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DR_Mechano

Its a wonder this game even works.

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1 minute ago, Yoru-hime said:

The voices from on high want features that they can push out the door and they want them produced quickly. The infrastructure work needed to make said features integrate into the larger software well and smoothly so we don't hate ourselves for this later? Well.... Infrastructure work rarely moves product, so they're not as interested in that stuff, just get something working now and we'll dedicate time to refactoring the code "later".

 

The coders are coders because they like writing code. Writing documentation is dull and tedious and there's always that next problem to solve instead. They'll get back to it "later".

 

Keep adding release after release like this, one bolted on top of the next, and spaghetti is the nice word for what you end up with.

I would add that coding skill improves over time.  Happens to me every day.  More often than not, I look at code I wrote years ago when I was less familiar with the environment and realize I could have written it much more efficiently now that I have a better understanding of everything.   Unfortunately I don't have the time to go back and redo all of it.

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3 minutes ago, ShardWarrior said:

I would add that coding skill improves over time.  Happens to me every day.  More often than not, I look at code I wrote years ago when I was less familiar with the environment and realize I could have written it much more efficiently now that I have a better understanding of everything.   Unfortunately I don't have the time to go back and redo all of it.

And then you have to go back to add something and you end up faced with the devil's choice of trying to do this part better and risk the new stuff and the old stuff not playing well with each other or just doing it poorly again for the sake of consistency. 😄 

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You had different teachers than I did, Twisted Toon.  Sure, one of the younger teachers told us to document.  The older ones?  They gave the "job security" excuse for why documenting shouldn't be "too detailed."

 

Then again, that might have been why they were teaching, instead of still working in the industry . . . 

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2 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

You had different teachers than I did, Twisted Toon.  Sure, one of the younger teachers told us to document.  The older ones?  They gave the "job security" excuse for why documenting shouldn't be "too detailed."

Documenting doesn't equal job security.  IME no documentation is better than the code itself.

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Oh, yeah, I'm not saying "don't document."  I'm just saying I've had teachers who told their students not to do it, and that was their apparent reason.

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2 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

I'm just saying I've had teachers who told their students not to do it, and that was their apparent reason.

Oh I'm very sure they did.  😀   Teachers in America know all about job security.

 

Real job security comes from doing a good job and working hard IMO.

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17 minutes ago, Yoru-hime said:

The voices from on high want features that they can push out the door and they want them produced quickly. The infrastructure work needed to make said features integrate into the larger software well and smoothly so we don't hate ourselves for this later? Well.... Infrastructure work rarely moves product, so they're not as interested in that stuff, just get something working now and we'll dedicate time to refactoring the code "later".

 

The coders are coders because they like writing code. Writing documentation is dull and tedious and there's always that next problem to solve instead. They'll get back to it "later".

 

Keep adding release after release like this, one bolted on top of the next, and spaghetti is the nice word for what you end up with.

During the last Player Summit in 2012 I was talking to Noble Savage and at one point he mournfully admitted that "it's all spaghetti code now" for City of Heroes.  Considering the fact that at that Player Summit during one of the Dev Panels they straight up asked the question ... "Do you want new features or to fix bugs?" ... and the OVERWHELMING answer from the room came back as FIX THE BUGS ALREADY!!!

 

The basic underlying problem was that the almighty schedule that controlled game development essentially dictated that there was NEVER any time budgeted for refactoring the game's codebase, meaning that bugs of yesterDECADE "lived on" to ruin everyone's day and constrain the possible.  It also didn't help that you could introduce a friend to the game and they'd run into bugs that everyone knew about (and politely ignored) in relatively short order.

 

So Paragon Studios decided that it was time to take an Issue's worth of time to FIX ALL THE THINGS as a result of the feedback of the 2012 Player Summit ... and then NC$oft pulled the plug on them.


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The best job security, in my experience, comes from sucking up to the boss, or the boss's boss.  I've seen plenty of incompetent braggarts holding lofty positions uncontested.

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Refractoring/rebuilding the code isn't always feasible.  I also imagine there would have quite a lot of people complaining about "content droughts" due to no new development being done in favor of bug fixes.

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9 minutes ago, ShardWarrior said:

Refractoring/rebuilding the code isn't always feasible.  I also imagine there would have quite a lot of people complaining about "content droughts" due to no new development being done in favor of bug fixes.

That all comes under the heading of "No Free Lunch" combined with "You Can't Please Everyone."

 

The problem is that the accretion of Technical Debt will eventually cripple your development processes if you don't budget time to address it.  Paragon Studios was heading in that direction when NC$oft pulled the plug.


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Back in the days of live, when everything was profit-driven, things that were perceived as driving subscriptions would have always been given priority over "under the hood" kinds of improvements.  Now that subscriptions, and profit are no longer part of the model, these kinds of things will likely get more attention.


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23 minutes ago, ShardWarrior said:

Documenting doesn't equal job security.  IME no documentation is better than the code itself.

In the final minute of the Apollo 11 mission's lunar landing phase, there was a computer error.  The computer was signaling an obscure error code, and MC was seconds away from aborting the landing.  One man in MC had a list of all error codes the computer could generate.  He identified the error and gave the thumbs-up for the mission to proceed.  The success of Apollo 11 came down to documentation.

 

This is the legacy we should strive for.  Instead, we settle for "Not on fire? Ship it".

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7 minutes ago, Luminara said:

In the final minute of the Apollo 11 mission's lunar landing phase, there was a computer error.  The computer was signaling an obscure error code, and MC was seconds away from aborting the landing.  One man in MC had a list of all error codes the computer could generate.  He identified the error and gave the thumbs-up for the mission to proceed.  The success of Apollo 11 came down to documentation.

 

This is the legacy we should strive for.  Instead, we settle for "Not on fire? Ship it".

I agree, when live are at stake.

MMO code? Not so much.

I like quality and those that do a great job as much as the next person, but I am perfectly happy to get games that are 'good enough'.


"If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity." - William E. Vaughn

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There's an old adage: "You can have it fast, good, or cheap: pick two, because you can't have all three at the same time."  That's been my experience in IT for the past 30 years.

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13 minutes ago, Rathulfr said:

There's an old adage: "You can have it fast, good, or cheap: pick two, because you can't have all three at the same time."  That's been my experience in IT for the past 30 years.

The problem is that although you might want to pick two, you wind up with only one ...

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Just now, Redlynne said:

The problem is that although you might want to pick two, you wind up with only one ...

I have been able to provide 2 out of 3 for almost 30 years, mostly for finance, so of course none of it was cheap...

Seems very resonable from my PoV.

I still argue that for games, 'good enough' is, in fact, good enough, though...


"If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity." - William E. Vaughn

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There’s no such thing as perfect software in a complex system.

 

I have a career in knowledge about the following:

NASA is by far the best when it comes to code quality.  They have to be.  They’re coding around once in a lifetime opportunities, with billions of dollars, and sometimes lives on the line.  They’re quality is so good that it makes defense contractors (those also responsible for billions of dollars and lives) look like some college project.  They put men on the moon with less power than this pocket device, as the saying goes.

 

 

NASA once obliterated a millions of dollars lander on Mars because one team used feet and another used meters.

 

That’s the pinnacle.  Why would anyone expect a video game to be well designed.

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2 hours ago, Redlynne said:

The problem is that the accretion of Technical Debt will eventually cripple your development processes if you don't budget time to address it. 

Technical debt is unavoidable as technology changes and hardware improves. 

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2 hours ago, Luminara said:

In the final minute of the Apollo 11 mission's lunar landing phase, there was a computer error.  The computer was signaling an obscure error code, and MC was seconds away from aborting the landing.  One man in MC had a list of all error codes the computer could generate.  He identified the error and gave the thumbs-up for the mission to proceed.  The success of Apollo 11 came down to documentation.

 

This is the legacy we should strive for.  Instead, we settle for "Not on fire? Ship it".

This is pie in the sky wishful thinking.  It simply isn't feasible in the modern business environment given the level of complexity. 

 

Also, keep in mind that the computing power of your cell phone is orders of magnitude more complex and powerful than what was available for the Apollo lunar lander.  Your average pocket calculator of today is probably more powerful than what they had at the time.  The code/systems were simple enough to have printed checklists and manuals. 

 

To put this into perspective, look up a documentary on Netflix titled "Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World".  In there, they talk about how back in the early days of the internet, there was actually a printed directory of everyone on the internet.  It was maybe a quarter of an inch thick.   If it were even possible to attempt to be printed today, it's estimated the directory would be some 72 miles thick.  The underlying technology has improved by tens of thousands of orders of magnitude and still growing.  It is going to be unavoidable to have perfectly written, bug free software in systems that complex.

 

Expecting or even hoping for it in a video game is wishful thinking.

Edited by ShardWarrior

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4 hours ago, ShardWarrior said:

Oh I'm very sure they did.  😀   Teachers in America know all about job security.

 

Real job security comes from doing a good job and working hard IMO.

 

Job security and doing a good job/working hard are not mutually inclusive.  If this were the case then there would be plenty of market sectors and businesses that would still exist which do not.

Edited by Sanguinesun

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Not to dismiss anything that has been said already, but the Management Factor really needs to be stressed.  Seeing that side of the business, a lot of the time you can have AMAZING coders working on a project, but one greedy ass near the top can (and does) tank it because they'd rather get their overly generous slice of the pie, rather than see the employees with their feet on the ground and fingers on the keyboards getting what's owed to them.

 

So, "fast and good, but not cheap" suddenly becomes "fast and good and overpriced," and it never gets finished since the contracted bankroll dries up.

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3 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

Seeing that side of the business, a lot of the time you can have AMAZING coders working on a project, but one greedy ass near the top can (and does) tank it because they'd rather get their overly generous slice of the pie, rather than see the employees with their feet on the ground and fingers on the keyboards getting what's owed to them.

Bear in mind that many executives, investors and business owners assume far, far more of the financial risk than the average employee with their feet on the ground and fingers on the keyboard. 

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Regardless of the financial risk involved; lying and cheating to make extra money is damnably disgusting in my books.
And then, with large-scale developments, we see plenty of insurance systems in place to give the money-types comfortable landings in case of failures.  

 

Small businesses are an entirely different kettle of chips, of course.  One will often see the chief financial officer also being the lead programmer, or other such overlaps of responsibility.  These people may not be the best at wearing all the extra hats, and their ventures may fail, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt before I trust another exec who chants the mantra of "a business' only purpose is to make money."

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12 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

Regardless of the financial risk involved; lying and cheating to make extra money is damnably disgusting in my books.
And then, with large-scale developments, we see plenty of insurance systems in place to give the money-types comfortable landings in case of failures.  

 

Small businesses are an entirely different kettle of chips, of course.  One will often see the chief financial officer also being the lead programmer, or other such overlaps of responsibility.  These people may not be the best at wearing all the extra hats, and their ventures may fail, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt before I trust another exec who chants the mantra of "a business' only purpose is to make money."

Small and large businesses have both good and bad executives, the size does not equate to ability or integrity, IME.

Anyone foolish enough to think "a business' exists to make money" is just a bad business person IMO.

I have great people in positions of power in all sizes of companies and I have seen terrible people in all those as well.

Most larger companies are really just groups of smaller companies that merged or bought each other over time, it's the same humans.

 

Business size IME is not an indicator of greed nor talent.  

 

IME, most people 'fell into' the positions they have...


"If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity." - William E. Vaughn

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Fair enough.  In my experiences, I've just noticed a trend of larger businesses usually having accrued more safety nets.  Nets which also end up facilitating greedy activities from the bad apples, compared to small companies which are more likely to die from a bad executive.

 

But then, I think I've pulled this thread on a bit of a tangent . . . should we get back to dipping our hands in to the spaghetti?

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