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Trenches comic: Tuesday December 27, 2011 - Celebration

BogeyBogey I'm back, baby!Santa Monica, CAModerator mod
edited December 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
i-qBKNgzD.jpg
Standing by the railroad tracks.

12/27/2011 - Anonymous

I’ve worked on a bunch of games and they’ve all left me with different feelings and memories about the job of QA. One of my most recent titles was a large (200+ team) action game that was a critical and commercial catastrophe when it was released.

The worst thing about it was sitting there in QA seeing it all falling apart. You could see that the vehicles were no fun, that the shooting was awful, that the weapon balance made no sense, and the entire progression system was laughable.

You could see it was slow, ponderous and plodding and you just knew it was going to be a total disaster and all you can do is submit suggestion bugs saying “The general feeling in QA is that the weapon is, at the moment, significantly above the average in terms of killing potential,” only to have a one word response of ‘no’. They say no because they have the numbers for all the guns and can see that they’re obviously balanced just fine.

The math is right there! So what if as soon as you pick up that gun your K:D goes from 4:12 to 50:3.

The numbers show that it’s fine. It’s just… fine.

Imagine standing on the side of a railroad track. You can see this giant train speeding toward your best friend and he’s just standing there looking at the train like it’s some sort of alien thing they don’t recognise. You want to pull your friend off the tracks and save him and you can even see how you would do it, but all you can do is whisper.

“There’s a train coming. Get off the track. There’s a train coming and it’s going to kill you.”

Your friend puts their fingers in their ears and says, “Lalala I’m not listening to you.”

And then the train hits, your friend explodes and everyone loses their job.

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Posts

  • THESPOOKYTHESPOOKY im alucard Registered User regular
    I was wondering where this was.

    What a weird walking pose.

    3715dce84e531295d5cf9e9c7b7c0b5c.png
  • RemingtonRemington Registered User regular
    To be fair, the job of a QA person isn't to tell the game designers how to do their jobs. It's to find broken things.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    So what are we guessing the game from the story is?

    bowen wrote: »
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  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    Remington wrote:
    To be fair, the job of a QA person isn't to tell the game designers how to do their jobs. It's to find broken things.

    Well the example in the story is a broken thing. QA is not just limited to technical glitches, design decisions that break the game should be expected to be found as well. If your devs/designers just close their ears when you point out a weapon or a certain skill combination or whatever is overpowered and breaks the game then they're bad. Problems like that should be fixed before ship so then you don't have people scared away from the game due to everyone using that one weapon and destroying everyone else. Coupled with the cost and time it takes to issue a patch on the consoles, nipping stuff like this beforehand can literally save tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds.

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Remington wrote:
    To be fair, the job of a QA person isn't to tell the game designers how to do their jobs. It's to find broken things.

    Testing the balance of the game with all the rules applied seems like it would be something they do, actually. "Hey this gun is actually kinda cheezy and ruins the game progression" seems like something the sort of thing the QA team should report on.

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    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I'm going to say APB.

    What is this I don't even.
  • THESPOOKYTHESPOOKY im alucard Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    My guess would be Modern Warfare 2, but that might be my gritty flashbacks to the old days of double-1887s talking. It definitely wasn't a commercial failure.

    THESPOOKY on
    3715dce84e531295d5cf9e9c7b7c0b5c.png
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    And everyone definitely didn't lose their jobs. Nothing really comes to mind, except for maybe games like Rogue Warrior that you forget about almost the second you see them.

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote:
    I'm going to say APB.

    Does it have vehicles?

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • Tss_fanTss_fan Registered User regular
    When will this be updated?

    http://trenchescomic.com/new-readers

  • RemingtonRemington Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    Remington wrote:
    To be fair, the job of a QA person isn't to tell the game designers how to do their jobs. It's to find broken things.

    Testing the balance of the game with all the rules applied seems like it would be something they do, actually. "Hey this gun is actually kinda cheezy and ruins the game progression" seems like something the sort of thing the QA team should report on.

    In all my experience with QA, balance is the game designers job. If a document says "gun should kill in 3 shots" but the gun kills in 4, then they can submit a report, but if the gun is intended to completely obliterate everything on the field, regardless of how over-powered, it's working as intended.

    If it's a smaller company I suppose it could fall under QA's responsibility, though. I've never run into that.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    Darkewolfe wrote:
    I'm going to say APB.

    Does it have vehicles?

    It has cars, like grand theft auto, and the poor design made them decidedly unfun to drive. It had the gun problems, too. Plus the game put the company that made it out of business.

    What is this I don't even.
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    If the game was APB, then it's not like the devs saying "yes, we'll look into this" for situations like this:
    You could see it was slow, ponderous and plodding and you just knew it was going to be a total disaster and all you can do is submit suggestion bugs saying “The general feeling in QA is that the weapon is, at the moment, significantly above the average in terms of killing potential,” only to have a one word response of ‘no’. They say no because they have the numbers for all the guns and can see that they’re obviously balanced just fine.

    Was really going to save that train anyway.

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  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    I was thinking that this sounded like Rage, but I have not played it or APB, so I wouldnt know.

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Rage wasn't remotely a critical or commercial catastrophe.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Does Rage have vehicles?

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    Yes. There is a lot of car drivin/'shootin' in Rage.

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  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    admanb wrote:
    Rage wasn't remotely a critical or commercial catastrophe.

    Compared to expectations? I seemed to hear it getting a lot of flak...

    Then again, there's Duke Nukem Forever, which might also fit the criteria. That game could probably fill a few years worth of Trenches stories.

    Official member of the Grilling Gentry
    "Brevity is the soul of getting your shit read." - Tube
    Rarely-updated Collecting blog
    He/Him
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, Duke seems so obvious now. Although, again, I dunno if it lines up in terms of staff/budget, and I doubt it failed enough for everyone to lose their jobs. I mean, they knew they what they were putting out. It just kinda had to be put out.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Athenor wrote:
    admanb wrote:
    Rage wasn't remotely a critical or commercial catastrophe.

    Compared to expectations? I seemed to hear it getting a lot of flak...

    Then again, there's Duke Nukem Forever, which might also fit the criteria. That game could probably fill a few years worth of Trenches stories.

    Rage got some flak, but it wasn't panned. Plus, it sold really well.

    Duke Nukem Forever wasn't a huge success, but it was profitable (for Gearbox, at least.) Not a catastrophe.

  • FirmSkaterFirmSkater Registered User regular
    I'm leaning pretty heavily toward APB. It had huge hype, was a commercial failure, and (I've heard) the devs were not great

    I can't think of what else it might be

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  • CelduinCelduin Registered User
    Homefront.

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