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Legacy:LegalAssassin/How Not To Sell A Game

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Eidos have just set the example (again). I belive they managed to do everything wrong, at least as far as I'm concerned, when selling Thief 3: Deadly Shadows.

Release dates[edit]

This is a shameful behaviour which lack all reason. When the game went gold a month before the US release date there's absolutely no reason to release it yet another month later in Europe. I can't see this as anything anyone could defend. Shame on thee, Eidos!

Release dates 2[edit]

To have more than two weeks between release dates across the world is undefendable and has been since the late 1950's. Especially so when the original release date was a month later than the date for gold status. To have 10 different release dates for Europe wasn't very intellegent either.

Demo[edit]

A demo should always be released before the game, in terms of marketing. Games which have done so (UT series, Call of Duty, Half-Life, Medal of Honor, and so many more) have also recieved a lot more attention than games releasing the demo after the full game (Mafia, Hidden & Dangerous 2, GTA3 PC versions, Unreal 2 and more...). The demo quite clearly serves as a buildup in the hype, and as such does more for the game than a gigantic commercial campaign.

Demo 2[edit]

The demo doesn't have to be perfect, a few bugs wont be noticed in the little time you play the demo. However, it's important to make sure the demo's .exe file isn't broken. I belive the Thief 3 demo is the first demo which has a broken t3game.exe, as in, all I get is an error message when I open it.

When the demo is heavier than 400 mb this is worse than anything.

Editor[edit]

I doubt anyone could claim releasing an editor decreases sales. Especially when an editor is available for the basic game engine (Unreal Engine 2), this is odd. Bad move there.

Marketing[edit]

Three Flash-ads isn't enough to sell a game.

Conclusion[edit]

I see absolutely no reason to buy this game. The demo doesn't work, the release date is horribly planned, there's no editor and I've seen virtually no real marketing done, aside from three different Flash-ads on a few sites. I have absolutely no idea of what the game contains or if it's good, aside from some few reviews and the two earlier Thief games.

There's no reason to pay other than moral values and wanting to see Thief 4, however, even these reasons are somewhat uncertain. Eidos has clearly proved this game's not interesting and I wont be happy to see Thief 4 being sold in the same horrible way Thief 3 is being sold. I think I'll go warez it now and if I like it and can be bothered to buy a legal copy, I might just pay for it.

Comments[edit]

EntropicLqd: No editor, no sale. I may never use it but I like to know it is there just in case I feel the urge. The multiple release dates is just indicative of Edios penny pinching I would guess. They've probably gone for the cheapest publisher they can find in each country. Even though I was looking forward to the game I still wouldn't warez it though. It's morally indefensible.

T1: Eidos sucks. This reminds me of another game they totally messed up. Deus Ex: Invisible War. I was cheated when I bought that game.

Hey heres a whole list of reasons DX:IW sucked.

1. It was only about 2 hours worth of gameplay

2. Unified ammo

3. The AI sucked

4. On "Realistic" mode it takes 3 shots to the head with a pistol to kill someone

5. They took out the skills system

6. It ran really really slow

7. They made their own lighting system that was really unoptimized

8. They claim that the characters can have different facial expressions, but all I can ever see is that all the characters look like they're about to shit their pants.

9. Boringly predictable storyline.

10. No editor

11. Crashes like crazy

12. has a bug where it sometimes claims that my store-bought disc is a warez copy

13. Wierd screen flashes every time I move the mouse.

14. General stupidity (like when you're walking a certain direction and the compass says "north" then you reach a loading point and it switches to "south")

15. A lot of ingame books and datacubes mention "Red Greasels" and the augmented baboons, both of which are enemies that never actually made into the game.

16. All the previews told us we could be able to kill any important character to change the storyline, but most of the important characters are behind magic bullet proof glass or in "No weapon zones" where your weapons don't work and if you do manage to trick the engine into letting your weapons work via a bug I found, you can't harm them, they just go oof and not take damage.

17. A whole bunch of other reasons I'll remember later.

Legal: Exactly! They are doing the same thing again, at least as far as marketing is concerned. I'm now downloading the game, as there's no demo working. If it's good I'll buy it, I've already got an order for it. If it's bad I'll simply cancel the order.

TurkeyFromHell: Best. Game. Ever.

Update[edit]

Right, I got the warez version and after a few hours of trying I still couldn't run the game. I went to check the official site for information about what might be causing the error, and found nothing at all. I couldn't even find the system requirements! I did manage to find the message boards, however.

A sticky thread named requirements, finally! I checked it out and found that Eidos had yet again found a way to be lamer than any other company in the business.

"Windows NT/2000/XP supported"

I'm happy I didn't pay for this bullshit. As there was no mention of the OS required where I ordered the game I never thought of it. Also, only some special graphic cards are supported, with big gaps in the line. For all what I care, Eidos can go fuck themselves. I'm soon upgrading anyway, but I'm sure as hell not paying for Thief 3 when I actually run it. Eidos doesn't deserve the dirt under my shoes.

Foxpaw: I'm somewhat surprised that you'd be surprised to have difficulty running a warez version. Most warezed versions of games (to my knowledge) are somewhat sketchy as to how well they work.

Also I don't quite understand the bit about NT/2000/XP. Why is that lame? If it's because they aren't supporting older operating systems, you may be writing a similar page about Epic soon. Word on UnrealEngine 3 is that they're ditching support for older systems, and it will only operate on a 64 bit system with a 256MB video card minimum. I have to agree to an extent with dropping legacy support in some ways. Legacy support can really cause performance to suffer - you should see half the crap they put in computer hardware these days in a desparate bid to make old concepts "less bad." The insanity!

But I digress. I don't think it's fair to come down on a company for discarding legacy support. XP has been around for a while. It is itself going to be replaced soon-ish by Windows Longhorn. Discarding legacy support makes code faster, more readable, less buggy, and it can be produced more quickly too - there are less "special cases" to deal with. Also legacy support sometimes requires that you keep old architechtures which are severely outdated. *cough cough* layered architecture *cough*

Of course, I could be totally off base and maybe your comment referred to something else. Regardless, I maintain that warezed software rarely works properly, if at all. I've had my own experiences with warezed software trying to find stuff that seems to have vanished off the face of the Earth and software stores can't even find it in their databases. (like Pax Imperia 2)

Legal: The warez version of games nowadays are working perfectly in single player modes, for good and for bad. This would have worked perfectly, and I'm glad I tried it as it was the only way to verify it wasn't just the demo that was crap. It was the whole game.

I know that the Unreal 3 engine might be purely 64 bit. I'm almost sure of it, even. I don't mind this at all, I hope it'll happen as soon as possible, maybe I wont have to upgrade my 32 bit system.

However, I do not find it acceptable to see a game based on the Unreal engine forcing people into buying a new OS. There's absolutely no chance for me to pay for both the new OS and the game, just to play the game. Considering how only about 60% of the GFX cards (Geforce 3 and later) are supported makes things worse. Did they actually plan on selling this game?

Judging by their forum the game was tested by a bunch of 14-year olds, or nobody cared to listen to the testers having trouble. Instead of fixing what was wrong they must have put the hardware on the "Cards not supported"-list.

I see no reason to think of ION Storm nor Eidos as serious, considering how serious their latest releases have been.

I do not doubt it's a good game. But I do doubt cutting half the community off wasn't needed to make it so good.

Foxpaw: Hmm. I had forgotten that it was Unreal Engine. In that case I'm curious why they have such poor support for a variety of systems. Unless, like with Deus Ex 2, they made their own renderer.

Legal: Yes, the entire lighting system is said to be amazing, unlike the basic engine... I still can't imagine this excuses the behaviour of Eidos and ION Storm. In a year I would consider it ok, but this is far too early. I have more confidence in mod teams than in the developers of Thief 3 after all this... If this is what will happen to Windows games, I might as well go to Linux straight away. I've had no bad experience with it so far apart from games and other applications being impossible to run.

Seing how almost all developers are now cutting half it's customer base off, I can't see how they'll keep this up. But if it's the way things will be in the next few years I might as well stick to something stable and free, despite that I can't run what I want on it. It's no difference any more.

T1: Argh EDIT CONLICT. ok fixing now. The lighting system was still over hyped.

T1: They used the renderer from DX2. That horribly inefficient one I was talking about. BTW Harvey Smith left Ion storm and there have been claims by some that Warren Spector did too, but Eidos denies the last part. Not what's really happening at Ion Storm Austin. I heard Harvey Smith will form his own company. Eidos owns most of Ion Storm anyway. The earlier Theif games and DX were before Daikatana (which caused Eidos to close down Ion Storm Dallas and buy about half of Ion Storm Austin.). Ion Storm should've sticked with the standard renderer and maybe Karma instead of Havok. I think what happened was that Eidos was pushing for Ion to release DX2 too early, it was obviously rushed so it could be released before christmas. No support for Win98? How is that possible?!?!?! It's the same engine as DX2, and that ran on my PC... Of course I had it on the lowest detail level and the bloom lighting doesnt work, I had to turn it off. They've had 2 patches and neither of them fix any of the bugs I actually care about. And the first "patch" was simply a few tweaks to the ini files. They should've included those *with* the game.

continuing the list about why I hate DX2:

17. How has weapon technology gone backwards where I can no longer have a grenade that if you get close to a wall I can attach to the wall to *also* work as a proximity mine???? (I killed my self this way, thinking it could attach to the wall.)

18. How is a little robot dog with a shotgun supposed to make me more intimidated then the hulking military bots from DX1?

19. The main character just looks retarded and sounds like 12-year-old (BOTH with the male *AND* female choises.)

20. Boring anticlimatic endings. All 4 were horrid. (they promised us 5, but the 5th was really just a retarded little "dance party secret ending".)

21. Havok ragdolls constantly get their arms and legs stuck in ceilings and floors.

22. How did Havok make the game enjoyable? it didnt. Honestly I prefered DX1's physics. True, it may not have been realistic in some ways, but I'm pretty sure that in real life if you drop a fire extinguiser on someone's head from a story up they'll be hurt. This was true in DX but not in DX2.

23. It has a bug where it sometimes claims that my DX2 cd is a warez copy when I legally wasted my money on it.

24. I have to pray at every single loading screen for it not to say "could not authenticate original disc in time" (Yah, they check if you have a warez disc at *every* loading screen, now what's the point of that????)

25. Loading takes forever.

26. It takes AI about 4 seconds to notice they've been shot, at which point, they're probobly already dead.

27. Unified ammo sucks. I run out of ammo for my pistol. Ok lets switch to the shotgun. Wait. That's out of ammo TOO. I have no melee weapons. I'm surrounded by enemy troops. And to make it worse, they're placed in a position where the only way I can possibly sneak by them is by using a cloaking augmentation, which I don't have....

28. Small levels. Smaller than the distance between each loading point in Half-Life.

29. Why did they change all references to "nanotechnological augmentation" (augs) to "biomodification" (biomods)??

30. Why did they change the cool blue color of all the augmentation cannisters to that ugly purple???

31. How can an electronic device called a "multitool" lockpick a door by shooting some kind of yellow lightning at it???? (in DX1 the multitool was used to hack electronic devices, and there was a separate lockpick for non-electronic locks.)

32. The music sucked and was extremely repetitive.

33. I'll think of more reasons later.

hmmmm... maybe I should make this into a rant of my own?

EntropicLqd: In terms of ditching old technology - it's simply a judgement call based on (presumably) the number of people that are likely to buy the game having the technology to run it. Not supporting an older OS or graphics card is good sense if you are paying for the support and development of the product. It not only removes a considerable support overhead as well, but also saves on the development/test/QA sections of the development. You have the right to be irritated about it (I don't care I have the appropriate OS/Hardware) - but at some point supporting old hardware becomes nonsensical. Admittedly they are dropping a chunk of the market but half of it? One would guess not. I hate them more for fouling up what could have been a great game. I played the demo and it put me off almost instantly (to the point where I never even bothered finishing the demo).

Foxpaw: I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about physics systems. I thought they were cool at first, but they're slow, glitchy, and don't really add anything to the gameplay. It's purely an eye-candy thing, but I think the cycles to it could be better devoted to other eye-candy tasks. And, the amount of eye-candy added is minimal - compare a ragdoll death in UT2003 (not sure if skeletal animation deaths were included in UT2004) to the skeletal animation version - they are very similar, but the skeletal animation one is a bit more believable because physics system ragdolls pretty much always look like wire-fighting from cheesy kung fu movies.

BobClown: I agree with Legal, the warez "market" is working well, these days... if, of course, you know where to look.  :) As far as support for "outdated" operating systems goes, support for Windows 98/ME ends June 30, 2006 (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;[LN];LifeAn1), and I would hope that developers would choose to stick with that. Granted, there are some odds and ends when porting between operating systems, but, for the most part, windows code is pretty portable with itself, especially when using directx api. Though I think the original rant was about how the website (http://www.dxinvisiblewar.com/) doesn't show system requirements.

El Muerte: The windows quircks are the issue, not directx. Microsoft often changes little things that have a major impact on the program. This requires you to include an additional OS in the whole testing cycle. That adding an extra OS is a lot of work. When looking for what OS to support you just have to take a look at OS people would use that have the minimum system requirements (hardare only). For example it's impossible to use Win95 or Win98fe when you have an AMD Athlon. And using Win98se or WinME with a newer CPU, like Pentium 4 or Athlon XP\Athlon 64, is just simply a waste of resources.

Legal: When I bought this computer three years ago it came with Windows ME. It's got a Pentium 4 processor anyway, as Win XP wasn't even available yet. I haven't reinstalled Windows once, and I wont do so just because developers wont make their games work with my OS. If they don't want my moneyt, fine, I'll just warez it once I finally do have to upgrade. At least I hope I wont have to upgrade before the current games are off the market.

I wouldn't be surprised if Epic and other developers are in fact getting their software for free as long as they neglect support for older OS's. Let's face it, make something only work with the latest OS makes people more likely to upgrade. Judging by the official XP map pack and latest patch which destroys UED, Epic has since Unreal grown less and less interested in widening their community, but rather making people stick to their specs so they wont have to do such horrible things as testing their stuff on more than three machines.

Dragonmaw: I've only played Deus Ex 2's demo, but I can already tell you I hate it. It's too linear for my tastes. In the orginal you could go wandering around the city. In the new one, it tells you exactly where to go and when to go. It takes the exploration fun out of the game.

I've also played Thief 3 on the Xbox, and it purrs. It not only purrs, it's one of the best games I have played in a long, long time. The control scheme was nice, the AI was adequate, nothing like Far Cry, but the gameplay was immersive and expansive. My kind of game.

I don't know about the PC version though.

Genetik: I see no reason to hate developers over not supporting Win98. Recently on BuF someone was having difficulties with UT2004, and the screenie they provided showed they were running Win98. They were heartily laughed at. Of course. It's 6-year-old software, and there's no reason anyone should continue to be bothered by it's flaws/lack of functionality anymore. Same goes for Me, which was certainly the buggiest and most annoying peice of crap that ever wasted HD space, even for it's release date. I'm not (I reapeat NOT) going to delay release of any software of mine because it doesn't support Win 3.1, 98, or any other outdated OS.

Mosquito: Windows 2000 and XP are so vastly superior to 98/ME its foolish to continue to support them. Unless you want a legacy machine, theres no excuse for using them.

dataangel: The OS ranting is, frankly, stupid. Nobody supports Windows95 anymore. Lo and behold, that's starting to happen to Windows98. You make it sound like Eidos/Ion is committing some unheard of attrocity. WinME is pretty much just 98 with DOS stripped off. It endured a very short life – it's market share is 'tiny'. If I was publishing a game I'd do the same – I don't want tons of support calls from 98 users running unstable systems. The card ranting is stupid too. Geforce3+ cards are the only ones supported because they're the only ones PHYSICALLY capable of handling the rendering – even if they coded the most efficient shadowing system in the world, Geforce2 era cards simply don't have the necessary instructions to support real time shadows. The only workaround is an emulator, which would be horribly slow no matter how you worked it. Yes, Eidos/Ion screwed up tons with DX2 and Thief3, but here they did not, and because of your disappointment you're just looking to point out any fault you can, even if it means making them up. That or you're ignorant of the differences between modern Windows OSs and video cards and those of the past.

MythOpus: Saying things are stupid, is stupididy itself.:P

Legal: Most of the original rant of mine was actually what I thought before I ordered the game. Lack of motivation and a huge amount of homework made me ignore it the time. When I found out that the demo wasn't working I began actually writing it all down, of course with the utter lazyness of the Thief 3 developers to even test the game. Statements by people working there saying "it might work on some laptops, but we didn't think about testing them" and basing assumptions on wether it'll run or not on speculation isn't what I'd call professional. They have a budget, they actually get payed, hence they should make sure to test it on all the basic configurations of systems users may try to run it on.

Furthermore, things such as not marketing it better than any 12-year old could and listing cards that can't be used on the forums and not the site gives me the impression of ION Storm and Eidos not giving a shit wheter I buy it or not. Which, as anyone might guess, is what the title of this page is based on.

To release games such as Doom 3, Thief 3, and other new similar at a time where a large part of the market is using Geforce 4 MX cards, Windows 98SE/ME and the other things in the great list of what you can't do, I find the very idea of not creating fallback systems ignorant. It's quite obvious that people will be more likely to pirate a single player game without any multiplayer support or editor than building their own Geforce FX.

I really find your fanboy approach to my rant interesting, not to say amusing. Did you even read the arguments at the top? All of what's listed are the very most basic demands from the public and companies who care about selling their game. Again, the basic rant (that's all of what's above the "Comments" section) is completely related to the title and reason for this page.

Perhaps, instead of going berzerk on what I think, you could write up a long list of the things that were made right? I have no doubt it's a great game, but I find the reasoning of developers nowadays to be that of a large corporation we call "Microsoft". "Buy the hard/software we use or it's your own fault you can't play our games".

As many things Epic has done wrong with the Unreal 2 Engine, they did do one thing right, where other companies fail. They created a high profile graphics engine first, then added one or sometimes even two or three levels of fallbacks. This gave them the market of both Linux, Mac and those who still finds UT1 fun enough not to upgrade.