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

By Matthew ยท 73 replies
Jan 13, 2012
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  1. Its simple. Most games today are designed for consoles. Consoles have hardware that is consistent across the globe making it easier to program for. That game is then ported to PC where there are literally hundreds of different hardware and software configurations. There are bound to be issues.

    Look at BF3. It started out being designed for PC, but halfway through they switched focus to console. The result is the most broken and buggy game to have come out in a long time.
  2. I think it's mostly the increased complexity. Often when a subtle bug is found after release, or the developers continue working on the engine to improve performance on more systems, the new changes are very hard to refactor correctly, and a bug is introduced that the game would never have been released with. Another issue is that the old games weren't so bug free, Take the original starcraft for example, 16 major and 13 minor patches, and there are still exploits after what 14 years?
    Compare to Starcraft 2, 4 month beta 17 patches, 1 year since release 4 major and 15 minor patches....so far. I would expect at least 1 more major patch before heart of the swarm is released as well, because 1.4 broke some things that need to be fixed.
  3. Simple:

    a) The PC platform is dead (and it has become dreadfully boring) not to mention the constant expense and the rubbish nature of components (constantly required).

    b) Most PC owners steal their games so why oh why would any sane developer waste his / her / their times with a bunch of thieves ?

    There you have it. Piss about all you want but it is the sad truth.
  4. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    Source or troll
  5. The whole "PC gaming is dead" thing is so early 2000's; things started to swing back the other way a long time ago, which is why nearly every game is cross-platform now. In terms of sales of new titles, generally Xbox takes first place, PC version close behind, with PS3 a trailing third, so if you don't cater to the PC users, you're alienating around a third of your customers.
  6. Renrew

    Renrew TS Enthusiast Posts: 253   +19

    Reserve your copy 2 months prior to release, lines around the block since midnight, 1 million copies sold in 3 hours. The consumer has to shoulder most of the blame.

    Manufacturers will do " what the market will bear".
  7. Don't believe the hype games aren't bugging because they are to complex. This is why consoles are being pushed so hard; shorter development cycles, developing is much easier and less costly. In short companies can produce a lesser quality product for more money PS3 & XBOX360 games are 60 bucks, when was the last time you paid 60 bucks for a PC title?
    Once shareholders and bean counters got involved it became all about the might dollar.
    Developers now have formulas on rather a bug is worth fixing before shipping. Think of Fight Club when Ed Norton is explaining how a car company decides to issue a recall or not. It all comes down to money. Do you think iD would have released Rage with so many bugs ten years ago? Of course not,the PC community would have killed them. Remember when developers sent out beta's BEFORE titles shipped? How would have Rage sold if the beta didn't work on the majority of ATI cards? That was done away with because it empowered the consumer, now a new game purchase is a roll of the dice. If it doesn't work, too bad for you they already have your $29.99. Add to the fact that most "game reviewing magazines and websites" are in the pockets of big publishers the consumer is now powerless, except for sites like metacritic where average joes can offer a true evaluation of a title.
    Remember money corrupts EVERYTHING. Don't believe any thing else.
  8. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    I think its really because games are so damn big. they aren't N64 games anymore. They could spend another 6 months polishing everything, but with the interwebs, its not really necessary to wait that much longer.
  9. Games are more complex?
    Not sure but i think 22gb Rage is not more complex than Doom3.
    Game engines are a couple of hundred mb usually the rest is Video Sound and 3DStuff which is seldom buggy...
    I tthink Companies release buggy games to discourage illegal copies so that with every patch they can renew the copyprotection...
  10. Beta testing no longer seen as proper testing by many companies and is use more for publicity than actual bug hunting. You can see this in most genre especially MMORPGs and FPS where the push to get it out first (especially when competing with another franchise) is key.
  11. omegafate

    omegafate TS Rookie Posts: 104

    personally i think its because all the developers have gotten lazy. this is also attributed to video game consoles, primarily because games on there are easier to make on there then just port it over to the pc. more or less consoles have made developers lazy (as said before) and spoiled with just one type of gaming to focus on. it also doesn't help that pc tech has been significantly jumped leaps and bounds every week or month. so yea i can understand the argument on both ends but it still doesn't excuse the fact of the topic above either as well.
  12. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    I think a lot of it is greedy game publishers. They set a dead line towards the beginning of the development that HAS to be met. All the promo material is ready to go part way through development and the publishers want it released on X date regardless of how long it should take to development.
    I have a cousin and a friend who are software engineers/programers - and they run into this A LOT. Boss says we go love on xx day, they have to have it ready regardless of complaints of not being ready. So they pull all nighters and 48hrs days to get it done. (And get paid on salary....)

    I can easily seeing this in the video game field as easily as any other programing field.
    Game publishers need to get a feel how fast the development is going and set realistic deadlines.
    I know this is why Blizzard has stopped giving release dates until they are within a couple months of being done, so they can get game ready for release and not have it as buggy. (Not that I'm saying Blizzard is perfect.)

    And I think the fact broadband internet is so prevalent gives publishers the excuse to push out buggy releases and patch later. I really don't remember games being patched when I was younger. Few patches I remember (like for Diablo 2) where more content patches & additions not to fix MAJOR bugs that make the game unplayable.

    I don't think buggy releases can be blamed on "some many hardware combinations". In fact I think the list has shrunk as time goes by. You have really 2 major CPU manufactures you have to worry about and 2 graphics card manufactures.
  13. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 569   +25

    If you think about it, MF3 had no bugs at all and worked perfectly and they had the same amount of time to make it as BF3 had, i know they used a outdated engine but it was still a great shooter game
  14. oxiide

    oxiide TS Rookie

    20 hours is not very long in Skyrim. I'm up to 208 hours, and I have to keep a list of console commands next to my keyboard that I need to delete glitched quest items, complete broken quest lines and to force NPCs to give me the proper dialogue. I have no idea how Xbox 360/PS3 gamers are able to play this game at all. That said, I will say that I've never played a game that had so many ridiculous bugs that was still so worth playing.

    Could you provide a link to impartial, scientific data showing that >50% of PC owners steal their games? Or was that just an ignorant blanket statement ignoring the success of Steam?
  15. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Until Steam became popular I would have agreed.
  16. Wondering if any devs will read these comments xD
  17. As one or two here have pointed out, this has nothing to do with complexity. It also has very little do with hardware. Developers now mostly only code for DirectX (unlike the old days when most games were built for OpenGL and Glide also), they don't need to code for specific hardware, that's just bollox - and has not been the case for decades. This myth comes about from some people's misinterpretations of "driver optimisations" - i.e. where a graphics chip manufacturer alters their drivers in some way to detect when a certain game is run and make "on the fly" configuration changes to improve performance for that game - in order to boost benchmark results.

    In terms of the whole "complexity" thing, most games consist of a few megabytes binary and several gigabyes of game data (the bulk of which is music and textures). The latter does not need much serious, time consuming, debugging. Also as most game engines simply build upon existing code and add support for newer Directx functionality, there are few "from the ground up" game engines these days. Even the game engines that are advertised as "completely new" - ask yourself: how do you know? Have you seen the source code...?

    As to "console ports", it's only the binary which needs porting over - thus the "functionality" bugs, which are the type of bugs which plague most games, will appear regardless of the platform/architecture.

    The reality is simple enough - publishers release to targets - these targets have to be hit and if buggy rubbish has to be released then that is what's going to happen rather than miss a release target. Nowadays PC games are mostly bought online, through "content delivery systems" such as steam, which means that bugs can be fixed quickly, post release, by pushing through patches to the users.

    This target and profit based business model is why making computer games has turned into an "industry" rather than something a few budding entrepreneurs put together and made a fortune out of it's being exceptionally good. The music industry and the film industry are the same - all have been industrialised, it's not about the music, it's not about the films, it's not about the games, it's simply about the money. It's about getting spoilt twelve year olds and their parents to shell out $$$s for sub standard junk. It's then all about selling DLC to these same people and then repackaging and releasing the same old thing a year or two later.
  18. Yeah, I played Arkham City at launch and didn't have any problems, not quite sure what they are talking about there.
  19. bandit8623

    bandit8623 TS Booster Posts: 100   +17

    people here saying that its harder to make a game for the pc are delusional.

    first the ps3 is the most difficult platform, second xbox uses a modified version of directx, so its not much different than making a pc game.

    as for the article , its because they are supporting 3 versions of the game we are seeing less polishing on the pc side. but that also means we are seeing less polish on all 3 platforms.
  20. DarKSeeD

    DarKSeeD TS Booster Posts: 95

    Because most of them are made in a hurry (lack of beta test / experienced testers) just with profit in mind. Launch now, patch later.
  21. aspleme

    aspleme TS Enthusiast Posts: 56

    Yes it's true that games are a lot more buggy on release than they used to be, but I feel that much of that is because of the increased complexity of the games. We should also consider the variety of systems has increased greatly. Games have to deal several generations of graphics cards, processors, and operating systems... all of which are more complex than they used to be. As any science major knows, the more complex the system, the greater the potential for failure. As long as the bugs aren't breaking the game for many players and are fixable, I am fine with the games being releases when they are and patched later... I do believe they shouldn't be missing content (this means you Crysis).
  22. Just like Microsoft has done for 25 years now.
    Create it and ship it.Let the lemmings find the problems.
  23. *mirrored* Source of troll
  24. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    PC games are buggy these days?
    Who says?

    PC games push the boudaries of graphics and game engines (always have), there might be an issue here and there with a new game engine or feature. If you want reliable, horrible, upscaled 720p graphics go play a console.

    If you want a real gaming experience, play on a high end PC at 2560 X 1600 +.

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