The All Aspect War Demo: A Veritable Saga

By Alec Meer on June 16th, 2009 at 12:08 am.

Here’s a tale to warm the cockles of your dark, bitter heart. Lest you’ve not been following the remarkable fallout to Jim’s quickie post concerning the recent demo of Derek Smart’s latest indie opus, its sprawling comments thread has become something of a biblical epic of hate, love, redemption and disagreements about where people’s arms appear when they swim. Initially, the thread was as miserably expected: a few of our local Grumpymen took an immediate pop at Derek and his games, labouring under the delusion that his… ah, spotty reputation as a gentleman of the internet gave them free reign to insult him here. He responded in kind, as he is known to do. We sighed, and deleted most of the shouting, because we like to keep a happy house here. We also stocked our desks with caffeinated beverages and salted snacks, in preparation for a long night of troll castration. And then, a remarkable thing happened….

A few curious readers ended up discussing the game’s ins and outs with Derek in earnest. One thing led to another, and they ended up playing AAW with him – a personal guided tour of this ambitious, complicated future-soldier sim. Upon their return, the simmering confusion and resentment that had previously characterised the troubled thread was replaced by a wondrous air of chuminess – from both sides. Also, statements from Derek that he’d taken their constructive criticism onboard and was implenting changes right away – indeed, there have been several significant patches to the demo, clearly informed by comments and playtesting from all over the place, but with RPS readers playing a definite part. Well done, you men.

Since then, the conversation’s continued, with more people getting involved and a sense of unprecedented access to the development process. The game itself might be dividing opinions, but its intention and the love that went into it is now incredibly clear – by Bukowski it’s a heartwarming thread. The lion, sleeping with the lamb – and a game being improved on the fly as a result of community suggestion. The walls between gamers and developers have always been depressing, and more so now there’s definite proof of what can be achieved when they are torn down.

Derek’s just released what he says is the last patch for the demo, ahead of the game’s full release. You can grab both the demo and the patch from here, and it’s also worth a scan of the devlog to marvel at quite how much has been tweaked and fixed in just four short days – there’s some pretty sweeping changes in there. Annoyingly the RPS Hivemind hasn’t had the chance to fire the thing up yet ourselves, but come a lull in the work it’s on the list.

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50 Comments »

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  1. teo says:

    So, there were bugs?

  2. AndrewC says:

    That thread is a really wonderful, unlikely, painful, messily fantastic thing.

    It’s like eating a lump of coal and then pooing a diamond.

  3. idmmao says:

    Teo: According to dsmart, “There are NO crashes in the game. Not one. In fact, there aren’t any bugs left in our tracking dB. So whatever that was about, check your system.”
    Many players disagreed.

  4. Muzman says:

    Huzza for RPS and its volcanic digestive system. (really. It’s very cool to watch.)

  5. Ado says:

    Good stuff. Nice to see a Dev taking suggestions on board of those who pay their wages. People don’t usually criticise for the fun of it, so it’s good to see feedback being used in such a way. User input FTW!!!

  6. mandrill says:

    Respect is due to all concerned. Hats off and all that malarkey. All dev’s everywhere should be made to read that thread with the flashing neon caption: “THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE”. A glimpse of gamer’s heaven was seen, possible never to be experienced again.
    A dev? Actually listening to gamers?!? Never! Archive it, keep it somewhere safe, and drag it out when you want to beat a dev up about how they never listen to the players.

    My opinion of Mr. Smart has been altered forever. Top bloke, his reputation and portrayal by the gaming press (not looking at anyone in particular *ahem*) does not do him justice.

  7. Howard says:

    Guys, go easy on dsmart. The man is very intense, very focussed and utterly driven towards producing good PC gaming: surely the zenith of what RPS and its followers want?
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not utterly defending his comments here, but he has a dream and I for one an willing to buy into it.
    I am currently playing the full veriosn(beta) of the game and I ahve to say it is showing LOADS of promise. Sure, there are issues to be worked through but at least the man was willing to embrace his critics (and in my case take them on as part of his beta-test team) and listen to what they have to say.

    Hats off to the man I say…

  8. Serondal says:

    I hate to say this , but this is not like some freak happening with the Supreme Commander. If you’d go over to 3000ad.com’s forums you’d see he posts there all the time from everything from the games he makes to what he is recording with his INSANE TV set up (He has the ability to record something like 5 – 6 shows at once? ask him about it I dare you)

    He has ALWAYS been this way, if anything he hasn’t changed at all :P Some people just gave him a chance and treated him with respect and got treated with respect in kind. On the 3000AD forum this kind of thing is going on constantly and much of the improvements made on previous games have come from fan input.

    it great that we all got along so well in the other thread but it is nothing uncommon I assure you. It just if you come on the 3000ad.com forum complaining about S@#$# like a normal hot headed gamer without taking the time to read the manual, read bug lists ect, and insult everyone there you’re going to get banned.

  9. Reverend Speed says:

    Friggin’ manuals. It’s 2009 already! We came here to play!

    Lovely guy, though.

  10. MetalCircus says:

    I did try downloading the demo, signed up for the silly acount stuff but never got a little code thing back so couldn’t play. Bad times.

  11. Alistair says:

    I was sufficiently enthused by the other thread to try this out… but it just won’t run :(

  12. Reverend Speed says:

    Metal, the information you need to install the game is presented in the Byte-Something GUI – you don’t need to sign up for anything, just read the DRM screens very carefully.

    The text is well camouflaged. To the casual eye it looks like unimportant proprietary guff. It’s like encountering a pixel hunt in the middle of your installation.

    * Make login-text during DRM check BRIGHT! FUCKING! PURPLE.

  13. paganite says:

    Yes it is 2009, when we would expect games to be more complex and require a little learning. Who wants a game you can pick up and play instantly? Young children of course, except they are no longer the average player… Go play DS or Wii games or something.

    If I want an easy to get into game I’ll go for an old snes or playstation game. If I want a game that builds on 15 years of playing games well, its hardly going to be a challenge if I can just jump in and play it without even a cursory glance at the control layout.

    Seriously though, when people play football with people that know nothing, even in a firendly game, it is expected that they will take a minute to digest the rules right? We don’t pass them the ball, then start yelling

    “No No No, the other way, no hands! Inbetween the posts you fool!”

    This is a ridiculous way of teaching the players to play. Best to set out some of the rules beforehand, so they can jump right into the game when you start aye?

    RTFM…

  14. Sid says:

    I’m not sure it necessarily follows that with time games become more complex, and I have no idea why you would expect games to be more complex in 2009 than 2007 or something.

    Luckily there’s room in the world for all levels of complexity

  15. jarvoll says:

    RPS: The site so good, it achieves what most games journalists can only wet-dream about: it makes games better.

    Hats off, too, to Derek and the guys who (very figuratively) put their money where their mouths were. What a wonderful story to wake up to!

  16. idmmao says:

    Serondal: Are you blaming the gaming world on dsmart’s legendary flame wars? I’m just saying, there’s no other developer that’s attracted so much anger and bile, and he’s sharing company with egos like Peter Molyneux and Mark Rein. Daikatana is pretty well recognized as one of the worst games of all time and everyone has said so vocally, but Romero is still very well respected. And at least one of dsmart’s own comments got censored last time. So it seems quite a bit more likely that there’s something specially abrasive about dsmart than that everyone picks on him for no reason.

  17. Alistair says:

    (works now :)

  18. drewski says:

    I was going to take a pop at Romero in response to idmmao but decided it would be against the spirit of the thread.

    Look! We can all play nice! Isn’t that sweet. I’m awarding us all 100 karma.

  19. Paganite says:

    Sid, complexity is better, and there should be more of it in the future, because – think of it like a book. A lot of people when they first read, start with picture books, eventually they might end up with War and Peace. The complexity of the literature changed and a simple Disney book doesn’t give the same pleasure as a complex novel full of complex events, characters, and prose.

    Of course the simpletons amongst us watch day time TV or still only read picture books. But normal well adjusted people prefer a bit more of a challenge. They like being exposed to new story telling conventions, more complex plots and so on.

    So, this is the same for games. Simpletons prefer games that haven’t advanced much, while normal well adjusted people prefer a challenge, they prefer games in the genres they like that then add more to it and make it better!

    No one would argue that Half Life is worse than the original Doom. Any fan of the first person shooter genre knows that Half Life has more of whats good about the genre in it.

    If you don’t want games to get better then you don’t really like games much then do you? If you prefer games to stay the same for ever and ever at your level of understanding, that is like declaring you don’t like Kafka because it is more complex compared to Twilight.

  20. Polysynchronicity says:

    Complexity is good, but in my opinion, a lot of complex games don’t implement it correctly.

    You should be able to sit down at the game and start playing – and more importantly, accomplish something basic (such as killing an enemy, traveling across the map, building a simple object) – with minimum manual-reading or experience.

    The complexity should come into play when you want to learn how to become better. Kill more enemies, travel faster, build a better tank.

    For example, look at Infiniminer. A beginner can easily grasp the concept of digging a hole and putting a ladder down one side so they can get back out. An advanced player can learn the more complex concept of designing and building a system of jump pads, and get out of their holes quicker and easier.

  21. Lady Bobz says:

    DRM dropping crap all over my system and expecting me to sign in every time for a demo? And who the hell still writes to win.ini?

    Promptly uninstalled the lot.

  22. Paganite says:

    That is what genres are for. In first person shooters, there is a shoot button, move controls and maybe a crouch, things like secondary fire, and so forth. These are things that a new player might have to squiz in the manual for because they are new to the genre, but a veteran jumps in, checks the control scheme, and in a good game adjusts it to what he is used to and then starts playing.

    Hand holding the noob is stupid. Why can’t they be expected to look at the manual for 1 minute? People can read, if they want to play the game then they can bloody well look up how to play it. Why simplify the game for people that can’t even appreciate it yet? Just make games for people that know how to play them and others can catch up.

    If I can sit down and play a game instantly without learning one thing about it and start winning. It is not a game worth playing. Take Homeworld, you jump into that, well you got shit like 3d movement, monitoring your mothership and fighter craft, building, mining, defence, attack, sensors and so on. The tutorial and manual help, you would play that first mission many times if you didn’t practice in the tutorial and give the manual a read first.

    But the game would be boring as all hell if the first mission or so was a tutorial and you had to slog through it every time you wanted to play. Which is why good games give you a separate skippable tutorial and a manual to look at.

  23. Heliocentricity says:

    Eating coal would be terrible, pooping a diamond would be terrible. These events=good stuff. Hope these improvements continue into the games shelflife.

  24. cliffski says:

    I think it’s good to see the dialogue (or lack of it) between gamers and developers criticised. So few develioeprs ever talk even on their own forums, let alone other forums, partkly because dorks in suits in the ‘PR’ department will not let them do so. That’s one of the things I hated about AAA development. The thing is, the majority of PR people still live in the 1990s where PR is something that happens at parties where you get journalists drunk and give them free gifts. None of them understand the interwebs where you can actually talk to your customers directly.
    Sadly, when devs ‘do’ talk, they talk in some weird bullshit PR language about how ‘excited they are to leverage this new IP to produce a wide range of SKUs”. *sigh*

    I’ve been a long time supporter of Mr Smart. As another poster said, he is very intense, but I’m told I’m a bit intense and obsessed and a bit of a maniac, and I think that’s just the personality type that sticks at indie game development. Trying to do EVERYTHING on your own, and at the same time make ambitious games is only something that insane, obsessive or delusional people do, especially for years on end.
    I think at some point, maybe not this year or next, DS will make an absolute blinder of a game that will become a stellar hit, and I expect a lot of public eating of humble pie when that happens. Good luck to him!

  25. Yarrrr! says:

    “The man is very intense, very focussed and utterly driven towards producing good PC gaming”

    Trouble is, he’s never made a good game. Dezza is all talk, the dude’s got a big mouth and a big ego to match but his brash, arrogant attitude isn’t backed up by actual good games. I like the concept of his games, but they’re always lacking in execution and I see no reason to believe this latest escapade will be any different.

    The flamewars that mysteriously occur whenever he graces the internet with his presence have one consistent factor…Mr Smart himself.

  26. Catastrophe says:

    It is indeed nice what eventually happened in the other thread, but DSmart needs to start treating people with respect if he expects to gain theirs.

    His comments are often abysmal, even when people were genuinely explaining issues they had came across in the game to help better the game! There is a reason he has been trapped in giant flamewars – there is one consistent factor in the flamewars – DSmart.

    That being said I’d like to see the previous thread as a turning point for him, the way he treats potential customers and the way people view his career.

  27. Catastrophe says:

    @Yarrrr!

    Lol! We practically said the same thing.

  28. cliffski says:

    people always say he has never made a good game. People also say that jeff vogels games look shit.
    Heres a reality check though:

    They are both still in Business. The guys who made Thief went out of business. The guys who made Deus Ex are no longer in business (am I right?), and there are a ton of games companies that went bust. I worked for one (Elixir), and yet these two guys still plug away full-time in their home offices making games, and presumably making a reasonable living.
    If you are a one-man company, the fact that 99% of gamers think your games suck is irrelevant. You are making them for the 1% who love them.
    If you really LIKE very complex space sims, mr smart is one of the few guys still making games for you. if you don’t like them, he doesn’t care. Watering down his ideas to be mass market will not likely win him customers, and may lose him some.

    People who make shit games go bust or have to get a day job. That isn’t the case with him.

  29. MonkeyMonster says:

    If you are a one-man company, the fact that 99% of gamers think your games suck is irrelevant. You are making them for the 1% who love them. and those 1% pay them to continue living very well and making more of THEIR games. Hats off to the fella indeed even if he does occasionally rage amusingly :D

  30. Catastrophe says:

    @ cliffski

    Yes but it still says something about your games if 99% people think they suck.

    If 99% of the people who ate your cakes hated them, you’d get the hint and improve your recipe. You wouldn’t say “Ah but the 1% who ate my cakes liked them so lets keep the recipe – its making me a small income so what the hell”.

    You would think “I am losing out on the other 99% and the money that would come from satisfying them – what can I do better to get these people to like my games”.

  31. kert says:

    Ive been a space sim fan since Privateer and original X-Wing. I own most of the titles, boxed, that defined the genre, even stuff like Terminus which few have heard of.
    I picked up 3000AD once in a bargain bin .. i dont feel sorry for the 10 dollars or a few hours that i tried to start to like this game, but i gotta say its hands down one of the worst space sim games ever produced. It works as a simulator of .. something, yes.
    Never argued with mr Smart anywhere on the forums, big respect for a small developer who manages to pull off huge simulations like these and actually make some money off them. And talking to his customers and improve on input is all really nice to.

    However, i fail to see why this stuff belongs on gaming site ?

  32. subedii says:

    @ Catastrophe: That’s not how it works. There’s a difference between catering to a having a bad product and catering to a specific market that you know is a guaranteed base for you.

    Not that I’m supporting the guy on a personal level, because I really dislike the way he comes into threads and craps over people and other games. I mean let’s be honest here, as soon as someone raised the issue of crashing with his latest game, he said that it was absolutely impossible and had a go at the guy for not knowing what he was doing. Back in the Demigod thread he said it’d be nothing but a disappointment for Stardock, because GPG make “lifeless, souless repetitive stress inducing lessons in hype, flash and emptiness”. Which hey, it’s a valid opinion, but plenty of other people love the games, and it’s also pretty ironic when you take that into context with earlier statements about “catering to a specific market”, which is exactly what they’ve done.

    Cliffski, defend the guy all you want, but he could do with a lightening of attitude, and it’s fair to call him out on stuff like that.

  33. Steelfist says:

    @Catastrophe

    That isn’t the point. The fact is that 1% like the very complex games that he makes, while the other 99% don’t.

    To use your very shitty cake metaphor, imagine if the cakes he was making were made of fudge, carrots, brocolli and maple syrup. He can’t alter it to cater for the 99% who think it is awful without losing the 1% who like it. And what is the point of making the more mainstream types of cakes that the other 99% will like when other, much larger bakeries such as EA and Activision already make them better than he ever could, him being just one guy on his own?

  34. jalf says:

    @cliffski: I see your point but I think you’re taking it a bit too far. By your definition, a game that everyone hates, and only 5 people buys, but which cost $20 to make, is a better game than one that cost $50 million to make, everyone liked, and which sold enough to earn $49 million back. The latter would go out of business, the former wouldn’t. But I don’t think that makes the almost universally hated former game a “good game”.

    The reason the Thief guys went out of business is not that their games weren’t as good as Derek’s. They had a much larger dev team, which means they had to sell far more copies to break even. Their games (presumably, feel free to correct me on this) sold better, but not enough to offset the additional expenses of a larger dev team.

    People who make *costly* shit games go bust. People who make them for next to no money still turn a profit and are able to stay in business. Likewise, people who make *extremely expensive* but fun games go bust.

    Talking about game quality *solely* as a function of profit seems a bit odd. ;)

    When that is said, it’s still pretty clear that Derek Smart has managed what the Thief people never did: Found a way to make the games he wants to, without going out of business.
    I just don’t think that this fact magically affects the quality of his games. If they suck, they still suck even if he makes a profit. If they’re good, they’re still good even if he goes out of business.

  35. kert says:

    Profit has no relevance on game quality, it doesn’t enter the function. The amount of manhours ( i..e. money ) spent in production does matter. Obviously theres no linear correlation of course.

  36. Catastrophe says:

    @ subedii

    He’s not catering to a particular market though as hes actively hoping for interest via RPS. Hes basically pushing the game to anyone who will listen and when people criticise his defense is “well you may not like it but i don’t care, my die-hard fans do”.

    Everyone caters to specific markets – The Sims to E-Dollhouse market, WoW to MMORPG market, WAR to PvPMMORPG etc. Its business planning – it is unlikely he planned “lets target 1% of people who try my game”.

  37. Catastrophe says:

    @ Steelfist

    Its not the type of game his game is that makes it shit… its the way its pulled off.

  38. Yarrrr! says:

    “The guys who made Thief went out of business. The guys who made Deus Ex are no longer in business (am I right?),”

    Which just goes to show that the quality of your game is not necessarily linked to financial success. Ion Storm and Looking Glass and plenty of other great studios have gone down the pan, yet Derek Smart, who has not yet made a game that could by any measure be called ‘good’, is still in business.* I could name plenty of bad movies and crap bands that still somehow made money.

    But it’s irrelevant, I don’t care about how financially successful he is or is not, I just want to play a decent game. Dezza hasn’t made one yet and I’m sceptical that he will ever manage it.

    *we don’t know exactly how he makes money. Does he earn all his money from games? Did he get a fat inheritance? Does he have another business? The guy has already lied about so many other things you’d be pretty stupid to believe anything he says about the financial success of his terrible games.

  39. Tei says:

    I use to be open source game developer, back then, wen I was not fat and lazy.
    So to me, discussing with the players the features of the games is the most normal thing ever.

    Anyway, … discussing is one thing, taking the users feedback as the rules to govern a project is a different thing.

    I know game projects that use player feedback as the rules to govern the project. I suppose is… kind of easy.. you open something like a forum, or a bug repository, and invite players to fill these sites with bugreports and feature request, and use it as your work plan.

    My problem with this is the *type* of suggestions of a gamers. Gamers (or at least the type of gamers i know) are driven by incremental enhancements. There are different voices, some want more eyecandy, and others want something more “Pure” (faithfull) and others want something like a e-sport. So, with what camp you align? To me is easy, since I hate e-sport and faithfull followers, I aligh with the Graphicwhores camp, but a more sensible dev will have a great problem here.

    Yea, one guy will tell you… “Just add a checkbox in options, to enable disable eyecandy/faithfull/esport”. But this is another design decission, because If you do that, and repeat this forever, you end with a very complex option window. Soo complex, that is the “default options” that matter. Also, these options often need to precache data, or precalculate stuff, or just take space in the CPU L1 cache for no reason, so make the program slower.. and you end with a “bloated” program.

    Also, a application is like a person, have ages, born, grown… and will die as old. You know a app is old, wen it breaks easyly, but has a zillion of features. Applications age with changes.

    So, IMHO, you have to chose, and make your decissions, and Keep It Simple.

  40. Catastrophe says:

    Damn no edit function!

    @Steelfist again

    Are you trying to tell me AAW is a unique type of game- the way a fudge, carrot, brocolli and maple syrup cake is to cakes?

    Its an FPS with a large world and vehicles? Similar to Battlefield series, Planetside, Tribes etc? Its hardly a groundbreakingly new idea! Its the way its executed thats the issue, not because its a “niche” game.

  41. Gap Gen says:

    @cliffski: Yeah, someone should take the term “IP” outside and set it on fire. Then shoot it. With a flamethrower.

    It makes business sense to create IP (look at Guitar Hero and The Sims and whatnot) but it’s corrosive in terms of making new and exciting ideas. I have absolute respect for Tim Schafer for always trying a new and interesting idea, rather than pumping out sequels and whatnot*.

    * I understand there’s a reason for sequels often, such as expanding the technology and inching your idea closer to the original vision. But most sequels are about money rather than vision, I’d argue, in pretty much any genre.

  42. Catastrophe says:

    Also, with the very accurate cake metaphor- people who are likely to eat the cake are people who like cakes. If 99% of the people who ate the cake hated the cake then that tells you your cake recipe sucks.

    The people who hate his game are NOT people who don’t “understand his target market” they ARE his target market.

    People who like Spacesims/Indie games etc. Its not like The 99% are all The Sims players who felt like trying out his game. They are his target market who tried out his game based on the games description and didn’t like it.

  43. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    “Similar to Battlefield series, Planetside, Tribes etc? Its hardly a groundbreakingly new idea! Its the way its executed thats the issue, not because its a “niche” game.”

    That’s my perception of the game, after playing for a little. Is that invalid? On the hardcore sim scale, it would seem to be more Battlefield than Operation Flashpoint, but without using the conventions of those games (for example, you can’t easily change your seat within a vehicle by pressing 1, 2, 3, etc.).

    P.

  44. Gap Gen says:

    I don’t know – ultimately, it comes down to whether enough people like your game to stay in business. If 99% of people don’t like it, maybe that means his game sucks, but equally, if 1% of people is enough to sustain sales and keep his company afloat, it doesn’t matter.

    In any case, critical acclaim only matters if people buy the game. God knows how many excellent games were given vast scores but ignored by the vast majority of people.

  45. dsmart says:

    Someone talked about crashing in my game. Well, there are NO crashes in the game. NONE. Any crashes are on the user’s end – as was CLEARLY proven in that demo thread.

    I also made a bold statement that – as of that writing – there were NO bugs in the game. There weren’t. Not a single one. The original demo used the 1.18.15 engine. Everything that went in to the game engine since that build, was new as can be seen from the <a href="http://downloads.3000ad.com/aaw_dev_changelog.txt"online version control file.

    This – like ALL my games – is a HUGE and very advanced game. This is not some cookie cutter fps hybrid game because we simply CANNOT compete in that space with likes of the gazillions that larger publishers put behind it.

    TWO programmers (myself and Sergio), three if you count Nick who did some support stuff earlier on before going back to college. Anyone who has played this game and we tell them it took only two programmers, don’t believe it. And thats with me filling in ALL other roles. Go look at the credits section of the game’s manual.

    We didn’t set out to compete with the likes of COD4, ArmaII and every Tom, Dick and Harry’s fps game thats coming out. For one thing, we set ours in a massive sci-fi would.

    What I CAN tell you is that given our history, we’d probably sell more units than Bionic Commando on day one.

    This is a huge game. And apart from our very good relationship with them over the years, there is a reason why my friends at IGN (our Direct2Drive distributor) helped us out with a closed public test between April 19th to May 20th. This was because I wanted fresh eyes on the game from outside our official and internal testing group. That move was invaluable in shaping what the game became since that April build.

    When the demo was released and a few RPS gamers jumped in, again, fresh eyes – from what I call experienced fps games (Reverend, Serondal, Howard et al) gave us new perspective – along with the preresquisite aggro. They found new things that need tweaking and/or implementing. We did that almost IMMEDIATELY.

    Heck, something as simple as what to do with the player being stranded out in the middle of nowhere after being shut down, survived and stranded, NEVER occured to me. What did we do? Implemented the ability to teleport to the nearest base rather than have the player start from scratch, restart or wait for a buddy to come rescue him.

    Similarly, with a massive world and limited players, it takes time to get everyone together. What did we do – within that span of four days? We implemented AI bots in the standard (none co-op) multiplayer game and had everyone start at the same base.

    We were comfortable with the controller (joystick, analog, Xb360) scheme. ONE person – who is obviously a console fan and who has an unhealthy love for his xb360 controller wanted it changed. We did that THREE times in the span of four days. Until we got it right FOR ONE PERSON who complained. Though it worked just fine for us, the testers, the THOUSANDS of people from the IGN test who tried it. ONE PERSON.

    Reverend wanted to piss around with vehicles admiring the scenery instead of, you know, driving. Code (vehicular controls and dynamics) that hadn’t been changed in almost…..EIGHT MONTHS…got revised. He still bitched. It got revised again. He still bitched (we gave him mouse steer, he turned his nose up at it). He still bitched. In the end I had to explain to him why he can’t have mouse look in a vehicle as that would render the GUI menus inaccesible since you can’t use the mouse for mouselook and expect to use it on GUI menus. ALL fps games with that sort of controller, do NOT have GUI access in the game. None.

    Someone wanted to be able to change multiplayer teams and class. It went in. Almost immediately.

    EVERY SINGLE ITEM seen in the VCF from the demo’s 1.18.15 build to the 1.18.20 build released yesterday, came from DIRECT feedback as a result of the RPS folks playing the demo. And my testers reading this – or Howard and whoever else from RPS who now has access to our private Area51 forum area – can clearly attest to this fact.

    We try. Sure we can’t please everyone but in my experience from building my games based on fan feedback and a small community has taught me that one person can make all the difference. If he has ten friends, its all good.

    @ Lady Bobz

    DRM dropping crap all over my system and expecting me to sign in every time for a demo? And who the hell still writes to win.ini?

    Promptly uninstalled the lot.

    Rubbish. But nice try though. Byteshield does not write a SINGLE file ANYWHERE. It uses MFC and thats the only reason that GUI position data is in the registry. Neither our game, nor Byteshield need nor write to win.ini. The DRM is non-intrusive, does not install any drivers and is the cleanest of the bunch.

    Here is the test done by the P.R.I.S.M guys using our game.

    So take that crap somewhere else and stop spreading illwill and lies.

    @ Yarrr

    Trouble is, he’s never made a good game. Dezza is all talk, the dude’s got a big mouth and a big ego to match but his brash, arrogant attitude isn’t backed up by actual good games. I like the concept of his games, but they’re always lacking in execution and I see no reason to believe this latest escapade will be any different.

    The flamewars that mysteriously occur whenever he graces the internet with his presence have one consistent factor…Mr Smart himself.

    Everything in life is subjective. Your idea of good is different from someone else’s. Obviously in my 20+ year history, fourteen games and almost $100m in revenue says you’re wrong.

    There are obviously many (even 1% of 100% is good enough for me) gamers who share my vision for my games. Since my first outing, I have always said that I’m not out making games for the masses. I stay focused on my target audience – never losing sight of that because I know that I’m not going to win everyone over. In all my games, our install base has grown in leaps and bounds. And there is a reason that even with new games coming out, we still put resources behind improving our games for those who keep buying and playing them…and coming back to them.

    While there are devs and publishers falling down like flies, good game or not, we’re pushing forward because our 1% of that 100% is enough for us to get by.

    So, if you don’t think I’ve made any good games, thats fine by me. But I gotta ask. What have YOU done lately?

    AAW was our first full-on fps game. I didn’t even want to make it. Sergio, Nick and I thought long and hard about it. Do we do KnightBlade (our upcoming Bridge Commander on steriods type space combat simulator) or go straight to our MMO? In the end, I decided that since we’d need a new fps engine for both of those games anyway, we might as well put the extra effort into a full-on fps game and tweak it from there. THATS how AAW came about after we finished Galactic Command Echo Squad SE (the original which was licensed exclusively to GameTap) and had started laying the ground work for KnightBlade.

    We don’t care about that other 99% of people who aren’t buying our games. The 1% who help us recoup our costs and turn a profit are the ones who keep us doing what we love the most: MAKING GAMES

    @subedii

    Not that I’m supporting the guy on a personal level, because I really dislike the way he comes into threads and craps over people and other games. I mean let’s be honest here, as soon as someone raised the issue of crashing with his latest game, he said that it was absolutely impossible and had a go at the guy for not knowing what he was doing. Back in the Demigod thread he said it’d be nothing but a disappointment for Stardock, because GPG make “lifeless, souless repetitive stress inducing lessons in hype, flash and emptiness”. Which hey, it’s a valid opinion, but plenty of other people love the games, and it’s also pretty ironic when you take that into context with earlier statements about “catering to a specific market”, which is exactly what they’ve done.

    This is how crap spreads and before you know it, there’s tracking. Fact is, I have never – ever – said those words about Demigod. Anywhere. Threads and posts are eternal. So I dare you to post them. My problem with Demigod is – and always will be – the shoddy launch. I have NO opinions on the game because I HAVE NEVER PLAYED IT AND HAVE NO INTENTIONS OF DOING SO

    As to the flamewars, its not like I show up and start flaming. But of course it is people like you who use that nonsensical perspective. Someone comes at me with a knife, I’m bringing a rocket launcher and an ample supply of rockets. I’m a gamer and a game developer, not someone’s punching bag. It is easy to tell someone to turn the other cheek when its not your frigging face.

  46. Catastrophe says:

    “TWO programmers (myself and Sergio), three if you count Nick who did some support stuff earlier on before going back to college. Anyone who has played this game and we tell them it took only two programmers, don’t believe it. And thats with me filling in ALL other roles. Go look at the credits section of the game’s manual.”

    You didn’t mention the outside people who did work on it like Matias?

  47. AndrewC says:

    Oh I can’t let this one go – the whole point of turning the other cheek is when it is in your friggin face.

    But other than that, I don’t have anything. I do think that AAW would be much improved with the inclusion of ponies, though.

  48. dsmart says:

    @ Catastrophe

    He’s not catering to a particular market though as hes actively hoping for interest via RPS. Hes basically pushing the game to anyone who will listen and when people criticise his defense is “well you may not like it but i don’t care, my die-hard fans do”.

    complete.utter.bollocks.

    You know how many forums and groups discuss this game on the Internet? No? Go to Google. Or better yet, setup a Google alert.

    I only come here because a) I like the forum b) they has a low tolerance threshold for crap – so I can discuss my game or anything else without constantly being subjected to wanton abuse by anti-social misfits trying to feel good about themselves and their less than ordinary lives.

    I don’t come here to push or sell anything. To even assume that I would derive any results of such is the sort of thing that insanity is based on.

    Gamers are gamers, no matter where they are or what they play. They go where the fun is. As such, if they hear about a game, see it posted about thus check it out, the end decision is up to them.

    Comments like this are the reason that most devs don’t even bother to mingle with the likes of people they otherwise wouldn’t even talk to on the street. So all over the net, you find gamers being gamers and some anti-social misfits thrown in for good measure. Think most devs care? Fact is, we don’t. Our games speak for themselves and the proof is always in the pudding.

  49. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    subedii: “Back in the Demigod thread he said it’d be nothing but a disappointment for Stardock, because GPG make “lifeless, souless repetitive stress inducing lessons in hype, flash and emptiness”. ”

    dsmart: “Fact is, I have never – ever – said those words about Demigod. Anywhere. Threads and posts are eternal. So I dare you to post them. ”

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/04/18/demigod-the-saga-continues/

    “Yes, the game [Demigod] is going to fail to meet expectations, not because of pirates, netcode or anything – but because in general, GPG games are lifeless, souless repetitive stress inducing lessons in hype, flash and emptiness. ”

    I fail to see how subedii is misrepresenting your words.

    P.

  50. Alec Meer says:

    Well, this intended cheerful thread has gone horribly wrong. So as well as deleting that little Smart/Catrastrophe spat, I’m going to lock the thread. Christ, I’m disappointed.