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Author Topic: May NPD via our friends at Neogaf, Bloomberg, will keep updating, PS3 not good  (Read 6526 times)
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Brendan
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« Reply #120 on: June 17, 2007, 10:25:08 PM »

Let's cover a couple:

Quote from: Eightball
You are engaged in the most difficult collaborative projects in history...

I know you were being snide here, but that's essentially true.  Vista has north of 50 million lines of code.  I could make a checkin today that would break the ability to apply service packs next year.

Quote from: Eightball
I just was saying that there's no baseline guarentee of competence when you hire someone as in other professional fields, and thus you don't really know what you're getting.
You hire a licensed physician, you're getting someone who's been vetted through a procedure and you're guarenteed some (minimal at least) level of competence, for instance.

What are you even arguing here?  That we're bad at hiring qualified candidates?

Software companies live and die on their success in the open market - we ask difficult questions during interviews, just like any other company looking to hire someone.  And, in fact, you're wrong - if it's the kind of thing that's important to you, you can hire someone with a certification in, oh, C#, or network engineering, or whatever.  The issue is not one of competence, (perfectly competent developers break shit in these kinds of environments), it's one of immersion.  You are less likely to break something if you've been working in it for a long time.

Quote from: Eightball on June 17, 2007, 05:05:55 PM

I really can't see how sleep deprived kathode working on 4 hours of sleep would be better than a highly skilled guy who is fully refreshed.

Because the new guy, thinking he's making a minor benign change, introduces some race condition that causes data corruption when load on the system exceeds a certain level, but only when the load being placed uses a certain combination of formats, and so it goes undetected until you ship, at which point saved games start failing in the wild, and you have to beg customers to send you their data, reverse-engineer the problem, and patch everyone's install because otherwise they can't finish Quest Y when they can't find Item Q after their save game was corrupted.

Seriously - you're proposing the equivalent of making a case in court by requiring a team of seventeen lawyers finish each other's sentences.
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CeeKay
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« Reply #121 on: June 17, 2007, 10:40:20 PM »

Quote from: Brendan on June 17, 2007, 10:25:08 PM

introduces some race condition that causes data corruption

I see, it's all about the color of your skin now, eh?  Tongue
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Brendan
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« Reply #122 on: June 17, 2007, 10:55:39 PM »

Exactly.  I'm trying to combine this with the immigration threads for Hot Hot brettmcd action!
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #123 on: June 18, 2007, 12:33:48 AM »

Quote from: Eightball on June 17, 2007, 08:28:03 PM

Quote from: whiteboyskim on June 17, 2007, 07:31:08 PM

I think he's pointing out that this thread has devolved into a "whose is bigger?" fest instead of a discussion over the failures of Microsoft and Sony both according to the May NPD numbers. And if that's not enough for you gellar, then how about this: "Ostentatious." icon_twisted

WBS that honestly was not my intent at the least.  I'm just curious about the business of game development, and I only have my own experiences to draw from to compare it to.  Sorry if I came off as pretentious (another big word for you, since you're overly fond of them).

Oh and gellar knows that I'm quite jealous of his job.  I wish I got paid what he does considering the amount of actual work he does *grin*.

Dude, don't sweat it. Just making a point of hassling gellar which I know you can appreciate. slywink Carry on with the discussion of game development/Sony sucking wind. Either way, I'm entertaining. icon_lol
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« Reply #124 on: June 18, 2007, 12:50:27 AM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on June 18, 2007, 12:33:48 AM

Carry on with the discussion of game development/Sony sucking wind. Either way, I'm entertaining. icon_lol

I thought this was about Nintendo making money. slywink
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Eightball
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« Reply #125 on: June 18, 2007, 01:13:08 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on June 17, 2007, 10:25:08 PM

Because the new guy, thinking he's making a minor benign change, introduces some race condition that causes data corruption when load on the system exceeds a certain level, but only when the load being placed uses a certain combination of formats, and so it goes undetected until you ship, at which point saved games start failing in the wild, and you have to beg customers to send you their data, reverse-engineer the problem, and patch everyone's install because otherwise they can't finish Quest Y when they can't find Item Q after their save game was corrupted.

Alright, this seems almost not worth pursuing at this point because we're so off the original topic lol. 

But, I can't resist (mwhahaha!).  As I brought up before, you do bring new people into your team as time goes on successfully.  If those new people can add worth to your project, I'm not sure why you are stating this.  I'm not advocating for bringing in 50 new people a week before the project is due; I'm thinking more bringing in a small number of people a few months before the due date.  You can train them properly, then release them (monitored, of course) to help.

And I'm curious to hear what you think about the crunch time thing I brought up.  If coding is that sensitive, crunch time would seem to be the absolute worst thing for bugs.  People functioning on no sleep make mistakes...and sleep deprivation is exactly what tht situation is in crunch time i, right?  But from what I know (and obviously, I'm no expert on this subject) it seems almost to be a granted condition towards the end of development.
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kathode
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« Reply #126 on: June 19, 2007, 03:17:39 AM »

sigh, I know I should just let this thread die but that would mean eightball gets the last word smile

Quote from: Eightball on June 17, 2007, 03:02:25 AM

Ok I give up.  You are engaged in the most difficult collaborative projects in history...
...and I should be compensated accordingly!  icon_cool

Quote
But, I can't resist (mwhahaha!).  As I brought up before, you do bring new people into your team as time goes on successfully.  If those new people can add worth to your project, I'm not sure why you are stating this.  I'm not advocating for bringing in 50 new people a week before the project is due; I'm thinking more bringing in a small number of people a few months before the due date.  You can train them properly, then release them (monitored, of course) to help.

The difference is still that any work of any kind generates bugs that need to be cleaned up.  For most professions, they have a specific body of work that they move through and that's that.  Maybe there's some cleanup required, maybe there isn't.  For coders, there is always cleanup required.  Any alterations to the code are extremely likely to generate new issues which then need to be cleaned up, and then there will be cleanup to the cleanup.  There is a great deal of pain associated with moving from generating more bugs than you're fixing (because you're focused on specific functionality) to fixing more bugs than you're generating.  New people will always weight the average in the undesirable direction.

Quote
And I'm curious to hear what you think about the crunch time thing I brought up.  If coding is that sensitive, crunch time would seem to be the absolute worst thing for bugs.  People functioning on no sleep make mistakes...and sleep deprivation is exactly what tht situation is in crunch time i, right?  But from what I know (and obviously, I'm no expert on this subject) it seems almost to be a granted condition towards the end of development.
The thoughts of the game industry on crunch could probably fill up their own forum.  I believe it is inevitable to some extent, yes.  But I would differentiate between "good" crunch and bad crunch.  Bad crunch is what you're describing.  It does happen, and it ends up like you'd expect - badly.  It can be an overzealous publisher pushing for changes late in the project, or simply bad management where you end up trying to cram in features when you should be locking things down for ship.

Good crunch is obviously a misnomer.  Everyone wants to leave after their eight hours.  But there can be crunch that's healthy for the product.  The problem in your thinking that all crunch is automatically bad is in assuming that because hours increase, the expected work throughput increases.  In fact, during a healthy crunch, I think the work level should remain constant, or actually decrease. 

The reason is that towards the end of a project, testing everything becomes immensely important.  As we've harped on above, any change can have unintended consequences.  In an ideal situation, any change to any part of the project should require you to test the ENTIRE range of content.  Because consequences can be unintended and unpredictable, you can't assume any change as being safe.  Imagine the problem this presents for a game like Oblivion, where not only do you have a large amount of content, but a large amount of options in how you move through that content.  Something as simple as changing the contrast on a texture requires the entire art archive to be rebuilt, and who knows what all could go wrong during that process, or where those problems could show over the course of the game.  There are many issues that I could cite during Oblivion's development that seemed like easy fixes and had us pulling our hair out for weeks to come.

So what happens in crunch is that the time you spend on each individual issue goes way way up towards the end of a product.  But it should NOT mean you are now throwing things into the code is a desperate attempt to finish.  You have to constantly ask, do we need this?  What does this do to our stability ratios?  Is this fix isolated or does it touch a large number of systems?  99% of your time should be spent testing and investigating issues, and 1% should be spent changing stuff.  When that percentage starts to skew, it means you're slipping closer and closer to deathmarch territory where you can't get control over bug generating vs. bug fixing, and the problem spirals out of control.  This is the situation you're probably in if you're adding new people to the team at a late stage, trying to squeeze out that last bit of functionality.  Bad idea.  How is that avoided?  Good management and competence slywink  But it doesn't change the fact that the situation changes towards the end, and I think a lot of what people call "polish" comes out of those extra hours when you're really looking hard into the last few of your really nasty, long-standing issues. 

Crunch does not have to mean sleep deprivation.  That is bad, so we try to do reasonable crunches without insane hour requirements and with clear measurable goals.  As with most things, there's plenty of room for improvement.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 03:21:16 AM by kathode » Logged
Brendan
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« Reply #127 on: June 19, 2007, 04:18:32 AM »

As an addendum, "crunch time" doesn't necessarily mean that developers are writing code.  On the products I've shipped, we always have multi-week (or much longer) stabilization periods wherein there are no new features added and we focus entirely on bug fixes.  Stabilization periods happen throughout the product, but the longest is always the period before ship.  As the product cycle churns along, we ratchet up the "bug bar", meaning the class of bug we're willing to fix.  Any bug fixed, as kathode points out, introduces the risk of causing a "regression", which is a new bug caused by the fix.

So - our "bad" crunch times are limited to the times leading up to a stabilization period, while our "good" crunch times are effectively quiet for developers from a code-writing perspective.  Instead, they're looking for bugs, and investigating bugs found by testers or automation - then, we run triage sessions where we decide if bugs meet the criteria necessary to fix it at that stage of the product.  If they do, the developer writes the most conservative fix, gets it code reviewed by all and sundry, and the test team runs multiple passes to try to reduce the regression risk.  It's absolutely a busy time where you work long hours, but nothing is checked into the project without careful attention.  The risk is too great.
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« Reply #128 on: June 19, 2007, 05:01:40 AM »

Heh, I just love how so many community college-level words are considered "big" words in this thread. Let's further derail the original topic into a competition on who knows the most "big" words!

Here's my "big" word for the competition: Blah.  Tongue
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« Reply #129 on: June 20, 2007, 12:11:46 AM »

Appreciate the feedback, both Kathode and brendan.  And yes, kathode, just about any project with a deadline inevitably has the extra work hour input required...but a few days of 12+ hour work days wasn't really what I meant.  I've read multiple times about game devs talking about weeks of 20 hour work days, which absolutely could be a fabrication or exaggeration.

And Ridah, I'm sure glad you chose to chime in.  Your insightful comments have been truly educational.  I don't actually have a community college degree though, unfortunately.
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« Reply #130 on: June 20, 2007, 12:15:12 AM »

Quote from: Eightball on June 20, 2007, 12:11:46 AM

I don't actually have a community college degree though, unfortunately.

Is that like the one fucking degree you DON'T have?

gellar
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Eightball
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« Reply #131 on: June 20, 2007, 12:16:19 AM »

Quote from: gellar on June 20, 2007, 12:15:12 AM

Quote from: Eightball on June 20, 2007, 12:11:46 AM

I don't actually have a community college degree though, unfortunately.

Is that like the one fucking degree you DON'T have?

gellar

Yeah, maybe I need one so I can use more big words!
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« Reply #132 on: June 20, 2007, 12:22:18 AM »

What was this thread about again?
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« Reply #133 on: June 20, 2007, 12:34:59 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on June 20, 2007, 12:22:18 AM

What was this thread about again?

Sunday Skin and it's awesomeness.
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« Reply #134 on: June 20, 2007, 01:48:42 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on June 20, 2007, 12:22:18 AM

What was this thread about again?

How Big N is wipeing their ass with Microsoft and Sony.
BTW ASS was my big word submission for the competition. icon_evil
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 02:02:50 AM by kronovan » Logged
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