Mass Effect 3, John Carter, and More….

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Hogarth, from The Iron Giant, would fit on that list. (If you ain’t seen it, you oughtta.)Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Ecch, don’t beat yourself up over your own reactions.   I cannot think back to one incident where Broderism, high or low, ever made for a good comment or more generally, a good blog.   It’s your blog, you’ve put the hard work into it and you’re entitled to enforce your own judgement on it.   If you didn’t, it would simply degenerate and die and we’ve all seen that happen elsewhere.

    For all the seeming reasonableness in the world, once anyone’s gotten everything to the right of Sigma arranged, he’ll have to deal with the limits.   I’m getting sick of all the meta around here.Report

  3. Avatar Anne says:

    Just got back from seeing John Carter and wow that was a lot of fun. The people I went with enjoyed it as much as me and they are definitely not the geek that I am, so that says something as well.Report

  4. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Regarding your Bioware DLC article.

    I think you’re being a bit unfair when you’re not taking into account Bioware’s past experiences with DLC, and how they’ve supported games. For example, with Neverwinter Nights, they supported the game for well over 7 years, including patched content and keeping debug flags active in the nwserver.exe. They also recruited community groups to provide the necessary tools and resources to create new paid DLC content like Wyvern Crown of Cormyr, and Pirates of the Sword Coast. To this day they continue to provide bits and pieces of support. They did this despite the fact that Atari (their publisher at the time) was facing massive financial problems at the time and didn’t want to do some of the things Bioware wanted to.

    Further Bioware added substantial amounts of DLC to Mass Effect (free of charge in that case), Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2, usually at fair prices and much past the first day of release. Yes, they miscalculated with ME3, but I think they deserve credit for a lot of the good they’ve done over the years, especially since it’s still Ray at the helm.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Note, I’m sympathetic to some of the outrage. But the evidence isn’t quite as much as you might think. When you look through resources, there’s often quite a bit of expansion pack related content located “on disk”.

      I’d imagine stuff like art content had to be created parallel along with the naming schemes, but the actual scripting/creation process for the fuller part of the DLC was probably produced afterwards.

      Also…somewhat relevant from the blog post you linked to:

      Hey, I’ll try to explain it a bit from the “developer” point of view.

      All xbox and ps3 games need to pass full certification and testing, before they can be burned/released on CD’s. Theese tests are really expensive, and since the end of the certification process, time needed for the game to be actually shipped and available at your local store is still significant. At the end of the production no major changes are usually done, and only full testing/programming team is needed at all times, to ensure no critical bugs get through to final version. That gives about 2mnths before the actuall release for people from other teams (graphics, concept art, modelling, design) to do some extra job (since they are not so needed on main game). This is usually where DLC comes in.

      In the end xbox and ps3 certifies main game and a production/shipping process starts. During that time developers usually have more/over finished dlc product which they can start certifing at time. Since it’s smaller and much less testing is needed to ensure certification, and internet shipping might be done in a day’s work (rather than actually producing and transporting cd’s to stores etc) it comes out naturally that at one day we have – full cd version of certain product, and DLC available at the internet.

      This is not done by maliciousness, but usually to fill time frame that’s created during processes not dependant on developer’s actions. As for scripts and models placed on cd itself – few reasons for that:

      – xbox and ps3 have maximum size for DLC specified. The more assets are put on cd in the first place, less downloading and limiting for users, which is good.

      – Code that needs to handle DLC is usually put in game at first release stage. The construction of DLC ensures that little or none programming changes are needed. To put it into example: programmers have created hidden DLC button, which is visible only when a certain file in package exists. Therefore they can add new DLC map as an asset whithout changin xex/exe file which is the main application itself. Having old exes and only adding assets reduces time needed for testing by weeks, or even by months, so this is a common practice. As for files already at cd, they might be some assets that they finished before releasing final certification build. They might be some “placeholder” assets for testing purposes only, which will be later exchanged by final files, ensuring that none exe changes are needed.

      Hope it cleared out the case for some of you.

      PS: I’m not native english speaker, so all grammar nazis go to hell.

      Report

    • Avatar Erik Kain in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Nob, I think it’s exactly because people thought BioWare was such a great developer that the issues surrounding ME3 (and Dragon Age 2) have rubbed so many the wrong way.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Sure, I can understand that. Though they’ve always been occasionally blaize (and some might say honest) when dealing with the community and saying it as they saw it from their pov.

        I just meant your article makes it sound like Bioware doesn’t have that history, and is a horrible money-grubbing developer compared to saintly Behtesda.Report