Playstation 1 era Software development methodologies?

category: general [glöplog]
i like how xteraco manages to completely ignore the sane and satisfying explanation that i also agree on.

closed source libraries as root of evil? in game development? if some game company decides to actually buy an engine instead of developing their own, it is not like they would get buggy and slow binaries in return...
added on the 2009-03-24 21:40:39 by hcdlt hcdlt
Well, at least I enjoyed reading the answers :D

xteraco - 3rd party libs are used because they handle matters complex enough that you'd want to buy the stuff rather than write it yourself - not because your boss is a flaming loon (though that doesn't mean he isn't). It's still the complexity that is the killer, not some evil closed-source monster.
added on the 2009-03-24 21:48:52 by hornet hornet
I never said anything was the root of all evil. I agree that games are getting more complex. When I posted today about closed source libs sucking, I even said "I don't think this is THE answer" but that its "a problem". You guys can twist my words around, take what I say out of context, do whatever you want.

I got some good ideas from some good feedback, and learned some things. Thanks for that.
added on the 2009-03-24 21:53:21 by xteraco xteraco
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added on the 2009-03-24 22:02:23 by aftu aftu
After 5 years at MS, with over a year in both of the major divisions (Windows and Office) it's amazing, dizzying even, to look at xteraco's unscuffed idealism and see the vast dead wasteland of despair that he/she is going to have to slog across before they can understand the answers given here. I remember being like this. I remember thinking one dedicated hero coder could fix - or even find - all the bugs in a product. Now I know people whose _full time job_ is triaging old postponed bugs against partner company needs and ranking them in order of unimportance. I know people who manage those people. I know people who write 'vision documents' that guide _those_ manager's decisions.
I used to care so much, and think that the solutions were tractable. I even used to believe that I could fix all the problems myself, if I only had the code.
added on the 2009-03-24 22:16:32 by GbND GbND
xteraco: Come to Breakpoint and I'll buy you a beer and share a bunch of actual real-life anecdotes that I don't want to tell here to all the world. Perhaps then you'll finally get it.

But I'll try one more time: Source code doesn't matter one bit. You don't want to touch other people's source code. You don't want to go through it and try to fix whatever is wrong. You don't want to fix Scaleform's strange issues with non-English language characters. You don't want to go and fix FMOD's timer resolution issues. You don't want to see what's inside the ATI OpenGL driver that's causing you grief. You don't want to debug the strange latency issues in your network library. Why would you?

All of that takes time that could be used for something useful implementing a feature, fixing bugs, sitting in meetings with mid-level management or creating powerpoints (the usefulness of the last two can be debated). Since your company has probably paid money for all the licenses for that stuff, you do the sensible thing, contact the support of the whatever third party thing that's causing you trouble and wait for them to fix it, or at least tell you where you went wrong trying to use their stuff. They know it a lot better than you ever will, and you have your own deadlines to keep. You are not a hero, you are a team player and are responsible for doing whatever it is that is your task to do. If the technical support is bad or the software hopelessly buggy, then your company has made a bad decision in its purchase and should reconsider it or push for more support from the original developer.

Also, a lot of those more popular commercial libraries have been tested and proven better than most of your code ever will. If you have issues with them, then in all likelihood the person who's doing something wrong is more likely to be you. If everyone wrote their own networking, sound, graphics and so forth, a lot fewer games would ever get done.

(and question: How can you ever, EVER, EVER buy something that has no documentation? If your boss buys something that's crappy and has no documentation, then he or she is a complete idiot, and the seller is a con artist. I find it unfathomable that anyone selling tools or libraries wouldn't supply the buyer with a proper SDK)
added on the 2009-03-24 22:50:18 by Preacher Preacher
And yes, I have gotten my ass handed back to me after complaining about issues and the support pointing at errors in my code. God forbid what would've happened if I'd tried to go "fix issues" in source code that's not mine..
added on the 2009-03-24 22:54:07 by Preacher Preacher
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just start LISTENING, this is only half of it.
added on the 2009-03-24 23:21:30 by superplek superplek
In other words: Plek wrote a mirror image effect!!! :)
added on the 2009-03-24 23:23:34 by keops keops
the average xbox360/ps3 game has more bytes in compiled shaders than most ps1 games had in overall code. i don't think there's much need to explain beyond that.

I even dare to suggest that we had those section sizes outnumbered on the Xbox 1 (okay, we might've been ahead of our time a bit :-)). But damn, thats a nice comparison that puts a smile on my face :)
added on the 2009-03-24 23:32:24 by superplek superplek
What preacher said.

Also, we use quite a lot of third party libraries at work (for PS3 and embedded platforms), and we've never had any (currently known) bugs as a result of that (at least not in the stable versions of the libs). We have plenty of bugs, but they are always caused by other things (one of our most common bug reasons is actually bad source merges in our source control software. I'm not blaming it on SVN though ;)).

I don't know about any "real" commercial game-related libraries that doesn't come with full source and documentation btw.
added on the 2009-03-24 23:55:57 by wb wb
You know, with xteraco being slightly blinkered and angering people to explain more thoroughly what they have do on a daily basis has the byproduct of me being quite fascinated by this. Interesting stuff... :)
added on the 2009-03-25 00:11:56 by rc55 rc55
niels: I don't see "Me and my horse".......
added on the 2009-03-25 00:35:56 by quisten quisten
ah, that must be stuck in the "good" half :D
added on the 2009-03-25 00:39:30 by quisten quisten
quisten: OK -- i knew i had to face this once. I helped that company out on a short contract basis for a good deal of cash, and I got a lot of extra Wii knowledge out of it apart from what I already knew from GCN. So after all, there's no dissing me when it comes to Euro gamedeveloper CVs :)
added on the 2009-03-25 00:43:37 by superplek superplek
ga,e programmers don't program, they just initiate instances and set parameters on already predefined classes. that's not programming. the only time 95% of commercial game-programmers today get to program is when they return home and fire-up their old Amiga's or work on they're relatively primitive PC demo engines :P
added on the 2009-03-25 00:50:57 by button button
In fact I am the sole reason that product passed Nintendo QA in 1 pass, tehereby saving a lot of lame asses in stupid Atari seats. I could make launch titles crash like *that* and we even adhered to the standards more closely than Zelda did. That's all me baby.
added on the 2009-03-25 00:51:18 by superplek superplek
hello: stop trolling. Just stop it, one is enough already..
added on the 2009-03-25 00:52:20 by superplek superplek
niels: forgive me for interrupting your work...please...continue.. :)
added on the 2009-03-25 00:55:36 by button button
Niels, adhering to standards more closely than first party titles is, like, a byproduct of adhering to those standards AT ALL, and you know that :)
added on the 2009-03-25 02:29:33 by kb_ kb_
kb: it was more complicated than that... *REALLY*... hahah :)
added on the 2009-03-25 03:02:49 by superplek superplek
GbND: I guess it ends up more or less like that when the projects grows large enough..
I know of people who are hired as developers, whose full-time job is to run test cases with this or that debug setting for partner companies, so that they in turn can fix their bugs.
I've had managers who cares so much more about statistics than anything else that they set up progress goals that would benefit someone who did as little as possible for a long time and then fixed some bugs at the end when the progress is measured, because then the manager can show a clear bug-reducing trend on his/her powerpoint graph..
added on the 2009-03-25 07:23:02 by mic mic
mic: that sort of gaming behaviour is such a problem (managers are clever too) that there's an internal MS course on how to design performance (people and group performance, not app) metrics so that you're not creating exploitable situations.
I took it by accident, I thought it was an app perf course. :p

The worst thing is people with CS degrees who are full-time builders. All they ever do is build, publish symbols, frantically cope with breaks... yeah, I need to get into a smaller company.
added on the 2009-03-25 20:26:29 by GbND GbND
I'm in a small company now and I miss the organized chaos of the big company I was working at before.
My boss is also one of the developers here and he has absolutely NO FUCKING CLUE how to do it properly. His code is total crap and he doesn't care. It sucks big time. When I came there they had pretty much just started using CVS some time ago...
added on the 2009-03-25 20:46:59 by raer raer