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

By Matthew ยท 73 replies
Jan 13, 2012
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  1. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,911   +593

    LMAO. You mean like when users buy a game, bring it home, put it in their console, and press Start?

    I think you need to find a new line of work sir - seriously.
  2. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    If anyone remembers Ultima IX, that game was so buggy that they actually had to mail me a new disk. They probably spent a lot of money on postage compared to what they would now on having a file get downloaded.

    As far as game bugs go, you can argue all day about the ability of game companies to do so, but it basically comes down to this. Before the game is to go gold, are there people at the company that know that the game is basically going to be unplayable due to persistent bugs that happen in a wide range scenarios? If there are, then the company basically decided to put out a shoddy product and is screwing over the consumer.

    I'm sure there are some scenarios in which a company can say "we did everything we can, we just cannot fix the game any more", but I think that's BS. I think they look at pre-sales and decide that the game will be released on time, regardless of the state that it is in.

    For this exact reason I don't buy ANY game at release. Even the most stable and well polished of them are guaranteed a patch in the first few weeks. How many get patches loaded AT release? Sorry, they're intentionally releasing products they know not to be finished, relying on end users to report the bugs to them.
  3. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 706   +69

    Because most PC games nowadays are console ports.
  4. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    You know what happens when you turn in your work with errors and you keep telling your boss you'll email him the revised version?
  5. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,041   +793

    Here are my latest issues with a recently released game, I uploaded these vids as I posted this as an issue on Dices Battlelog and over 100 people have joined the group (it goes up everyday):



    Now I have now found a (sort of) fix to stop it from happening, If i set the quality level to "auto" it doesn't happen, anything else? It just bugs out. I can't even play on Ultra as the game bugs out!

    Any who, I decided I don't mind bugs as long as they are small and don't stop me from playing and can be patched at a later date, bugs such as the ones i posted above, they are what i call a broken product.
  6. r8bwp

    r8bwp TS Enthusiast Posts: 34   +10

    Because we as the consumer "WANT IT NOW"
    and by so doing have allowed shoddy workmanship to become acceptable.
    The devopers have joined the band wagon in saying well everyone else is doing it!
  7. gobbybobby

    gobbybobby TS Guru Posts: 549   +9

    its not just PC games tho. Consoles games are buggy too. newer PS3 games, seem to crash alot. Like hard lock so you have to reboot. Happens on both my FAT and my slim. the 3D games (got a 3D TV) are the worst, can only a few hours play in before... FREEZE
  8. CryVer

    CryVer TS Rookie Posts: 37

    Let's just say that I've stopped making pre-orders from anyone but Valve and Blizzard. My last pre-order was Battlefield 3, which turned out to be a bad move on my end. Even now, some months after release, the game still has mouse acceleration and the mouse speed varies from every weapon as well as every time you zoom (about 0.5x the speed when zoomed in).
  9. Engine vs Game. I think another issue is the constant pressure to enhance the engine - display and sound have highly increased complexity. Did I really need the latest engine to enjoy the game?? - maybe not.

    Indie game publisher have begun to explore this and we may see several classics evolve in this space as they experiment with gameplay using older more stable engines.

    I have the feeling that the internet has changed the economics and publishers are doing what they have to. Perhaps years ago there were games which focused on play and not on "wow". This was probably due to the fact that patches were much harder to deliver and so there was more testing before delivery, but then the publishers discovered the consumer as the free beta tester and we are where we are today. However, they are shooting themselves in the collective foot..

    Due to this change (using customers as beta testers), customers are changing their buying habits. I believe there is a growing group of gamers who will not under ANY circumstances purchase a game that does not have good reviews and positive forum content about playability. Add to that the thousands of prospective buyers with slightly older hardware who will wait until they have a stronger platform and you end up with fewer customers at launch (thank you, beta testers!).

    Frankly, I haven't purchased a game within the first 6 months of launch in the current century... and I build my own PCs (thanks, NewEgg, TigerDirect, etc). Why? <1> requirements, I want to upgrade to support fluid play, <2> bugs and glitches, I want to avoid buggy messes which need 6 months to get the patches written, <3> DRM - openly declared and stealth, I will not buy crippled, intrusive, buggy programs, <4> poor playability, my game time is too limited to waste on an "average" game so I wait for comment on the forums to swell and, finally <5> competition, there are so many really good games already available and beta tested by "at launch" buyers so I do not need to purchase something which is rushed, buggy, untested, unplayable, etc.
  10. rvnwlfdroid

    rvnwlfdroid TS Booster Posts: 177   +41

    I'm thinking the developers have taken a page out of Microsoft's book. Put something together that will somewhat/mostly work and let the masses find the bugs.
  11. soldier1969

    soldier1969 TS Booster Posts: 244   +43

    In short games are alot more complex than a few years ago and so many hardware configs out there its not easy to maintain what used to be one standard across the board before people had PCs to game on. More game effects and realism added at a price.
  12. "My memory may be foggy, but I don't recall major titles being so rampantly "broken" a decade ago, at least not to the same extent."

    Yeah you're right, your memory is foggy. Other than the few recent offenders mentioned, that were particularly bad PC games see far more stable now than they did back in the 90's and early 2000's. Patching a game isn't the long drawn-out nightmare it used to be back on 56k either.
  13. the answer in a nut shell is

    corporate greed
  14. herpaderp

    herpaderp TS Booster Posts: 154

    The only game where none of this bothered me was Arkham City. The game is so good I really didn't care about the broken DX11 seeing as it looked great maxed out on DX9 anyway. Besides the DX11 launch issue, the game really didn't have any bugs, I've already replayed it three times and never had a problem besides putting down the controller.
  15. SalaSSin

    SalaSSin TS Booster Posts: 145   +55

    I played Skyrim -- checking my Steam account -- 136 hours, and except for the dragon flying backwards (and away from me) bug (which was fixed pretty soon) i didn't encounter any showstopping bugs. Sure, from time to time graphics went weird, in some places plants are just HUUUUGE pink spikes, at another place the water wasn't visible, but i was swimming in it, but hey: That's not even 1% of the game, so you won't hear me ***** about it...

    As other posters mentioned, it's certainly a combination of all those factors, and when you read the conditions in which qa/devs have to work (check The Trenches, a side project of penny arcade), i can imagine not everything gets resolved.

    As long as they DO fix it, and listen to their community, i can't be bothered with criticism. Every person/firm makes mistakes, the best ones listen to complaints and do something about it. Those ones get my full support.
  16. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    It's somehow excusable that the developers/publishers are getting more money/backing than before yet the quality seems to go down rather than up as time passes?

    I don't think so.
  17. It seems to me, at times, like the QA function has been switched from a dedicated group of professionals (with the actual time & resources to perform the task) to a infinitely cheaper group of unsuspecting & untrained muppets. And by muppets, I mean us.. the end users of course.
  18. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 798   +318

    The problems really started when consoles got hard drives and an internet connection. Before that, developers and publishers had only one chance to release a game. If it was a well made game, it could turn a nice profit. If it was buggy, regardless of the content, it would flop. If they wanted to make money, they'd have to ensure the game was as bug free as possible before release.
    Even for PC games, back then "Patch" was a four letter word, so to speak. Companies were embarrassed if their games needed more than two patches to resolve all issues.

    Now, they can release whatever rubbish they like and consider patching it later. A dozen patches per game (and still broken) has become the norm. Half of the problem is the greed of these companies, min-maxing where ever possible and skimping on the bug testing. The other half of the problem is the end users, with their lowered standards, short attention spans and constant whining to have everything as soon as possible.
    They don't care if the next instalment to a franchise is buggier than a TraveLodge hotel bed, or if the plot is completely devoid of content. They just want it a week after the last game was released, and will happily pay through the nose to be a beta tester.
  19. Johnny Utah

    Johnny Utah TS Rookie Posts: 18

    I agree wholeheartedly. What I find amazing, as a gamer since the late 80's on PC is that with respect to "beta programs" that I have been in.....hundreds, but as of late, the companies do not FIX the problems we report. I cannot tell you how many forums I have seen with problems posted (BIG ONES) where we, the beta testers respond by saying "we told you about this in beta". The betas are no longer for testing....they are a marketing gimmick. This makes me sick.
  20. @ramonsterns

    "It's somehow excusable that the developers/publishers are getting more money/backing than before yet the quality seems to go down rather than up as time passes?

    I don't think so."

    How does that relate to what I said, I disagree with the assertion that quality (in terms of bugs) is going down, I said the exact opposite - that games are generally less buggy and patched more quickly then they were ten years ago, other than a couple minority offenders.

    Gameplay quality on the other hand has gone down drastically, but that's a separate topic altogether.
  21. still think there is a problem ant its
    greed by both sided
    the consumer who just cant wait for the product to be finished
    and the companies who want to stop bleeding money in production and just put it out there too early
    and the last reason is I think we are at the limit of 32 bit programing for what the customer wants to be a top end gaming program
    I think its time to move into 64 bit programing it would open up all memory problems and erase some video problems
    but in doing so the console boxes as we know then would have to be dropped and new versions would be required
  22. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    Sorry, my original thought was, "no amount of improvement in connection speed justifies laziness".
  23. It's because pc games are so damn buggy that I made it my new years resolution that I'm not buying any games anymore until after they have been out for at least three months. I can get the actual finished "shoulda been at retail" game at a discounted price. It's kinda absurd when you think about it. Why have we all tolerated this for so long?
  24. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    No one wants to be the next Duke Nukem Forever. Better to release it half broken and fix it than 12 years late.
  25. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    Don't even bring up DNF.

    That game didn't have 12 years in development, it had 12 years in the making. There was almost two generations before it was finally miscarria- I mean, conceived.

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