Hey, Garry Newman

By Shamus Posted Sunday Aug 30, 2009

Filed under: Rants 29 comments

Hey Garry. Five days ago you put out an update to Garry’s Mod to add achievements. This update broke the save system. I tried to post the following comment on your blog:

FYI: As of the update, saving is completely broken for a large number of people. As in, any attempt to save the game (menu, quicksave, autosave) will instantly crash GM.


But that was caught in the moderation trap. I also left out an important detail: It kills the file you’re saving to in the process. There is a thread at facepunch, and couple more in the Steam forums, and several people claim to have sent in crash reports, and there are lots of people waiting to hear something, but you have yet to post anywhere that you’re even aware of the problems.

It’s been four or five days and for a lot of people, (like me) the software is broken and useless. Re-installing will just re-install this same broken version. It’s impossible to roll back to a previous one. We’re stuck until you fix it and we don’t even know if you’re working on it yet.

If you’re gonna fire updates from the hip without testing, that’s cool. But then keep your eyes open for a problem like this and be ready to deal with it. Either that or playtest it until you’ve worked out the big game-killing bugs. But pushing an update that breaks the software and then wandering off for five days without checking on things or acknowledging the bug is infuriating. This is commercial software now. You got my money, and I got trashed save game files and a couple of hours of my time down the drain trying to troubleshoot a problem that turned out to be not on my end. I’ll bet there are thousands of people out there who are wasting their weekends un-installing recent mods, thinking one of those is the cause. A public announcement would go a long way to reducing the ambient level of rage over this mess until you can sort it.

In conclusion, please do something.

Aside: I really, really hope Valve institutes a “beta” system, where updates go out to a minority of people who opt in for them, and if those people don’t report any problems it can then be released to the wider community. This is not the first time Steam auto-patching has killed something with no recourse for the end user.

Head. Hit. Keyboard.


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29 thoughts on “Hey, Garry Newman

  1. bbot says:

    Valve does have a beta system, where you can sign up for betas of various things in the settings window.

    Also: Garry’s kind of a dick. Using any of his software for production work is a bad idea.

  2. UtopiaV1 says:

    If this doesn’t prove Steam (at least, in it’s current form of necessary installation and activation for certain games, as well as intrusive software and unwanted patching and updating) is a bad idea, then very little else will.

    But one day, my children, you shall learn, and demand a system where patching is optional and with no programs running in the background taking up valuable processing power. Sure, Steam takes out a lot of the hassle from PC gaming, but just remember that when Garry’s mod wasn’t on Steam, it was FREE.

    Still, i hope this gets fixed soon, Garry’s mod is a fun tool and an enjoyable game, or at least, so I’m told :P

  3. JKjoker says:

    the fact that an useless “achievements update” killed the program is kind of funny, i really hope the patch was meant to do more than that

    they should have the option to roll back to say last 3 versions or something, bugs are not the only reason you might want to roll back

    well, its pretty much a given youll have a problem when you give power over the management of your games to somebody else, its like when you borrow you pc to someone and come back to find 80 instant message programs, 150 viruses and at least 5 extra search bars on internet explorer, or when someone reprograms your radio, hate those ppl

  4. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I’m baffeled as to what kind of achievements Garry’s mod can even have…

  5. MuonDecay says:

    Achievements for gmod? Really?

    Also bear in mind Garry’s mod has been on sale for a measley 10 bucks for years now. While it is true that he “has your money”, he’s dumped so much work into the game since it first went on sale that he could not possibly give a damn about that particular argument

    “Boo hoo, it was just ten bucks” Yeah, Garry is kind of a dick… but if I were him I might be too.

    He’ll get it fixed though. He’s usually pretty motivated to squash bugs, judging by his blog in the past.

  6. Alleyoop says:

    Autopatching is a primary reason I won’t go for Steam.

    I sim. Patches for that game were notorious for perhaps/perhaps not fixing problems, breaking what wasn’t broke, or breaking what was fixed in a previous patch.

    Fixes from free community modders are far more reliable and better yet: can be easily yanked from game files if they’re wonky.

    And independent modder or not, once the guy takes money for his work he’s changed the relationship – he’s a vendor now and should quit the dick act and man up to fix this for his customers. Acknowledgment of problems goes a long way.

    If he wanted to remain dickish, he should’ve remained free.

    Hopefully he’s not a dick and is obliviously on vacation.

  7. Factoid says:

    I’m confused about Garry’s Mod. Does it serve any purpose other than to act as a kind of digital dollhouse? I’ve never used it but my impression of it is that it lets you pose characters and objects within the game world and then take screencaps of it.

    How is that useful to anyone not making a webcomic or machinima or something? I’ve never understood how anyone could charge for a mod that does that. There must be something more to it that I’m missing.

    1. Shamus says:

      Factoid: I think a big part of the audience is playing with the physics engine. You can build crushing / smashing / slicing / burning / exploding devices out of game objects, spawn an army of zombies, and let nature run its course.

  8. acronix says:

    Among other things, Garry´s mod serves to take hilarious/good looking screenshots, have some fun with the physics, and with the right gadgets in the right places you can even make a gigant robot!

    Or you can just stick to make a rocket propelled bathtub.

  9. Galenor says:

    Garry is a bit of a hostile man to work with sometimes. An earlier patch totally removed the ability to use HLSS in the game ‘because that **** is annoying’.

    Wow. Okay, well you could have had a ‘mute all HLSS’ option on your menu. Or maybe have a feature where you can start a vote to mute a person. Or maybe use the mute button already in the game.

    But no. He just removed ALL support for it. Thanks, Garry.

    There was also this message i caught on a popular server’s website:

    “ALL of our servers will be offline until Garry patches the exploit uncovered in SRCDS which allows anyone to upload/download files to a server.”

    Really? That is a potentially fatal patch for the game, and it managed to get in. And as far as the Update News goes, he still hasn’t patched it over. In fact, this may explain why yesterday, there was a gigantic wave of servers being hacked and an auto-banning script implanted. Connect to a hacked server and you were autobanned with the reason “you’re too slow.”. One very popular server is now dead in the water because of this.

    So yeah. Here’s crossing fingers that it all works out. :(

  10. Viktor says:

    It doesn’t help now, but might I recommend as soon as he has it working again, you clone GMod to a flash drive or similar, so you can at least have an ability to remove/reinstall next time something similar happens? For something you use as much as you do, backup is always a good thing.

  11. eri says:

    It almost seems like Garry is caught between making his mod for fun and for profit. When you are just building your own little thing, it’s enjoyable for you: a learning experience, and if other people like it, it’s just a satisfying bonus. But when you start to take monetary compensation for your efforts, it may be hard for you to approach your mod as a product, as well as your fanbase as customers. Sounds like Garry is leaning more towards the “it’s my mod and I can do what I want with it” mentality, and thus lacks that sense of responsibility to his game’s players; they’re just along for the ride.

  12. Steve C says:

    Gary’s Mod is a nice current example of online activation being a rip off.

    You had something you paid for that was yours but it was yanked away by the arbitrary decision of another. If Valve/Steam/Gary did it with your real world property it would be considered vandalism or theft and you would be entitled to compensation. Because it’s intellectual property rather than real property that they took away, property you paid for and use to provide a livelihood to your family, well it’s of lesser importance to protect your property rights rather than the abstract concept of copyright. To provide money to feed your family you just have to suck it up and say “Please sir can I have another?

    Ah the glory of the modern computer age where what you have exists on the whim of another. And again pirates don’t have to deal with this crap.

  13. Stringycustard says:

    I think a versioning system would really sort all of this sort of thing out. Auto-patching is always been a hatred of mine (because internet in South Africa is not cheap). But why not have some archive of an arbitrary number of versions back (I realise keeping all versions might overload the Valve hard drives pointlessly). Then game breakers like this wouldn’t be forced onto people.

    Yeah Gary can be a dick occasionally, but due to the sheer amount of hatemail/forum rants he gets (in some cases, it goes way overkill) I can understand why. The above rant seems pretty damned justified, though.

  14. Maddy says:

    Hey, this post displays in Chaotic Evil despite my default of True Neutral. Cool! Now we know you’re really angry!

    Sorry. Back to the topic at hand… all I can offer is agreement and moral support about the autopatching. I am not a fan of that stuff.

    EDIT: Woops… after posting my comment, it went to True Neutral. Nevermind.

  15. O.G.N says:

    You can turn off auto-patching in Steam: Right click on a program and choose Properties. Go to the Updates tab and change the setting to Do Not Automatically Update This Game.

    It Sadly doesn’t work retroactively.

  16. Rosseloh says:

    “You have achieved the award ‘Single-player’ (Play Single-player)”

    …or whatever the wording is

    Yep. As simple as starting a game. Not that there’s many difficult tasks in gmod that can actually be measured. Too bad; an achievement for building a super-complex thing would be sweet.
    There’s a full listing of them on the official site: http://www.garrysmod.com/?dont_buff_my_pylon=1764&GMod_Update_69_-_With_Achievements!

  17. Lambda says:

    Even worse, there’s already a achievement mod out there that works.

  18. HeadHunter says:

    Garry Newman? Isn’t he that guy that made the song “Cars”? :)

  19. Factoid says:

    Now I’m even more confused. This mod is also somehow multiplayer? I am completely failing to see the attraction here. I see its usefulness in terms of creating something like a webcomic or machinima, but where is the actual GAME in all of this?

    How does a guy sell 300,000 copies of this? I would download it if it were free, but only because I’m now very curious as to what the appeal is.

  20. Rosseloh says:

    Here’s the appeal to me. The “mod” takes all the HL2/TF2/Portal[/CS:S if you own it] resources (props, weapons, vehicles, etc) and puts you in the sandbox, basically. You can build whatever with the props, weld them together and freeze them in place. Spawn NPCs and let them fight it out in a base of your own creation, build an armoured car and race, try to build a flying machine (not easy without user-made mods). And it can all be done multiplayer in a shared map, so other people can see your stuff and race/fight/build against you.

    I dunno, I suppose it’s not for everyone….but to me it is everything I ever wanted in a game. The main gamemode is called “sandbox” for a reason.
    The fact that it was broken needs to be addressed officially, though……

  21. MadTinkerer says:

    Factoid, let me give you a rundown of exactly what Garry’s Mod is:

    It is a set of tools that utilizes the Source Engine to do just about anything you can do with just the Source Engine itself. It’s not a level editor, it’s not Faceposer, it’s not a paint program. It’s none of these, because the Source Engine isn’t designed for any of those things.

    You can play GMod singleplayer. This is often used in conjunction with the tools that let you spawn and pose any object in any Source Engine game you have installed, to make comics with. You can also use video capture to make crappy, possibly hilarious, machinima. You can also learn Faceposer and use it in conjunction with GMod to help you make decent machinima.

    You can play GMod multiplayer. The default is Sandbox Mode where you and everyone else just goes nuts making stuff. But there’s a ton of third-party playmodes as well including Roleplaying and Melonrace. They are more or less exactly what they sound like.

    There’s a ton of tools that comes with GMod, many are often used to put together contraptions such as flying cars, rocket-propelled bathtubs, and even giant robots. All of these use the existing physics system in Source, sometimes with a few custom objects created for making contraptions.

    There’s a ton of third-party stuff you can add in for multiplayer and singleplayer. Copyright-infringing ragdolls (mario & such), customised fully-functional cars, weapons both nuclear and otherwise, and some nice maps. Some of the third-party stuff is incompatible with and/or requires other third-party stuff, but that’s only for the things that use complex scripting.

    In short, Garry’s Mod is all about what you do with it. It’s not a game: it makes Valve’s games into a set of tools designed for having fun. That’s a big reason why it’s so hard to market and why there’s a giant already-has / has-never-heard-of divide with GMod.

    P.S. Oh yeah, and you can play through Half Life 2 & the Episodes in GMod if you want. Portal and TF2 levels can be loaded, but the gameplay is too different to the originally-HL2-based GMod for you to actually play through them. But playing through HL2 in GMod is tremendous fun.

  22. MuonDecay says:

    How does a guy sell 300,000 copies of this? I would download it if it were free, but only because I'm now very curious as to what the appeal is.

    You could download gmod 9, which is the newest version that was released before the mod went commercial in version 10. Gmod 9 is still free and at least gives you an idea of what gmod is… though finding places to play online by now may be difficult.

  23. SoldierHawk says:

    Wow. That was awesome. Not that you’re having trouble, you understand, I mean its awesome how articulate you are about it. I’m just starting blogging myself, and I’ll be damned if I could put together an article like that. Well done–I can’t wait to catch up on all your archives and webcomics.

    P.S. I do hope the situation gets resolved for you…must be so frustrating.

  24. Mandella says:

    One of the problems with taking an initial dislike to something is that one rarely then takes the trouble to get familiar with that something.

    As mentioned above by one other poster, you can turn off auto-updates in Steam. In fact, after the initial activation and assuming you only play on one computer, you can take Steam completely offline and never sign on again (for single player games of course).

    Also, you can back up your game at any point to physical media or to a file, so if this has been done it is quite possible to “rollback.”

    Not that this has anything to do with Garry not keeping up with his paid for program, but the problem here is not so much with Steam, but with Garry.

  25. Dray says:

    To be honest, after flicking through a few entries of his blog (http://www.garry.tv/?paged=4) I’m not surprised this kinda thing happens.

    He appears to be a professional procrastinator.

  26. Invariel says:

    Above and beyond the whole “Garry’s new mod breaks the mod” humour/tragedy/bad form, I have to applaud and laugh at him for the “Play on the same server as Garry” achievement.

    Well played, forcing people to his personal group of friends’ servers, for people to try and ding that achievement.

    Quite frankly, it all reeks of bad code and bad form to me.

  27. Sam says:

    Steam did the same thing with my copy of Half-Life 2 and patched it so it would no longer work on my computer. Valve can be dicks most of the time…if only their system wasn’t easier than getting my ass down to Gamestop…*sigh*

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