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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:49 pm 
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Wow, nice, just installed it. It's always fun to have a fresh adventure to dig into. Apparently the new feature in this particular release is briefly controlling NPC's. Is this another adventure game studios project? It's not listed on the wiki entry for it.

Oh, and at least we're not Duke Nukem Forever here, we haven't changed our engine multiple times, I don't think.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:22 am 
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I believe the current status of Duke Nukem Forever is "It'll be done when it's done, dammit!" Though they did release a screen or two a few months back.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:09 am 
when is this game gonna be done, no bs!?!?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:28 am 
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When it's done.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:15 am 
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Quote:
when is this game gonna be done, no bs!?!?


Read or re-read this thread in order to get the only answer we can give. As for why we can't pinpoint an exact date...difficult to explain, but try developing a game yourself and you'll find out that it ALWAYS takes longer than you anticipate.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:23 am 
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Pffft, it only takes a quick look at his previous posts to see he's trolling.  Get this clown out of here.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:22 am 
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Erpy wrote:
Quote:
when is this game gonna be done, no bs!?!?


Read or re-read this thread in order to get the only answer we can give. As for why we can't pinpoint an exact date...difficult to explain, but try developing a game yourself and you'll find out that it ALWAYS takes longer than you anticipate.


Erpy, how long did you have planned for testing? I believe the rule of thumb is that testing should take as long as the development, and that the game should be playable for three consecutive times without performing changes to be considered stable.

At least, that's what I've always learned.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:11 am 
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Three times of successful tests sound too little. I was hoping for a public beta though. We get the game faster, and there'll be more people testing the game. Win-Win situation  :lol

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:41 pm 
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There won't be a public beta, I'm afraid.  If we were going to do that, it would have happened long ago. There wouldn't be much point in having everyone wait 6 years only to end up publicly releasing a buggy beta version this far into development.

The important thing right now is trying to keep the bug-list manageable for ourselves.  Currently, even the issues I'm finding by myself are so numerous that they're overwhelming for one person to look at and think "I have to fix all of this".

For example, when I play-test individual scenes I usually do so with a Magic User hybrid and give him all skills, just so I can quickly go through, testing all character class scenarios and solutions for that scene. But doing this, it's still not possible to do things exactly as a player would if they were playing through normally from beginning to end, since you're only testing brief scenes, and not everything that links them together (where many smaller bugs also lie).   The Thief's puzzles and solutions are probably the ones that have been subjected to the least amount of testing throughout development.  So, the other day, I started play-testing the game from beginning to end with a pure thief class character (no magic).  Mind you, this is my first ever play-through of QFG2VGA. I've never attempted to play it completely from beginning to end before.

Currently, I'm on day 9 and the game has only fatally crashed 2 times. Both crashes were due to the same bug (which I've since fixed). So for all intents and purposes, you could say that the game is pretty stable. However, just because it's stable, doesn't mean it's glitch-free. In fact, far from it. Playing as a thief alone, I have already discovered 133 new issues (ranging from cosmetic changes to major issues) and it's only day 9.  I suspect I'll find quite a few more before I have finished my first play-through.  And I'm only playing it very casually, I'm not trying for full points, nor am I trying to see and do everything possible.  (Actual beta testers will have to test absolutely everything, resulting in literally thousands of new entires on top of that!)

So, if these are the findings of just one person who casually plays through the game, imagine how chaotic things would get if thousands of members of the public were playing through it at the same time and reporting all the issues they were finding. Not only would we be completely overwhelmed with the influx of reports, but there would simply be no feasible way of compiling all that data and sorting it into usable information.

The idea right now is to get the game into a state that is manageable enough for us  to begin beta testing. 'Manageable' is the key word here. If it's not manageable for us, then we shouldn't even be considering letting the game leave our own hands yet.   It has to be something we know that we can handle and won't have any nasty surprises in store. With both KQ remakes and Al Emmo, we didn't even consider starting beta testing until we had found and fixed every single bug we knew existed in the game.  Ideally, we wanted to offer the beta testers a version of the game and have them not be able to find any issues with it.  But despite how confident we've ever been that our previous games were bug-free prior to beta testing,  the testers have always disproved us and found a whole bunch of stuff we didn't even consider could exist.  

Now, consider that QFG2VGA, is a game in which we KNOW many bugs still exist at the present time.  Putting it in the hands of the public at this stage would cause more problems that it would solve.  All you'd get is a buggy game which you'd play through and everyone would complain about, since they waited 6 years for substandard quality.  And by the time all the reported bugs had eventually been fixed, there'd be nobody left anymore to play the game in it's bug-free state, because everyone would already have played the buggy beta and formed their opinions based on that.

Open betas are best-suited to development tools or operating systems which need to be tested by their specific user base for compatibility reasons. Games, on the other hand, are for entertainment purposes and should not be a chore for fans to play through.  People get sick of games after playing them a few times over, but development tools and operating systems are more of a necessity that people use many times over, relying on them to get things done. If those programs contain bugs, they won't be judged as harshly as something intended for entertainment would be.


As to the question about how we'll know it's ready;  there's really no planned amount of time set aside for beta testing.  It just takes as long as it takes. However, this is why it's important to make the game as manageable as possible prior to commencing beta testing. If we start with a game that we consider 'clean', then we only have to be concerned with new bugs that are being reported, and not fixing existing ones too.  I can only estimate that I think beta testing will take several months, but there's just no telling how many things beta testers will find, and how hard they will be to track down. A lot of it relies on the quality and efficiency of the beta testers being reliable too. Whether they are able to replicate things easily for us to track bugs down. Some testers are very thorough, while others just want to goof off and play the game before anyone else.   This remake features many things that the original QFG2 doesn't (actual night fading, and a fully integrated combat system, for example) so it has the potential to be a longer beta testing process than any of our previous games.

We'll do beta testing with new waves of testers combing each new build for bugs. Successive builds will, of course, be more stable than their predecessors. I predict that beta testing could last anywhere between 2 to 5 months. But there's really no telling how long it will last till we actually begin the process.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:38 pm 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
This remake features many things that the original QFG2 doesn't (actual night fading, and a fully integrated combat system, for example) so it has the potential to be a longer beta testing process than any of our previous games.


Thanks for the update. I hate to de-rail this thread, but what exactly do you mean by "fully integrated combat"?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:31 pm 
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I just mean that combat is integrated into the actual desert screens. It no longer takes place in a stand-alone screen with a blacked-out border like the original version

Since combat now actually takes place in the room where it's initiated, it means there's more potential for glitches to occur, as combat-related code is spanned across every desert room (and is not just confined to a single combat-dedicated room).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:49 pm 
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Ah, that's an interesting feature that I had somehow missed reading about. Any particular reason that combat was moved to be like that? Only QFG5 had combat that exactly matched the room it was in (and then only because combat was real-time).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:00 pm 
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In-screen combat just always seemed cooler to me since there's less of a disconnect between the world you're exploring and the one you're fighting in. Most RPGs feature a transition to a battle screen, whereas Chrono Trigger is an example of one that didn't, which also allowed them to have attacks and techniques which depended upon the positions of the monsters relative to you on the screen... I'd say it's preferable if you can get away with it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:10 pm 
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Oh, I understand what it is. I also know that AGDI has been working very hard to make the VGA version of QFG2 fit in with the rest of the games. I'm just wondering why the decision was made to have combat in this game differ from that in the other games.

Do understand that I'm not complaining; I'm just curious.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:27 pm 
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Well, I think one factor would be the infamous Jackalman fighting bug, where you'd fight them at sunset, win the fight, but by the time you win, it's 'the night is still young'.  If you tried to leave the screen, there'd be a fatal "Oops, you did something we weren't expecting" bug.  I'd say the integrated combat screen would work nicely!

(And hey, QG2 Original had my favorite combat system... better than that button-clicker QG3 had)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:43 pm 
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AGD2: I absolutely agree with what you're saying. Addressing bugs that you've discovered should come first before you get hammered with bug reports from others.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't be surprised that there'll be a version 2.0 of the game as KQ2VGA had, because it's far more complicated that KQ2. Them pesky bugs will always be around somewhere. With 3 playable characters, it triples the effort to test it.

Thanks for your lengthy write-up. It's as good as a status update on the progress of the game :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:53 pm 
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The reasoning is more along the lines of what BigCows was thinking; to keep the flow of events "interconnected" to each other and make it feel like combat encounters are all happening spontaneously.

The desert is a wide, open expansive place.  So, it's kind of strange if you're ushered away to a claustrophobic square window, surrounded by darkness. We wanted to make combat seem like it was taking place in the open desert. This way, when a monster chases, engages, and attacks you, it all feels seamless.  After the battle is over, you can usually run away in any direction, since desert surrounds you on all sides.

I realize these comments aren't helping much to quell your urge to play the game. But, trust me, when you see the improvements, I think everyone will agree that the wait has been worth it. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:24 pm 
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And trust you me: I'm very eager to see what you've done with this classic!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:07 pm 
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Technicality...the combat itself still takes place in a separate "room", but the player is unaware of this as he's playing. (so issues like the one Orion mentioned could still exist if we didn't take care of them) If you do battle near the rock wall, you'll see the rock wall. There's no black void around you like in QFG1EGA/QFG2/QFG3, nor is there a one-size-fits-all default background that depics the general area you're in. (like in QFG1VGA/QFG4) Actual combat code is in the battle room, but there's a lot of bug-prone transition code in each screen where a fight can take place which can result in bugs. All of this will probably make a lot more sense once you play the game.

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 Post subject: time table?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:17 pm 
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So from what you're saying we could possibly see the game some time in early 2008, maybe mid 2008? I've been looking foward to this game for a while. So 2-5 months of bata testing is going on then?


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 Post subject: Re: time table?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:31 am 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
But there's really no telling how long it will last till we actually begin the process.


We don't know. We won't have any kind of estimated release date until we start beta testing and can judge how quickly things are progressing. 5 months of beta testing is a 'worst case scenario' estimate.  But it could happen. I'm just covering all bases.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:06 pm 
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Software is never finished, it is merely abandoned :)

On a more positive note Starcraft is an example of a game that was delayed for years and came out as a radically improved product... http://www.geocities.com/area51/comet/2481/beta.html and of course it's been patched dozens of times since release, adding significant features along the way.

I wonder if any fan-based projects of this sort gone have open-source for people to mod the games or add-in new scenarios. Adventure Games wouldn't lend themself as much to modding as much as other genres, but it might be interesting to see if all the development work could pay off in other ways as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:00 pm 
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Well, I just finished my first play-through of QFG2VGA as the thief. The good news is that the Raseir portion of the game is almost completely bug-free, and was fairly quick to play through. This obviously means that the majority of bugs still lie in the Shapeir section.

To give an idea of the current plan: first I've played through as a thief and made a note of every bug I could find. Next we'll fix and verify all those bugs. There are about 200 or so in total.  Repeat and rinse the process with the magic user. Then once more with the Fighter.

Once all three playtests have been finished and all the resulting bugs are squished, we can hopefully start beta testing.

Here's an example of the complexity of some of the bugs I'm currently running across.  This might demonstrate why releasing a buggy game would not be a good idea. Warning! Contains spoilers:

Bug #154
Quote:
Globalint 72 is used to keep track of the hero's dispel potion knowledge:

0=don't know about it yet
1=Aziza/Harik told hero about it
2=Harik has asked for the ingredients
3=Harik has given you the 3 potions  

When you obtain the dispel potions from Harik, GlobalInt72 is set to 3.  But whenever you give a dispel potion to the caged beast, the script was removing -1 from the the value of GlobalInt 72.  Shameen's bark about Aziza wanting to see the hero on day 15 currently relies on GlobalInt 72 being >2. Therefore, any player who frees the caged beast with a dispel potion (as intended) is unavoidably going to miss that important meeting with Aziza where you discover vital info about the plot.

In the caged beast room, As a work-around I commented out the lines that deduct -1 from globalint72 when feeding dispel potions to the caged beast, since I could determine no reason for them to be there.

However, why is the criteria for Aziza asking to see the hero based on globalint72 being >2 in the first place (i.e. The hero actually having possession the dispel potions)? Since the potion that Harik prepares to dispel the saurus at the endgame is a custom-made one, wouldn't it be safe to allow Aziza to summon the hero on day15 without having globalint 72's value factoring in to that criteria? For example, as far as I can tell, the only criteria for Aziza summoning you, should be that the player bought the saurus and it should have absolutely nothing to do with the hero's dispel potion knowledge status.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:24 am 
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wow thanks for the insight.. i can totally understand the complexity of it all more now!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:10 am 
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Ok now this is a very tricky bug, an event that relies on another. Similar to the letter/note in QFG4 that required a patch. And of course, it doesn't crash the game. And yes, another good in-sight for us fans.

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