Experienced Points: Obsidian Does it Again

By Shamus
on Oct 22, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Remember when that meanie Shamus Young made fun of the nice folks at Obsidian for no good reason? What a jerk, right? Well, New Vegas is out now, and here is what I have to say about it.

Imagine if the captain of the Titanic somehow survived the sinking of his vessel, and was given another. Which he ran into another iceberg. Then he was given a third ship, which ran aground. Then his fourth ship caught fire, flooded, then ran into an iceberg and sank.

And then imagine if everyone said about the captain, “That poor man. He has the worst luck, always getting stuck with such flimsy ships.”

Obsidian has now released four wrecked ships: One with LucasArts, One with Atari, one with Sega, and one with Bethesda. Are we maybe to the point now where we can stop thinking of them as the victim? Like the guy who has had four disastrous marriages, “Dude, maybe the problem isn’t ‘women’. Maybe the problem is you?” I don’t know, but other companies do seem to bring functional products to market through these same publishers.

When I wrote the article I hadn’t confirmed that the savegame-destroying bug (!!) was fixed yet. I actually found out about the patch while I was writing the article. But I tried the game out just now and the bug still seems to be in effect.

The shame of it is, if the thing actually worked this game would be far superior to Fallout 3. The main plot, while not awe-inspiring, is a lot more coherent. The gameplay changes are nearly all vast improvements. The interface is better. The guns are more fun. The music (which is from the original Fallout (drink!)) is a welcome improvement. Leveling seems less broken. The setting feels slightly more coherent. (Although I’ve only seen a tiny bit of it so far.) The world is more interesting (more colorful) to look at.

But once again Obsidian has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We can all lament the awesome game they nearly made for us. Maybe they’ll even do the right thing and patch this title until we have it. But the blame for this mess must fall squarely on the shoulders of the people who made it. The victim is not the developer, but the gamer who gave them a chance they didn’t deserve and bought this game. (I’ll excuse myself from the victim group. I suspected this game would be a wreck but bought it because I wanted to write about how it all turned out, good or bad.)

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  1. jdaubenb says:

    @Patches: Seeing that – as of now – SEGA has only released a pach for the US-version of Alpha Protocol and a patch for the European version is nowhere to be found…

    At least Bethesda seem to be working on the patch. You know you are into deep trouble, when you are excited about Bethesda fixing your games.

    • eri says:

      The patch for Alpha Protocol strikes me as quasi-unofficial. It’s buried on some FAQ page somewhere and is literally just a drag-and-drop executable replacement. It feels like it was almost done by some coder without his or her bosses’ knowledge. Considering the fact that the game didn’t really see any post-release support from Sega, that’s actually probably what happened.

      • Raygereio says:

        Given also that the patch is only for the US retail version and will break any other version; I’m almost certain this is the case.
        The only other possibility is a staggering and just downright depressing display of incompetence from Sega.

  2. Robyrt says:

    Gas Powered Games is also famous for releasing games in a half-finished state, then fixing it over the course of the next year, at which point it is “rediscovered” and becomes a “cult classic.” For instance, just last week they fixed the broken economy in Supreme Commander 2, which was item #1 on the beta testers’ wish list in March. Demigod had a “patch” containing a full 20% of the game they couldn’t release on time. Et cetera.

    Those of you purchasing the “Game of the Year Edition” versions of these games are the real winners. The rest of us have to close our eyes and think really hard about how awesome it will be later.

    • eri says:

      You know, “fixing the economy” was more like “making major balance changes to the entire game”. They totally revamped the resource system to be more like the first game. It wasn’t exactly an idle bug fix, but rather a reversal of a change made from the first game. There aren’t too many developers who are willing to outright reconfigure the way their game plays as part of a free update.

      • Kdansky says:

        Wait what? I remember SupCom2 as the biggest disappointment in quite a while, and they fixed that? I’m partially shocked and impressed.

      • Volatar says:

        What, really? They reverted their stupid change to the economy?

        That one change was the reason I entirely ignored the second game. I hate finite economies and absolutely love flow based ones. This is why I still play Total Annihilation and the first SupCom (Oh! and AI War: Fleet Command. That game is amazing (and the most balanced, bug free game I have ever played (and is an indie game! (and is constantly updated! (and I am putting WAY too many parenthesis inside parenthesis.)))))

        I might actually consider taking at look at SupCom2 now.

  3. Irridium says:

    Well, it seems this time Bethesda isn’t the bad guy, although they may be a small part of it.

    According to the Brink Devs, Bethesda is apparently “hands off” when publishing. Meaning it lets the developers do their thing. This means that if the game has problems, its because of the developer, not the publisher.

    Sure the first time with KOTOR 2 probably wasn’t their fault. What with Lucasarts forcing the game out way before it was ready. Not sure was the deal was with Atari and NWN2 so I won’t comment on that. With Sega, sure they’re not exactly the “best”, but they’re not the worst either. And now with Bethesda and this.

    It seems Obsidian is the problem. And that problem is that they apparently don’t have a QA team.

    Yes the engine itself is buggy, but this save issue wasn’t in any past game using this engine(Oblivion, Civ4, Fallout 3). So yeah, Obsidian, what the dick man?

    • Zukhramm says:

      “Hands off” is not that great of an idea if you’re letting someone else develop one of your more well known IPs.

      • Irridium says:

        Well considering most of the Obsidian guys worked on Fallout 2, its logical to assume Bethesda thought they knew what they were doing.

        • Zukhramm says:

          I thought there was only a few people at Obsidian that were involved with the previous Fallout games.

          Either way I’d say it’s not logical to assume. Having worked on previous games does not mean thye’d not mess up this one, especially not if their three previous games were really buggy.

          However, I do think I read that Bethesda was doing the QA for New Vegas, but I can’t seem to find the interview so I’m not going to say that it is so.

        • Nidokoenig says:

          Considering how buggy Fallout 2 was at launch, that’s a little worrying. Of course, Bethesda’s record on bugs isn’t exactly spectacular, either. I’ll be doing the smart thing here and waiting for the goatee edition, unofficial patches and code fixes, or until I fix my computer, whichever’s latest.

          Wait, Bethesda did the QA(allegedly)? This just gets worse and worse.

          • Irridium says:

            @Both: True enough I suppose. But still, considering most bugs that have gotten through have been fixed in past games, many of them by the community, its just ridiculous.

            Ah well. This is why I’m waiting a few months to buy this game anyway. By then if the devs didn’t fix the problems(which knowing Obsidian/Bethesda its very likely), then the community will have.

          • X2-Eliah says:

            Nope, afaik Obsidian was responsible for Q&A.

          • Zukhramm says:

            Can’t seem to find the interview I got it from so it might not be that way. I’m searching but there’s so many interviews that finding a specific one is hard. Might have been my imagination or just remembereing wrong.

    • eri says:

      With The Sith Lords, it was actually worse: LucasArts didn’t just push the game out before it was done, they actually cut the time they had available to finish it by a good three or four months, which forced them to rush everything even more than they already had to. I’m surprised it came together so well in the end.

    • Raygereio says:

      “Not sure was the deal was with Atari and NWN2 so I won’t comment on that.”
      From what I’ve heard Atari decided to give Obsidian a far older codebase for NWN1 then was available at 2004. Which forced to Obsidian to allot for more time to bugfixing during the development, next to the updating of the graphics and the creating of the actual game. Obsidian simply put needed more time that was originally planned because of this, but Atari wouldn’t compromise. In the end they attempted to strike a balance between all the things they needed and wanted to do, but this just resulted a game who’s graphics got criticized, was still buggy at release and contained a depressing amount of cut content.
      Mask of the Betrayer did show what Obsidian could do when they could focus all of their time on writing and creating the game.

      “With Sega, sure they’re not exactly the “best”, but they’re not the worst either.”
      Fun fact; Sega originally stated that AP was delayed because they thought it would sell poorly in the holiday season. But then some Sega employee let slip that apparently Sega didn’t like the fact that the graphic looked “dated” – because as we all know, graphics are the most important aspect of videogames and you can tell a game is fun just by the amount of bloom effect uglying up your screen (I just died a little) – and ordered Obsidian to attempt to improve it, which they attempted by tweaking lighting effects, etc.
      Sega is the one that cancelled the planned DLC and said “Well, it didn’t sell like hot candy at day 1, so we’re not letting Obsidian patch the game.”.

      All in all, Alpha Protocol got a bad reputation. Looking at reviews I’m guessing it was either marketed wrong, or people are idiots. Regardless it seems that people went into AP expecting either Splinter Cell or some other shooter and were annoyed when they got a RPG. I loved one video review when a guy complained that the game’s mechanics were awful because he couldn’t hit an enemy, even though he was standing beyond the gun’s effective range and had invested no points in the pistol he was using. That and other people just hate everything Obsidian does on principle, like a certain blogger (no offense meant with that Shamus, it’s just that since that one incident with a certain plot gate your reaction to anything Obsidian related is one of irrational, incandescent fury).
      Yeah, NWN2 was a downright mess at release. But AP isn’t any more buggy then is common these days. That doesn’t excuse it, don’t get me wrong. But it does annoys the crap out of me when I see people praise Stardock’s Elemental for instance with the same breath with which they’re cursing AP.

      • Irridium says:

        Well thanks for the clarification. I knew Sega I knew about the patch thing, but I had no idea that was why they delayed the game. Damn…

        I wonder how Obsidian gets itself into these messes. I know bad things happen and all that, but 4 times in a row(excluding certain expansions)? Something ain’t right.

        • Mari says:

          See? That’s my point (and Shamus’s as well). Yeah, stuff happens. But stuff ALWAYS seems to happen to Obsidian. Whether these things are all Obsidian’s fault or not, at some point somebody needs to step up and say, “Look, Obsidian, you’re great and all but at the very least you have some remarkably questionable judgment about who you should enter into business relationships with.” Because not all men are jerks but when all of them YOU DATE turn out that way, the problem is on YOUR end. KWIM?

        • Raygereio says:

          I think it’s a combination of Obsidian being to ambitious, having poor project management and not being able to throw around some weight when negotiating with their publishers.

        • Groboclown says:

          On this note, it seems like the weight of the problem isn’t on the Obsidian developers’ backs, but rather on their project management team – they don’t have the leverage with the contract to make the right decisions.

          [Edit] It seems @Raygereio already mentioned this.

    • I mean how do you even code a game to restor[e] backups of old saves?

      • Michael says:

        It’s a Steam Cloud issue. The game uploads new save files to steam cloud. But, if you update a save (explicitly the autosave and the quicksave), they don’t get uploaded. They do get updated on your local system, but the next time you run the game, they revert. The same was true of one of the .inis, so you couldn’t change any of the settings from in the game and have it stick.

        So, in this case its quite solidly a Steam issue, and not something from the game itself.

  4. Mumbles says:

    Some of the worst bugs I’ve seen in a major game. Thank god for the modding community for fixing the epic stuttering that I experienced.

    • eri says:

      The “epic stuttering” is apparently a bug that was introduced in the newest NVIDIA driver revision, which the game wasn’t tested on. Kinda funny how sometimes new drivers aren’t always better, but there you go.

    • Roll-a-die says:

      For New Vegas, they disregarded testing with the steam DRM and steamworks sync feature, expecting it to work as the Devs EDIT:AT VALVE said it would, case in point, as I’m currently in India, near Pakistan, I torrented my copy because I wasn’t able to buy it before I left, have it installed without steam, no autosave glitch at all. Hell playing my shiiti laptop seems to have less glitches than anyone else.

      The Stutter was Nvidia’s fault, one of the reasons I have drivers from 2 years ago installed right now, is that Oblivion and Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas HATE recent Nvidia drivers, and recent Nvidia drivers hate them back. Seems like every other revision brings new errors with my games.

      The CTDing stuff is almost all the users, otherwise it’d be experiance universally by EVERYONE, not just the people with certain Nvidia 200+ cards, using x-program as well. CTD’s are one of the HARDEST things in game development to diagnose, because they are so easy to cause without even inputting any code. Here’s a list I came up with in around 5 minutes over at the codex,

      1 Codec
      2 Drivers
      3 Malware
      4 Virus’s
      5 Virus Scanners
      6 Firewalls
      7 Spyware
      8 Graphics firmware
      9 Bios issues
      10 Fragmented hard drive
      11 Faulty ram
      12 Conflicting programs
      13 Windows XP errors
      14 Window’s Vista Errors
      15 DirectX 9 issues
      16 DirectX 10
      17 Faulty graphics card
      18 Bad sector on hard drive
      19 Directx 11
      20 Windows 7 issues
      21 Memory leak elsewhere
      22 actual bug’s in programing(though these would feature everywhere not just on certain peoples computers, IE the shitty AI or the shitty path finding would be actual programing bugs, while the crashing would be other things, because it’s not present everywhere)
      23 Cluttered hard drive
      24 Mismatched ram
      25 Overheating CPU
      26 over heating GPU
      27 Power damage
      28 Shitty soldering
      29 program conflicts
      30 Permissions issues
      31 cord connection issues
      32 dusty case
      33 Underpowered CPU, GPU and/or RAM
      34 mismatched versions of drivers(IE, It expects 256.231 and you have 257.123)
      35 overactive harddrive
      36 too much ram in use
      37 not enough power
      38 I could go on, but I think that covers allot of what could be causing most peoples issues.

    • Roll-a-die says:

      For New Vegas, they disregarded testing with the steam DRM and steamworks sync feature, expecting it to work as the Devs said it would, case in point, as I’m currently in India, near Pakistan, I torrented my copy because I wasn’t able to buy it before I left, have it installed without steam, no autosave glitch at all. Hell my laptop seems to have less glitches than anyone else.

      The Stutter was Nvidia’s fault, one of the reasons I have drivers from 2 years ago installed right now, is that Oblivion and Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas HATE recent Nvidia drivers, and recent Nvidia drivers hate them back. Seems like every other revision brings new errors with my games.

      The CTDing stuff is almost always the users issue, not the dev’s, otherwise it’d be experienced universally by EVERYONE, not just the people with certain Nvidia 200+ cards, using x-program as well. CTD’s are one of the HARDEST things in game development to diagnose, because they are so easy to cause without even inputting any code. Here’s a list I came up with in around 5 minutes over at the codex, http://rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=1370659#1370659

      Linked because shamus’s spam filter dislikes my list

      • Mumbles says:

        That was insanely informative. I was joking with the guys a couple days ago about how even though I’m primarily a PC gamer, I know next to nothing about how they work. I typically just panic and then ask one of my computery friends for help. Like that soccer mom who walks into Best Buy thinking that the most expensive rig has to be the most awesome.

        You know what’s weird? Besides the stuttering I have like no bugs. Sure, there’s the usual Ministry of Silly Walks, but nothing beyond that. I’ve heard some TERRIBLE horror stories involving the worst bugs you can imagine, but nothing happened to me personally.

      • DaveMc says:

        I read through a bit of that thread, but I had to stop because it made my soul hurt. What … *was* that place? Shouty back-and-forth exchanges among people who are (for the most part) apparently incredibly angry all the time … Wow. I may not become a regular at those rpgcodex forums, I think it’s just better for both of us this way.

        • krellen says:

          That’s how the codex is. I don’t dare venture there myself.

        • acronix says:

          Lucky you didn´t venture forth. Even Chtulhu himself would go mad instantly.

        • Roll-a-die says:

          Think of it like the seedyest bar you’ve ever been to, new guys come in trying to make a name for themselves, regulars drift in and out, but the two prevailing standards are the beer is strong as shit, tastes like ass, and everybody is piss drunk. It’s a good place to vent, and discover the seedy end of the internet without hitting up 4chan and actually losing your soul. It’s also the only place where you will find so many differing opinions stated so bluntly.

          To a regular, it’s an interesting place with interesting people. To a newbie, it’s a culture shock from hell, you either like it or you don’t. The regulars also tend to behave like sharks or lions, any sign of weakness is purged instantly, or a large amount of scorn is leveled against you until you leave.

          Also avoid ANYTHING marked NSFW, generally the mods are good about keeping threads clean, at least nowadays, but NSFW threads are free for all’s, some good and mostly clean fun, IE the tit’s thread, other’s good, hilarious and not necessarily clean fun, IE the Sengoku Rance or Hitomi my step sister threads, others are flat out disgusting, like the one hentai thread we had about 4 months back, that got hit by Clockwork Knight… Made me shudder and I’ve been on the internet since before the Endless September even started.

          Also, if you don’t like pure mainlined stupid, avoid Prosper/Nillacakester/FruitofFallout/what ever the fuck his current name is threads. He’s a seventeen year old with Z-Brush, is an aspiring artist, and lacks of a confidence problem.

          Shouting is also a good fun way to make points clear, I tend to enjoy it.

          The point is, around the times there is a major release, to keep this clean, here’s the actual sentence in Cajun, la Peeshwank bioque venez craquer le poignet, don’t judge it by these times, judge by the other times, where it’s fairly quiet, and you can have a fairly good debate with a transexual on gun control, or the nature of choice in consequence.

          (FAKE EDIT, I likely screwed up all kinds of grammar and spelling in the Cajun sentence, haven’t spoke a lick of it since around 15, I apologize. To summerize what I said, essentially, the small fry idiots come out and jack off.)

          REAL EDIT: Well I actually forgot something, don’t forget it’s a community of trolls, they will attempt to troll you, have thick skin and you’ll get along fine.

      • Jep jep says:

        There’s new NVIDIA drivers out now, said in the notes that they should “improve compatibility for Fallout: New Vegas with antialiasing enabled.”.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      You do not boss Shamus around. On his blog, Shamus deletes you.

  5. Canthros says:

    Sounds like somebody needs to make Obsidian an offer they can’t refuse, salvage the bare handful of guys making positive contributions (story, gameplay improvements, etc) and can the rest of the studio, putting the salvaged assets into positions that maximize their strengths while offering them limited input into the rest of the process.

  6. JohnAdams says:

    Saw this one coming a long way away.

  7. Dev Null says:

    I suspect this game would be a wreck but bought it because I wanted to write about how it all turned out, good or bad.

    But wait, what if thats the only reason _anybody_ bought it? And thus blogging makes a market niche for bad games…

  8. Geoff says:

    That’s terribly unfortunate. I always had a soft spot for Obsidian since they formed out of the ashes of Black Isle. Their work on the Fallouts, Icewind Dales and their connection to the Baldur’s Gate titles among others always gave me hope for some old school classic RPGs.

    Even with KOTOR2 I didn’t seem to run into the worst of the bugs most people noted and I really rather enjoyed the game. I do remember the game feeling rushed, however.

    Its one of those companies where you just keep rooting for them and hoping that *the next one* will be *the one* where they work out their bugs and deliver something amazing. Whatever it was about Black Isle that made it so great, it doesn’t seem to have translated to Obsidian.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Thing is, the team that made Fallout 1 was quite different from the one that went on to form Black Isle and make Fallout 2, and Fallout 2 was an absolute trainwreck at launch, however brightly that diamond shone in the shit and however good it was once that got fixed. I’m tempted to agree with Canthros a few comments up and say Obsidian’s current staff should just be kept as far away from code as possible.

    • swimon says:

      I think that part of the problem is that Obsidian=!Black Isle. Most of the people from Balck Isle did join Obsidian yes but not all of them and I’m guessing that there are a lot of people at Obsidian that didn’t work at Black Isle (since most modern game developers are a lot bigger).

      The other problem I see is that I don’t think that Obsidian adapted to 3d and newer technology very well. They seem to have a lot of problems managing teams that are so big (not finishing on time resulting in bad endings etc.) and managing bugs and other tech problems. I think they should try making smaller games with smaller budgets, it might work. That said I was never really blown away by their abilities even without the bugs and the bad endings, most of their writing is pretty bad IMO but I think that’s at least partly a matter of taste.

  9. Hugo Sanchez says:

    Personally I’ve had quite the luck with the game so far. Nothing gamebreaking has happened yet, and I’m frequent enough with the quicksave key to not lose much of anything (4 crashes in the 12 hours I’ve played so far.)

    I’m loving it. Really.

    Sorry about your technical problems Shamus. I do understand, couldn’t play the damn game ’till i found the DirectX dll floating around that makes it possible for the game not to slideshow when multiple NPC’s are around. Also, Mouse Acceleration BY DEFAULT with no option to turn it off in the options menu.

    I. HATE. MOUSE. ACCELERATION! Who honestly benefits from it? It’s like driving a truck that turns 20 degrees for every degree you turn the wheel. It’s madness.

    (Praise be to .ini files)

    • Zukhramm says:

      This is one of the horrible things that has no reason for existing. I just can’t see how it would requier anything other than a very minor effort to put an on/off option in a menu.

      A major bug or design flaw regarding some complicated issue might be bad, but I can understand it, I can see how the developers might fail not think it’s worth the time. Lack of these really simple things bothers me a lot more.

      • eri says:

        It was added in with the latest version of the Gamebryo engine, and I guess the PC version of the game wasn’t enough of a priority interface-wise to go and fix it. It’s possible that the people working on the game didn’t even notice – mouse acceleration is very common and even experienced PC gamers will often not realise the impact it has.

        • Hugo Sanchez says:

          I have to disagree. I’ve never not noticed mouse acceleration. If anything, more experienced PC gamers will notice it more, as most will know how their mouse behaves, and probably have a pretty good mouse to boot. I know how much my cursor should move in relation to the physical movement of my mouse. Mouse acceleration means I no longer have a 1:1 connection with my mouse. It makes my aim extremely erratic and also kills immersion for me.

          I can honestly NOT think of a reason why I’d want to have mouse acceleration.

    • Kanodin says:

      Same here. I always seem to get (relatively) lucky with Obsidian games and avoid the really hair pulling bugs. The only one I’ve got this time is that caravan appears to be broke for me.

  10. Zel says:

    Perhaps you remember two years ago, when Fallout 3 was released ? Save corruption, scripts bugging out, crashes to desktop, memory leaks, stuttering, and so on and on and on, they were already there… and weren’t fixed last time I played the “original”. Didn’t you encounter any crash while doing the F3 let’s play ? It’s quite unfair to bash Obsidian for releasing a buggy game, when they were given a mess to work with from the start.

    I’ve been playing F:NV for a good time now (close to 10 hours) and while it isn’t perfect, I feel it’s definitely a lot LESS buggy than Fallout 3 ever was. So far, it has crashed twice, and I haven’t had any problems with quick, auto or normal saves whatsoever. It seems Steam Cloud IS what's causing the save issues, since the latest update disables it entirely until the situation is resolved. Good thing I never turned it on.

    • acronix says:

      Even if Fallout 3 was a mess, Obsidian didn´t do anything to fix its numerous problems, apparently.

      “Why should we?” says the obsidianite “Fallout 3 has this wonderful modding community that alredy fixed all those! We, I mean, YOU just have to wait until they do for New Vegas too!”

      To counterpoint your personal experience, I´ll use mine: I have played around 25 hours. I suffered a couple of crashes in the start. Then a crash every couple of hours. In the last three hours I played the game killed my monitor twice, and crashed six more times (not in that order).

      So, lucky you!

      • Roll-a-die says:

        Read the link in my post above for potential reasons, OTHER than the programmers for why your game is CTDing.

        • acronix says:

          I guess best bet would be to buy a brand new computer, *since this stuff only happens to me with New Vegas, Fallout 3, Oblivion and NWN2**

          *Edited for clarification.
          **Though that was in an older computer that just had problems with that one.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Engine bugs:

      Yeah, Fallout3 had quite a bit of them, apparently (I got lucky, didn’t have them).

      However, fallout has been out for 2 years now. The bugs have all been fixed a year ago, tops. SO why is Obsidian re-introducing bugs when such a large number of them have been squashed pre-emptively already?

      • Roll-a-die says:

        WRONG! Fallout 3’s bugs are still VERY much there, and have never been really fixed, bar something like a total of 7 crashes.

        • Taelus says:

          I have no problem saying Obsidian got buggy base work. The bugs in Fallout 3 are known and well documented. Obsidian has every responsibility to correct those before releasing a game and saying “Well, those were already present so it’s not our fault”. That’s like a dealership picking up a car on trade-in that they know has a problem with the engine mounts, then selling that car without mentioning that those issues still exist, and, once the mounts fail, telling the buyer “Hey, those were there when we got it. Not our problem.”

          It’s nonsense.

          • Roll-a-die says:

            Actually barring shitty AI, there’s almost none of the old fallout 3 bugs I had, I don’t lock up instantly on the fourth shader call. I don’t crash on exit, though admittedly I haven’t checked with mods yet. It doesn’t decide my ram is bad and blue screen on me every hour if the shaders don’t call and full lock me before than. Really it’s much less buggy in terms of things that were already there in Fallout 3.

            But AI, pathfinding, annoying immortal children, npc glitches, etc, are still there, unfixed, and most of the new issues are just that, new issues.

      • Zel says:

        I highly doubt Fallout 3 with all official patches is free of any CTD or other major bug. I played it around a year ago and they were still there, and I haven’t seen any major patch released since. Community workarounds have this tendency to not fix the issue for everyone, and when there’s a dozen solutions to each issue which one do you include in the main release ?

        Why didn’t Obsidian fix the bugs in the engine themselves ? Well, they couldn’t. It’s unlikely they were given the full engine source to work with, and probably had to work with an extended GECK. Even if they did have full access, they’d have to devote an enormous part of their time reading, understanding, fixing and testing an engine that’s close to 10 years old, with hot fixes and patches all around the place. Better spend this time crafting an interesting new world since it’s obvious technical expertise isn’t Obsidian’s forte. After all, F3 was universally acclaimed in a state much worse (Steam issue excluded, but that’s DRM for you), so indeed, why should they have bothered?

    • hattimatti says:

      Yeah, you pretty much pinpoint the problem here.

      It is incredible how videogame “journalists” can make themselves not only completely overlook all the flaws in Bethesda products, but bash Obsidian for doing the very same thing. Even though bugs and such are usually fixed in relatively short order, whereas retarded writing, main quest and world design cannot be fixed. And yet Shamus and a united crowd of critics all encourage Bethesdas and Biowares tripe while hating on the only company in the business producing something that resembles real RPG’s.

      • Ogg says:

        If I remember well, FO3 DLC had their fair share of issues on consoles. When I say “fair share of issues”, I mean that they didn’t work at all. There were obviously no Q&A on the integration of the DLC into the Playstation Network. Does anyone else spot some kind of correlation?

  11. Vladius says:

    Soooooooo, other than the bugs, it’s a cool game, right? :V

  12. Zukhramm says:

    When have we blamed anyone other than Obsidian for Obsidian’s games except for KotOR II)?

    Not to defend a bug messing up save games, but it’s somethign that has happened in a couple of games I’ve seen, so it’s not something developers that are not Obsidian are immune to either.

  13. droid says:

    You would think that they would notice a !!savegame destroying bug!!, seeing how it is on fire and all.

    • SteveDJ says:

      There is another possible explanation to how that bug got shipped.

      It is possible that the bug wasn’t there all during final/gold testing. But at the last minute, some OTHER bug was found that was quite severe. Some developer figured out what should have been an easy/simple fix (usually a one-line fix, those are the worst) – so they made that fix, did a quick sanity check for the specific bug they fixed, and shipped it.

      Of course, that fix caused a regression that introduced the save-game fix at that last minute, but they didn’t test thoroughly because, well, they thought the fix was just a simple thing.

      So, still can blame the QA department on this one!

    • Hugo Sanchez says:

      Well, you know how much dwarfs love things that are on fire. Also, I have this theory that Obsidian is staffed by dwarfs.

    • Raygereio says:

      Since it’s steam that’s causing the save-game-bug, I’m thinking there’s good chance the QA team never was able to catch it.

      • Shamus says:

        * The save-game bug affects non-steam versions of the game.
        * The bug is present even when Steam cloud is off.
        * Steam has many, many other cloud games, none of which have this problem.

        Now, this might be related to the hooks for Steam, but it’s the fault of the game. When it finds a file in a certain location, it copies that file over your current saves, always, without regard to timestamps and without removing the file being copied. There is simply no way this could ever work correctly because this is incorrect behavior. I’m pretty sure it would do the copy even if the source file was corrupted – it’s a blind copy. This is a spectacularly stupid thing to do.

        • Ogg says:

          That’s what I call talking out of one’s ass.
          All reports tend to prove that:
          * there’s no “non-steam” version, since you have to register your game through steam (except for those with no legit version)
          * disabling Steamcloud fixed the problem

          I acknowledge though that this kind of bug should have been noticed by even the most basic Q&A. I don’t know who was responsible for this part of quality testing but he sure didn’t do his part of the job. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid the bug. (It’d be better if it was actually fixed, I know)

          • Roll-a-die says:

            Quite, I don’t have this issue without steam on my pirated version of the game(which has now been legitimately bought.)

          • Shamus says:

            I can freakin’ replicate it, RIGHT NOW, and supposedly Steam cloud has been disabled server side. I’m not talking out of my ass, I’m telling you what’s happening on my computer, right now.

            Lots of other people can tell you the same. Integrate this concept: Bugs manifest differently on different machines, so having one person say “That fixed it!” does not mean it was fixed. This is a lesson that Obsidian is having a hard time with as well.

            • Raygereio says:

              Out of curiosity; is the steam cloud functionality really disabled for your version of New Vegas?

              In case you don’t know; you can see this by going to Steam’s library, opening the Properties of New Vegas and looking at the Updates tab.

              • Shamus says:

                There was an announcement in the Steam forums that they were disabling Steam cloud for the game.

                But keep in mind, Steam is a set of functionality into which you can plug your game. If it’s malfunctioning for your game only, then it’s extremely unlikely that the fault lies with Steam.

                • Raygereio says:

                  Yes, server side it should be disabled and there should be an update that told Steam to stop trying to upload the saves.
                  However I was told that if you have certain Steam setting, the update can’t disable it and you have to disable it manually. So if you still have the bug, it might be worth checking.

                  Also, isn’t stuff like DRM and plugging in the steam functionalities generally handled by the publisher, not the developer?

                  • Shamus says:

                    Honestly, I don’t know.

                    From a programming perspective I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s best to have your codebase handled by the people who know it and if the publisher wants a thing done they should assign it to you, not go tearing through your code themselves. (And if a publisher did muck about with my code, I’d certainly want to have a look afterwards.)

                    But who knows how it really works. These decisions are not made by programmers.

                • Michael says:

                  The problem is, Steam creates a local copy of the autosave, quicksave, and config.ini… I’ll get the location:

                  C:|Program Files (x86)|Steam|userdata|?|22380|remote|

                  Delete the contents of the folder and relaunch. See if that fixes things.

                  EDIT: Okay, the blog keeps fouling up the path. The ? will be a directory with a unique identifier number. It’s either generated by account or by install and account, I’m not sure which.

                  EDIT 2: It seems your blog does not like backslashes. :(

          • X2-Eliah says:

            And that’s what I call a Steam-head ruining the image of Steam for normal people.

      • Blake says:

        It’s not Steam that’s causing the issue, if the bug was in the Steam code it’d be affecting other games the same.
        The person responsible for the issue would be the person who integrated Steam into the Fallout code base.
        Their QA definitely should’ve been able to find it as Steam will have a developer network that operates the same as the release code except the public can’t access it, but even before it hit QA the programmer doing the work should’ve found it himself.

        There’s no way overwriting the save game would ever be the correct thing to do therefore I’m blaming the programmer for this one.

  14. WILL says:

    A shame, if you get lucky or just have enough patience to ignore the bugs, the game is downright amazing.

    Also this is made with Gamebryo. That’s at least half the problem with all the bugs.

  15. eri says:

    I’ve found Fallout: New Vegas significantly less buggy and far, far more stable than Fallout 3 ever was, even after unofficial fan-made patches and tweaks all around. That game was shipped broken and became even more broken after they patched it. Bethesda’s version of the Gamebryo engine is a steaming pile of junk; rather than trying to make it more stable, expandable, and easy to work with, Bethesda’s incompetent coders basically just pumped the rendering pipeline full of steroids. It’s still running largely on the same code that powered Morrowind, but now it’s more capable of better visuals. As I understand it, the development tools are so closely intertwined with the engine that it’s almost impossible to make significant changes without having to rewrite major parts of the engine from scratch.

    I can’t speak for anyone’s individual experiences. The only bugs I’ve seen beyond the quicksave bug (which was an issue with Steam Cloud, and could be avoided by using hard saves instead of quicksaves) are the usual bugs you see in Bethesda games, like enemies spawning in terrain. Nothing I’ve seen has really been reproducible, and beyond the one scripting glitch with the ghoul at REPCONN that Shamus mentioned, all the quests have worked out well for me – especially considering the non-linear and “freeform” way that I’ve approached many of them. The fact that the game hasn’t broken yet is really impressive to me, considering the only way Bethesda could accomplish this is by making half the NPCs in the game unkillable. I’ve gone and wiped out half of the Legion and nobody has ever acted like I’ve broken the rules – it’s closed off a lot of dialogue and quests for me, but I did that knowing the consequences of my actions.

    I also have to disagree with Shamus’ comments about how the game world and writing are “slightly” better. Slightly? Go back and examine the towns and the environments in Fallout 3. Not only were they pathetically small, but they were arranged on the map more or less at random. There’s tiny little one-man communities ever which would have no hope of survival whatsoever, five-man towns that fuel fifty-man Raider gangs, no agriculture whatsoever, limited trade, starving people who could walk three minutes down the street and be rolling in mountains of food. It’s all endemic of a world which has been created not with any believability or internal logic in mind, but simply one that exists for the player to romp around in and feel like a superhero while gunning down legions of monsters.

    Compare to New Vegas: the smallest of towns feel viable, with at least a dozen or two structures and people, there’s frequent trade caravans all over the roads, there’s soldiers patrolling to maintain order, and you can see how the economy works, with different towns and cities producing different products that get sent all over the wasteland. Electricity is something that doesn’t just come out of thin air – it’s a precious resource, and most towns that aren’t hooked up to a grid are running on battery power (check all the electronic devices in Goodsprings). Even simple things like having communities built like real communities (central stores, motels, etc., with homes, shacks and farms on the outskirts), and building interiors that look like real building interiors, go a long way towards improving the world. There’s also some pretty amazing sights in New Vegas, and the size of some of the environments is pretty incredible – Hoover Dam, for example, is nearly a scale model of the real thing, right down to the interior.

    The most insignificant of NPCs often have well-written (and subtle) dialogue, too, and are willing to tell you their political opinions, life philosophies, histories and so forth, which are almost always intertwined with the events of the game and the game world itself. It’s all extremely consistent and believable, something which Fallout 3 fell flat on its face about barely five minutes into the game and never recovered from. I won’t detail the far deeper choice and consequence in the game, as well the moral ambiguity of nearly every situation (no more illogically-motivated moustache-twirling asshole villains or lawful good white knights), and the surprisingly interesting companion characters, but suffice is to say that it makes Fallout 3 look like a fucking disgrace. I can only look back on that game and weep at how absolutely fucking stupid it is with respect to its quests, story and characters.

    Beyond the creative aspects of the game, the balance has also seen huge improvements. There’s no level scaling beyond the main quest, and enemies have been vastly beefed up, especially the wildlife. Taking on some enemies at even level 15 or 20 can be deadly, but the sense of progress you make in conquering previously dangerous foes is very tangible. Weapon mods, ammo types, armour types, the new damage threshold system, improved (non-cheaty) VATS, and improved melee combat all go a long way toward fixing Fallout 3’s balance problems, and hardcore mode, while not as challenging as its title implies, still gives the game some depth that was solely lacking in Fallout 3. Maybe I have a keener eye for this stuff, but the gameplay in New Vegas is much, much closer to the original games, if not so much in perspective, then in spirit, and at the very least it feels like a far more concrete fusion between RPG and shooter.

    Anyway, I’m approaching the rant threshold here, and this isn’t my blog. Let’s just say that I either respectfully disagree with you and think you need to look more critically at the game and with a keener eye towards the strengths of the first two, or you’re just focusing too much on the negatives and that a couple bad early experiences have burned you. I’m not at all saying the game is perfect – it does have bugs, there’s one or two quests that are a bit too fetchy for my tastes, and there is a sense that some parts of the game were left a bit unfinished or on the cutting room floor, but I think that’s nitpicking when put up against what Obsidian has done – deliver a game in the current mass market-driven industry that comes as close to a proper Fallout sequel as we could reasonably hope for.

    • Rallion says:

      I just want to agree with you. Yeah, the game isn’t perfect, but most of the problems I have personally encountered have been Gamebryo problems.

      I also want to expand a bit on what you mentioned about the removal of level scaling. I think that was just as important to creating the great atmosphere as anything else, because it creates serious danger and (somewhat surprisingly to me) makes exploration more interesting. It’s fun to have a game where you can just run around seeing stuff, but, apparently, it’s even more fun when you crest a hill, get one-shotted by a scorpion that’s three times your size, and say to yourself, “I’ll come back here later. Much, much later.” This is a huge improvement FO3’s wasteland, where you were rarely in any real danger.

      Also, the feeling of progression as you gain levels in this game is great. I ran into a Super Mutant Master a couple hours into the game and I got killed so, so hard. Ten levels later and I fought my way up a mutant-covered mountain, but a single Deathclaw would still be the end of me. Now at level 20, I can take out Deathclaws alone or in pairs, but not yet in packs.

      It creates a real sense of the game opening up to you as you gain the ability to cross more and more dangerous patches of terrain, and while the game is certainly not unique in this, I can’t think of any games that made it feel so good.

      I’m not sure why Bethesda hasn’t learned this particular lesson yet: level scaling sucks.

    • acronix says:

      I agree with almost everything, but I want to point out two things.

      Buildings and settlements are, as you say, much more realistic. There´s a lot of houses that are just there to give a sense of “This really is a town!”. However…interiors are a pain to navigate. They are HUGE. I get lost frequently because of the big ammount of rooms, most of them are there just to give a sense of scale. Getting to talk to certain NPC who lives in the third floor of that Elvis school in Freeside was a particular pain: first because I got lost. Then, when I learnt the way, because I had to walk a lot.

      In a personal note, I feel combat is worse, but improved (which doesn´t much sense…). While you can´t go into cheating VATS mode, now it´s almost useless when fighting more than an enemy: by the time the game is done showing how your target is dead, your health will be nearing zero.
      Certainly, it makes the game more strategic, but for my chosen play-stile (no sneaking talkative half-gunslinger) it was a pain until I got the sniper companion, who replaced the cheating VATS with his BOOM! headshots.

      That being said, melee is vastly improved. I should probably put more points into it…

      • Someone says:

        Yeah, the interiors are really labyrinthine now. I ran around the REPCONN basement for 5 minutes trying to find the girl and then Bright.

        The killcam thing is really uncomfortable but you can switch it from showing the corpse to turning to slo-mo in first person view or just turn it off in the options.

  16. Jeff says:

    If you already own NWN2, Shamus, treat Mask of the Betrayer as if it was a standalone game purchase, and it’s still worth the money. It’s that good.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I prefer Storm of Zehir, but your point is still valid.

      The NWN2 original campaign is AWFUL. I completed it once, and attempted several times to play through again with other characters. Trouble is, I can’t bear to do it. So many parts of that game are just poor, and I’m not talking about bugs or whatever.

      By comparison, I’ve completed the NWN OC about four times, and will play it again.

      A bit more on topic, Dungeon Siege 3 is Obsidians next game isn’t it? Looks good at the moment, and they have their own engine for it, so no excuses.

      • acronix says:

        Wait, what? You finished NWN2 campaign only once, but you finished NWN1 “Go fetch this 4 items in 4 different areas” campaign 4 times? Are you sure you didn´t mean you had player 4 of its chapters?

        • Galad says:

          Well, the plot of the original campaign may be very simplistic in its core but it would be interesting to see how different classes handle it ( not for me, I stick with NWN1 for its user created modules, but for someone else )

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          NWN1 may have had it’s flaws, but it gave you a certain amount of freedom that NWN2 lacked.

          Firstly, the freedom to do each area in the order you choose (minor freedom perhaps, but it’s better than NWN2 which is painfully linear at times).

          Second, I found the party balance to be easier (since you only have one companion), NWN2 is a bit odd in that regard, with certain class companions only available relatively late in the game.

          Thirdly, I found the side-quests better in NWN1, especially the one with the brothers (Village of Eternal Night).

          Fourthly, the ending is better in NWN1. I’d add more detail, but it’s spoilerific.

          Fifthly, I really hate the way NWN2 puts the PC at the front in conversations. I usually play spellcasters, and it makes things far tougher.

          Sixthly, loading times! The game takes forever to load, and the areas are quite small, so there’s lots of loading.

          I expect others could add more.

          As ever though, it’s the expansions which keep people coming back, rather than the OC in either game.

          • Roll-a-die says:

            1. Point taken, but it rarely matters, both are equally linear in terms of plot.

            2nd. This is true, Obsidian tried to balance it, but the NWN engine was never made for parties of more than 3.

            3rd. Not going to touch this one.

            4th. True, but note, NWN 2 suffered from the fact that they were trying to complete the campaign but, to put in PnP terms, the GM decided to end it early because no one had the time.

            5th. Happens in NWN1 as well, just rarer because it triggers conversation less.

            6th. Didn’t have this problem, so not able to address it.

            • Jeff says:

              I actually really liked the court trial. The fortress building was nifty, in concept, and I really liked it. In hindsight though, it didn’t really seem to do much. The endgame was passable, but nothing special.

              I also like SoZ even though it was panned, if only because it combined 2 of my favourite things (the fortress building of NWN2 + party crafting).

              Sand is fairly golden though, I love the permutations of the trial even if it’s only an illusion of freedom. Insulting and throwing that annoying witch off balance is gold. =P

          • PhoenixUltima says:

            I had exactly the opposite reaction as you. I hated the NWN1 OC. Hated, hated, HATED it. It was linear save that you got to choose which of the 4 busywork quests you did in which order, it was cliche, the characters were entirely flat, and I wrestled with massive bugs the entire way (like, at one point my follower just stood still and wouldn’t respond to any commands or tactics changes, I couldn’t even talk to her) even with the final patch. Thankfully Shadows of Undrentide and especially Hordes of the Underdark were both worth the purchase (and still are, the diamond edition is quite cheap these days), but I have no desire to even look in the general direction of the NWN1 OC ever again.

            Meanwhile, I quite liked the NWN2 OC. Yes, it was linear, but at least the path was more interesting (except for Old Owl Well, that was a chore). It had actual likable/hate-able characters (even if the party members could be a bit whiny at times). I did encounter a few bugs (in particular, the Nightwalker fight at Crossroad Keep doesn’t like to trigger properly unless I save beforehand and keep reloading until it fires, the game gets a demerit for that), but for the most part everything worked well enough. And there were some incredibly fun bits in the game (the trial, managing Crossroad Keep, working for the city watch/shadow thieves – yes I actually enjoyed that section of the game, save for Old Owl Well as I mentioned). I wouldn’t say NWN2 is truly a great game, but it damn well blows the NWN1 OC out of the water.

            Oh, and Mask of the Betrayer really is a damn fantastic game. One person who did a Let’s Play of the game said it was even better than Planescape: Torment, and frankly I’m inclined to agree. Shamus (and everyone else who didn’t quite care for NWN2), even if you hated the NWN2 OC, you must, must play MotB. It really is one of the best games ever.

  17. Jep jep says:

    It’s a damn shame, what it is, but guess people can only wait to get their money’s worth, if ever. Only released in Europe today so we’re yet to face the worst officially. I pre-ordered it because I knew I wanted to play it, for good or worse. Personally I consider it always a calculated risk to pre-order any game, so it’s easier to take in if it’s a huge disappointment. So far the few games I ever have pre-ordered, no regrets.

    It didn’t still arrive yet for me, so I’ll have to wait till Monday or Tuesday, depending on how the mail system feels like. With any luck they’ve come up with somesort of patch by then.

  18. Amnestic says:

    An Obsidian game made in a Bethesda engine is buggy? Oh do perish the thought! Please hold a moment, I’m feeling faint from shock. Oh I keed.

    I’ve not got New Vegas yet and probably won’t for a few months. While my PC does meet the rather low specs, I’d still like to get a few upgrades inside it at Christmastime before I play. Up the experience and all that. Hopefully by then they’ll have patched all the bugs out. And by “they” I mean the modding community of course. That save-erasing bug does sound pretty major, and pretty damn frustrating.

    As for Alpha Protocol, I recently started playing my friend’s 360 copy and have just started the final mission and honestly? With the exception of the abusable Endurance Meter glitch on the 360, I’ve not seen any other bugs so far. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky, but I can’t think of any other bugs I’ve noticed.

    Platforming issues, bosses being cheap and hilarious dialogues which make Micky-T either a) look like a pimp daddy or b) Effectively get raped by a female Russian mercenary, yeah, but no bugs.

    Also, and I know I may get flack for this, I thought KotOR2 was a (in some ways vastly) superior game to KotOR1, even with all the bugs and the rushed ending. I’ve not played NWN2 beyond the first five minutes, but KotOR2 has cemented Obsidian’s ability to craft a good game to me.

    • Tse says:

      I agree with you about KotOR2, it’s much better than 1 (which was as cliched as they come in terms of story). I hate how KotOR2 just ends, cut short by insufficient development time/laziness/someone deleting half the game in development. It could have been so much more…

    • Calatar says:

      I’m with you on the KotOR 2 being good, in spite of the rushed ending and nefarious bugs. They made some solid improvements to KotOR 1, with a much more mature and darker feel to the game. Where KotOR was A New Hope, KotOR 2 was Empire Strikes Back. Kind of.

      They added complexity to the crafting, relationships, powers, dialogue and story. I appreciated most of it. It is true that they have ambitious dreams, and their games fail to live up to their intentions, but I like that there’s a company with the “try and fail a little” motto rather than “make bland and safe games.”

      NWN 2 was I felt, a pretty strong game post-patches. Not a great game, (its ending sequence sounded like it was read out by a stereotypical nerd, without even accompanying music.) But I felt that the Crossroads Keep idea was solid, and I enjoyed the mid-to-late game battles a lot.

      Mask of the Betrayer was definitely better both plot-wise, and character-wise, however. Though I have to say I didn’t enjoy the Spirit-Eating mechanic one bit. So I disabled it, and I went along the game happily.

      Storm of Zehir was less to my liking, but the overland map I felt was a very unique approach which made the game a lot more like a game of DnD 3.5. I enjoyed it a bit, but I only thought it was worth playing through once, unlike NWN 2 and MotB and KotOR 2.

      Point is, that Obsidian isn’t afraid to try new things, and they tend to have good stories, with some nitpicky problems and bugs. Being a person willing to wait for months after a release, I usually end up buying games after most of the major patches have already occurred, and I end up being a happy camper.

      The save problem is major, and understandably upsetting, but honestly if I wanted to enjoy the game, I would understand what Obsidian is terrible at (releasing games in their finished state) and wait for the complaints to turn into patches, and turn those patches into contentment.

      • Ramsus says:

        Yeah gotta agree with the “try and fail” thing being better than “bland and safe”. Also while I probably still prefer Kotor 1, I by no means didn’t enjoy Kotor 2. I found Mask of the Betrayer to be the best…though I did use cheats to constantly tell my spirit gauge I was at full because yeah….those kinds of mechanics are freaking annoying. Storm of Zehir was enjoyable but I felt it was a bit lacking in some respects. The interesting thing I find about all of the NWN and NWN2 official campaigns is like it really seemed as if these were games run by different kinds of GMs doing different kinds of things with the game…just like real GMs do with actual pen & paper D&D.

      • Vladius says:

        I agree with you. It’s weird, because whenever I want to make a “favorite games” list, I end up including KOTOR, then wondering whether its spot should be taken by KOTOR 2. It depends on how frustrating my last run through went.

  19. Agiel7 says:

    It wasn’t as if the first two Fallout games weren’t buggy or extremely polished at all. The Gifted perk sort of broke the game so far as balance goes and about 75% of the skills were practically useless, and there was no reason why you shouldn’t have aimed for anything except the eyes. And as much as I liked Fallout 2, there’s a bunch of stuff in it that shouldn’t have gotten out of QA: A car that had the propensity to disappear and Enclave Power Armour and a Plasma Rifle you can get within 15 minutes of starting the game comes to mind.

    • acronix says:

      We can´t excuse the mistakes of the present by pointing out that there are mistakes of the past, too.

      • Agiel7 says:

        I’m just pointing out that maybe all those games we loved in the past may or may not have been the shining examples of the sublime we thought they were. I adore Fallout 1 and 2, and I like New Vegas, I just think that people should have tempered expectations.

        • Hugo Sanchez says:

          Agreed. It’s funny how quickly people forget how Fallout 2 didn’t exactly live up to the original Fallout. It’s also funny how much some people let Nostaliga blind them.

          Sometimes though I feel it’s understandable. There are plenty of games I played as a kid and thought were the best thing ever, but trying to go back and play them now I get very frustrated at things I didn’t even remember when I first played them.

          Ah well, Who says you can’t go home again? *goes back to playing Fallout: New Vegas*

  20. Factoid says:

    Anybody know if these bugs are affecting the 360 version? I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this game, and I’d really like to pick it up, but I’ll wait until couple patches hit if it’s really bad. Seems like a few of these should be very easy fixes as long as Obsidian is at least willing to put a few weeks into post-launch support.

  21. thebigJ_A says:

    I’m having this frustrating, yet hilarious, bug where Ed-E decides, once in a great while, to go apeshit and murder some completely innocent, non-threatening npc.

    Needless to say, this can cause some problems.

    Unfortunately I’m playing on 360, so I have no clue what the patch fixes. Why haven’t they released patch notes?

    Aside from that, and two crashes in the same spot caused by taking my companion through a certain door, I’m absolutely loving it. More than FO3, which I loved. The writing is far better, so far, too.

    • eri says:

      Apparently the PC patch fixed some quest scripting issues, but Obsidian never said specifically what they were; I imagine those same fixes are on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The PC got a second patch which disables Steam Cloud functionality, which I imagine didn’t come to the console versions. :P

  22. omicron says:

    My thoughts on this: Same engine, right? Same front-end, probably the same menu code and SAME SAVING CODE! (Or at least something based on it)
    Apparently these guys decided to fix what ain’t broke, and died trying.

  23. ehlijen says:

    Is it possible that the savegame backup ‘feature’ was an attempt to prevent players from unknowingly ridding themselves of even more progress by unfixable errors building up in their savegames?

    Ie, whenever the game isn’t sure a savegame still works, it restores the slot to the latest known working status?

    Which is of course not an excuse or justification, just a possible, insane explanation for their madness. If that’s what they did, it’s just an admission of incompetence in fixing the problem. Discarding the corrupted data is of no help in fixing a probblem, so it’s not a feature left over from the development version. But throwing out savegames without warning is just declaring:
    “We just dumped a truck load of cow manure on you. Have an air freshener to help with the smell. By the way, thanks for the money! Bye!”

    • Mewse says:

      This is what I was thinking as well. Like they were having problems with save games being corrupted, and couldn’t figure out how it was happening, so some bright spark inserted a CRC check or other validation system.. and if a save file didn’t pass the CRC check, it’d be thrown out and replaced by the backup.

      It smells a lot like a last-minute work-around for a critical bug that they couldn’t solve.

    • eri says:

      Uh, no. The issue appears to be with the game backing up the first save files made and then constantly restoring the old files without re-uploading the new ones. It actually keeps your newest save files by making duplicates, but then the system downloads and overwrites those files on game launch. They only back up your most recent save anyway, so if there’s a bug that’s already developed… too late. I sort of understand the “we’ll back up your old saves in case newer ones break and you delete the old ones”, but Steam Cloud just isn’t that powerful and doesn’t provide such fine-grained control.

      See Modern Warfare 2 for a similar example: hacked multiplayer hosts can corrupt other players’ save files, and if they upload to Steam, there’s literally nothing they can do because the corrupt files keep getting downloaded over and over. As far as I know the only solution is to fully reinstall the game, losing all your progress in the process, and then get Steam to override the Cloud save with a fresh one.

      • SKD says:

        I had the SteamCloud issue in another game(can’t remember which at the moment) and the solution was to disable steam cloud and then delete the local steam cloud copy [~\Steam\userdata\(whichever folder corresponds to your userprofile)\(the folder which corresponds to the game)].

        Honestly Steam cloud sounds like a great idea but they have failed to properly implement it as of yet.

  24. Daemian lucifer says:

    Well…I wouldnt blame only obsidian for this game because it was guys from bethesda that tested it for bugs(if I remember the interviews correctly).Still,I too knew it was going to be a bugfest,and I doubt that anyone really believed it will be without some major ones.

  25. Mewse says:

    Just a quick note from somebody who was a programmer in the games industry (for more than twelve years, up until five days ago):

    Publishers often get the short end of the stick when it comes to claims about “rushing games out before they’re finished”. But the truth is that before you start a project, both the publisher and the developer come to an agreement on the scope and budget of the project, and the date that it’ll be finished.

    When we talk about how a publisher “rushed a game out”, what that really means is “the developer failed to get the game done on-time and on-budget, and the publisher wasn’t willing to pay them more than they’d initially budgeted.” This is a lack of basic professionalism on the developer’s part; delivering what you promised, when you promised it.

    In the case of KotOR2, Obsidian apparently signed a development contract requiring them to create a full RPG in just 12 months, and then discovered that, whoops, they couldn’t actually do it. And when the time and money ran out, the publisher (observing how time and money had been spent thus far) didn’t feel that investing any more time or money would be productive.

    • eri says:

      It’s worth pointing out that Obsidian actually had their deadline slashed in that instance, because LucasArts wanted the game out for the holiday season. They even asked if they could finish the game and release the remaining content via a free update, and LucasArts said no to that as well.

      Sometimes developers are just disorganised, I’ll give you that, and in a lot of cases poor management is the issue more than anything else. Like any creative industry it’s extremely hard to get good results on a perfect schedule, even more so considering that games require ten times as many man hours as, say, television shows or films, and the current model we have for making games simply does not acknowledge that fact. Developers are the ones who sign the contracts, sure, but the field is so amazingly competitive that very few developers can afford to turn down a project, which leads to them more or less being forced to take on projects in unreasonable timeframes. There’s a reason so many game developers have to work 14 hour days for months on end: it’s either make your unreasonable milestones, or go out of business.

      It’s largely an abusive and exploitative relationship, and it means the videogame industry has one of the largest turnover rates of any other industry – when there’s no job security, the pay is shit and your creative spark keeps getting crushed by marketing departments who would rather you relinquish your creativity to an endless focus panel barrage, there’s little reason for anyone but the extremely tenacious and the young, optimistic souls who haven’t yet been ruined to participate. Lack of professionalism might well be a problem, but the reason there’s so few professionals can often be placed squarely at the feet of publishers.

  26. Simon says:

    It’s always a bit of pot-luck when it comes to games these days, it seems. That said, I have had only a single CTD, which led me to disable vsync and some graphics options I didn’t like (not sure how related they were but I didn’t want them anyway). Since then, no problems in about 8 hours of play.

    Cannot speak for the 360, which I have heard about some problems. On the PC, I am aware of the stutter bug but that is due to an NVidia driver update (happens to other games too). There’s a workaround and NVidia should fix that at some point.

    There is a save game issue but that is because of some weirdness with the Steam Cloud. If you don’t use Steam Cloud, you won’t see it. The current patch disables Steam Cloud for it completely to get around the issue.

    There is another save game issue but that is to do with Quick Saves in the GameByro engine. This one dates back to Morrowind and it’s STILL IN THE DARN ENGINE. Basically – don’t rely on the quick/auto saves (use at own risk).

    I am still annoyed that the floaty movement lag bug still exists – that’ one’s been around only since Oblivion and yet another irritating GameByro bug.

    I cannot say I am aware of other issues of note so far. I don’t want to knock anyone having problems since I know they exist, but for me it’s been as stable as half my other games (better than AP for sure).

  27. Integer Man says:

    Not to mention their customer service issues. I’ve had the same sorts of problems and experienced the same coldness / rudeness from their tech support teams for Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Fallout New Vegas.

    As I’m writing this, I’m still waiting on Bethesda tech support with Fallout New Vegas to help me with the same crash on game engine start that I experienced in Fallout 3 (at the time they refused to help me with that since Windows 7 wasn’t officially supported with Fallout 3, even Win 7 is fundamentally just a more polished and re-branded version of Vista and were developing New Vegas at that time).

    I agree that there are multiple things fundamentally wrong with Bethesda, Obsidian, and their other associates from project management to quality control to public relations to technical support.

  28. Matt K says:

    I actually just bought Alpha Protocol ($13 at Target). It looked neat enough and at that price it hopefully won’t make me regret the purchase.

  29. Goliathvv says:

    I’ll just copy my comment from an old post about Alpha Protocol:

    “Actually, I’m waiting for the right time to play this game. Which means: let obsidian take it’s time to correct the bugs, and hope some good souls will use their spare time to ballance the game, and by good souls I mean modders.”

    I would only swap ballance for “correct even more bugs”.

    But really, we were all expecting this. Obsidian has already established itself as a dev that makes games with both amazing features and terrible flaws.

    But what’s that? Oh, another ship on the horizon! I hope those poor souls aren’t that unlucky this time…

  30. PurePareidolia says:

    I’ve been one of the lucky ones with New Vegas – only a few crashes, very little in the way of non-classic gamebyro bugs (messed up ragdolls return like an old, slightly irritating friend). The only significant loss of progress was when I realised the console prevents achievements but doesn’t tell you anywhere that it would. That set me back a few hours but I’ve since regained my progress (I’d been using it for saving and occasionally unsticking myself from the terrain).

    Too early to tell but I’ve honestly experienced worse glitches with fully unofficial-patched Fallout 3.

    Not that I’m saying you’re remotely wrong, just that this seems to be a matter of luck.

    But oh how I wish they had used a better engine.

    • SKD says:

      Ran into a bug today where I hopped up on a bulder and endded up in a perpetual falling state which barred me from being able to fast travel. Luckily I was able to quicksave, load, finish falling into the boulder and fast travel out. But considering the number of issues I have experienced with terrain in FO3 and FONV I wish they hadn’t made any use of the console an automatic achievement block.

    • Sigilis says:

      Just wanted to agree with your assessment. Some people get lucky, and the others go home losers. That’s Vegas for you.

      In that respect, this game is probably the best simulation of New Vegas that could have been produced. I’m one of the lucky ones too, even won a 16k jackpot on the slots without problems. I do not deny that others are having problems, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to appreciate the game without significant issues, it is quite a ride.

      Is it worth the risk to purchase without knowing how your system will handle it?

      Is it worth going to Vegas even if you know you’ll only end up losing money?

    • Jordan says:

      It does? Crap. I used tcl to loot some bodies on top of a roof that was otherwise unaccessible. Meh.

  31. acronix says:

    I´ve just discovered that, ussually, just before my game crashes the sound starts acting funny. As in, I shot my shotgun, but the sounds comes later (or never at all); or dialogue going completely mute. The rest of the times it seems to be completely random. I wonder if I should update the sound card drivers…Um…

    • Blake says:

      I’d get this on my PS3 copy of Fallout 3. The game has a habit of crashing on me when I play it for prolonged periods of time (with game quality deteriorating over time).
      I found once it hit the point that all sounds were coming in late it was time to restart my console then all was well again.
      I’m guessing they had a bad case of memory fragmentation.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        Morrowind has this problem, so it could be Gamebryo. In that, it’s just if you don’t save for an hour or so, and it’ll even autosave and throw up a “bad memory pointer” message before shutting itself down. Maybe just set a timer for forty minutes or so, save and restart when it goes off?

  32. Rick W says:

    I didn’t like KotOR 2, even excusing the ending (which improved my opinion of the game by making me forget everything else I hated… until I went back and replayed last year). I bogged down in NWN 2 and never cared to pick it back up, then heard about the ending and decided I didn’t care to finish it.

    At that point, I decided that even if Obsidian made a game that sounded like everything I was looking for in a game and got rave reviews, I wouldn’t buy it until it hit the discount rack. So far I haven’t had my will tested; Alpha Protocol didn’t sound like my type of game, and I’ve never played any of the Fallout series so I’m definitely not going to start with an Obsidian Fallout.

    At this point waiting for the discout rack seems generous.

    • swimon says:

      I agree completely. I finished KOTOR2 (unfortunately) but otherwise our stories seem very similar.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Well, if you haven’t played the original Fallouts, the trilogy packs have 1, 2 and Tactics in them, and Fallout 3 has plenty of patches(official and unofficial), DLC and mods. Enough to keep you busy until the New Vegas goatee edition comes out and gets discounted.

  33. KremlinLaptop says:

    Like the guy who has had four disastrous marriages, “Dude, maybe the problem isn’t ‘women’. Maybe the problem is you?”

    Alright, I know it’s a bit off-topic — but this guy. God damn I know this guy and I hate that douche. He’s the guy who invites you to have a beer with him after his billionth failed relationship, mostly so he can shake his fist impotently at nothing while raging about how, “Those bitches just don’t get me!”

    Also it’s highly likely that said guy is going to go on about how ‘nice’ he is while referring to the other participants in his relationships as bitches, whores and sluts repeatedly.

    Man that guy pisses me off.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Also, yeah Obsidian… well they sucks. I actually got my hopes up for New Vegas, to the point I was at the pre-purchase screen on Steam more than a few weeks back — but then some voice in the back of my head gently prodded me away.

      I’m fairly glad I did.

      Also not editing that post to include this but instead replying to myself to make myself look popular. Also it’s like six clicks and a mouse drag to get this to the edit box.

      Edit: Ugh, reading the comments at the escapist is once again depressing. “I PLAYED THIS GAME FOR TWENTY NINE DAYS WITHOUT SLEEP OR URINATION AND I CAN CONFIRM NOT A SINGLE BUG WAS ENCOUNTERED. YOU MUST BE WRONG MR. SHAMUS OR POSSIBLY YOUR COMPUTER IS VERY BAD. THANK YOU.”

  34. pkt-zer0 says:

    I don’t recall Mask of the Betrayer being particularly buggy. Or Storm of Zehir, from what I’ve heard of it. Seems a bit unfair to arbitrarily dismiss those two.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Mask of the Betrayer was actually bloody good and not at all as buggy, the problem is… you pay what, sixty dollars for a new game? I forget what MotB cost when it came out, but let’s say it’s thirty dollars.

      So one year later you pay thirty dollars to make the game ‘good’? Yeah, no thanks. It MotB was a stand-alone game it would be childish to dismiss it, but it wasn’t — you needed NWN2 to run it and frankly NWN2 was a bit of a steaming pile.

      Of course I’m a huge fan of NWN, the lovely Aurora toolset and so forth, so I might be a bit biased — NWN2 was a big let-down.

    • acronix says:

      Mask of the Betrayer can´t be counted as a “game Obsidian din´t make buggy as an ant hill” because, well, it was an expansion. However, it´s true that it was just amazing and had very few bugs. In fact, I think it solved many the OC had. At least the toolset became a charm to use.

      Storm of Zehyr broke the toolset, though. A normal player who doesn´t care about it probably wouldn´t have much issues with the singleplayer bugs (I had, but a lot of people didn´t), but I was in the making of a (big) module and thanks to Storm of Zehyr the save got corrupted. And the backup. And the backups of the backup.. Too much time went in there to make me start again, so I rageunnistalled it. Then I just threw it over the window and never bothered again.

      • Raygereio says:

        That’s not SoZ’s fault. It’s a bug that’s been present in the toolset since the early days of NWN. Be sure to disable the autosave in the toolset.

        • acronix says:

          Yeah, I knew it was something with the autosave. But it did never happen when I was messing around with the toolset before SoZ. Good to know it would have happened anyway eventually, I guess.

  35. Raygereio says:

    Meh, to each their own. Maybe they’re wrecked ships for you, Shamus. I see a ship that you may have to kick the engine of a little to get going, but in the end does get you to the magic happy land of fun.

  36. Nick Pitino says:

    I picked it up for the 360, as my PC can barely even play Star Craft and money for a new one isn’t in the cards any time soon. Like, not this year and maybe not next.

    Anyway, maybe I’ve just been lucky but I haven’t had any real major problems. Biggest thing that’s gone wrong so far is that one time when I reloaded a game and immediately tried to quick-travel to a certain time the game would lock up on the loading screen. This was solved by just dithering about where I was for a little while and trying again.

    Other than that it’s been more or less problem free besides the occasional character-model-tweaks-out-for-a-second-or-two.

    As mentioned before maybe I’ve just been lucky but the stronger feeling I’m getting is that as usual the focus was on the console version and PC users are getting the scraps.

  37. Eddie says:

    Obsidian really are one of my most hated developers. Not because they make bad games; bad games are easy to just forget about and move on, but because they make absolutely fantastic games and then don’t finish them. And then beat them repeatedly over the head with a buggy stick. I hate them because I love them and they keep treating me so badly.

    I tried to play KOTOR 2 again recently and I realised that I had forgotten how vastly superior to KOTOR 1 it was, right up until the point where I gave up playing because I had to restart the game or computer multiple times just to get it to load saves. Which also meant that I didn’t get anywhere even close to the end. It’s always incredibly frustrating to see massive potential pissed away like this.

  38. ima420r says:

    I have had a few graphical glitches like my gun and hand moving to a spot it shouldn’t, and some framerate problems. Other than that, and falling through a mountain once, I haven’t had any issues. *knocks on wood*. The game is awesome fun!

  39. Vladius says:

    For KOTOR 2 fans out there who were disappointed with the lost content and then disappointed again when “Team Gizka” thought they ruled the school with a restoration mod and never finished it, a lesser-known group did their own mod.
    Download: http://www.deadlystream.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240
    List of changes: http://www.deadlystream.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135
    It’s worth another playthrough, at least.

  40. Nihil says:

    I’ll take a buggy but interesting game over a polished but dull one any day of the week including Nottherday.

    Bugs almost always get fixed. If not in a patch, in an expansion. If not in an expansion, then in user-created mods (and absolutely nobody’s pointing guns at their heads to do it, mind you).

    Sure, it may take weeks, or months, or even years (KOTOR2 Restored Content Mod). But eventually, I’ll be able to purchase a game that is both creative and stable.

    But short of a total conversion, which is infinitely rarer and harder than simple bug-fixes, you can’t make a stupid game intelligent. You can’t make dull characters interesting. You can’t make derivative gameplay innovative.

    In 2011 or 2012, the Fallout: New Vegas you will find in the half-price shelf will be a thoroughly enjoyable and stable game, just as Mask of the Betrayer and KOTOR2+RCM now are. But Fallout 3 will still be full of retarded plots. Dragon Age: Origins will still railroad the hell out of me. Blizzard games will still have committee-designed story and gameplay.

    Those problems don’t get fixed.

    Am I happy that Obsidian is functionally handicapped when it comes to setting up the most basic QA process? Heck no. Would I buy, or suggest others buy, their games on Day One? Hell no. Would I want them to go bankrupt? DAMN [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [OH GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU] NO.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      This is pretty much how I feel, ‘failed marriages’ or no, whether it’s their fault or not, I feel it’d be a far greater crime to just let them fade away into bankruptcy.

  41. Aufero says:

    It’s safe to say I never had any intention of playing an expansion to a game I wasn’t able to play for more than half an hour at a time without a crash, (usually more like five minutes) despite 20+ hours of searches, patching, fiddling with drivers, etc.

    That the expansion was made by Obsidian, a studio whose name has practically become synonymous with phoning in sequels, just confirmed it.

  42. krellen says:

    I just want to mention another developer that constantly releases buggy products that somehow people keep coming back to again and again, regardless of past experiences:

    Microsoft.

  43. Agiel7 says:

    And for god’s sake, man up! Some of PC gaming’s greatest gems were filled to the brim with bugs: STALKER: SoC with crashes to desktops every 5 minutes, Vampire: The Masquerade with broken-ass quest scripting, ArmA 2 with buggy AI, and Falcon 4.0 with its dynamic campaign system that led to situations right out of Groundhog Day. Even Kieron Gillen of Rock, Paper, Shotgun fame said this about Boiling Point, the game that was perhaps the buggiest game ever made: “Patching the bugs out of Boiling Point is like erasing a mustache drawn on the Mona Lisa: Sure, you could do it, but why on earth would you want to?”

    • Shamus says:

      Just to be clear: By “man up” you mean “bend over and pay top-dollar for a buggy game and then don’t even complain about it”?

      The virtue of Obsidian writers does not cover the sin of the Obsidian QA team. Especially in things like the save game bug, which would be easy to find, easy to fix, and has a disastrous impact on the quality of the game.

      • hattimatti says:

        You know, you CAN just wait for a month or two to buy it you know? Eventually wait for a month for all the necessary patches. This is annoying, true, but nothing a grown up shouldn’t be able to handle with relative ease. Ergo, “man up”.

        Bugs are temporary, good writing is immortal. Too bad you will slam a game that has excellent mechanics and writing for its bugs, and praise a game with pants-on-head retarded mechanics and writing (FO3).

        • Vipermagi says:

          One shouldn’t have to postpone the purchase of a game because it’s bugged to hell.

        • Zukhramm says:

          But does “we’ll fix it later” excuse releasing a product with lots of faults?

          • evileeyore says:

            I’m guessing he thinks the way FO3 was torn a new one meant the Spoiler Warning team loved it immensely.

            I mean if they didn’t love it, they wouldn’t have given it black eyes right?

        • Blake says:

          If I’m to pay $110 Aussie dollars for a new game (that’s $107.8 US dollars for those unaware of current exchange rates) I expect a game that’s of high quality. Not something half baked that’ll get there eventually.

        • Irridium says:

          You didn’t see the 14 hours of Spoiler Warning where he basically verbally tore the game to shreds, did you?

          • ps238principal says:

            That I did, and much of what was said was quite justified (though I think there was also a lot of rose-tint on glasses being worn by F1&2 fans; those games were buggy as well, with plenty of game-breaking exploits and stuff that made little sense. Consult the Vault Wiki walkthroughs for details), especially about the writing. This seemed to be what Shamus was going to bring to bear on the next game, whether it deserved it or not.

            However, his “New Vegas Developer Interview” was rather unfair, as it basically was judging a movie by its trailer. It’s like assuming “Inception” is just going to be about martial arts and Matrix-like fight scenes. Having played over 40 bug-free hours of FNV, there’s little “hurr durr explosions” at the center of the game.

            If it was meant as a play for laughs, then the “hurr durr” went on a bit too long.

            • krellen says:

              Inception wasn’t about martial arts and Matrix-like fight scenes? They really should have mentioned that in the trailer; maybe I would have actually seen the movie.

              • ps238principal says:

                So let me get this straight: You think Big Macs look like they do on menus, that drinking certain brands of beer causes bikini-clad women to appear, and that the Evony browser game has truckloads of cleavage in it?

                • Irridium says:

                  Are you saying all those things aren’t true?

                • krellen says:

                  Your argument makes no sense.

                  I’m saying that billing something as it is not means you might drive away customers that would otherwise be interested in your product. You’re saying advertisers always lie, so I should have to try everything for myself to see how I like it regardless of how they’re trying to sell it to me.

                  How does that argument follow at all?

                • ps238principal says:

                  What I’m saying is that you should know better.

                  To go by the cover art for the original Fallout, you’d have decided it was only interesting if you were into weird-looking helmets.

                  Trailers highlight the flashy and quick-fire stuff, and everyone who was born before 1950 should be quite aware of this by now. One does not sell a car by showing people fiddling with the radio or getting comfy in the seats, but we know that a vehicle zooming over roads isn’t the only aspect of choosing a car.

                  Quit being obtuse just for the sake of being negative.

            • Agiel7 says:

              I think it’s doubly unfair that he knocks the developers for pandering to a less cerebral audience based on the trailer. For example, Longbow 2 has a trailer like this, with all-american gunships ‘sploding Iranian armour to a rockin’ guitar solo:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG9EEp5Oqj4

              Keep in mind, this is probably one of the most challenging and mentally grueling games out there. Prioritizing targets with the Longbow’s fire-control radar, slaving imaging from the Forward Looking Infra-red camera to your TADS display, switching between all the avionics systems as the situation demands on your multi-function displays, and that’s before you start learning the steps to spot for targets with the mast-mounted scope in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

        • Shamus says:

          I have savaged Fallout 3 in the past.

          And there is nothing “manly” about letting yourself be treated like a chump. It’s your money. Demand quality for it.

          • hattimatti says:

            Obviously it is unacceptable to get such a bugged product, but as with all things in life, there are degrees. The annoyance caused by having to wait a month would warrant a rant, but likening them with the captain of Titanic*4, calling them a wreck etc is just a ridiculous overreaction.

    • acronix says:

      You fail to mention that some of PC gaming´s other greatest gems are not filled to the brim with bugs. See Half-Life; Age of Empires 2; Warcraft and Starcraft; Company of Heroes; Baldur´s Gate 2; Civilization, Master of Magic*.

      *No, that´s not a bug. That´s a feature. Stop whinning!

      • Raygereio says:

        Baldur’s Gate 2, Warcraft, Age of Empires 2 all had bugs, lot’s of them in fact. Some of them got patched and some of the bugs are still present.

        Oh, about Half Life. Never played one, but let’s talk about Half Life 2. When I play any game build on the Source Engine on a higher resolution then I have on my desktop, the game either doens’t start at all, or CTD’s when I quicksave. Gee; isn’t that something that the QA team should have picked up? It’s also a known bug from day one that Valve never bothered patching.

        Look; the fact other game’s have bugs to doesn’t excuse a buggy release. It does not. Period. But why don’t we all try and not be hypocritical by pretending Obsidian is the only one to do this? This isn’t a problem with Obsidian, this is problem for the game industry as a whole.

        • acronix says:

          Your screen problem doesn´t compare: yours is quite obscure (why do you want to put bigger resolution than on your desktop?), while everyone will save their games sooner or later.

          Obsidian* is the only developer who drops buggy, almost unplayable stuff for most of its user base. The others drop bugged stuff too, yes. But those are mostly playable. Obsidian is mostly unplayable.

          *And Bethesda, that is.

          • Raygereio says:

            “Your screen problem doesn´t compare: yours is quite obscure (why do you want to put bigger resolution than on your desktop?), while everyone will save their games sooner or later.”
            Really? A bug that prevents you from starting the game and saving (and is obscure because you never heard of it) from a game whose developer and publisher was one and the same company, does not compare to the save corrupting bug in another game (a bug that was most likely not introduced by the developer). Huh, funny how that works.

            “Obsidian is the only developer who drops buggy, almost unplayable stuff for most of its user base.”
            This is so wrong, that I can only conclude you haven’t bought a videogame in the last 20 years. Let me pick something at random from my game collection. How about Empire Total War? Or Spore. Or Assassin’s Creed 2 (oh wait, that wasn’t a bug that causes the crashes in that game, it was the DRM feature, nevermind).
            Again; don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t pretend Obsidian is the only developer that’s crappy at meeting deadlines

            • acronix says:

              Source games are starting with an higher resolution than your desktop? I thought you were manually changing it for some reason. I misunderstood your example. Apologies for that.

              I´m not aware of the unplayability of Empire: Total War. I know it suffered from CTDs since I suffered some myself, but they weren´t so close to each other compared to New Vegas. I guess I got lucky there.
              When you mention Spore do you mean the “attack every ten minutes!” thing? That was annoying, yes.

              We are complaining about Obsidian because we bought a bunch of products from them. And every one of them (except Mask of the Betrayer) had numerous problems. Saying “stop pretending Obsidian is the only!” is like saying that we can´t complain to the architect that the house we bought from him is falling apart because there´s other architects that are making crappy houses too.

              Simply put, the fact that others are doing things wrong doesn´t serve as an excuse. Otherwise, we couldn´t claim anything from anyone as long as there´s a lot of other people doing the same thing:

              “Rob, you thief! That´s my tie!”
              “Don´t be an hypocrite! Everyone is stealing ties now.”
              While in other place of the world:
              “Eddie, you thief! That tie is mine!”
              “Shut up! There´s a lot of other people stealing ties too, and you aren´t complaining about them!”

              • Raygereio says:

                “Source games are starting with an higher resolution than your desktop? I thought you were manually changing it for some reason. I misunderstood your example. Apologies for that.”
                I originally said it wrong (I blame a lack of coffee). Source games crash when the resolution is different from that of the desktop. Not just higher, but also lower. So when my desktop is set to 1280×1024 and the game defaults to 800×600 when you start it. It’s a problem with ATI’s HD3000 series apparently.

                “Saying “stop pretending Obsidian is the only!” is like saying that we can´t complain to the architect that the house we bought from him is falling apart because there´s other architects that are making crappy houses too.”
                No. That’s definetly not what I’m saying. I’m not saying we can’t complain. I am NOT excusing buggy releases. What I am is annoyed that some people are pretending Obsidian is the only architect to design faulty houses, while other architect are getting away with the exact same thing.

      • Lovecrafter says:

        No, that´s not a bug. That´s a feature.

        Would make a great tagline for “QA Testing: The Game”

        You’re a recently graduated programmer and you got a job at an established company. But before you can start developing, you must first pay your dues by testing the company’s upcoming releases. Can you rid these games from their numerous bugs, keep the fans happy and work your way up the ladder so you can make the game of your dreams?

        QA Testing: The Game
        “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”

        (Possible DLC incudes soon-to-be-released games from companies the world over.)

        • Michael says:

          In random, slightly too sick to move, pedantic mode: “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature” is an old saying that goes back to at least the early 90s. Though I haven’t heard it in years. (Supposedly it was actually said by Bill Gates regarding one of the early Windows distributions.)

          I say this on the off chance you weren’t around when it was a common joke.

  44. acabaca says:

    Obsidian gets a lot of free goodwill because it’s allegedly Black Isle’s descendant, and BI made amazing game after amazing game. People want them to be awesome. But it should be clear to everyone by now that Obsidian is not Black Isle reborn. And neither was Troika.

    • Raygereio says:

      I give Obsidian a lot of goodwil because they’re one of the few developers with halfway decent writers. In that they are awesome.

    • Michael says:

      I’m not so sure about that. Troika created a couple titles that were on par with the original Fallout games (Arcanum and Bloodlines). And, yes, I do remember who buggy and exploitable the original Fallout titles were.

  45. Azrael says:

    Not saying that Obsidian is the ‘victim’, whatever that means, but there IS one cold hard fact that needs mentioning. In game development, the publisher is responsible for bug-testing. The developer sends the game to the publisher, the publisher tests it and gives a list of bugs, the developer fixes the bugs and sends the next build to be tested. The publisher approves the final build. No amount of prior history can erase that fact: the publisher is responsible for bug-testing.

    And if you read the publisher comments regarding New Vegas, what do you see? Not some wacky deal where the usual order of game development is usurped with the developer taking over a responsibility that is usually squarely on the publishers. No, you see Bethesda (the publisher) being responsible for Q+A(which includes bug-testing).

  46. flushfire says:

    I have both FO3 and NV. Haven’t seen or read any bug in NV that’s vastly different from the bugs in FO3. Haven’t had any problems with the game myself and I’m even playing in a more than 3 year old PC. As for the save game bug, there’s a quickfix already out.

    Sadly people expected Obsidian to fix issues that were already in FO3, while nobody really ranted on Bethesda about how buggy FO3 was when it came out (except maybe the codex lol, since they’re still not blinded by all the bloom). And now everyone blames Obsidian.

    I’d rather have a better game than a more stable one. Bugs can be patched while retarded dialog and poor gameplay mechanics are almost never fixed, even with mods.

    • Ogg says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Actually, I even have less issues with NV than I had with FO3 (technical issues, of course). I really don’t understand what all the rant is about. I guess that Obsidian is now judged solely based on their past record. They’ll be forever remembered as the devs who make buggy titles, no matter how good their productions are.

    • acronix says:

      I think there are quite a few rants out there about Fallout 3´s buggynes. They are just not in any magazine review, I think.

      • Ogg says:

        I had a look on this blog (since it’s this blog we’re commenting on) and didn’t find such a rant on FO3. Talk about double standard.

        • Shamus says:

          You probably don’t watch Spoiler Warning, where three of use tore the game to bits for FOURTEEN HOURS.

          Which is beside the point. It’s not like I’m obligated to indict all previous buggy games before I’m allowed to bring charges against New Vegas. It’s buggy. Other games are buggy. But the point of the article is that Obsidian has an abominable track record and that they should do the right thing and fix this defect in their development process.

          Also note that “it works fine for me!” doesn’t really help all the people with serious problems. There are serious, game-killing bugs in here. You’re acting like everyone else is making a big deal out of nothing, but having hours of gameplay erased is actually a big deal, as are some of the other glitches.

          • Ogg says:

            Oh, so you’re just raging on the Internet because you only used quicksaves and they got crushed (not working quicksaves are some kind of feature of classic Fallout :) ). That’s okay, I can understand that. But next time, just go ranting on the dev/publisher technical forum, like any angry customer do. No need to make it look like an analysis from a serious and impartial journalist.

            Also:
            Obviously, I don’t watch all what you do, no. Sorry for not being one of your fans.

            • Shamus says:

              Oh, so you’re raging on the internet because someone said something mean about a game or company you don’t like. That’s okay. I understand. But next time, go complain to your friends rather than pretending to give constructive or informed feedback.

              See how easy this is?

              I’ll keep my own council on what to write about, thanks. Again, you’re acting like I’m not allowed to point out these flaws in Obsidian’s work because it’s mean or whatever. You’re wrong. End of story. When someone sells a shoddy product I’m going to call them on it. I think more writers should be doing this, so game companies have a less cavalier attitude towards it.

              “No need to make it look like an analysis from a serious and impartial journalist.”

              I was serious. It was an analysis. I’m not a journalist. I’m worse. I’m a programmer, and I’m fully qualified to comment on what a crap job they’re doing.

              • Ogg says:

                “Oh, so you’re raging on the internet because someone said something mean about a game or company you don’t like.”

                Actually, at first, I was just commenting in a very sensible way. Trying to share my experience and to understand what the problem was. The answers I received are what made me rage.

                “Again, you’re acting like I’m not allowed to point out these flaws in Obsidian’s work because it’s mean or whatever.”

                Actually, I was just telling my own experience, like you did. I had no problem with the game. And I didn’t understand what all the rage was about (I now see that it is nothing rational, and I can sympathize with that)

                “I’m a programmer, and I’m fully qualified to comment on what a crap job they’re doing.”

                That’s what’s great with the Internet, every moron feels qualified to comment on anything. … Of course, I include myself in the lot.

                • Namaps says:

                  Filling every one of your posts with passive-aggressive insults hardly seems like a person “commenting in a very sensible way.” And to indict Shamus for not being a “serious and impartial journalist” seems kind of silly. Does anyone really go to somebody’s personal blog and expect serious and impartial journalism? I don’t think Shamus has ever claimed his blog has or is even meant to have that sort of content.

                  Though, that said, I often find that Shamus’ blog can be a little more reliable than actual professional reviews. Now, I don’t know what it is that’s wrong with the system that exists for reviewing video games, whether it’s people being too dazzled by big budgets or if there really is some industry corruption and conflict-of-interests or whatever, but there’s definitely something wrong, and big major flaws in big-budget games are often overlooked. I read Shamus’ blog because it often provides much more down-to-earth thoughts about games, or at least that’s how I’ve found it to be, and Shamus and I have a similar taste when it comes to games.

                  I’m no dunce who was somehow confused into thinking that Shamus was a professional game reviewer and have been fooled into missing out on good games because of his “irrational rage.” I like reading Shamus’ blog because we have similar tastes and because he quite often has something thoughtful and interesting to say. Sort of like how I pick what movie critics to listen to, professional or otherwise. I hardly go leaving insulting comments on movie reviewers’ websites because they were not fond of some movie I enjoyed because of very real flaws.

            • acronix says:

              To add insult to injury:
              “Obviously, I don’t watch all what you do, no.”

              But right before that you said:
              “I had a look on this blog (since it’s this blog we’re commenting on) and didn’t find such a rant on FO3. Talk about double standard.”

              Which means that somehow your view skipped about 14 posts that had “Fallout 3 Let´s Play” in their titles (we can forgive you didn´t saw the other 14 that didn´t explicitly say so), didn´t bother to check them EVEN when you were SPECIFICALLY looking for Fallout 3´s rants; then you came here to say that there was no rant. And when pointed out of your mistake, you say: “Sorry for not being one of your fans.” like you it hasn´t anything to do with the current conversation.

              Also, it wasn´t just the quicksave that got corrupted. So…can I say it? Can I?! Yes? Yay!

              Epic Fail, buddy. Epic. Fail!!

              • Ogg says:

                Oh, you don’t understand English very well, it seems. I’m sorry, I didn’t learn English as my mother tongue either and some subtleties sometimes somehow seem hard to grasp too. When I say “I had a look”, it doesn’t mean I read each post that was related to fallout 3 and I didn’t indulge myself with 14 hours of fan-made videos to make my point. It just means that I spent some times reading posts that seemed relevant to the subject, you know, Fallout 3 and bugs. Had I been talking about the influence of Kant on modern philosophy, I would certainly have done more efforts.

                As for your “BOOO!!!111 EPIC FIAL!111” I just… pfff… it’s pathetic. Go back with your frat friends or 4chan buddies, whoever they are. You’ll have a wonderful time with them.

                • acronix says:

                  You still fail, or I guess you forgot to use the search tool. It was a Fallout 3 Let´s Play. Let´s Plays are known to have commentary about the game. You prefered to think “Blog has no Fallout 3 bugs rants anywhere!” instead of wondering “Maybe the rant I´m looking for was somewhere in that Let´s Play I didn´t watch, so it would be redundant for the blogger to make a written rant about bugs when they have been pointing them out in a 14+ video series?”. You didn´t bother to check if it was so, and decided that there was no rant at all. But it happens that there were several rant in those videos. And you still pretend to excuse your wrong statements.

                • flushfire says:

                  I looked at the date of that FO3 LP posting (and the comments’ dates), it’s May 4, 2010. I’m sorry, I must be a total moron, but isn’t that 2 years after the game’s release?

                  When this was posted it hasn’t been a week since NV’s release, and Shamus has “only seen a tiny bit of it so far”.

                • Jep jep says:

                  As if having several bad experiences with Obsidian titles in the past wasn’t an “excuse” enough to be angry. Claiming that you’ve read the blog, I’d say that if anyone lacks reading comprehension, it’s you. You don’t agree with the negative opinions, that’s all fine, but when you act like somebody just threatened the lives of your loved ones, you should expect raised ires. It’s a game, a game people have paid money for, and there’s no reason why anyone should not be allowed to voice critique about it.

                  You had no problems with the game, that’s all the better for you, but that doesn’t remove the fact that many others did and with a save problem like that, it’s no small thing considering the amount of lost time and effort it can and has caused.

                • Ogg says:

                  My reply to acronix:
                  I maintain that this blog has no rant against FO3 bugs. I even don’t need to watch the Let’s Play posts. I think you can understand the difference between a post (and it seems that there is also an article on the escapist) promoting the idea that FO:NV is unplayable and whatever the author said in his FO3 videos. On the one hand he writes a piece of text with a single subject: “Obsidian has once again developed an unpplayable game”. On the other hand, he played FO3 for 14 hours during which he may (I still haven’t watched them, I don’t have 14 hours to loose) have noticed some bugs here and there. So, once again, I’m not excusing my wrong statements, I’m grounding them with evidences.

                  Anyway, I spent too much on this amateur (amateur, like in not professional, not like in the etymological and noble sense) blog answering to readers who feel insulted by the fact that someone may not be angry at game developers.

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  Ogg: To the people who *have* watched the videos in question, the following:

                  “On the other hand, he played FO3 for 14 hours during which he may [..] have noticed some bugs here and there”

                  You really have no idea. Please, either stop your bitching and maintaining a stance that is inherently false, or.. I don’t know. Just stop, ok?

                • acronix says:

                  Ogg: You haven´t watched the videos, yet you make statements about it. Eliah just quoted you. How do you know it was a “bug here and there” if you don´t have 14 hours to waste? You are making conclusions out of thin air, and then you call them “evidence”.

                  What I really don´t understand is how you can say:
                  “I think you can understand the difference between a post promoting the idea that FO:NV is unplayable and whatever the author said in his FO3 videos.” (Enfasis mine)

                  This last part clearly shows that you are disregarding the videos just because…uh…what? Because they are videos? How do you know there´s such a difference if you have clearly not watched them? I mean, you just said you didn´t, so evidently you can´t know if there´s any difference or not between them and the rant. How is that evidence?

                  And lastly, why do you flee the discussion? You are not losing, according to you, and you are right. According to you, again. You are also grounding everything with evidence. According to you. Evidence alone should crush our feeble arguments, but it isn´t. Why? If your evidence is valid, then our arguments can only stand to it because we have counter-evidence. Evidence that you are not willing to acknowledge because “your time cannot be wasted”.

                  Addendum: Epic fail!

                • flushfire says:

                  There really is no need to watch the whole of it. Shamus himself implied what was in it when he said:
                  “You probably don’t watch Spoiler Warning, where three of use tore the game to bits for FOURTEEN HOURS.”
                  after Ogg’s:
                  “I had a look on this blog (since it’s this blog we’re commenting on) and didn’t find such a rant on FO3. Talk about double standard.”

                  Seriously, that argument is just retarded. How hard is it to understand the difference between unplayable and a 14-hour LP that may have torn the game to bits? There wouldn’t be a LP if the game wasn’t playable FFS.

                • acronix says:

                  “How hard is it to understand the difference between unplayable and a 14-hour LP that may have torn the game to bits?”
                  Remember that the LP was brought up because someone “pointed out” that Shamus hadn´t ranted about Fallout 3´s bugs: it was a counterpoint. How hard is that to understand?

                  Anyway, I think the problem is that we are understanding “unplayable” differently. There´s the literal interpretation, as in “Unable to be played”. However, the use of the word “unplayable” in this case, denoted by context, is “Playing is so difficult that it may very well not be played.” Definitions of words don´t depend of what the dictionary says; it depends on the use it´s given. Then the different uses get written on the dictionary when they get popular enough.

              • X2-Eliah says:

                Also, a final note. You say you just took a peek on this blog.

                The first thing you said was that Shamus was ‘talking out of his ass’.

                If that’s not a flamebait/troll, then I don’t know what is.

  47. Khizan says:

    The only real bugs I’ve noticed is that every 4 hours or so, the game starts running like shit and I eventually CTD and it won’t run right after that. A reboot solves it for another 4 hours. I figure there’s a memory leak somewhere, but I haven’t founda single bug that’s rendered the game anything close to unplayable.

    As for the gameplay and storyline, it’s such a huge improvement over Fallout 3 that it’s rather ridiculous. While I don’t want to give away any storyline spoilers, I’ve come across a ton of moments that made me go “Hell yes, now THIS is what a Fallout game is supposed to be, people”.

    A lot of it has been, quite simply, that this world feels darker. It feels like Fallout, where I became a Made Man and helped the Mordino’s addict the world to Jet, or where I slept with Bishop’s wife and daughter. Where Vault City wanted me to commit genocide for reasons other than mustaschio twirling evil. My choices feel much more like choosing the right shade of gray. There are choices other than “Mustaschio Twirling Villain” and “Boy Scout with the Power Armor merit badge.” In Fallout 3, I felt as though I was on rails the entire time. In Fallout New Vegas, I’m left waffling as to which faction I really want to support, and I already know I’ll end up playing the game another time or two just to see where it ends up.

    The dialogue is also much improved. I’ve laughed out loud a fair bit, and I’ve yet to find anything so bad I can only facepalm in disgust. Gameplay wise, I’m loving the way that I can avoid an area because I can’t kill the pack of radscorpions around it, and come back to find the same(now harmless due to my extra levels) radscorpions, instead of a GIANT ALBINO SUPER BEHEMOTH RADSCORPION. My companion is interesting and adds something to my gameplay.

    Quite simply, this game feels like Fallout to me, in a way that Fallout 3 did not. Fallout 3 was rather sterilized, I think. Sure, there was a cannibal family, and some slavers. Thing is, those were about the only two areas that even came close to approaching a Fallout feel. In New Vegas, I got a quest to find and recruit a ghoul prostitute, a smooth-talking gigolo, and a sexbot. I blackmailed a guy into leaving town with his snuff films. I had a ganger drop the F-bomb on me several times and I ran into an army that crucifies people, and leaves them there for me to see.

    Bugs and all, this game felt good. It feels good. It’s like putting on an a battered old jacket come winter, and finding out that while it may have some weird stains and holes in the lining, it’s still pretty damn comfortable.

  48. Tse says:

    The most hilarious bug I’ve seen has to do with tied people or people faking death. When you reload close to them they are standing. There is no problem with the gameplay, though, I still had to untie them/check for pulse.

  49. Elethiomel says:

    By not playing Mask of the Betrayer you are doing yourself a disservice. It is an awesome game.

    If you see the spirit meter mechanic as a chore, mod the penalties for it away. Yeah, “fix their game with a mod”, but the rest of the game is worth it.

  50. Kavonde says:

    Wow, hot topic issue.

    Shamus, you’re completely justified in being pissed at Obsidian, and I don’t blame you for it. I’m truly disappointed this happened to you and colored your opinion of the game, though, ’cause as a man who disliked Fallout 3 and cheered along with Spoiler Warning’s thrashing of it, I’m absolutely loving New Vegas.

    If you ever get the chance, once everything’s all patched up and stable, find Vault 11 (as a hint, it’s between Novac and Boulder City) and tell me if your opinion on the game doesn’t improve.

    • Shamus says:

      I didn’t want to trample all over whatever review I might eventually write, but I’m digging the functional parts of the game as well. I’ve played through the middle-ish portion of the main quest twice now (haven’t beaten it yet) and I’m impressed with how much freedom you have.

      It’s really a shame about the bugs. I’d much rather have launched the NV discussion with the content of the game itself.

      • Michael says:

        Then, at the risk of sounding snide, why don’t you?

        I mean, I understand you don’t like Obsidian (or at least their buggy releases), and although I don’t agree with (or even like) your opinion on the subject, it’s still your opinion. Getting angry with you over it or (figuratively) flinging stones at your head won’t solve anything.

        In this environment you have almost complete control to shape the debate, so, why not go into the content angle?

        • Shamus says:

          I haven’t done it yet because you can’t talk about everything at once.

          I write long reviews. Some of them run five or ten thousand words at a stretch. They sometimes run for weeks and come in many installments.

          This time I began by talking about the bugs in my weekly column, but I’ll most likely run through the rest of it once I’ve played through a couple of times.

        • Forsooth says:

          The problem with the “just play it again” approach is that if it has happened before there is a good chance that, given the same circumstances, it will happen again. For some bugs this really isn’t that big of an issue, but this is not one of those bugs. Not being able to save in a long, exploration based game is not a recipe for success. That means until a patch is made to fix the problem Shamus has dropped sixty bucks on what is currently a tiny frisbee. I can see where the rage stems.

  51. Varewulf says:

    I have to say that these comments were pretty much exactly what I expected. No matter how wrong or broken something is, you will always find someone who will defend it, even if it’s just to troll.

    • krellen says:

      I make the comments I make because I have never had a game-breaking, enjoyment-ruining bug from an Obsidian title in my entire life.

      I also don’t buy games on the day they release, so those two things might be connected.

      • Ogg says:

        Beware, sharing your experience of a working game with no bugs will lead you to be accused of the worst crime: not being an angry cun– customer.

        • acronix says:

          Let me correct that:
          Accusing people of not bashing an equally broken game and keep doing so even after others point out that the accused person did, after all, bash the equally broken game will make you be accused of the worst crime: being an idiot.

  52. Gandaug says:

    Is it possible at all that the quicksave/Cloud bug didn’t show up until after release? I can easily see a situation where the game wasn’t never even connected to Steam until the day before release. The bug is something that has to happen between Steam Cloud and somebody’s connection to it. If none of the testers were connecting to the game the way we are then there is no way they could have found it.

    Either way it is a pretty major bug.

    Would anybody’s negative opinions on the game be lessened if that bug didn’t exist bug the game was otherwise the same? Are we angry because of bugs in general or this specific bug since it can destroy hours of progress?

    Luckily for me I got myself into the habit years ago to always make a real save before quitting a game. I’ve had quicksaves destroyed before on games over a decade old. It’s a sting you don’t forget easily.

    • Shamus says:

      Like you, I usually make a real save before exiting a game. But in my case the game crashed. It crashed because I loaded the last autosave. I reloaded the last autosave because a quest had glitched out. :) So I didn’t get to make the “real” save.

      So yes, this bug is severe, but I think it’s both the severity and density of bugs that is the problem. The game agitates players with little gnat-size annoyances, and then once they’re angry it stings them with the save game bug. That’s a pretty good way to generate a lot of rage.

      The cloud business is an interesting question. You’d imagine there would be some way of testing that functionality pre-release. A malfunctioning cloud save system is a lot worse then a regular old save system without cloud features. I’m having a hard time picturing Valve creating an API where you’d have to hook into their cloud system but you couldn’t test it until launch day. Particularly given Valve’s OCD approach to playtesting. My guess is that there is an alternate Steam server somewhere where devs can test their games in a “released” state. (That’s how I’d want to do it, anyway.)

      • Amy says:

        I’m also pretty sure they have a testing cloud, but SOMETHING is going on with the cloud API. This isn’t the first game I’ve had where I experienced this issue (Plants versus Zombies ate my saves, too), so I’m really wondering if there’s something different between the test cloud and the production cloud, or if something in the API is documented incorrectly/unintuitively.

        The fact that Bethesda tried to turn off the cloud functionality and only had partial success is kind of disconcerting for me, too; the actual cloud stuff is handled by steam, not the game, so something awry is happening there.

        • Michael says:

          Combine this with the weird rumor that Obsidian (or Beth) didn’t (or couldn’t) actually test the Steam DRM prior to launch, and the whole thing starts to sound really weird (and Gandung’s post really plausible).

          Shamus is right, in theory, you should simply set up a shadow network for steam cloud that’s dev only. But, at the same time you’ve got a company ignoring that during QA. So, either they didn’t care (and after the amount invested that doesn’t sound plausible), there’s something significantly different between the shadow cloud and the real one (which would make some sense, if you wanted to prevent an end user from simply overriding their client into that system), or devs outside of valve have limited to no access to the system.

          Building off those last two points, (and this is me talking out my ass for a minute) it’s possible that the cloud demo is installed and run on the dev’s WAN/LAN. Depending on drive permissions that could result in a VERY different coding environment from the version in the wild, and it would be relatively secure against infiltration.

      • Gandaug says:

        I honestly don’t know. Your reasoning on how it should be done seems sound, but how things should be done and how they are done can be despairingly different.

        I reread my post above and realized my estimation of games over a decade old is conservative at best. It’s closer to two decades now. Rotting hell I’m getting old.

        This whole mess has resulted in me disabling Steam Cloud completely. I never really liked or trusted Cloud. I just never bothered thinking about it much because it never seemed to be involved in anything I did. No longer.

        Valve in general has lost all of my good will. Every single one of their games crashes randomly for me now. After weeks of trying to find a solution I’ve decided to just give up on it and pretty much stop playing their games. Everything I found about my specific issue points to some update Valve did sometime after the release of L4D2 that screws over 8 series nVidia cards. I have an 8800GTX. All solutions I’ve found don’t work and essentially boil down to making sure your left third toe is exactly 2 degrees offset from your right ring finger, consulting tea leaves, and saying a prayer to your pet rock anyway. This is in addition to their terrible clase updates and Man-conomy now in TF2 and their insistence on tinkering with L4D2.

        Between Bethesda, Obsidian, and Valve I’m starting to feel like an abused spouse that keeps coming back for more.

        • Michael says:

          Back in school we used to call that “Voodoo Troubleshooting.” But talking about abuse, I keep buying the STALKER games. With the caveat that at least Call of Pripyat wasn’t as buggy as the previous releases. I say I keep doing it because all I need to make a mod is notepad… but that can’t be it, can it?

          • Gandaug says:

            I like Shadow of Chernobyl. I bought Clear Sky on Steam and couldn’t make it an hour in before I stopped playing.

            • Michael says:

              Clear Sky is the nadir. Call of Pripyat is a vast improvement. It’s still buggy, but nothing compared to either of its predecessors.

              EDIT: Actually it occurs to me, Call of Pripyat is the only game in the series I haven’t beaten without resorting to cheating (specifically no cost/no deg mods).

  53. Gandaug says:

    Wait. How did my previous comment show up before comments made before mine? The continuum is destroyed!

  54. Psivamp says:

    The game runs beautifully like crap on my XBox. I’m guessing there’s a level of detail problem. The game slows down over a session so it seems like it leaks memory. The Weathered 10mm Pistol turns into a giant translucent Lego brick with an exclamation point on it if you attach the Silencer. The game freezes if you purchase a playing card that you already own. VATS becomes insanely slow after several hours of playtime — even for uncomplicated fights.

    I like the game world and the mechanics are vastly improved over Fallout 3, but I hate playing because the game could choke at any point in time.

    • Michael says:

      The Weathered 10mm is a simple fix (that’s impossible on the 360).

      The weapon has its textures defined, but not its meshes. In theory it should just use the meshes included with the normal 10mm pistol, in practice not so much.

      That giant translucent exclamation point has been an error flag for items without proper meshes since at least Morrowind.

  55. Factoid says:

    I picked this game up on 360 this weekend and I’m digging it a lot so far. I had one corrupt save game but I caught it quickly. Thanks to this blog I knew to make sure I was saving often and in multiple save slots. It’s bizarre to me that the game can immediately recognize a save file as corrupt (it says “corrupt” right in the save name) but it doesn’t bother to notify you when it’s saving to say “hey, that save was corrupt, you might want to resave.”.

    I’m sure the issue was because I was sort of cheating. I accidentally paid 2600 caps to a guy to repair some crap armor I didn’t want. So I was doing the save/reload pickpocket exploit. It took me about 50 tries but eventually I got my money back. All that reloading and saving and whatnot probably screwed up my save. Havne’ thad any other issues, but now I check my save list before I quit just to make sure it’s good.

    The plot and story seems pretty good so far. No obvious plot holes in the first few hours, but I’m doing all the sidequests as I go.

    The guy who wrote the documentation for Caravan needs to die in a fire. The game is actually very simple, but they couldn’t be bothered to do an interactive tutorial with a person explaining the rules and moves as you go…instead they gave you a poorly written technical document that uses three times as many words as it needs.

    Actually the guy who came up with the entire concept of this game can die in a fire too. Someone at Obsidian has a real thing for creating stupid card games. They put a similar game into KOTOR2, and it was just as terrible then.

    It could be marginally fun against a human opponent, but its only real value in New Vegas is to fleece NPCs for easy caps.

    • Michael says:

      It could be worse. The Collector’s edition shipped with a poker deck and caravan rules. Now the card faces are kinda neat with characters from the game depicted in 50s style oil/acrylics (for that matter the backs are neat as well, depicting various casinos and businesses in the game), but the deck also includes a caravan rule card in six point type that replicates the documentation from the game almost verbatim.

    • Keeshhound says:

      I’ll grant that Caravan is a stupid distraction that was entirely unnecessary. That having been said, no one at Obsidian had anything to do with the creation of Pazaak, the onus for that falls entirely on Bioware in KotoR 1. Don’t tell me you only played 2 and not the first one?

    • Gandaug says:

      I like Caravan. Therefore you’re opinion is invalid! You’re saying that just because you don’t like the rule explanation nobody can like it! Sorry I’m not one of your fans.

  56. Taelus says:

    So, my new favorite bug in the game. I’m playing through backing up the NCR and they already “Liked” me before I ever met with their rep in New Vegas. While I’m leaving his office, this NCR soldier comes running up and says, “Now I’ve got you outside the strip and you’ll pay” and proceeds to try to kill me. Well, fighting back means every other NCR person in the place picks the fight and before long I’ve got a crowd of NCR soldiers trying to kill me. The only way around the bug I’ve found is to literally run around the the Ambassador’s desk when that soldier comes running in and outrun the punk off the Strip. What’s funny is that guy should only spawn if I’m at “Vilified” status for the NCR. Heck, I’d even take the bug if he’d just jump me away from the NCR’s base so I don’t have to kill everything in Vegas…

    Anyway, as far as I can tell, it may have literally destroyed any chance I have of taking the NCR supportive option and I’m already 10 hours into the game. Any bug that can wipe out that much work by me definitely merits a “boo” on Obsidian.

    • NeilD says:

      I’m sorry, but you clearly haven’t been paying attention. Before you can complain about a bug in New Vegas, you must first make a similar complaint about Fallout 3. Oh, and if somebody chooses not to view that complaint, it doesn’t exist and you never did it. And if you think any part of this is unfair, you are clearly a hyper-biased Bethesda-fellating fanboy.

      (I know, I know, this isn’t helping… but sheeeeesh.)

      • Nidokoenig says:

        Well, there is the oddity in FO3 where going from one end of the karma meter to the other would mean you have both Regulators and Talon Mercs after you forever. Didn’t mean much as long as you got into the habit of sneaking whenever you go through a door, then you’d get to watch them wipe each other out and kill the survivors for huge amounts of valuable gear.

        Thinking back, I think I first heard of this site when someone on /v/ linked to Shamus’ rant on the Tenpenny Tower quest, which was hardly the first or last. Hell, he even had a ranty list of questions up well before release which was essentially “Are Bethesda going to fuck this up like they did with Oblivion?” five times over. It shows quite a bit of laziness not to look back to the time of FO3’s release for rants about it, even if you’re not going to sit and watch Spoiler Warning.

      • Taelus says:

        Umm…I guess I could say that Fallout 3 was pretty uninvolved with the social mechanics? The rather linear story overrode any real actions taken with any group whenever it felt like it. It reminded me a bit of the way KOTOR let you do whatever you wanted, but at the end it didn’t matter because you just picked light or dark at the last minute and that was it for the rest of the gig.

        Does that count as a Fallout 3 complaint enough to allow me to complain about Fallout NV? ;-)

  57. Taelus says:

    Also, my God in heaven why did people get so inflamed about this review? I’m late getting to read it and I don’t have all the comments read, but some of the responses were just vicious name-calling. Shamus wrote an opinion based on his skill set and his experience in the game. The game being less buggy for others doesn’t in any way alter or invalidate his experience with the game. None of this is a reason to insult someone’s intelligence, writing skill, or opinion. By all means, we are welcome to share our opinions and differ wildly from Shamus’, but at no point do we have the right to insult anyone for their opinion on the topic.

    Sorry, I just had to mention that because I was genuinely saddened to see the behavior of some otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people.

    • krellen says:

      I get grumpy with Shamus every time he bashes Obsidian because I love Obsidian. I think they’re just about the only company (only American company, anyway) that still makes good, original, awesome RPGs. As I commented above, I’ve never had a game-breaking experience with them (although I find some of the controls in NWN2 to be a bit wonky) and have long wished to see them do many of my favourite things. When Fallout 3 was first announced and my friends were getting hyped about it, I often expressed the opinion that Bethesda would screw it up because they don’t make games in the Fallout manner (I believe I have been vindicated on this) and that I wish it had been Obsidian that had been working on Fallout 3 instead (reports I’ve heard so far have been that Obsidian got the game far more right than Bethesda ever did.)

      I hate people bashing on Obsidian because I honestly believe there’s no one out there doing a better job at keeping games creative, emotive, and enjoyable to run through multiple times.

      • Taelus says:

        And that’s a completely valid opinion that I’m not about to suggest is anything but completely true for you. I don’t have any issue with people liking, disliking, or even “meh”-ing Shamus’ commentary. I do take issue with anyone who decides to be demeaning or just cruel in their response to his opinion (or the opinion of anyone else for that matter).

        So Krellen, your take is something I disagree with, and you and I might have a fair discussion about the topic, but at no point am I going to insult you personally for your opinion, however invalid it might be ;-)

        What I wish people would do is attack the opinions of others when they have a disagreement, and not the people behind the opinion. This extends to all avenues of life, not just forum commentary for me.

        Out of curiosity, why go with Obsidian over BioWare? I’ve been mostly impressed with their work, especially on the Mass Effect series.

        • krellen says:

          Have you seen my opinion of Mass Effect 2?

          Mass Effect was awesome. Then they screwed the pooch, royally (standards of behaviour prevent me from using the word I really want to use. What I think they did to the franchise is criminal, and reprehensible).

          KOTOR was okay. KOTOR2 was better.

          NWN was okay. NWN2 was better. Mask of the Betrayer was better yet (theologically, I absolutely loved its take on religion and atheism. It’s a subject rarely broached these days.)

          Dragon Age was less than stunning. It was perfectly good, but it wasn’t a masterpiece, and certainly not something I want to be held as the example of what games should be.

          Obsidian/Troika is the studio that crafts what I think games should be like. BioWare makes perfectly serviceable games, but they are not the epitome, and they do mess up. Of late, BioWare has been playing things far too safe for my taste (especially with the move towards more traditional shooter mechanics in ME2.)

          • Michael says:

            The two things that sent me up the wall with Dragon Age were 1) Combat was a pain. The combat system itself was fine, but the real time implementation was horrific. If it had used the turn based mechanics from the flash game I would have been much happier overall. 2) The “branching” in the dialog was aesthetic at best. The game would frequently present you with two bad options and always say “but there’s a third good option you just have to work for.” It was these incessant good third options or the lack of difference between options one and two that killed the story for me.

            As for Mass Effect, 1 was fun, visually interesting, and the writing was kinda on the fence for me. Two was a fun shooter, but everything else was just kinda… there. It’s kinda telling, but I’ve only beaten the game without cheating two or three times, but I’ve played through it about eight times with cheats that let me skirt around the roleplaying aspects (and the damn mining minigame.)

          • Lord of Rapture says:

            Ooh, remember Bloodlines, by Troika? One of my favorite games, ever. I loved KOTOR 2 over KOTOR 1 as well, and I really want to get New Vegas as soon as possible too.

      • NeilD says:

        Where I get confused is what one has to do with the other. If Bethesda had actually made a decent Fallout game (and I challenge you to find anyone on this blog who says they did), would it then be okay to point out flaws in Obsidian’s game?

        Reports I’ve heard is that Obsidian got the tone of the game better than Bethesda, and that the writing is also much, much better.

        But the bugs that are being experienced and reported (even if not by you) seem to be less of the quirky, “this is stupid, but I can play through it” variety, and more of the “I LOST ALL MY PROGRESS, ARE YOU F*$%ING KIDDING ME!?” variety. Actually, I’m only aware of the one such bug, but really, one is all it takes for a lot of people to write a game off, if they value their time at all.

        • krellen says:

          It’s the “Obsidian made a bug-filled mess again” thing that gets my goat, not “ugh, this bug sucks” – because no one says “ugh, this bug sucks, but at least Obsidian’s on the ball about getting it fixed” (which is the truth.) All the reports say is “look, Obsidian did it again; another bug-filled, unplayable mess.”

          They’re taking as fact that Obsidian makes consistently buggy, largely unplayable games. This fact does not jive with my experiences. I love the work put out by the studio being attacked, and would absolutely hate to see them put out of business. As such, why should I not counter this assumed fact with evidence of my own (all evidence, in this case, will be anecdotal experience)?

          I don’t mind reporting bugs. I mind reporting that Obsidian makes buggy games and should be punished for it. If Obsidian games are buggy, they are no more buggy than releases from any other software house in the world. Why pick on Obsidian?

          • Taelus says:

            I think Obsidian has been in a position of less merit ever since the story issues with KOTOR 2. That it wasn’t their fault doesn’t particularly mean it’s off their record. Look at the Presidents in our country. Many things that happen are outside their control but because their name’s on the letterhead, they get lambasted.

            Obsidian is not so different. I think what’s kept them in this position is that they haven’t released a game that’s *less* buggy than the standard fair. They might not be worse, but their reputation is and so they end up on the receiving end of more in the way of generalizations.

            For the record, Fallout: NV has one of the best story progression schemes in a Fallout game ever. The various options available for play style are broad and reasonably well balanced. They get credit for that because Fallout 3 certainly didn’t hand them any gifts in terms of story.

            That said, this round they missed a game-breaking bug. They acted fast to fix it, but such a massive error doesn’t speak well of their QA process. This holds especially true for a company that’s labeled as a maker of buggy games, earned or not. I think that’s why they’re getting filleted and I have to say that they really dropped the ball out the gate, so they’ve earned it in some respects. If your reputation is for being a jerk, when trying to prove that you’re not, it’s best not to end up calling someone’s Mom fat, even if it was only by accident.

          • NeilD says:

            Yeah, I realized afterwards that I was probably conflating your post with others, and didn’t really hit your point directly. Apologies.

            I actually agree Shamus may be being too harsh on Obsidian — but given the nature of his experience, I think it’s understandable. By the same token, I think you may be being too forgiving, which given your experience, is also understandable. Two different experiences, two different opinions, and as always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

            The criticisms I’ve seen leveled at Obsidian aren’t unfounded (by which I mean, they are well documented and clearly not merely the product of anyone’s bias or imagination). But no, neither are they the only perpetrators of such in the business. Whether they are the worst is, again, a matter of opinion.

            I don’t think Obsidian is necessarily being picked on more than anyone else. I think it’s just their turn in the barrel, as they released a high-profile game, with some very high-profile bugs. In a month, after the patches are out and the aggravation has faded somewhat into memory, I expect we’ll see more conversation about the good things they’ve done with the game.

            • krellen says:

              Unfortunately, most other companies have a period of “OMG, best game ever” when they have a new release (Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age, Left 4 Dead) that rarely mentions the bugs (Fallout 3 being the worst of the bunch in that regard). Obsidian, on the other hand, at least for their last two releases (this one and Alpha Protocol), see little reporting on anything good about the games and excessive reporting on the bugs.

              I don’t recall anyone reporting what a buggy, horribly broken mess Fallout 3 is (last time I tried to launch it, an update broke my installation by trying to force GFWL on it) when it first launched. It was only after going back and reflecting on it that the bug complaints came out.

  58. RCN says:

    Hey, you know what the funny part is?

    I’ve heard that your savegame bug and the idiotic savestate backup system was in place to keep better track of achievements.

    Aren’t you glad you lost your savegame so that some virtual hoarders could be sure their “you piled 10 naked bodies” medal or “you completed the unlosable tutorial level! Thumbs up!” medal are legitimate?

  59. Soylent Dave says:

    Obsidian are the Captain Bligh of the games industry, basically.

    Captain Bligh being famous for the mutiny on the Bounty, but was subsequently given command of several other ships, most of which mutinied (at least 4 that I know of).

    He ended up getting promoted to Rear Admiral, I think – so Obsidian have probably got a good future ahead of them.

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