At the Risk of Being Banned I Say What Needs to Be Said

General discussion about Defcon

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At the Risk of Being Banned I Say What Needs to Be Said

Postby Feud » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:59 am

I realize that these are IV's forums, and I acknowledge their right to ban me if they choose for what I will now say. But I think it needs to be said for the both their and our (the customers) mutual good, and I say it in hopes that some positive change can come from it.

Let's look at the current state of things:

Right now DEFCON is easily exploitable by a sailing glitch. IV is aware of this, and even issued a beta patch nearly two months ago. Since then? Nothing.

For perspective on the matter, in less time then it has taken them to fix an exploit we have seen a community
member hack the code to create a dedicated server client (and he is neither getting paid like the IV staff are, nor working full time on it).
(the beta patch was released on May10th, Bert's mod was the 28th)

What has IV done during this time? They created a Vista patch for Darwinia. Basically, you decided that fixing a massive exploit in your most popular and best selling game is less important then a graphics update for a game that has retro 80's graphics to begin with!



Next. they announced a t-shirt contest, with prizes, witht he t-shirts meant for the DEFCON UK retail launch.

vic wrote:Our UK distributors are thinking about putting together some cool new DEFCON t-shirts for the DEFCON UK retail launch this June...

Due to the wealth of interest and suggestions for design ideas, Pinnacle has decided to open a T-shirt designing competition. If you think you have a better design, please go here to submit: http://www.defconvideogame.com/tshirts/index.php. The best entrant will win a boxed copy of DEFCON.


Now, I realize that the statement on t-shirts is conditional, but the contest statement certainly was not. I also realize that it is Pinnacle doing the shirts, but you are promoting it on your forums, on your website, in connection with your game.

What has come from it? Again, nothing. We are promised something, only to be ignored and/or forgotten, with nary an explanation why.


Third, you opened a forum thread entitled "Think Tank". To date I am unaware of IV ever using a single idea of the nine pages (of just thread topics) that currently exist there. How many times have you even responded?



Now, I know that patches cost money with little immediate return. But let's face it, IV is a small company, and as such needs to produce quality products in order to compete with larger software groups. Part of that includes making games that build loyal customer support. Or, in other words, when you make a broken game, you are supposed to fix it.

IV, you make excellent games, ones that I cannot come even close to creating. But your business model, customer service, and company policies are horrific. You guys blow money on fast cars and speed boats, only to be cutting corners on games because you had to ship due to your lack of funds (either that or the game was broken in a patch, which means you have an even greater responsibility to fix it).

As a customer, and someone who has tried to do his best to support and promote your games, I ask you to please stop treating us like crap. We want to like you, but you seem to go out of your way to make that difficult.


Again, ban me if you want, but it needs to be said. If you want fans, you need to treat us right. We don't want freebies, we don't want hand outs. We want working games, we want support, we want you to actually do what you say you will do.

Thank you for your time.
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Postby torig » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:08 am

Feud and I were discussing this very topic a few days ago, and I second the points he raises.
Don't care either if I get banned. I mean, it's not like stating an opinion you had before is illegal, and that by banning that person his opinion will change positively.

On top of that, for the sailability issue, note that xander has made a new sailable.bmp which seems to take care of the problem (here: http://forums.introversion.co.uk/defcon ... php?t=4699 ).
Or at the very least it takes care of the most pertinent fleet exploits; we as a community don't really care much about subs being able to go over Australia I believe, from where nothing can be reached anyway.

And then there are a great number of bugs Bert has been able to reproduce and report, of which we've heard nothing. See the topic "Glitch?Hack?" I bumped, which is the worst problem to this day and is being actively used in the wild.

Even if a fix isn't immediate, keeping us in the loop on the status (A) and on what's being done and is foreseen (a sort of patch roadmap, if you will) (B) would be nice and is considered common courtesy.
You do NOT want to build a reputation of lousy support and overly long patch cycles such as EA has...

Furthermore, we have NO clue whatsoever if you, IV intend to :
- ever implement a ranking/tournament system.
- provide a kick/ban function. We have this, thanks to bert_the_turtle's dedicated Defcon servers.
- create a dedicated server. Guess that's not necessary anymore. The good this is doing to the community is unbelievable. Not only are people who have limited connections always able to play, it stops grief quiting AND bert is sanitizing requests so the exploiting/cheating is kept to a minimum. He is detecting whether or not a player is not doing anything (giving instructions to his units) while in real time; and automatically speeds the player up if necessary.
- provide some sort of "friends" list and chat lobby as it were.
- upgrade the AI, so it can actually use more advanced tactics and provide a better challenge after a player has dropped out from multiplayer.
- fix some bad habits given to new players through the tutorial. We constantly see players adopting bad habits simply because the tutorial creates them in the first place.

and so much more.

I'm not saying you are obliged to do these things, I'm just saying there is a very strong community demand and we deserve a clear cut YES/NO answer on some of these things.
Some of them were brought up by IV themselves, by the way, but ever since the community has been asking about them and patiently waiting for them.

Thanks for your time. I believe stating I LOVE Defcon is unnecessary, as I'm participating in both 1v1 ladders here, posting actively, trying to help new players out when I can, ...
Last edited by torig on Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby KingAl » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:33 am

I definitely agree that the ship exploit needs to be fixed, as does bert's exploit, and they should already be by now.
I also agree that the situation surrounding the competition is a little off - they don't even have T&C on there. However, this element of oddness is, I suspect, at Pinnacle's end - which is not to say that IV should not intervene.

However, regardless of my opinion in these areas, in IV's defence:
In relation to the Darwinia Vista patch, I gather that it was already pretty much finished before the ship exploit came to light*. The 'blowing money on fast cars' part is a bit of a stretch - that was over a year ago, before Defcon even came out, and was a one-off. There's no reason to believe IV 'had to ship' Defcon at the time they did - it had nothing like the protracted development period of Darwinia, and the recent Steam re-release of the latter was providing fresh funds during Defcon's development. The ship exploit wasn't found to be so easily reproducible during betas so it wasn't immediately apparent that it was such a huge issue, hence the fact that the bug was not already fixed.

In relation to the Think Tank, in my estimation 5% of it is worthy of consideration, and most of it is reiteration of other ideas. Regardless, fixing exploits should take priority over implementing new ideas - a fact which also applies to many of IV's own proposed changes (such as a ranking system etc.).

Incidentally, I find it highly unlikely that you'll be banned for posting anything other than spam or abuse - and this post fits in neither category to my mind.

torig: The Linux client already has the anti-exploit beta built into it, to my knowledge.

*Incidentally, citing Defcon as IV's 'most popular and best-selling' game is also a fairly broad assumption, unless you know something I don't. I couldn't say for certain which of their games is best-selling or most popular, though I do know Darwinia has turned up on more 'best game' lists. Due to the separation of release and the difference in nature - single-player versus multiplayer - gauging community activity isn't a very effective way of making an estimate to this effect. But it's a moot point - a multiplayer exploit fix would trump a graphical update were it not for the fact that the latter was already complete.
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Postby Feud » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:42 am

KingAl wrote: <snip>


My basis for those statements come from the following quotes (to which I'll attach links):

Tom wrote:
…but only just! By 15th September, the day DEFCON pre-orders were launched, I wrote a cheque for our last £1,500. With all the launch preparations, we were completely drained of cash - absolutely nothing left. Luckily for us, and those of you who’re looking forward to Subversion, DEFCON did much much better than we ever imagined, and the cash rolled in.


http://forums.introversion.co.uk/defcon/introversion/viewtopic.php?t=615


Chris wrote:Things are changing at Introversion Software. Recently we launched our third game Defcon; a game which took just twelve months to make (despite being our first ever Multiplayer game), and sold more than Darwinia or Uplink ever did.


http://forums.introversion.co.uk/defcon/introversion/viewtopic.php?t=549&highlight=defcon+sold
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Postby torig » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:44 am

KingAl wrote:
*Incidentally, citing Defcon as IV's 'most popular and best-selling' game is also a fairly broad assumption, unless you know something I don't. I couldn't say for certain which of their games is best-selling or most popular, though I do know Darwinia has turned up on more 'best game' lists. Due to the separation of release and the difference in nature - single-player versus multiplayer - gauging community activity isn't a very effective way of making an estimate to this effect. But it's a moot point - a multiplayer exploit fix would trump a graphical update were it not for the fact that the latter was already complete.


KingAl, you raise a few good points.
However, I disagree about the ship bug not being easy to reproduce. Or perhaps between beta and the last patches something changed that caused it to become easier. Even new players are "exploiting" this, sometimes even without realising it IS an exploit.

For the part I've quoted above, check IV's roadmap at www.introversion.co.uk , september 2006: DEFCON released:

"Introversion's third game was released to the public. The theme is Global Thermonuclear War, and the aim is simple - obliterate your opponent! Fight hard and make those MegaDeaths count.

Simultaniously released on our website and over Steam, Defcon quickly becomes Introversion's best selling game yet."
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Postby KingAl » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:47 am

torig: I never said that the bug wasn't easy to reproduce, merely that it wasn't consistently reproduced at the time that it mattered i.e. pre-release.

Feud: Ah, ta.

EDIT: Incidentally, I was genuine when I said 'unless you know something I don't' - I hadn't remembered those specific statements.
Last edited by KingAl on Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kentuckyfried » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:49 am

I'm assuming that the last game you and I were a part of feud set this off, where you were SA and african subs surfaced inland.

I've been watching these forums with our concerns and complaints, seeing the ingame abuse and exploit. Some people have taken it upon themselves to take matters into their own hands to get the results they so badly want with the dedicated servers with features that solve alot of these problems. Sad that IV hasn't taken the cue. People are demanding a better product.

I bet IV is broke, or there is some problem with staffing. The place is tiny from what I understand.
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Postby torig » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:53 am

You know, I don't think fighting amongst us will help any of us, so I want to make sure you don't take this post the wrong way. It's not meant to start a fight. Having given that disclaimer: yes you did ;)

KingAl wrote:The ship exploit wasn't found to be so easily reproducible during betas so it wasn't immediately apparent that it was such a huge issue, hence the fact that the bug was not already fixed.


In light of your feedback, I've removed the fallacious claim concerning the linux (and mac) clients from my original post. My apologies for not better checking the fact ; I remembered I saw some topic this week in which someone screamed murder and blood because the linux clients weren't at the patchlevel of the windows clients.
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Postby Feud » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:54 am

kentuckyfried wrote:I'm assuming that the last game you and I were a part of feud set this off, where you were SA and african subs surfaced inland.


That probably did set it off, but it has been building for sometime. I posted several weeks ago a thread that was much more mellow, hoping that some response would come. It didn't.

Really, that game was just the spark in a room full of vapors. If it hadn't of started it, something else was bound to sooner or later.
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Postby KingAl » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:57 am

torig: You've just misinterpreted me. 'wasn't found to be so easily reproducible' != 'was found not to be easily reproducible'. That is, they didn't disprove that it was easily reproducible, they merely didn't find it out in the first place. It's an important distinction.

EDIT: (I know very well that it is easily reproduced by clicking in the right places, so I'd never make such an indefensible statement to the contrary ;))
Last edited by KingAl on Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby kentuckyfried » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:58 am

Feud, honestly that was the worst game I've ever seen, abuse, bad sportsmanship, exploitation, shoddy strategies, and much, much, more!
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Postby thindigital » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:34 am

I dont have long for this so here goes :

I havent been playing as long as the OP, I have played lots of strategy games and also been involved in game/mod development (The Lordz Napoleonic Total War I (Graphics/Maps))

This game has some glaring bugs in it (naval pathing), this is effecting peoples experience of the game and needs patching, other features need adding to the patch (server commands etc)

There is a sizable amount of players who love the game and want to/have already help fix it.

Its taken longer for IV to patch the game than it did to write the game in the first place! Can IV not establish a community patching team with ppl like Bert and the other Coder types, combined with the veteran players like Feud who understand the game and what needs fixing.

This team would be responsible for highlighting bugs/gameplay improvements and then prototyping code fixes and sending them to a liason staff member at IV. Saves time for IV and they get data straight from the people playing the game 24/7 !!

There may not money flyng around to pay these people but maybe other 'benefits' can be worked out.

Would be nice to see someone from IV reply to the OP ASAP anyway, for the sake of customer service...

cheers

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Postby torig » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:58 am

thindigital, I quite oppose to what you are proposing, unless the people you mention themselves would speak up saying they want to perform that role.
Since when should bert (or anyone else for that matter) become IV's bug tracker/fixer?

If you look at the beta discussion forums, most of those posts in there are bug reports. From the good ones I've seen, bugs only get reported if the conditions under which they can be reproduced are known. Hence IV's time isn't being wasted on bug hunting -it's a "click there, go there, do that" bug report. What do you expect bert to do more, find the faulty code and provide patches, too ??

If you look at the efforts being done by the community, it's not us, but IV,who need to step up their game and get their act together.
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Postby thindigital » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:16 am

@torig, i believe you have missread my intent - i realise the community is doing a lot of the work on bug fixing/finding, thats obvious to all who've read posts here for a while,

Im saying the work tht Bert et al are already doing should be more formally recognised and acted on by IV.
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Postby torig » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:30 am

Thin, no I haven't. (why is everyone all of a sudden so intent on making it look like I misread everything ;) ).
I perfectly understood what you meant, but I don't think that is the solution. Well, it is A solution, that's for sure. I just think you see 'formally recognising and acting up on it' as going too far. A community-patching team? Veteran members to suggest new features and fixes?

All this information -the bug reports, the suggested fixes- are already there. IV just needs to do something with it, and keep us informed of what's going on. It's _their_ game, it's _their_ duty to fix it. In that respect, I agree with you saying IV needs to formally recognise the work being done (the bug-testing and such) and act on it.

Going any further is unnecessary, in my opinion.
So it looks like we somewhat agree, but I just think you go a step (/a few steps) too far in your solution. Unless IV just confesses they are not interested in patching anymore (which I haven't read until now), that they aren't apt (which I don't believe) to do so or give some other reason, no further "solution" should be sought. Again, IMNSHO ;)

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