - in the cases where forced failure occurred, it was roleplayed and used in an excessive fashion. The cases where you had to retreat was because your squad was not equipped to handle a certain attack squad, or because another friendly AI team could not complete their objectives (when they were supposed to). In the second case, the game was scripted well enough to have a contingency mission based on the failure of the allied squad.

I haven't seen any other game where forced failure would be acceptable - in these cases, the forced failure is generally annoying and an unrealistically artificial plot device. "What's this? There was only one artifact found instead of the two incorrectly stated by Intel? MISSION FAILED!"

- the fact that temple donations make the game's alignment system seem pointless
That would be a problem with the temple donation system. Either the alignment shift is too great for the amount of money (or whatever) given, or there wasn't a limitation on an alignment shift caused by temple donations.

It's just like Freelancer - if you can collect enough money, the faction rating system will eventually seem pointless as you can buy your way into favour with almost anyone. However, it's not worthless because you can't afford most hack offers early in the game - as well as the fact that the prices for hacking the best factions (such as Corsairs) is generally astronomical.

- and for a game that was supposed to be an genre changing epic RPG, isn't the game kind of short?
Personally, I wasn't really impressed by the advertisments of the game. The official home page contained a flash animation that only seemed to imply some sort of alignment system - in addition, the flash animation was slow loading as well, because of a scripted slowness in rendering the content (they wanted it to gradually fade in - it caused be to lose my patience and leave after page 5.)

Even then, there was very limited information on the game itself. The trick is to actually release real information on how the game plays out in the late stages of development - that will minimze any anger from features missing from the game.

Just 15 percent slowdown (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406844)

There has to be more to it than that. 15% just means that you create an to turn it off. Or put it in a patch. No big deal unless it impacts the gameplay.

That's one thing Doom 3 did differently than most games: They kept in all the CPU intensive stuff, and made it possible to turn it off. The knew that in a year, people would rather have it in there than not.

Re:Just 15 percent slowdown (2, Insightful)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406925)

A few flaws with this:

1) It's a console game. No patch. No hope of having more CPU power in a year.

2) It was supposed to be something that affected gameplay as well... not just prettiness.

15%.. (3, Interesting)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10406970)

Often the reason is that the feature did not make sense. For example, three years ago I talked about trees growing as time past. The team did code this but it took so much processor time (15%) that the feature was not worth leaving in.


I'm no game programmer, but this seems a bit ridiculous... what kind of code were they using for this? Is time passing so fast in this game that you need to be constantly updating the trees?

Re:15%.. (1)

orion024 (694922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407110)

You also have to take into account the *total* number of trees. This is no meager amount to have to process. You not only have to update the trees, you are also checking to see if they even need updating. This means wasted CPU which may not even result in tree growth.

Re:15%.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407701)

well you don't seem like a programmer either.

you could easily just check the areas trees when you move into a new area.

it wouldn't really have taken that much of imagination to do it.

of course it's a completely needless feature with apparently no point at all, so they just dropped it and came with this excuse.

Re:15%.. (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10411859)

you could easily just check the areas trees when you move into a new area.

And you don't seem to have played Fable either.

Because if you'd played it, you'd know that areas are ridiculously tiny, and that the load times for walking between them are already almost unbearable. 15% longer load times just to update the trees when you cross a boundary would be unacceptable.

Re:15%.. (1)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407582)

You're dead right on this - I really just can't fathom how they managed to come up with a tree-growth algorithm that takes 15% of the processor speed - all you'd have to do is just one small subtraction calculation whenever you load a scene. Whenever you're about to enter a new area, you load up all of the trees, calculate how old they are based on their born on date, and then put the necessary model into the scene. When you're loading stuff of a disc the processor isn't doing a lot since you're just waiting for the data to come in, so it seems to me that this feature really could have been implemented.

Re:15%.. (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409399)

Its not the tree growing itself, but you have to do that for the entire tree population probably and that basically means constantly updating stats for thousands of them.

Re:15%.. (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409912)

Not really, just whenever you enter a new area, you can calculate the age of all trees there and then use the appropriate model for the tree. This means just checking one property per tree... As a poster said below, the 15% figure is probably some BS that PM made up to make it sound like he was right on the verge of creating the ultimate game..

Re:15%.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10408149)

Well, in order for the feature to be the least bit useful, the trees would have to look significantly different from one another. Generally, when rendering a large number of similar (or identical) objects in 3D space, one can take a number of shortcuts--for instance, the objects may share the same texture maps, and the engine can perform certain transforms on one copy of the mesh, instead of having to do so on each instance of it.

From what I understand, there are also some pretty heavy costs in generating meshes dynamically, particularly if they're animated. Not to mention the memory cost (and consequent increased paging demands) of storing dozens of separate, detailed meshes in each scene.

We also don't know how complex their simulation was. In addition to structural factors, there could be provisions for dead trees, variable growth, and perhaps even something like Dutch Elm Disease.

To label something as "impossible" without conclusive evidence is a dangerous thing to do--especially among geeks, who are as a group the most ingenious and capable demographic that I know of.

Re:15%.. (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408634)

I don't see the word impossible anywhere...

Re:15%.. (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409170)

Grandparent means to imply that it was deemed impossible to write a tree-growing algorithm that takes up 15% CPU time, which is of course bollocks.

Re:15%.. (1)

tc (93768) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409728)

Okay, this is standard bullshit technique. Molyneux probably has no fucking clue how much processor time the growing trees feature would take. Mostly likely because, in all probability, it was never really implemented. However, by making up a specific number to tell people, he is able to give the impression that the feature was a lot further developed than it really was. If he just says "it would have been expensive", then that's not very impressive, whereas if he says "15% of CPU" that sounds a lot more convincing. Specific numbers, even if they're totally made up, just sound cooler.

Remember also that "in development", when referring to a feature, need not necessarily mean programmers writing actual code. It could just mean that the idea came up in conversation one day - they're "developing" the idea, see.

Bottom line: Molyneux is a good, but not great, game designer. But he's a PR genius.

Re:15%.. (2, Insightful)

kreyg (103130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10411745)

Molyneux probably has no fucking clue how much processor time the growing trees feature would take

That is quite likely... on the other hand, it very well could have been a crappy implementation, or simply completely unoptimized - iterating over every tree in the world every frame could suck up a big chunk. Programmers are exceptionally scarce resources in game development, probably better to have them fix show-stopper bugs or implement features more central to gameplay than make trees grow.

Re:15%.. (2, Insightful)

atarrri (580364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410152)

Seems to me that his programmers have some problems with optimization. Frankly I'm surprised that Microsoft allowed a game to be released with a sub 20 fps (my estimate) in many key areas of the game. So I'm not surprised at all that his programmers told him that it takes 15% of frame time to do growing trees. There are certainly methods of getting some form of growing trees in the game with minimal cpu usage.

Common sense is that you should never ever mention features that have a high probability of getting cut from a product. Reason being that if the final product doesn't have those features the customers may be upset. Personally I wouldn't even have minded those missing features if the game still turned out great. IMO he shouldn't be apologizing for the missing features, he should be apologizing because Fable is technically unimpressive and ultimately not a very fun game at all.

I saw this coming (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410184)

I'm no game programmer either, but the list of things they said would be included seemed a tad optomistic even to me considering this was developed strictly for the Xbox. If they had done it on PC it may have been more surprising.

However I did enjoy what was there of the game. I only wish it were longer. That's my only complaint.

More items and a less button mashing fighting style would be all else I'd ask for.

Biggest Missing "Feature" (4, Interesting)

orion024 (694922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407059)

IMHO, the biggest missing "feature" of this game was the fact you could not play as a female. My wife was somewhat interested in this game (which is quite unusual), but when she found out she couldn't play as a female she completely and utterly lost interest.

In fact, I consider the ability to play as either gender not a "feature", but a requisite when playing an RPG.

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10407530)

Aren't RPGs all about playing another role? I understand your wife wanting to play a female role instead, but to say that an RPG *must* have the option seems contrary to the very idea of role playing.

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (1)

orion024 (694922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408879)

True, but one of the points of role playing is having the option to play a role. Without female characters the options of what "roles" to play become much more limited. I mean, really, what kind of role playing says "Here, play this *role*, you get to define who this person is, what they are like, the characteristics, their behaviour... anything you can think of. Oh, but you have to play as a man..."

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10407546)

I was more disappointed that I couldn't play a transgendered bisexual.

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (1)

unixbob (523657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408839)

damn, just run out of mod points.

mod parent funny :D

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409229)

Let her try Planescape: Torment sometime... ;-]

Work (1)

Databass (254179) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409541)


As if it's not enough work to get proper aging/muscle growth/facial features in

Rats, brain freeze (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410163)

Somewhere in there there is a joke about nerds and horny teenage boys having lesbian wives constantly sleeping together. I just can't think of one.

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (3, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410212)

Well, you understand if they were to do females accurately, they would have to portray her chest growing as she aged. How would you decide that in the game? How would you avoid pissing off a woman who wanted a bigger/smaller rack? Think of the nagging!!!!!

Re:Biggest Missing "Feature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10412940)

Both genders means more artwork and more voice actors. It just isn't worth the payoff.

This is why... (0, Flamebait)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407563)

I ended up having completely no interest in the game. Is it better than a Zelda, a KOTOR, a Shadowrun, or even a Final Fantasy game? Nope, not according to most people. And yet, PM, who had claimed so many great things about Black and White, which came out to be a disappointment, had the nerve to say that this was "the greatest RPG ever". He did the exact same thing, and yet somehow even reviewers were tricked into giving the game suck great scores, even admitting that it was so short, missing so many of the innovative features, and in no way differentiates itself from things that have been done before, and better, in game like KOTOR (which had much better light/dark paths). Besides being able to fart and get married (which you can do in the Sims even), there's just nothing original about the game that makes it stand out, at all. And yet he has the nerve to now apologize about features that were left out, when it was he who brought them all up in the first place, and claimed the game as a second coming? Sorry PM, but the apology just doesn't cut it. Don't apologize for missing features, apologize for the fact that you were talking out of your ass about a game that's only decent, and nowhere near greatness. That, and anyone in software development knows that you never promise users features unless you know for sure that you can deliver them.

Slashdot needs a "MISLEADING" tag (0, Flamebait)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407567)

What is up with slashdot and all the misleading articles? If the editor would RTFA (or RTFF in this case) he is not apologizing for the game, just for apologizing for features he told people about but did not end up in the game. This is really becoming a problem... is this FARK or slashdot?

Entertaining if unfinished game. (3, Funny)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 9 years ago | (#10407834)

I didn't follow Fable during production, so I don't have any real problems with features that are missing

*Try to get your combat multiplier even HIGHER!*

from the game, but it is extremely clear that the game was released unfinished. While enjoyable, it suffers from a number of

*Try to get your combat multiplier even HIGHER!*

annoyances, to the point where the two missions you want more than anything in the game are to beat the crap out of the guy holding the camera, and kill

*Try to get your combat multiplier even HIGHER!*

the guy that made the controls 'default', but not customizable.

-Z

clearly the problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10408022)

this guy can't even tell the difference between 'past' and 'passed'...how can you expect him to make a game with a feature he can't even spell? black and white sucked too.

Wouldnt you like this this juicy steak... (1)

FuzzyDustBall (751425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408039)

Fable: its the best steak ever realy come out to my house and ill give it to. Customer: /Walks to houes Fable: Heres that apple i promised isnt it the best apple you ever tasted. Customer: it is a very good apple but wheres that steak.

Well thats what the game feels like to me anyway the game was hyped as being this large game with things you did early in the game affecting the outcome of the game later.

In actuality the game is a small game that is fairly tightly scripted and things you do seem to have very little to do with the outcome later in the game.

SPOILER WARNING! for example at one point you get to choose wether or not to kill the bandit king. If you do kill him his friends send assassins to kill you to avenge his death. If you don't kill him he sends assassins to kill you for showing him up. and my favorite: At one point in time you get to fight and presumanbly kill a certain character to win the heart of a lady. In the end the character apears from no where and helps you out no matter if you optionaly "killed" him. Ok its possible he didnt die he was just defeated but you have his helmet in your inventory and he is still wearing it!

peter m. (1)

mono_indy (203761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408286)

he sounds sincere. and i believe what he is saying. it's kind of like when you are doing a show (theatre) and you have all these ideas you talk about and you know you can do them. but money runs short or the stage can't support the kind of thing you want or people who were involved drop out, etc.

i am glad the game is out and won't let this effect my enjoyment of it.

i do wish the save system was good. i hate the way the saves work. it forces you to take a long time playing to get to one point and sometimes forces you past that point just to save it. people are losing out with this save sysem and it would be nice if they created a way for us to download a real save system.

all in all i am enjoying the game, but am not overly impressed.

Comparisons to CoH (1)

Zonk (12082) | more than 9 years ago | (#10408293)

It's interesting to compare this situation with that experienced by the developers of City of Heroes [cityofheroes.com] . There, the developers blabbed about their pie in the sky ideas to the press years before the game came out. As the launch came closer and massive revisions of the original concept were done, disillusioned fans rose up in arms. A good subsequent design and a successful launch has since made CoH a fan favorite, but even today Jack Emmert (the lead designer) states that that was the biggest mistake the team made in the design phase. Given Mr. Molyneaux's experience in the industry, my tendency is to think that the marketing department may have had something to do with the high expectations for the game. All that said, I think it's very honorable for him to fall on his sword this way for the game. A man with principles, there.

Re:Comparisons to CoH (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409425)

I dont know, his interviews are more like a geek babbling over his latest creation. The problem was probably that he didnt get the direct feedback over forums until this game, otherwise he probably would have cut back on the early designs talk after black and white.

Re:Comparisons to CoH (1)

Denor (89982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10410010)

What's interesting is that Statesman - sorry, I mean Jack - is now doing nearly the opposite on the CoH boards. He's very careful about what he says, because he's learned if he so much as hints at a feature people will expect it. And god help him if he gives anything resembling a timetable for anything.

This does not, however, stop him from teasing the fanbase by answering questions like "Feature X and Feature Y would be neat, but I don't like Z, what's the plan?" with nothing more than "Soon."

now that he got that off his chest (1)

sakura the mc (795726) | more than 9 years ago | (#10409110)

where the FUCK is the 1.5 update these motherfuckers have been talking about?

Rock on peter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10409616)

Fable is good to use to trade in towards other games. With that he has succeeded in his initial promise of the greatest RPG.

Fuck him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10410556)

Fuck him with a rusty sword made of AIDS.

refreshing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10411420)

I find it refreshing that this guy would put himself out there like that. This is a total 180 from what other companies such as 3d Realms, SOE, etc like to do with paying customers.

Reading this sincere statement has convinced me to purchase this game and I look forward to other games from he and his company. no lie.
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