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Weekend Open Forum: Why are PC games so buggy these days?

By Matthew · 73 replies
Jan 13, 2012
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  1. Although 2011 had its share of solid PC games, an unfortunate number were riddled with bugs. Rage, Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Dead Island, Battlefield 3 and many others caught negative…

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  2. LOL, It almost feels they are saying, “Send the game into the wild. Let the masses find what’s wrong, and then we’ll fix it.”
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,680   +762

    I think it's a combination of all of the above. The incredible complexity of programming a game, the game company management insisting that the game released on time no matter what the programmers say, sloppy programming, etc.

    I don't mind a few bugs - it's just the way it is these days. If I know I'm going to get 40-60 hours of enjoyment out of game, then it's a small price to wait for the first couple of patches before starting in. And that's pretty much become standard SOP for me. I had Skyrim installed and ready to go but didn't touch it for the first two weeks waiting for patches and mods. No biggee - a great game worth the patch wait.
  4. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,045   +206

    I would rather have them released early\buggy and patched later then released later and having to wait longer with less bugs.
  5. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,891   +1,042

    When your pushing software and game engines to the limits things get buggy.
    I waited 1 month, picked up Rage through steam for $30 or so, then played it with no issues. (GTX 570). Not a single glitch/issue.
  6. I think stuff became too complex, and publishers want everything faster. No logic in there. Games are bigger, and they want short relase. I am amazed these developers, designers can manage and stay sane with insane publishers like EA, Activision, etc...
  7. Well it could also be said that some of those glitches and problems that arise are from people doing weird things that most normal people wouldnt think about. For instance putting a bucket on someones head in skyrim... im sorry but that never ran through my head when i looked at a bucket in a tavern... Thats not to say that they should be checking for the obvious issues but with the games today u just cant check everything because theres never 2 people that will play the game the same way...
  8. Warning: Blatent troll comment...

    I rarely EVER experiennce bugs in games that numerous people say they have issues with. Guess if you're among said numerous, it's a you problem. lol

    I played Skyrim 20+ hours with max settings @ 1080 before any patches came out and didn't see a single bug or performance issue . double lol
  9. Ranger12

    Ranger12 TS Evangelist Posts: 621   +122

    I would it's not just the complexity of modern games but the fact that there's way more computers nowadays than there was ten years ago and everybody has a different setup. There are millions of different hardware combinations out there and to expect a game to work identically across all of them is just not realistic. The same problem was around ten years ago but the scale is muh larger today.
  10. so many different hard ware combo's, i think it's just hard to get them all to work well.

    same can be said for the mobile platform, android.
    So many different android phones are thrown into the market each month, that developers are greatly struggling to support everything.

    Luckily for iOS users, theirs a very limited number of devices running apples mobile OS as such, much easier to test games.
  11. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,007   +661

    I should have learned my lesson after buying Crysis 2 at the midnight release, but no, I tried again with Battlefield 3 and it was the same song and dance. No more release day game purchases for me.
  12. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,584   +963

    I agree with many of the comments above: publishers' deadlines and pressure on developers, inherent complexity, and hardware combinations/settings that are not helped by the fact many releases are also console games.

    On that last note, you may have noticed that console games, too, have become patch dependent. It'd seem like every time I launch a game on my PS3, I get bugged with patches that need to be installed before I can play...
  13. Ranger12

    Ranger12 TS Evangelist Posts: 621   +122

    Makes you wish we still had cartridges eh? Then we could spend all our time blowing dust out of em instead of waiting for 1GB+ patches to download. lol
  14. MCJeeba

    MCJeeba TS Rookie Posts: 19

    The primary reason I see is that most of these games are console ports. Created for very specific platforms, then hastily ported to a vastly diverse platform.
  15. 5 things come to play

    1..Profit -

    companies pushing out product - because they are running out of dough , or want to be ahead of others with similar stuff and want to beat them out of the gate.

    2. game complexity -

    that is going up and takes more time to develop and learn and find problems in engines and drivers, hardware, etc

    3. actual Investment

    some companies have deep pocket other don't and really on initial investment - so when the money runs out it goes out the door

    4 time to debug -

    it take 4 times longer to debug than to create - and as complexity goes up
    thus becomes longer (remember you add errors when you fix others). it tripped up by the other reasons

    5. bad ports -
    to maximize profit - companies are porting games made for other enviroments(pc, console,tablet,phone) and they are not perfect matches - then they don't spend the time because of the reasons above
  16. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TS Guru Posts: 366   +45

    The real question is "Why are all Bethesda games so Buggy all the time regardless of platform?"
  17. The problem isn't that games are getting too big or complex. The problem is publisher's with strict deadlines and sloppy developers. BF3 could have had a lot less buggy launch, but since EA wanted to release alongside MW3, DICE was rushed way too fast thus their launch was so bad. Other than that, it's just because a lot of developers simply don't give a flying ****. They know the game will sell, so why bother fixing the bugs?

    That's why I barely buy any games and why I don't have a huge variety in my gaming selection. My entire game catalog has about 10 games in it and 4 of them are made by Blizzard.

    In fact, 80% of my gaming time in the last while has been spent playing Diablo 2 online. Still an incredible game to this day. The other 20% would be playing Bejeweled 3 that I just bought on Steam for about $5 (75% off). I recommend it to anyone who might be thinking about picking it up.
  18. Ranger12

    Ranger12 TS Evangelist Posts: 621   +122

    Still looking for that Immortal King set eh RH00D?
  19. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Probably comes down to a number of factors already touched upon. Depending on the developer, game complexity (game i.q., textures, game A.I. etc), multiple code paths, multiple API's, multiple graphics architectures and driver sets etc.
    There isn't a single cause- you can point to sloppy develepment, accountants and shareholders pushing for accelerated timelines for debugging/beta testing, and the volume of games in development on one hand, and the sheer size of game code in other instances. RH00D mentioned BF3 and Diablo 2. Conservatively speaking, BF3 weighs in at ten times the size of Diablo 2, and as far as I'm aware Diablo 2 isn't without it's quirks (i.e. forcing earlier DX API versions)...and the intervening years haven't exactly streamlined the hardware fit-out, driver selection or DRM
    And of course, as the amount of game code increases, the likelihood is that the amount of choke points from executing the game code in a timely manner increases. I would sincerely doubt that many older DX9/8/7/OGL games would tax a 4+ thread CPU, or bring the game to a virtual slideshow for want of more system RAM.
  20. KG363

    KG363 TS Guru Posts: 515   +9

    Internet connectivity makes releasing a polished game unnecessary
  21. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    I'm going to continue doing what I always do, wait for the game to get some age before ever forking over the money. Plenty of free games to keep me entertained, and plenty more I already own.

    I don't trust developer/publishers anymore. My latest blunder was thinking Red Orchestra 2 would hold true, lo and behold I got a crappy game I can't even run because it crashes whenever it pleases and to top it off, the key to bandage yourself, stick to the wall, and pick up weapons is one and the same and you can't separate them. It thoroughly killed the game for me if the constant crashing hadn't.

    Another big blunder was Front Mission Evolved, then Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, before I realized Bioware had started adopting the "cut half the game out, sell it back to them" strategy they currently have.
  22. Richy2k9

    Richy2k9 TS Enthusiast Posts: 515

    hello ...

    most reasons that most of you stated are true, that's why I've decided to wait before jumping on a game, on any platform.

    but some bugs may be with a particular system, they can't test all the hardware / drivers & as operating systems are somewhat slightly different on each system with add-ons / other software and utilities, there will always be bugs in games that passed QC. another reason would be to somewhat punish illegal owners, cracked versions are rarely updated so an illegal copy will suffer more bugs and won't be able to patch, until any unofficial updates.

    we can't technically compare the older games with today's Hollywood blockbuster's style gaming, some would say 'les jeux d'antan etaient mieux' (old games were better) ... sorry but can't agree, they were great and today's games are great too! it's an evolution, what's better is that we can somehow still play our good old games while also experience new great ones.

    what we need -

    publishers: stop being greedy & a multi platform game can be an exclusive to each platform one not bad ports and piracy exist since the beginning!

    developers: we are not your beta testers

    customers: make sure your system can run a particular software at optimal performance and accept that maybe it can't work as good as on other systems

    unofficial customers: if you disappear, publishers and developers would be happy then accept to invest time and effort for customer's satisfaction.

  23. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,007   +661

  24. JasAce

    JasAce TS Rookie

    It's been mentioned but I also believe it has to do with games being created for consoles primarily and then poorly ported over to PC without all the video and control options we used to have back in the day. They know they can bring out sub-par looking games for a console cheaper without all the bells and whistles us PC gamers have come to know and love, and still make enough money to cover expenses.
  25. Wagan8r

    Wagan8r TS Evangelist Posts: 603   +64

    As we say in software development, "If you're not writing bugs, you're not writing code." Games have gotten immensely more complex than they were in the days of Pong, that there simply isn't the man power to test an exhaustive test plan. It's not fun, but it's true that user are the best QA team that you can find. That's why there has been a big trend in having an open beta months prior to release because users will do things that you've never even dreamed about.

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