Is the difficulty of debugging complex games non-linear?

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Commenter, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    I meant common game killing bugs. Obscure game-killing bugs can't be helped, but fundamentally broken games shouldn't be happening.
     
  2. Dominik D

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    How do you define the line between common and obscure? One gamer experiencing it in total? Five? One in 10k? One in a million? This is completely arbitrary and any discussion about some general bar of quality is pure hand-waving that's a complete waste of time.
     
  3. Billy Idol

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    Oh, the solution to this problem is quite easy: publishers should insta give back money to gamers, if their game crashes and a bug note message is sent from the actual machine it happened (they let you do this for Dragon's Age: Inquisition...you can send a report when you get a CTD on the PS4...lol). Report a game crashing bug via the dev internal system or Sony's/MS console system - insta get back money.

    Then your question about the definition when a bug is obscure or common is quite simple, as it is based on financial considerations: as long as it is cheaper for the publisher to pay the few users who have a crash, no problem, this number is small, the bug is obviously obscure.

    But if it is a "common" bug, in the sense that it costs the publisher more money as so many people have reported crashes instead of improving the QA and investing not only a ton of money into QA, but maybe two tons of money, then we define this a common bug which should be avoided.

    The good thing about Billy's plan...it would be a self-regulating process and thus would give a stable long term solution as I guess the publisher would not release a game with "common" bugs anymore :)

    Easy! Everyone wins...everyone is happy...
     
  4. Dominik D

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    You live in a country where people are nice and honest, don't you? This is what will happen in Poland:

    1. Obscure bug is found by a single gamer.
    2. Repro is built by him and described on a message board.
    3. People who wouldn't have hit it otherwise repeat the wacky stuff he encountered (say: trying to mount/unmount horse 1000 times in a row).
    4. Everyone reports the bug.

    It'd be much cheaper to release the game for free where I live. It's unfortunate but it is what it is. What I know people do is a step above this (or below: depends on the POV):

     
  5. dobwal

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    No. All devs should just release every title as an early access title and label all the online components as beta with a disclaimer that beta portions may subject the single player portion to unknown bugs and glitches.

    Why invest huge amounts of cash into your QA process while dealing with diminishing returns when you can simply move the "goal posts of expectation". LOL

    We simply don't live in a world of bug free releases anymore.

    Plus using "common" to denote a bug that readily happens across platforms and titles must mean its a type of bug or glitch that readily hard for devs and testers to deal with in a QA enviroment. It wouldn't be so "common" if it could be easily squished.
     
  6. Dominik D

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    We never did. Besides:
    1. Top selling games today push several times more units than in 8- or 16-bit era.
    2. These days gamers have access to Internet and can share experience online, unfiltered.
    3. We tend to cherish bugs in old games as interesting glitches and deride bugs in recent games as laziness.

    I'm not sure I understand this. You're suggesting that bugs that are common are so because they were too hard to fix?
     
  7. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Obscure ones slip through. I remember playing The Last of Us on PS3 on launch day which was hit by some bizarrely odd internet-related autosave bug which resulted in me losing about 5 hours of gameplay from that Friday night.

    On the plus side, I got to replay five hours of awesome game but at the time I was mad as hell.
     
  8. dobwal

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    More like they are easily missed or hard to find while being hard to reproduce during the QA process. Their commonality in the wild denotes their resiliency in defeating QA.
     
    #148 dobwal, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  9. pMax

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    ...My experience about:
    Few hundred guys whining on your game/company forum because they cant play the game due to X (on an AAA game) are enough to:
    * have the fire alarm siren sounds for people
    * have 2 company boss screams
    * make one guy work 20hr/day for a week to fix it, dancing around "you cant do this since it breaks our 3rd party blah blah agreements" and such.
    * get extra fix "features" added meanwhile.

    A well, at least they were funny times :D
    ...better now, any way :p
     
  10. Shifty Geezer

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    I've no idea. However, we don't need to define that line when the differences either side are pretty obvious. If one in three people have their saved game wiped, that's a bug that shouldn't have made it into the game. If one in 50,000 have their saved game wiped, that's obscure. Where the threshold exists between doesn't matter when it comes to recognising that not all bugs are excusable when it comes to furnishing the buying public with working software. In broad terms, BF4 should not have released as was - that's a test case for a broken game. And there have been several big name titles that have been not just a bit awkward but plain busted. How are we supposed to strive for a better quality experience if we're going to excuse all bugs as 'possibly undetectable in testing'? That's effectively admitting that the future should be releasing broken games and fixing them after the fact when the public has tested them.
     
  11. Davros

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    I sense your slowly comming over to my way of thinking ;)
    One day shifty me and you will be outside the u.n building demanding that John Riccitiello be arrested, tried and executed for crimes against humanity.
     
  12. dobwal

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    Thats not the future, that is the present basically across consumer electronic products where an internet connection is a given. How initially broken a game can be will simply be determined by the market going forward.

    I find the issue hardly to be problematic.

    Solution A. Delay game 6 months and release with fewer bugs.

    Solution B. Release broken game and patch over a 6 month period.

    Most prefer A. I don't mind B because all it takes is a little self restraint and in 6 months you will have a game vetted by millions instead of 100s. And in most cases won't come with a $60 dollar price tag.
     
  13. TheWretched

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    Problem is that... we've had enough cases B, but without the "patching" part, for 6 months at least. And I can't really see Ubisoft fixing the abysmal console performance of ACU, either. Though... I was irritated by the fact that they cancelled the season pass. The bugs, maybe... the rest, I am not so sure.
     
  14. dobwal

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    Where do you get that notion from? Ubisoft is set to release patch 4.0, which is supposedly meant to deal with the frame rate issues and other lingering problems. Its not May 11, 2015 as ACU is not even a month old.

    What title are you referring to that was basically broken at release and the dev refused to patch at all?

    Whats the point of maintaining the season pass when you plan on giving all owners a portion of the content for free. Season pass owners will get their choice of FC4 or The Crew for free and still receive the content promised with the purchase of the pass.

    I don't feel sorry for season pass owners because I wish I was one.
     
    #154 dobwal, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  15. Davros

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    I can give you an example. Battlefield 3 if you dont use the spacebar as your jump key you cannot complete the game and the dev will not patch it
     
  16. dobwal

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    Are you talking the subway mission where you have to press the spacebar and remapped jump key to get pass the level successfully?

    Whats makes you think that something they won't patch after BF3 has been released in the wild, would have been fixed during a 6 month delay?

    Plus, we are talking about the PC space where the market doesn't seem big enough to barely make pubs give a hoot.
     
    #156 dobwal, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  17. TheWretched

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    Ubisoft SAY patch X will fix framerate issues. They also released AC1 in an abysmal state (especially on PS3), and it got never fixed. They also said, the last patch"might be" improving framerate issues... and at least according to DF, it didn't... at least not scientifically noteworthy.

    From the top of my head, I actually can't just name a game that was broken at release and never really fixed. At least not from a big publisher. But I am sure there are several.
     
  18. forumaccount

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    Solution A is actually "delay game 6 months, lose money, still have bugs on release."
     
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  19. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    The other solution is the one almost nobody seems to be able to do : boycott.
    I don't buy EA, UBISoft, and Gearbox games at all, and never buy a game before release.
     
  20. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    This probably isn't the thread to discuss consumer action to solve bugs. As a Tech-forum thread, we should focus on technical causes and solutions. And whether motivated by laws, commerce, or a change of heart, the issues with producing the release-games without bugs will be the same.
     
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