Obsidian Mailbag

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Obsidian Mailbag

Shamus responds to the many gripes about his gripes with Obsidian and Fallout New Vegas.

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Regardless of platform it seems each version has a wide array of bugs. My personal favorite? The black screen of death. Not sure if it's present on the PC or PS3 versions though.

I think its sad Shamus even had to write out this Article. He only originally pointed out commonly known and occurring flaws and voiced his opinion on it. Personally i saw no wrong in that, people need to understand what is being said before they jump in with all the hate

I've said mixed things about New Vegas here and there, both defending it and speaking against it in various regards as I felt it was appropriate.

I will however say that I think that your overlooking the role the Publisher can play in all of this. I suspect that Obsidian likes the push the envelope with content quite a bit, and then when the publisher sees what they have produced goes "OMG, noes you can't do that" and forces them to roll out the censorship and rebuild portions of the game close to release.

This is however apparently not the case with "New Vegas", but I do think it was a factor with "Neverwinter Nights 2" and some of their other games. Atari in paticular seems to be a group of prudes, I keep looking at "Troika" and "Temple Of Elemental Evil" as an example of why things probably go wrong when they deal with real RPG developers who are serious about making M rated games.

I don't think you should dismiss the fire that has been thrown at their publishers before is all.

Also one reason why I won't defend them is that the "Gamebryo" engine has been around for three games now. Oblivion, Fallout 3, and New Vegas have all suffered pretty buggy releases, and truthfully by the third game I would have expected a pretty clean game. The only thing I can think of is that Bethesda just handed them the engine and didn't give them any information on how to use it or kill the bugs they found, and that compounded with the fact that Obsidian was building a deeper game which compounded the bugs.

how could allan not mention those special affects. what a douche

You forgot to mention in regards to inherriting a buggy engine that they should've seen those engine related bugs coming and headed them off.

This only edifies one of the most prominent arguments against PC gaming. The substantial diversification in PC hardware ensures that developers have a difficult time developing games which will adequately run. You'll have a game which has a particular error with one graphics card and runs smooth as butter on another graphics card.

Unfortunately, I'm on your wagon Shamus. Last week, I could've tell you that the game is awesome and there are not many bugs to worry about. I was dead wrong. My mother board died on me, not because of playing NV mind you, and I bought a new, similar one, because I didn't want to upgrade, I wanted to keep playing with my computer as it was before.

At the lack of enough knowdelage and a little disadvantage of using more than 1 hard drive disk, I was forced to format my comp with a fresh Win7 install.

Fortunately, all my Steam games are stored on the other HDD and I didn't need to format it or redownload the games again and I wanted to keep playing New Vegas.

As buggy as it is, Steam Cloud and all it's problems with this game in particular, I had high hopes that my old saves were still there... to my surprise, a new patch came disabling Steam Cloud and for the moment, until Steam Cloud is re-enabled and it doesn't screw up with my saves, I've lost 20 to 22 hours of gaming... and I was still choosing between helping the NCR or the Legion...

Right now, I don't have any desire to keep playing NV, because a big test is coming in the next week, and because I lost a good portion of the game. Until the game is properly fixed and the test is over next week, I won't be playing NV any time soon.

I didn't experience any of the "problems" you supposedly had. The game ran great for me!

So... are the rest of us lying? Are these thousands of irritated gamers part of some vast conspiracy to make Obsidian look bad, just because?

As I said last week, PC hardware is a complex business and I'm sympathetic to the effort it takes to get things running on all of those different machines. If you're not one of the affected people, then rejoice and enjoy your game. But if you want me to enjoy the game then you need to mail me your computer, because it doesn't work right on this one.

I love you right now Shamus. I hate that "it worked fine for me!" crap when you discuss problems with games, as if I'm supposed to say "Okay, I am no longer annoyed that it's not working for me" when people say it worked for them.

I had a roommate once who got very angry with me when I talked about the enormous failure that was Windows ME. He apparently had it and had experienced no problems, and took at as a personal attack when I mentioned that it has systematically self destructed on my first computer and the computers of countless others.

This is entirely related to the topic at hand.

I only say "it worked for me" so I can show how lucky I am compared to others. It's like winning at the lottery!

Also, it's really time Bethesda gets a new engine out.

Right behind you, Shamus.

There's nothing wrong with expecting a big developer working on a AAA title to actually deliver a final product which WORKS.

I've been able to get around a couple of my issues thanks to community fixes because I'm on a PC but I dread to think what it's like for a console owner.

Hater-face is now my favorite word.

im actually very glad you are keeping this going. this is a very real problem, and even in the "open letter to game makers" article, i saw the same exact crap.

"well it runs great for me so theres obviously nothing wrong with the game..." and of course all the other things you responded to. its just silly.

but the truth is, its just the internet. theres always SOMEONE taking the devils advocate. ALWAYS. no matter what you say, theres someone else who will disagree just for the sake of disagreeing.

like when L4D2 was announced, and people were saying "well what about all the free updates and modding programs that were promised before launch, which was the reason i bought the game in the first place?" and people responded with "SHUT UP, I WILL BUY DAY 1!!" no, i will not shut up, but thanks, since this is an actual problem because it was extremely misleading.

this happens all the time, any time anyone makes any complaint, theres always a troll saying something totally illogical to try to shut that person down. just look at the people who make complaints right now about the female worgen models on the wow forums, or just their lack of lore in general, etc.

sorry, im rambling. but i just wanted to say that you have my support, as my computer is basically caving in on itself at this point from playing fallout new vegas. 50 hours of gameplay and somewhere around 40 crashes (most requiring a full reboot), and bugs... oooh lordy are there bugs. i've had to at several quests where i just go on a rampage and kill everyone as they are so bugged and broken that its the only way to complete them. and thats weak because my character was supposed to be a "good" character. ive had to justify it by telling myself that my character suffers from split personality disorder and schizophrenia and tends to black out and go on rampages and kill everyone in sight. oh wait, thats me developing those things from simply playing this bugged out piece of crap. WHOOPSY!!

edit: just wanted to add that i did a clean install of windows and am using brand new drivers, as i foresaw what would happen with this game, as the same problems occurred with oblivion and fallout 3. i wanted as much of an advantage as i could get, so much for that. and its not like drivers or windows are affecting in game bugs, that's just the programming/game engine.

I said that the game ran flawlessly at my PC. I wasn't trying to accuse people who claimed the opposite of lying. I was trying to help reflect the game's reality in a more realistic way. Thousands of people bougth the game. Only the ones who expierence bugs, go to forums and complain, which generates a too negative image of the situation of a whole and makes them believe that they will definately expierence a buggy game.
Which they won't.
I haven't.

You could've just typed out: "You're idiots. ALL of you." and called it a day. It's not always the right choice, but in this case I think it applies.

just a little FYI, roughly over 25 hours into New Vegas and the only real bugs I found were floating Beagle in Primm, and of cours extending load times.

when you first start it up on the 360 it loads fairly fast, about three hours later and you can effectively get up, use the restroom, and get back before you finish loading yourself from walking outside a house.

that being said, I am still enjoying New Vegas in spite of all these 'gamebreaking' bugs.

[fun fact: I have yet to connect my 360 to live to recieve the update, so who knows, maybe the update causes some of these bugs]

There are no bugs that can compare to the Ballistic Stage Coach I encountered in Red Dead Redemption.

All the stagecoaches in the game were shaking like they were in an earthquake, and then when outside armadillo, I actually saw a stagecoach launch into the air and fly around like a deflating balloon.

Exterminas:
I said that the game ran flawlessly at my PC. I wasn't trying to accuse people who claimed the opposite of lying. I was trying to help reflect the game's reality in a more realistic way. Thousands of people bougth the game. Only the ones who expierence bugs, go to forums and complain, which generates a too negative image of the situation of a whole and makes them believe that they will definately expierence a buggy game.
Which they won't.
I haven't.

Agreed. I've managed to have the game running smoother and with less bugs than Fallout 3. Maybe it's the update patches, maybe it's my particular hardware configuration or some sort of instinctive thing where I know gamebyro bugs and how to avoid them, but that doesn't really matter. Of course it doesn't mean that nobody else had problems or that the game's perfect and released in fine working order. The fact it eats anyone's save games or dies on anyone is still justifiable cause to call Obsidian out because dammit this time they have no excuse - known technology, a supportive publisher, an entire game using mostly the same mechanics to tell them what to do or not to do and most of their additions were hacked into existing frameworks anyway. There should not be an excuse for releasing a buggy game, especially when in every interview they insist they play through it all the time.

Shamus, never stop pointing out the flaws. People need to see them.

If people keep ignoring flaws, they'll stay there.

It doesn't matter the price of the object. Whether its free or thousands of dollars. Nothing deserves to escape criticism. Thats how they get better. You point out the flaws, the maker takes them in and tries not to repeat them, resulting in a better whatever he's building.

You pay $50-$60 dollars for games. More if your in other countries. You have a right to point out any and every flaw you find.

Instead of making these articles, Shamus, maybe you should just post your system specs so I could give you a run around on updating your system, drivers and relevant software so that you can too rejoice with us in the glory that is FNV.

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with this article. People need to stop defending obsidian and hold them accountable for their mistakes, otherwise they won't learn.

Exterminas:
I said that the game ran flawlessly at my PC. I wasn't trying to accuse people who claimed the opposite of lying. I was trying to help reflect the game's reality in a more realistic way. Thousands of people bougth the game. Only the ones who expierence bugs, go to forums and complain, which generates a too negative image of the situation of a whole and makes them believe that they will definately expierence a buggy game.
Which they won't.
I haven't.

Okay, only people who have complaints go to forums...right. That must be the reason why you so many "loved this game", "thanks, *developer*", "this is the greatest game ever", etc threads on forums for good games. Of course the complaints are slightly over-represented, but not that much.

And it's only fair to tell people that they have a good chance of experiencing a buggy game. I know that it helps me in deciding where I should spend my money, and right now it seems like waiting for the GOTY edition is the best way of going about things. I can't return the game once I've actually installed it, and if it turns out that it's full of bugs for me I'll have lost ~50 Euros, therefore knowing about the risk is nice.

I.E.D.:
Instead of making these articles, Shamus, maybe you should just post your system specs so I could give you a run around on updating your system, drivers and relevant software so that you can too rejoice with us in the glory that is FNV.

I am pretty sure that his system is perfectly up to date, since, you know, he plays games as a job!? And if it isn't I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be so dumb as to not update his drivers first before writing this column, knowing full well that there are a lot of people who are so overly protective of Obsidian and will blame the publisher, the player or someone else for all the problems. Seriously, what do you think he is, some sort of idiot?

Or are you expecting him to buy a new computer that's custom-built so that New Vegas runs on it?

ShadowKirby:
I only say "it worked for me" so I can show how lucky I am compared to others. It's like winning at the lottery!

Also, it's really time Bethesda gets a new engine out.

It definitely is time. And that new engine should be introduced in TES V! Seriously, I want that game, now!

I heartily agree. This game has some of the same problems that Fallout 3 had (the dialog for one is a bit better than 3's, but the animations still look weird to me). There are clipping glitches, slowdowns for no reason, NPCs running into walls with crap AI, and the list goes on...

I'm still granted to forgiving it though, but I wish it wasn't up to the player to fix these issues. Granted, now that I've digged around for files that looked helpful, the experience has been naught but fantastic for me (ANARCHY FOR THE WIN), but it would have been much, much more awesome had Obsidian fixed these issues in the first place. :(

I've had like three crashes in Fallout NV so far.

I'm playing on a Slim PS3 not even 6 months old... Other games work perfectly.

The only other bug I've encountered so far, is the characters getting stuck in walls and under floors, which has happened way too many times.

The game is fun, but I don't want to play it again at the moment. I don't want to play for like an hour, or nearly finish a quest to have the game freeze on me. Constantly saving also breaks immersion so I'm relying on auto saves.

Exterminas:
I said that the game ran flawlessly at my PC. I wasn't trying to accuse people who claimed the opposite of lying. I was trying to help reflect the game's reality in a more realistic way. Thousands of people bougth the game. Only the ones who expierence bugs, go to forums and complain, which generates a too negative image of the situation of a whole and makes them believe that they will definately expierence a buggy game.
Which they won't.
I haven't.

Sure they definitely won't absolutely 100% end up with a buggy unplayable game on their particular system, but it's well worth mentioning and discussing the bugs simply because they do exist for what appears to be a substantial portion of the playerbase. Particularly given that you can't return opened games, buying a game shouldn't be a crapshoot as to whether it will work for you or not.

A few bugs and glitches always get through but even if there's, say, a 10% chance of the game not working on your system then that means there's a 10% chance that you just wasted $60. That, quite frankly, is unacceptable when it comes to professionally produced software from a well known company.

Don't know why you responded to these fools Shamus. You will always have idiots who will blindly defend a game no matter what. There's no way to change their pathetic little minds. Just let them be happy. If they're ignorant enough to think that a game that is so monumentally buggy should be accepted as a product for sale then let them think that way. They have low standards and because of that they are paying for people's salaries. In a way they are doing a good thing; you know helping the economy with their retardedness. Never say that their isn't anyone that can't contribute to society.

As fun as New Vegas is, yeah the bugs kind of ruin it. You'll be rollin' along tearin' out Caesar's Legion innards, decimating their entire force, feeling proud that you did your bit for the NCR, then you run into a framerate drop, the game freezes, or crashes to desktop, and suddenly you're not feeling anything about what's going on in the game except frustration that it doesn't work. Or you're exploring the Mojave, looking for left over equipment from misfortuned wastelanders, and you see some bighorners...having seizures. And you start thinking about the bugs. Fallout 3 and New Vegas are great games and fun. But it's like the whole Judge Dredd Lawgiver 2 bike "It's yours...if you can ever get the damn thing to work."

Nice work Shamus! And although I disagree with your opinions on Fallout 3, I'll defend to the death your right to express them. No opinions on New Vegas though, haven't played it yet.

you know, i didnt find any of the bugs anyone mentioned, until after i had read about them all.

i mean that was a good 30-40 hours put into NV just fine without seeing any bugs, and then after i go onto the internets and read about them all, i go back to NV for a 2nd go, and here are all the bugs :(

my advice for anyone wanting to avoid bugs, dont read about what they are, they'll be more obvious and then they'll make you cry, like they did to me....

:(

I'm with you on this one. I loved Fallout 3 despite all of its growing pains, but the entire point of recycling game engines is to reduce the development resources needed to code the engine, presumably increasing the resources available to refine and optimize the engine (see: Source engine - I hate to risk sounding like a fanboy, but it's hard to deny that Valve has done very well in the business of extending the Source engine's lifetime and polishing it). Bethesda seems to have missed out on this point entirely. I'm not sure what they were doing when they were supposed to be playtesting and bugfixing, but I'm going to imagine an elaborate situation involving chimpanzees, large amounts of Everclear and Wild Irish Rose, and a sociopathic snake-handling clown.

I'd probably enjoy Fallout: New Vegas if I were to play it, but I'm just not going to validate releasing a buggy mess again. It's time for us to start putting our feet down and wall up when this kind of thing happens. Stick to convictions. I wouldn't even pirate the game, because that makes a statement that I still want to play the game pretty badly, even if I wouldn't pay for it.

Vestsao:
This only edifies one of the most prominent arguments against PC gaming. The substantial diversification in PC hardware ensures that developers have a difficult time developing games which will adequately run. You'll have a game which has a particular error with one graphics card and runs smooth as butter on another graphics card.

So one bugged game(excuse me two, FO3) make it so that PC gaming is difficult? Don't know bout you, but every other game I have ever ran on my PC hasn't really had issues unless said game is causing problems for everyone. Like this one for example. As for your graphics thing, its time to update then don't you think? Or at least install the newest drivers.

Then why is BioWare able to release stable games, even when dealing with those same publishers that allegedly ruined Obsidian's work? Why do other developers working with (say) Atari not have the same problems that Obsidian did?

Ahahahahahaha!!!!

Good joke Shamus. Bioware, stable. Pfffffff.....

Vestsao:
This only edifies one of the most prominent arguments against PC gaming. The substantial diversification in PC hardware ensures that developers have a difficult time developing games which will adequately run. You'll have a game which has a particular error with one graphics card and runs smooth as butter on another graphics card.

You obviously didn't read the entire article. Other developers (like Bioware for instance) have absolutely no problem making games that run smoothly on a PC.

Secondly, even the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of New Vegas have game breaking bugs. Both consoles have a standard set of hardware, so your argument flies out of the window.

I'm still not getting all the complaints about bugs, at least personally so far.

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