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Trenches comic: Thursday Nov. 24, 2011 - Apathy

BrogeyBrogey High MaintenanceSanta Monica, CASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
edited November 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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You are not your fucking bugcount.

11/24/2011 - Anonymous

I’m sure every office has one of these, but I worked with a truly insufferable co-worker while I was on the QA team of a game using a licensed property of considerable age and robustness. Said licensed property had dozens of books covering every conceivable aspect of the universe, itself decades old. This co-worker had his entire cubicle filled with books and he spent his days double-checking every fact presented in the game against his books, writing up bugs like “The Baloovian Farglebargle in-game can pierce heavy armor, which is described in-game as being two inches thick, when in the collected works of Aegis Nine the Farglebargle is CLEARLY shown to only be able to pierce armor 1.7 inches thick.”

49 out of 50 of these would come back as “Not a bug,” “Will not fix,” “Working as intended,” or otherwise marked in some semi-polite way to tell him that we weren’t re-calibrating the entire physics, combat, or character engine to accommodate every single bit of minutia the licensed property described if we had any choice of ship date. Of course, the tester in question didn’t care whether they were fixed or not; he just wanted to be able to put “Found 50 bugs” on his daily report, regardless of how many of them were actually anything but a waste of the dev team’s time. It finally took one of the QA leads paraphrasing Tyler Durden’s classic line to him to get him to start being more judicious in his reporting.

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Posts

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Dungeons and Dragons. Or 40k.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    It's gotta be Dungeons & Dragons. Or Star Wars.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
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  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    I vote Star Wars.

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  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    This sounds like Star Wars, because Dungeons and Dragons has never been consistent about just about anything over its lifespan.

  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    Naw, it's gotta be 40k. Or just Warhammer. Who else describes thing like the thickness of armor?

  • MolybdenumMolybdenum Registered User regular
    Pardon my ignorance of Fight Club, but which Durden line, in particular?

    also, I feel like everyone in this comic should be wearing tweed plaid pants. They would look good in them.

  • IcyLiquidIcyLiquid Two Steaks Montreal, QuebecAdministrator, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    edited November 2011
    You're not your fucking Khakis

    IcyLiquid on
    Tube wrote:
    Personally it makes me want to pry my kneecaps off with an icepick but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
  • AssuranAssuran Is swinging on the Spiral Registered User regular
    Warhammer is a good guess, but I'm going to go with LotR.

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X When you speak I hear muffinsRegistered User regular
    You're not a beautiful snowflake?

    And that is totally Star Wars.

    Mandalorian armor, you guys.

    camo_sig2.png
  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    Could be a battletech game.

    Hisao? What's the word for when it feels in your heart that everything in the world is alright?
    .

    STEAM
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    IcyLiquid wrote:
    You're not your fucking Khakis

    We can also swing the quote around to apply to the forum.

    'You are not your fucking post count.'

    Now where's Rane? <_<

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • AriviaArivia Registered User
    Henroid wrote:
    It's gotta be Dungeons & Dragons. Or Star Wars.

    Star Wars or Star Trek, not D&D. It reads like it might be the Forgotten Realms, but that's not the kind of shit anyone cares about in Realmslore. On the other hand, there's a small essay in Races of Faerun as to why an extra inch of steel on a longsword made it the great military advancement the Chondathans needed to become the dominant human group in Faerun. :rotate:

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  • collinccollinc Registered User regular
    So I was the only one thinking My Little Pony? Ok. :(

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    collinc wrote:
    So I was the only one thinking My Little Pony? Ok. :(

    I'll admit I've not watched much MLP, either the classic or the new one, but for some reason I have a hard time imagining that armor penetration comes into play when we're talking about magical ponies.
    From the heavy armor being 2 inches thick, I'm thinking probably a D&D based game. The other options that suggested themselves (WH:FB, WH:40k, Battletech) wouldn't begin to call armor "heavy" at anything less then 6 inches.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    This is a horror story? A co-worker with meticulous attention to detail?

    Patch 5.4 wrote:
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    Subsequent wins now awards 75 Conquest Points (up from 50).
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  • GrayPocketsGrayPockets Registered User
    I am the "truly insufferable co-worker" from this post.

    The title was Neverwinter Nights 2. The licensed property was Dungeons and Dragons.

    The original poster's portrayal of me is a little misguided: I never cared about my bug count. I've been a D&D geek for sometime, and I owned all the books...and yes, even brought them to work. I'd been a weekly GM for years, and loved the Forgotten Realms universe and story.

    However, I never cared about my bug count. I didn't care how many bugs I submitted. All I cared about was how good a game we made. I loved Dungeons and Dragons so much, I wanted the game to be perfect. As a QA Tester, bugs were the only voice I had: I tried to use that voice to make the game better.

    If the poster had ever talked to me, he'd have known how passionate about the game I was. If being passionate about Dungeons and Dragons is a crime, color me guilty and proud of it.

    He only saw my bug count as a chore I inflicted...I saw them as the only way I could help him develop the game.

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    You know, I was just having a conversation with my coworkers on Wednesday about the topic of tabletop games being converted to video games. One of the things I brought up as a reason for Black Isle/Bioware's success was the fact that they were able to properly implement the systems of the tabletop games, but were also willing to streamline/change things if it helped the game play better.

    Bad analogy time: It's sort of like the LOTR movies. A lot of things in a book don't translate well to other mediums, so you have to make changes to get across the intent if not the letter. Same thing happens in RPGs. When I'm hanging around with my friends, we have all the time in the world to deal with the narrative. In a game, you have to keep it much more snappy than that.

    Then of course there's the fact that a lot of tabletop RPGs have rules that are just stupid and should be fired from a cannon. God those black-edged 2nd edition AD&D books scared me.

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    I am the "truly insufferable co-worker" from this post.

    The title was Neverwinter Nights 2. The licensed property was Dungeons and Dragons.

    The original poster's portrayal of me is a little misguided: I never cared about my bug count. I've been a D&D geek for sometime, and I owned all the books...and yes, even brought them to work. I'd been a weekly GM for years, and loved the Forgotten Realms universe and story.

    However, I never cared about my bug count. I didn't care how many bugs I submitted. All I cared about was how good a game we made. I loved Dungeons and Dragons so much, I wanted the game to be perfect. As a QA Tester, bugs were the only voice I had: I tried to use that voice to make the game better.

    If the poster had ever talked to me, he'd have known how passionate about the game I was. If being passionate about Dungeons and Dragons is a crime, color me guilty and proud of it.

    He only saw my bug count as a chore I inflicted...I saw them as the only way I could help him develop the game.

    Even if it's not about the bug count, when it gets to a point where it's obvious that they won't fix issues related to inconsistencies related to lore outside the game don't you feel like you're just wasting people's time by filling up the database with useless bugs that people will have to manage for nothing? I mean, when someone says don't bug that stuff you're just wasting time nobody's fixing that, you stop. But then again, I don't know how things went down exactly for you at that time.


    We had a legendary bug entry about a year ago from a tester from a different country (cheaper labor costs!). I dunno if that particular guy had a medical background or something but he seemed to know a lot about cutting throats for some reason. In the game there was a scene where a woman gets killed by having her throat cut. So that tester entered a bug about how it's unrealistic that the woman died so fast that way and even included a detailed drawing of the inside of a throat with little arrows and explanations on what happens when someone gets her throat sliced. Obviously it rapidly fell into the will not fix bin, but that bug rapidly became famous in our group of local testers, just for the insane amount of details the guy added.

    PSN / XBL: PatParadize
  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    ... Are you sure the guy was a medical doctor? Because honestly, I'd be looking to seeing if there were any disappearances under mysterious circumstances around that testing department.

    fCew0YJ.jpg
    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    I am the "truly insufferable co-worker" from this post.

    The title was Neverwinter Nights 2. The licensed property was Dungeons and Dragons.

    The original poster's portrayal of me is a little misguided: I never cared about my bug count. I've been a D&D geek for sometime, and I owned all the books...and yes, even brought them to work. I'd been a weekly GM for years, and loved the Forgotten Realms universe and story.

    However, I never cared about my bug count. I didn't care how many bugs I submitted. All I cared about was how good a game we made. I loved Dungeons and Dragons so much, I wanted the game to be perfect. As a QA Tester, bugs were the only voice I had: I tried to use that voice to make the game better.

    If the poster had ever talked to me, he'd have known how passionate about the game I was. If being passionate about Dungeons and Dragons is a crime, color me guilty and proud of it.

    He only saw my bug count as a chore I inflicted...I saw them as the only way I could help him develop the game.
    Sweet! Follow-up! This confirmed my suspicion that "Anonymous" is just a dick.

    Patch 5.4 wrote:
    First win of the day now awards 150 Conquest Points (up from 100).
    Subsequent wins now awards 75 Conquest Points (up from 50).
    YES! I AM INVINCIBLE!
  • GrayPocketsGrayPockets Registered User
    forty wrote:
    Sweet! Follow-up! This confirmed my suspicion that "Anonymous" is just a dick.

    While I'd love to agree with you, I did write an extreme number of bugs. With hindsight, I can understand why someone forced to read all of them might see it as insufferable.

    The atmosphere of the company rarely had developers speak to QA testers in person. We were kept in a seperate room on a different floor. We weren't really part of the development process, except through the bug system.

    I just wish the poster had talked to me enough to understand why I did it. It wasn't for some bug count, that's for sure.

    It was my motivation that he got wrong.

  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    That's mostly what I thought was bullshit. That he just assumed you were doing it for bugcount++. Like I said, some people are just meticulous. If that's a problem, someone should bring it up instead of just grousing about it for weeks/months and being a little bitch.

    Patch 5.4 wrote:
    First win of the day now awards 150 Conquest Points (up from 100).
    Subsequent wins now awards 75 Conquest Points (up from 50).
    YES! I AM INVINCIBLE!
  • StaleStale Registered User regular
    It sounds a hell of a lot more likely that the Lead never bothered following up on anything that was filed by his team.

    When you started filing bugs that obviously had no business being filed, they should have stepped in. They didn't.

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  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    Is this our first rebuttal? Very interesting.

    And you're a big man, GrayPockets, to admit your overzealous nature. Even so...
    Stale wrote:
    It sounds a hell of a lot more likely that the Lead never bothered following up on anything that was filed by his team.

    When you started filing bugs that obviously had no business being filed, they should have stepped in. They didn't.

    Indeed. One of those scenarios where strong communication and a lighthearted attitude could have gone a long way. With the right touch, this wouldn't be a story worth telling for either side.

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    Steam: hewn
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Fireflash wrote:
    We had a legendary bug entry about a year ago from a tester from a different country (cheaper labor costs!). I dunno if that particular guy had a medical background or something but he seemed to know a lot about cutting throats for some reason. In the game there was a scene where a woman gets killed by having her throat cut. So that tester entered a bug about how it's unrealistic that the woman died so fast that way and even included a detailed drawing of the inside of a throat with little arrows and explanations on what happens when someone gets her throat sliced. Obviously it rapidly fell into the will not fix bin, but that bug rapidly became famous in our group of local testers, just for the insane amount of details the guy added.
    You know, deep down he was downloading snuff films and watching them with a chart and a stop watch to support his point. Good thing you didn't ask for any supporting evidence.

  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    GrayPockets you are a scholar and a gentleman. That game was an abomination and it is good to know at least one heroic soul had the courage to stand up to that affront against nature. I am saying this as a guy who doesn't even likes FR.

    Maybe if you didn't rush that game out of the door way before it was ready, dear Anonymous, you'd have time to do just that.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    GrayPockets you are a scholar and a gentleman. That game was an abomination and it is good to know at least one heroic soul had the courage to stand up to that affront against nature. I am saying this as a guy who doesn't even likes FR.

    Maybe if you didn't rush that game out of the door way before it was ready, dear Anonymous, you'd have time to do just that.

    What was wrong with NWN2 aside from it being buggy and unfinished? Maybe if the QA department had spent more time trying to find actual bugs and less time nit-picking about things that conflicted with fluff text, it wouldn't have been such a mess.

    All I cared about was how good a game we made. I loved Dungeons and Dragons so much, I wanted the game to be perfect. As a QA Tester, bugs were the only voice I had: I tried to use that voice to make the game better.

    While your passion is obvious and I admire it, this statement above is very telling. You wanted the game to be "perfect," but your vision of perfection included a lot of things which the actual developers had clearly decided were unfeasible or unimportant. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you wanted to make the game better, you should have done it by doing the job you were hired for: finding bugs. That was what they gave you a "voice" to tell them about, and when instead you used that voice to harangue them about things were were ultimately choices of game design - which wasn't your place - it's not surprising that they stopped listening. It sounds like your love of D&D inadvertently caused you to try to meddle in things which weren't your responsibility while neglecting the one means you actually had of improving the game.

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  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    A bad game that isn't buggy is still a bad game. Granted, it was his job to debug it, not to make it a good game, but the desire to do so is neverless commendable in my eyes.

    Aside from the buggy half-baked state the game was released in, NWN2 had a whole lot of other issues.
    The GUI was badly designed. The writing was simultaneously terrible and (as Gray mentioned) ignorant of the source material with many Cowboy Bebop at His Computer moments. The toolset exchanged a little bit of power for the one thing it was actually useful - making things quickly and easily. The gameplay was an ill-fated attempt to directly port D&D into a real-time environment in a fashion similar to the infinity engine games but with (and I did not think it was possible) clunkier controls. Almost none of the actual battles were interesting due to the boring design of the monsters, with the majority having no special abilities and little to set them apart from one another.

    The sole saving grace of NWN2 is that it gave us Mask of the Betrayer - which itself was only good due to the writing.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • GrayPocketsGrayPockets Registered User
    Gaslight wrote:
    I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you wanted to make the game better, you should have done it by doing the job you were hired for: finding bugs.

    Don't misunderstand the situation. I also found many bugs that had nothing to do with game design: crashes, progression stoppers, etc. At least as many as any of the other Quality Assurance Engineers working on the product at that time.

    It was my "above and beyond" zeal that this poster disliked about me. The last thing he'd say is that I didn't write enough bugs.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    This just went to awesome territory, with the first actual rebuttal of a story we've seen thus far! Is this also the first time that the game in question was actually named as well? So many firsts! Either way, I'm surprised that you were so interested in minutae like armor thickness, when the game was borking pretty much every other more important aspect of the core rules far worse. Then again, it could be theoretically possible that you might have been submitting reports on all the various rules inconsistencies as well.

    NWN2 - the base game, Mask of the Betrayer was incredibly good due to the writing - was disappointing to me because it was boring, didn't use one of the best turn based combat "engines" for a PnP game well at all (bleh shitty real time combat), had an awful camera and just didn't feel anywhere near as compelling as it should have been. Being full of bugs was just adding insult onto injury on all of that. The only thing I truly loved in NWN2 was the trial sequence, which was extremely well done and had more than a few great moments. But they borked that to by having it end exactly the same way regardless of what happened during it, what a shame.

  • GrayPocketsGrayPockets Registered User
    Aegeri wrote:
    Either way, I'm surprised that you were so interested in minutae like armor thickness, when the game was borking pretty much every other more important aspect of the core rules far worse

    I never wrote a bug about armor thickness. I did write a lot of bugs about armor/hair graphical clipping problems, which I believe is what the poster was referring to. I originally asked my QA Lead if I should split up the bugs based on armor/hair, or just write a generalized bug concerning the set. I was told to separate them, even after I mentioned it would be quite a lot of copy/pasting.

    Later, when the developers complained about the shear number of bugs as busy work, that same QA Lead told me I shouldn't have done so in front of several important people. Being thrown under that bus was not a pleasant experience.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    And thus we have the TRUE story behind this come out (which is also much more interesting).

    I honestly couldn't fathom the IP being DnD from the description given (as I cannot really recall things like armor thickness being that important or even consistent between systems/game designers to begin with), but with that clarification things make a lot more sense (it helps that you're also right, because NWN2 was a mess in that regard).

    Aegeri on
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    /smugface

    Patch 5.4 wrote:
    First win of the day now awards 150 Conquest Points (up from 100).
    Subsequent wins now awards 75 Conquest Points (up from 50).
    YES! I AM INVINCIBLE!
  • El GuacoEl Guaco Registered User regular
    I've been on both sides of the dev/QA fence. Having a QA person find bugs is great. I admire those who can doggedly find the littlest things because as a dev I am too close to my own work to objectively test it. But...having a QA person telling you "you're doing it wrong" will get a dev annoyed with you every time. Regardless of your motivation or your passion, it wasn't your place to flood the bug tracker system with bugs that weren't really bugs. I'm sure the dev team was already being pushed hard to finish the product under a ridiculous schedule and thus they saw your "passion" as a detriment to their progress. Bottom line is that stuff has to get done in a finite amount of time, regardless of how it makes you feel about how it represents your ideal of a beloved franchise. When you're running the show, you can make those decisions. And I guarantee that you'll compromise those ideals at least a little or you'll end up out of business or out of a job.




  • TarranonTarranon Registered User regular
    i don't understand this comic, why is Isaac talking to the management and not writing angry anonymous messages on the internet?

    forty
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    It really is a shame when game studios don't take full advantage of their testers enthusiasm for the medium (which is about the only reason you'd take such a job for longer than six months), though in some cases they may simply not be able to handle the additional data, or may feel that, being professional game designers, they simply must know games better than others (ahahaha). There is also the situation that testers do not get much inside information, so many tester opinions may be contrary to a design decision that they will never be informed of.

    I imagine that there are also a few testers out there who would just be giving the designers migraines - imagine someone who insisted that NWN2 should be more like AD&D. D:

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