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As I wrote before, it's a task that can be done once the gameplay and other features are set and off for QA and the workload lessens. It's really a no brainer, you just have to stop thinking like a bean counter, Bobby Kotick.

Actually, the task to be done once game play and other features are set is "bug fixing", a task Obsidian has regularly been criticized for not performing steadfastly enough.

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The problem with bugs is an interesting one - I only experienced a handful of bugs in my Obsidian games, whereas according to reviewers, I should've experienced a veritable truckload of them.

 

That said, I find it hard to believe every member of the team, including writers, will be bug fixing everything so hard they wouldn't be able to write text descriptions, a task which isn't nowhere near the scale of the rest of the game.

 

Ah well, if all else fails, I'm just going to mod them in after release.

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Content that isn't immediately pertinent to the gameplay. Same reason why Obsidian used placeholder supermutants and nightkin.

 

So in your land, you don't do QA until content that is "pertinent to the gamplay" is done?

 

 

Let's see: you assign the task to the guy who is making other interface buttons, like "open weapon mod menu"?

 

He just has free time to get new tasks assigned to him? This is feature creep. You can't just assign tasks willy nilly.

 

 

In practice, most of the descriptions are probably readily available in design docs, or can be reused with minor tweaking. It's not a lot of work.

 

In practice, it's quite possible that what exists in your design docs end up out of date. Especially by the time there you're dealing with content that isn't immediately pertinent to gameplay. Your mileage may vary by company I suppose.

 

 

Once the game ships for QA (which is done by a separate team), there's going to be a lot less workload and the writers can do it then, hence the reason for using placeholder text as long as more important matters are being done.

 

What!? Assuming they aren't dealing with bugs, there's just as good a chance that the writers get allocated to a different project altogether.

 

By the way, your claim about the decade of difference is silly. Game developing hasn't changed tremendously over the past decade, in fact, I say it has become easier, with better computers and better software. What T. Isaac had to painstakingly create in primitive 3D modelling software can now be created much faster and much more efficently. Hell, the developers even have a complete game design suite (the Developer GECK), which makes it that much easier.

 

Game development has changed in the past, particularly from a "everyone can work on everything" part. Sid Meier doesn't sit down and work on his games anymore. Team Leads (in my experience anyway) are often more managerial as opposed to hands on. Maybe things haven't changed in your neck of the woods, but they certainly seem to have in mine.

 

The smaller team is exactly why anybody could write it.

 

 

Problem of the publisher, not the developer.

 

Developers can't just do whatever they want, with publishers accepting any additional costs incurred.

 

 

As I wrote before, it's a task that can be done once the gameplay and other features are set and off for QA and the workload lessens. It's really a no brainer, you just have to stop thinking like a bean counter, Bobby Kotick.

 

I'm thinking as someone that isn't a bean counter, but a grunt in the trenches.

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Either Obs or Beth obviously doesn't believe adding descriptions adds enough value to be worth doing.

 

In a sense they're right of course. Is someone not going to buy the game because it lacks item descriptions? Probably not.

 

Don't get me wrong. I love item descriptions, but I can see why the devs wouldn't bother.

 

 

Maybe in afew years, as game development becomes more standardized and a greater emphasis needs to be placed on subtle additions to the game, then maybe we'll see a return of item descriptions.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
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The problem with bugs is an interesting one - I only experienced a handful of bugs in my Obsidian games, whereas according to reviewers, I should've experienced a veritable truckload of them.

 

That said, I find it hard to believe every member of the team, including writers, will be bug fixing everything so hard they wouldn't be able to write text descriptions, a task which isn't nowhere near the scale of the rest of the game.

 

Ah well, if all else fails, I'm just going to mod them in after release.

A mountain of work is made from many trivial tasks.

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A mountain of work is made from many trivial tasks.

 

I can relate to that. However, I'm still convinced that writing item descriptions would be an actual trivial task. It doesn't involve coding, 3D modelling, dialogue tree creation etc.

 

By the way, did I say that I love your method of presenting games? I think the NV presentation was the only worthwhile one.

 

So in your land, you don't do QA until content that is "pertinent to the gamplay" is done?

 

In my land, QA is done on stuff that's actually supposed to have proper quality on release. And it's done once the core tasks are finished.

 

He just has free time to get new tasks assigned to him? This is feature creep. You can't just assign tasks willy nilly.

 

No that means "instead of coding in three buttons, code in four".

 

In practice, it's quite possible that what exists in your design docs end up out of date. Especially by the time there you're dealing with content that isn't immediately pertinent to gameplay. Your mileage may vary by company I suppose.

 

You're talking about item descriptions as if they were entire locations.

 

What!? Assuming they aren't dealing with bugs, there's just as good a chance that the writers get allocated to a different project altogether.

 

Hypotheticals. Hypothetically, the world will end tomorrow, so why should they bother making any game at all?

 

Game development has changed in the past, particularly from a "everyone can work on everything" part. Sid Meier doesn't sit down and work on his games anymore. Team Leads (in my experience anyway) are often more managerial as opposed to hands on. Maybe things haven't changed in your neck of the woods, but they certainly seem to have in mine.

 

You mean now people just pour in sheets of paper into a machine and ready games come out? Wow, my neck of the woods must be stil in the stone age!

 

The fact that teams have gotten bigger is exactly the reason why writing small features should be easier now.

 

The smaller team is exactly why anybody could write it.

 

So smaller teams... could make games with more features... than big teams. That's kind of... an interesting logic.

 

Developers can't just do whatever they want, with publishers accepting any additional costs incurred.

 

That'd be true if we had game publishing megacorporations that publish titles on their own in every country in the world. Only then would translation costs would be such a major problem as to affect the size and scope of a game. Generally, translating games rests on the local publisher (like CD-Projekt or Cenega here in Poland) and they incur the costs on their own. The original company that funded the development process is not going to be affected by this.

 

I also have a hard time imagining Cenega (or CD Projekt, can't remember who publishes the game in Poland) calling Mr Sawyer with "Oh, hi, we have to ask you to scale the game down, because we're going to pay too much money to have this game translated to Polish, so, yeah, you can't write too much stuff."

 

I'm thinking as someone that isn't a bean counter, but a grunt in the trenches.

 

I doubt a grunt in the trenches is going to concern himself with the amount of money the Army is willing to pay for his ammunition and MREs. Or have problems about killing additional enemies.

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The smaller team is exactly why anybody could write it.

So smaller teams... could make games with more features... than big teams. That's kind of... an interesting logic.

Isn't it fun to argue with someone when you can just make up their replies too as you go? Or how in the hell do you translate "in a small team anyone could write it" to "smaller teams could make games with more features than big teams could" otherwise?

 

All he is saying is that in a small team, everyone can change anything on a whim because they're probably all working from the same basement and can just shout at each other, "Hey Bill, I'm adding a new button on interface screen #3", "Ok, Tom", and that's it.

 

In a bigger team, the decision to add a button to an interface screen has to come from the top and be well-planned for, the entire way down to the actual interface coders. Changing something has repercussions throughout the entire team, from coders to designers to QA to manual writers.

 

I don't understand why you're even arguing this? Are you so thick that you think they wouldn't add it if it was as easy as you dream it is? Do you think they're not adding it just to spite you? No, let me guess: you think they're not adding it because evil, evil Bethesda is trying to make all of their Fallout's as far away from the TR00 ORIGINALZ as possible because they're not TR00 FALLOUT FANZ? Right.

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All he is saying is that in a small team, everyone can change anything on a whim because they're probably all working from the same basement and can just shout at each other, "Hey Bill, I'm adding a new button on interface screen #3", "Ok, Tom", and that's it.

 

There's this wonderful invention called e-mail.

 

In a bigger team, the decision to add a button to an interface screen has to come from the top and be well-planned for, the entire way down to the actual interface coders. Changing something has repercussions throughout the entire team, from coders to designers to QA to manual writers.

 

So apparently adding a single button for displaying a text description is apparently of the same magnitude as rewriting game mechanics, rebalancing SPECIAL or adding ammunition subtypes. Uh, okay.

 

I don't understand why you're even arguing this? Are you so thick that you think they wouldn't add it if it was as easy as you dream it is? Do you think they're not adding it just to spite you? No, let me guess: you think they're not adding it because evil, evil Bethesda is trying to make all of their Fallout's as far away from the TR00 ORIGINALZ as possible because they're not TR00 FALLOUT FANZ? Right.

 

I want a feature. So I'm arguing in favour of it.

 

I don't know who's the thick one here.

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So apparently adding a single button for displaying a text description is apparently of the same magnitude as rewriting game mechanics, rebalancing SPECIAL or adding ammunition subtypes. Uh, okay.

Well, apparently it's complicated enough. And apparently you could apparently not apparently take my apparently advice of apparently not letting your apparently twisted brain make up the apparently replies yourself. Yes, try to cram in a few more apparently in your next dumb sentences, makes you look really clever.

 

And when you're done doing that, feel free to point out where I compared adding a FEATURE (it's not just a button, no matter how simple you try to make it sound or how simple it seems in your simple brain) to rebalancing SPECIAL or whatever crap you wrote next.

 

I don't know who's the thick one here.

I'm not surprised. I do know though. Want a hint?

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Well, apparently it's complicated enough. And apparently you could apparently not apparently take my apparently advice of apparently not letting your apparently twisted brain make up the apparently replies yourself. Yes, try to cram in a few more apparently in your next dumb sentences, makes you look really clever.

 

And when you're done doing that, feel free to point out where I compared adding a FEATURE (it's not just a button, no matter how simple you try to make it sound or how simple it seems in your simple brain) to rebalancing SPECIAL or whatever crap you wrote next.

 

You lost sight of the scope and went on to ramble. I pointed that out. Can you be a tad less defensive, if possible?

 

I'm not surprised. I do know though. Want a hint?

 

I don't think anyone wants to see photos of you just yet. Your posts are enough.

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My, that's a whole lot of wikis!


Why, thank you, I love them.

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You lost sight of the scope and went on to ramble. I pointed that out. Can you be a tad less defensive, if possible?

Three people, two of them developers, one of them a developer on the actual project, tries to make you understand that it's a tad bit more complicated than "adding a button", at which point you start inventing your own replies instead of reading the ones given.

 

But you think I am the one who "lost scope"?

 

I don't think anyone wants to see photos of you just yet. Your posts are enough.

I'm guessing this is your attempt at a witty reply? Wow.

Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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I wonder when was the last time I saw mkreku say something positive.

"Alright, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade - make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons, what am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager. Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons. Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons. I'm going to to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!"

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I wonder when was the last time I saw mkreku say something positive.

It was whenever somebody last mentioned the word "Gothic."

 

 

(Although I admit that I LOL'ed at his 2nd-most-recent post.)

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In my land, QA is done on stuff that's actually supposed to have proper quality on release. And it's done once the core tasks are finished.

 

For us, QA is done in a more agile development, iterating with the programming, art, and design teams incrementally as they complete user stories. Doing QA only at the end of proper quality on release results in bug fixing becoming significantly more expensive because the systems have become much more intertwined, and solutions have been built on top of existing bugs.

 

 

No that means "instead of coding in three buttons, code in four".

 

Assuming the programmer isn't already done the task, and the GUI in a somewhat final state (it looks like it is). Had the decision been made much earlier in development to do this, then you'd be right. Currently the GUI appears to be in a near finished state. It's not as simple as "add one more button" at this stage.

 

 

You're talking about item descriptions as if they were entire locations.

 

You're right. It's most likely that a design doc about item descriptions never actually existed in the first place.

 

 

Hypotheticals. Hypothetically, the world will end tomorrow, so why should they bother making any game at all?

 

I'm not talking in hypotheticals. I am talking from experience.

 

 

You mean now people just pour in sheets of paper into a machine and ready games come out? Wow, my neck of the woods must be stil in the stone age!

 

I'm not even sure what you're talking about here. I said that team leads tend to be more managerial. Are you disputing this? I'm not sure if you are or not.

 

 

So smaller teams... could make games with more features... than big teams. That's kind of... an interesting logic.

 

As mkreku indicated, that's not what I said at all. As for your "email" response to him, that is still irrelevant. Long gone are the days when a project lead like Richard Garriot places every single tile in his game (Ultima 6 btw).

 

 

That'd be true if we had game publishing megacorporations that publish titles on their own in every country in the world. Only then would translation costs would be such a major problem as to affect the size and scope of a game. Generally, translating games rests on the local publisher (like CD-Projekt or Cenega here in Poland) and they incur the costs on their own. The original company that funded the development process is not going to be affected by this.

 

I also have a hard time imagining Cenega (or CD Projekt, can't remember who publishes the game in Poland) calling Mr Sawyer with "Oh, hi, we have to ask you to scale the game down, because we're going to pay too much money to have this game translated to Polish, so, yeah, you can't write too much stuff."

 

"Generally" indeed. My experience indicates otherwise. We had to do localization translations for every language we shipped in. EFIGS, Russian, Polish, etc. I would be surprised if Bethesda was not also in the same boat. Or does Bethesda not publish games internationally? (I don't see CD-Projekt or Cenega on Poland boxart for Fallout 3 BTW, just Bethesda Softworks).

 

As for the cost, it depends on how much writing is done in the game, as well as user interface screens. And who's fronting the cost. And you're incorrect if you think that it's all done by some "local publisher." Unless you don't think Bethesda will publish the game in EFIGS countries, they are definitely not going English only.

 

I doubt a grunt in the trenches is going to concern himself with the amount of money the Army is willing to pay for his ammunition and MREs. Or have problems about killing additional enemies.

 

I am that grunt. Given that my programming experience has also resulted in me being put into an interim producer position over a programming team for a variety of reasons, I'm seeing it from a management perspective. Not a day goes by that I don't see a new feature request for something small. If I approved all of them, I'd have added a dozen new things (that weren't already planned for!) in the last week alone. Like Sawyer said, a mountain of work is made by many small tasks.

 

Even then, I still do my QA job diligently and without waste. No one benefits if I am wasteful with my time, or other people's time. You can't have a large company of people all making individual requests to programmers for whatever feature they want without approval.

Edited by alanschu
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There's this wonderful invention called e-mail.

Just a guess (correct me if I'm wrong), you've never worked on a large software project? :)

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Sorry(kind of) for getting the way of your conversation/argument but I heard that the people in QA are in a pretty good position to request changes to the game(and that they tend to know the games better than the developers themselves) how is this so? I also think that when New Vegas began development they probably decided what they were and were not going to do, and it looks like adding item descriptions is not part of their plan.

It's not Christmas anymore but I've fallen in love with these two songs:

 

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http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NJJ18aB2Ggk

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I'm just going to mod them in after release.

that's the spirit. <3

 

Actually i'm glad Obsidian focused on fixing problems that can't be modded, and from what i can tell by the previews and gameplay videos they've done a pretty good job at it, at this point what's exciting is that this game will be one actually worth modding in whatever one feels shouldn't have been left out, like item descriptions.

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