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The Mod Squads - Samurai Legends Dead

The Planet Half-Life Forums (thanks Ant) have word on the cancellation of the Samurai Legends modification for Half-Life 2. This project had received a lot of play, including a mention in a Steam update (story) where it was highlighted as an outgrowth of Southern Methodist University's Guildhall program. Word is: "The closed beta revealed a large number of serious bugs and issues not encountered during internal testing, which would require a great deal of time and effort to address and fix properly. The students working on Samurai Legends have graduated and are now working in the game industry, and no longer have the time to continue development on the project."

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33. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 17:53 Awesome Spume
 
Zathrus, hasn't Zathrus always told you - "Don't feed the trolls".

 
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32. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 13:21 Riley Pizt
 
especially the ones who can't make a distinction between the amount of work it takes to create a single player mod (lots) and a multiplayer mod with significant changes to the basic gameplay mechanics (even more lots).
The students would be the ones who couldn't make that distinction as it is they who defined upfront what they would be able to accomplish in the five months they had.

This comment was edited on Aug 9, 13:29.
 
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31. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 13:15 Riley Pizt
 
it wasn't designed for a wide variety of platforms/configurations...
By using the Source Engine, that problem was essentially eliminated. Half-Life 2 was already released, and this is just a mod of that.

Again, this was developed in 5 months
Five months of dedicated work by even a small team on a project is not especially short when you don't have to code the engine. Plus, the students knew how much time they had in advance. If they fell far short of their design goals, then that would be the result of overly ambitious and unrealistic plans (which is something the game industry does far too much).

It was never designed for internet play
That is not what that quote says. "See how well the game works over Internet servers" implies that the students designed the game to have Internet play. Otherwise, there would be no desire or need to test that.

Expecting a polished result from it is utterly absurd.
If the project had Internet play as a defined feature, it should have either been developed and tested or cutout totally. Otherwise, the game's grade should have negatively reflected the fact that a defined feature was broken.

Particularly when they're using essentially undocumented APIs and alpha-level tools.
Those were not alpha-level tools. Half-Life 2 had shipped as had Vampire the Masquerade. The Source engine tools were tested and used on two completed games before these students and other modders ever got them.

This comment was edited on Aug 9, 13:25.
 
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30. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 11:18 Zathrus
 
I don't know exactly what problems there were with your game, but if its design specified Internet multiplayer gameplay, then that feature either should have worked reasonably well or it should have been removed before grading.


Well, from Greaserboi's post:

so we went into our closed BETA to see how well the game would function over internet servers on varying platforms.
...
This is mainly because of the inability to have a testing strategy to make a game that would survive outside the confines of our school project and presentation. That was never an original consideration and goal of the project.

Look! Scope creep! It was never designed for internet play (and LAN play can be remarkably different in a number of ways), it wasn't designed for a wide variety of platforms/configurations, and (my guess here) their demos were probably pretty limited in input and not designed to handle users that were intentionally trying to break the game (as users do outside a lab environment).

Again, this was developed in 5 months, and I presume that this wasn't the only coursework the students had. Expecting a polished result from it is utterly absurd. Particularly when they're using essentially undocumented APIs and alpha-level tools.

 
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29. No subject Aug 9, 2005, 07:56 MacD
 
I have to congratulate you Guildhall guys for your work; Eclipse was a very cool piece of work, and SL looked like it was shaping up to something cool. Don't let ignoramuses get to you, especially the ones who can't make a distinction between the amount of work it takes to create a single player mod (lots) and a multiplayer mod with significant changes to the basic gameplay mechanics (even more lots).
Sure, they should know after looking at the dev time for a 'simple' FPS (2 years) as opposed to a MMORPG (4 years), but screw 'em if they can't have some perspective

Anyway, good luck at your new jobs...I too would be interested to know where you guys landed jobs.

 
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28. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 04:59 Riley Pizt
 
Not having this Q/A is not what happened here.
His point was that it appears your Q/A process was not thorough or effective.

The first are unforseen bugs
No bugs are foreseen. If they were, they wouldn't exist unless you wanted them for some reason in which case they wouldn't be bugs. That is why rigorous Q/A is needed.

I don't know exactly what problems there were with your game, but if its design specified Internet multiplayer gameplay, then that feature either should have worked reasonably well or it should have been removed before grading.

This comment was edited on Aug 9, 05:03.
 
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27. Re: No subject Aug 9, 2005, 04:54 Riley Pizt
 
Apology accepted.
This from the guy who whined that he had to pay shipping for the prize money he won from Epic for his mod. Your hypocrisy is simply unreal. LOL!


This comment was edited on Aug 9, 04:55.
 
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26. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 20:44 Grash
 
The Q/A cycle is a critical portion of our Guildhall education. I know that SL, like Eclipse, went through several internal debug cycles. Not having this Q/A is not what happened here. As the SL press release indicates, the reason for the end of development was a two fold problem. The first are unforseen bugs which came up in the open beta last month. This would not have stop development normally. It is only coupled with the second issue, the fact the SL team has graduated and moved on to industry jobs. Thus while there are bugs that could be fixed, there is no one left to fix them.

 
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25. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 20:32 Prez
 
I for one don't really concern myself with WHY modders do what they do - some do it for somewhat 'selfish' reasons (though I dislike the negative connotation that term implies), others are more selfless in their motives. Either way, I say, "Thank God for modders. You guys rock!"

I bet if I really sat down and analyzed it, most of my game time in the last 6-8mos. has been at least 50% mods. Look at all the money I am saving!

 
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- Mahatma Gandhi
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24. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 19:19 FourPak
 
Southern Methodist University's Guildhall program
grrr, shame on SMU!
a QUALITY ASSURANCE phase should be a full, Formal, INTEGRAL part of any course that -purports- to train people for a Career in Commercial Game Development.

if you're just taking a few classes on "EZ 3D Code Tricks", fine, but any full course that doesn't include the crunch time grind of a test/debug/re-test cycle is only giving you half the info you need to be successful in the industry.

no surprise that the test/debug phase is precisely the point where 99% of dev teams fall flat on their face and fail.

 
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23. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 16:15 Fantaz
 
That's great! We wish you the best with your future contributions to this industry. Now get back to making us some good games!

 
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22. No subject Aug 8, 2005, 16:14  Cruciform 
 
All I have to say is that I was looking forward to it.
Darn you kids for graduating!!!

 
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21. No subject Aug 8, 2005, 16:14 space captain
 
my point is that most people making mods arent planning on making mods for the rest of their life... they are planning on making original games

however, some people just do it PURELY for fun - not a career... thats the other 10% of mod people

________________________
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20. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 15:49 Sam
 
Sam, I loved Eclipse! THAT was a quality piece of work.

Thank you very much. Those sorts of comments are what make what we do worthwhile. All we wanted was for people out there to enjoy what we made.

There have been some comments made (and not just here, but elsewhere on various other forums as well) that seem to imply that what we did at school was not for the "love of the game" or some such nonsense. Believe me when I say that the very reason we WENT to the Guildhall was because we DID love games so very much. We went there so that we could learn how to be a part of the industry that we love so much. We went there because we found that we didn't want to do anything BUT make games, and no regular job would suffice. The fact that the mod was for a "grade" honestly was never really on our mind. We made the projects that we did because we all wanted to make the best games that we had the ability to. We fought to be allowed to use Half Life 2's engine because of the amazing capabilities of it and the tools that it provided that enabled us to try and realize our ideas in the short amount of time we had. Also keep in mind that HL2 had been out less than 2 months when we began our mods and the community out there had just begun to explore how to build new mods for Source. I can't tell you how many hours I spent reading Valve and the HL2 community in general's documentation. For a brief stint we weren't even sure that we were going to have a working exporter for Max6 (which we were using at the time), so a good portion of our development time was spent simply learning HOW to use Source. Anyone who has tried to make a mod for HL2 knows that while its incredibly powerful, it can also be a bit overwhelming, but I'm rambling...

My point is, yes we got a grade for the project, and yes it helped us get noticed by the industry, however, all we were ever concerned with was making a good game that people would enjoy. I'm very proud of Eclipse because I poured myself into it. I'm sure the guys on the Samurai Legends team feel the same way, and I'm sure that they are disappointed that more people weren't able to experience their mod in its best light. For as I said, we absolutely made these mods out of the sheer love for making games. We just also happen to be doing it to demonstrate our skills to anyone willing to see what we could do... I don't think anyone could blame us for that.

This comment was edited on Aug 8, 15:54.
 
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19. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 15:24 Ant
 
Greaserboi: That's a bummer.  
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Ant @ The Ant Farm: http://antfarm.ma.cx and Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net ...
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18. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 15:22 Greaserboi
 
Ant,

Unfortunately releasing the source for SL is not an option. The IP is owned entirely by SMU and so you would have to go through them in order to license it. Sucks I know... but you wouldn't want our source code anyway. We built the game with the first iteration of the Source SDK which did not have full functioning multiplayer code support... which I would imagine was part of the issue with live bugs in the BETA test. Since we basically had to hack everything we had together.

This comment was edited on Aug 8, 15:22.
 
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17. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 14:50 SquirrelZero
 

Those few people who make mods out of sheer love of making games, my apologies to you.

Apology accepted.

 
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16. No subject Aug 8, 2005, 14:48 space captain
 
id say 90% of mods are purely intended as portfolio material

________________________
music from space captain:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/6/errantways_music.htm
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/4/invisibleacropolis_music.htm
 
Go forth, and kill!
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15. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 14:41 Creston
 
And even so, in most cases modders make a Mod in the hopes of being noticed by the industry, and to be given a job. Once you've landed that job, I wouldn't be all that interested in my free mod anymore either.

Those few people who make mods out of sheer love of making games, my apologies to you.

Creston


 
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14. Re: No subject Aug 8, 2005, 14:26 Beamer
 
Yeah, I don't see any reason to be hard on these guys.


The closed beta had bugs. Gee, who would have thought?
And they stopped because they have all moved on to other projects due to graduating.

It's not like they released something buggy and just said "screw it" and went ahead. They never released it, the bugs are expected, and they have a very valid reason for not fixing the bugs.

 
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