In the Monday Musings I try to talk about the stuff that’s happening in the world of Game Development, from interesting game releases, to interesting technology, and game business happenings.
Games have bugs, and I don’t mean the little creepy crawly type, I mean the gameplay and code version. Last week Microsoft’s Redfall was released and it wasn’t as bug-free as every person working on the game would have hoped.
So can games be released without bugs? Or perhaps, you simply can’t kill all bugs?
The cause of the problem
In the early days of video-games, the games were comparable to you making a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But as computers became more powerful, and the audience became larger and more varied, games also had to grow.
So bigger games would be comparable to maybe making a dinner. More ingredients have to be added, it has to look more decent on your plate, and there’s now a few more things that can go wrong. Too much sault? maybe a bit less pepper ? It’s not everyone’s taste, so some people want something else to eat, and those that normally like a nice chicken dinner, might have wanted it a bit more spicy !
These days games are comparable to 8-course meals for a group of 50 people. A lot can go wrong, a lot of people are working in the kitchen trying to keep track of what’s going on while cooking the dinner, and the meal has to taste good enough to please all 50 people.
Game code has gotten extremely complicated over the years, and that means the chance of adding bugs has also increased by many factors.
On top of that: the hardware specifications have also gotten more complex, especially on PC. On a console you are pretty much creating a game for a single-set of specs, but on a PC everything can cause problems. From a user having a certain brand of keyboard, to a different amount of memory (or maybe even faulty memory), to different CPU’s, GPU’s, 4K monitor or wide-screen curved monitors? A laptop? or a laptop on a docking-station? Perhaps the user has a midi-instrument connected to the PC? Or has bad eyes so the OS is set to scale everything by 150% which can cause a bunch of interesting effects on a game!
The list is literally endless.. and the combinations of all of those things are infinite.
Developers LOVE their game
The main thing I find worrying, is that for some weird reason a lot of the backlash towards games with bugs is aimed at the developers, and thinking that they don’t care about the product they are working on and are just in it for the money.
For the big games and companies, it’s very possible that a few people working on the game are just doing it as it’s their job to work there. Pretty much the same for that person giving you your Big Mac or serving you drinks. Most of them are not passionate about it, they do it for the money, as it is their job, and they do it at the best of their capabilities.
Shockingly tho, most people working on games are actually very passionate about games! Not just the small companies or solo-developers like me at Orangepixel, but also people working for 4-7 years on a small piece of a boss-fight in the next big AAA game. Drawing textures all day long, designing worlds, writing code, most of us really love what we do and what we create.
Don’t blame the developers of games for not caring. We love games, we love creating them, and we certainly aren’t in it for the money, there are better paying (but more boring) jobs in IT we could do!
So who to blame?
How about blaming nobody? I know, this is a controversial solution, but I feel like we are always looking to blame someone or some group for something we don’t like.
Nobody sets out to release a game with bugs, but sadly bugs happen. Games are extremely difficult to create, and as terrible as it may be to buy a game that has bugs in it, the developers are often working hard on finding them and fixing them as soon as possible.
I have had bugs in my released games, and even tho they have far less code than the big AAA games, they can still be extremely difficult to track and fix. But when ever someone mentions a bug, my brain starts thinking about the solution and trying to hunt down the combination of things that causes it, and then find a fix for it.
And I understand, from a gamer’s perspective, you buy a game and you expect it to just work. But sometimes you are one of the few that ran into a bug, and before going on a rant and finding someone to blame, just breath, try to play around the bug or wait for a developer to fix it (which might take some updates and weeks or even months) OR .. refund the game and try one of the many, many, many other games out there!
We all love games, and we all hate bugs!