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User information for Cliff Hicks

Real Name Cliff Hicks   
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Nickname Devinoch
Email Concealed by request
Description Host of Starlight Society Podcast - http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
Former Product Manager - Zattikka Games.
Former Producer/Lead Designer - Fierce Wombat Games.
Former Associate Producer - Kabam.
Former Customer Service Manager - GameSpot.
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Homepage http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
Signed On Aug 21, 2002, 17:08
Total Comments 264 (Amateur)
User ID 13926
 
User comment history
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

69. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 20:01 Devinoch
 
nin wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:53:

But you still haven't answered my question - how do you fix this problem? Do work for free? How is that fair to anyone working on games?

I did answer it. I said if I paid full price on launch day, it's not my problem. It's yours.


Smart-ass business response: "You bought the game. It's your problem, not mine."

Game developer response: "Great, I'd love to fix the bug, except that my producer has us working on the next product, so that we can try and eat next week. Sorry."

I agree, games ship with bugs, and that's bad. But there's also a reasonable amount of bugs that can get fixed in a schedule. Generally, game-breaker bugs are fixed before ship. Studios that ship with game breakers, well, either they're under a lot of pressure and are about to fold, or they don't just care. But you know how the bean counters see people complaining about bugs? They don't, unless it's impacting sales.

Games that are truly, truly buggy, well, they don't sell. It's like bad movies - someone has to go see the crappy movie to tell everyone it's crappy. That guy doesn't get to demand his money back because he didn't like the movie. And he can blame the key management people who worked on the movie - the director, the producer, the writer, the actors. But if you're gonna tell me you want to blacklist the dolly grip guy because he worked on Gigli, well, I'd say you're being a little overly harsh. Going up to that guy and demanding your money back will work just about as well, i.e. it won't.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

68. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 19:54 Devinoch
 
ventry wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:44:
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 18:29:
Games are expensive to make. You know why you don't get patches? Because people didn't buy the game. If people don't buy the game, there's no money incoming to improve the game. It was easy to QA games in the Atari 2600 days. Now there's so much content in games, it's nearly impossible for anyone to have seen it all once, much less the 50-100 times it takes to properly QA it.

So what your saying is games publishers are selling FAULTY products and whether you get that product fixed or not depends on people buying that product?

If you can't see how wrong this business model is then you are lacking in active brain cells sir.

If you can't actually see the argument I'm making, you're being deliberately dense.

There has not been a "bug free" piece of software shipped in the last twenty years. With the amount of complexity software has gotten to, there comes a point where you just have to ship it, regardless of the state it's in. If you're a very talented team, who's had plenty of time to work on the project and to polish it to a fine shine, you're probably 95-98% bug free. If you're running out of money and need to get it onto shelves so that you can afford to GET it onto shelves, well, you're probably shipping a game that's 70-80% bug free. If you're a developer who just doesn't care, you're shipping a game that's 50% bug free. That last group isn't any major game studio I've ever seen. That first group is almost no major game studio I've ever seen. Most game studios fall into the mid range.

I love how you're bandying the word "faulty" around, as though every game you've ever bought shipped with a game-breaker bug, and you've been painfully wronged by the games industry on the whole. Games ship with bugs. If you think you can ship a game without any bugs at all, I sincerely welcome you to try.

I bet it's Tic-Tac-Toe.

Game companies that ship with game-breakers, I'm absolutely with you that they should be chastised. But let's be honest, how many truly horrible bugs are out there? Game crashes happen. If they happen a lot, then yes, by all means, yell at the developer, that's a game-breaker. Except realize that your other choice might have been to not get the game at all. The occasional crash, I'm willing to live with. If you aren't, well, I invite you to stop playing games, and stop talking to people who make games.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

66. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 19:46 Devinoch
 
nin wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:40:

It's not a question of not wanting to support the game post release - it's a question of not being paid to do so.

That's fine. But that's not the problem of the people that bought the game on launch day. They paid their money.

When Grim Dawn was featured as a kickstarter here, people specifically mentioned their lack of support for Titan Quest. Your history (and baggage) stays with you.


They did, and they got the best product that the team could put out in that period of time. Sometimes the people making games aren't great. Sometimes they're bad game designers, bad artists, bad coders. Not all game teams are created equally.

But you still haven't answered my question - how do you fix this problem? Do work for free? How is that fair to anyone working on games?
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

63. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 19:42 Devinoch
 
Kajetan wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:30:
Slashman wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 18:15:
You think a small indie could put out a Just Cause 2 or Skyrim? I'd like to see the 15-man team that could manage that.
Hehe, perfect examples ... i dont like the Just Cause games and Bethesda RPGs i find boring since "Arena"

But when i look at a RPG like "The Witcher", with very high production values, but made for a considerably small budget ... i dont need the majors to get games, which play AND look well. Really, Ubi and EA and ActiBlizz can go to hell. Video gaming will not only survive, but profit from this change in the long run.

"Considerably small budget"? You're kidding, right? One of the reasons the game cost a lot less to make is that it was that the studio is in Poland, so the cost-of-living is a lot less. But beyond that, it wasn't "considerably small." Seriously. It really wasn't. CD Projeckt Red is a big studio in Poland, with lots of people on staff.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

61. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 19:39 Devinoch
 
Julio wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:28:
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 18:29:
Games are more complicated now than they've ever been. Team sizes have increased.

Gaming was better in the past than it is today, so I'm more than happy to move to less complicated games that have much stronger design and more interesting concepts. Bigger teams, spending money on useless frills like high priced voice acting doesn't make better games.

There's countless expensive terrible games being made, and if a shakeup is needed to see better decision making by EA, Actiblizzard etc then so be it. Smart business will make money, poorly run dinosaurs like the big gaming companies can die out.

Actually, most studios aren't spending money on high priced voice acting these days - it didn't add a lot to games, and frankly, I as a developer could spend $150k getting Samuel L. Jackson to do three hours worth of voice, or I could pay a mid-to-senior level engineer for a year. Guess what the smart money's on? You are corRECT, sah!

Like it or not, the games industry is a business, and if you can develop a great game for cheap, get in front of an audience, connect, and get them to spread the word, then great, you have a hit on your hands, and you may be raking in the money. But for every Minecraft, there's a dozen, if not hundreds, of other attempts for indie games that just never hit it out of the park, and I'm sure you'd find some amazing gameplay ideas in those games.

I want to see more interesting game concepts myself, but there's also a large number of people out there who just want the shiniest new thing. And right now, most industry execs are talking about the "free-to-play revolution," as if it's going to be the only thing left standing in a few years time, even though the indicators are that Zynga's on the decline.

Look, I don't claim to know the future of games, but I do have an insider's knowledge into the industry, having been working in it for 12 years now, and sadly, the best game does not always win. I've thrown a bunch of money at Kickstarter programs, and I think that space has a lot of interesting potential, but it's also not a guaranteed business model.

But "gaming was better in the past than it is today"? Really? Going to be yelling at kids to get off your lawn next? The grass is always greener on the other side. There's games in the past that I truly and dearly love, but there's also stuff in the future I'm looking forward to, and there's tons of innovation left to come. Please, though, don't assume that "smart business will make money." It's a numbers game, and whether you like it or not, there's a LOT of luck involved in making games....
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

56. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 19:28 Devinoch
 
nin wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 18:48:
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 18:29:
Games are expensive to make. You know why you don't get patches? Because people didn't buy the game. If people don't buy the game, there's no money incoming to improve the game.

While I totally agree that budget have become astronomical, not supporting a game post release as you describe is biting the hand that fed you. And believe me, we remember that for years later, including when you switch studios/projects.

To screw the people that spent the most to play your game is suicide. And I don't shed a tear for studios that do that.

It's not a question of not wanting to support the game post release - it's a question of not being paid to do so. I know everyone thinks developing games is just one nonstop party, but I hate to be the crusher of dreams here, it's a job. It can often be a fun job, but it's still a job. And if people aren't paying you to do your job, you shouldn't be doing your job.

Developing a patch, releasing a patch, these are things that take time and money, and if the studio's closed, or your team has been rolled onto another product, there really is very little you can do about it. Patch the game in your spare time? Would you do your job for free, in addition to doing your job for pay? That's like asking a guy at McDonalds to come in and put in another 4 hours off-the-clock after he's just pulled an eight hour shift, so as to not "screw the people."

I'm not arguing that game development isn't busted. Believe me, I know better (far better) than most people, but when you blame a whole studio for not supporting a game that sold a handful of copies, when they're trying to make another game that hopefully will sell more than a few copies, so they can continue to put a roof over their head, well, you're missing the forrest for the trees.

The business of making games desperately needs to change. But so do the consumer expectations of "well, I bought this game, so I can do whatever I want to with it." Used game sales seriously hurt game studios. I've made this argument before, and I'm sure I will again. But expect AAA games to play it safer and safer, expect to see more and more sequels with less and less innovation, and expect the studios making them attempt to nickel-and-dime you for every little penny they can get from you. Day one DLC, online passes... they're only getting started. The micro transaction assault is coming, because guess what? MW3 had hundreds of people working on it. All AAA games do. And that many engineers, artists, designers, audio guys, marketing guys, localization guys, qa guys... it adds up.

I suspect most people who complain about games have no idea how much it costs to made a video game these days. I can assure you, just adding up salaries alone... it's not cheap.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

53. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 18:29 Devinoch
 
necrosis wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 17:34:
They are charging more for games and doing LESS to make them work properly.

Yes, because it takes the exact same amount of code to make Assassin's Creed as it did Pac Man. /sarcasmoff Games are more complicated now than they've ever been. Team sizes have increased. The amount of work it takes to put together graphics has increased. They aren't doing "less" to make them work - they cost more to make work, and at some point, developers run out of money, and need to ship a game just to be able to pay their staff so they can eat.

Games are expensive to make. You know why you don't get patches? Because people didn't buy the game. If people don't buy the game, there's no money incoming to improve the game. It was easy to QA games in the Atari 2600 days. Now there's so much content in games, it's nearly impossible for anyone to have seen it all once, much less the 50-100 times it takes to properly QA it.

But I can sense we're arguing with someone who doesn't understand business, or why there have been over a dozen major studio closures a year, each year, for the last 5 years. Better get used to everything being free-to-play and micro-transactions, because those are currently the only revenue models that make sense from a business standpoint. The gamer in me hates that, but you know what? The stomach in me needs to eat more than my sense of pride.

This is the future you wanted. So, please, do us all the favor and don't ever complain when we try and find ways to keep on eating and making games for a living. Because you clearly don't get it.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Star Wars: The Old Republic Launches

68. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Launches Dec 20, 2011, 19:48 Devinoch
 
The real question, that no one has an answer for, is how the endgame content's going to play out. Let's be honest - the leveling experience has been great thusfar, and I'm enjoying it, but the endgame content is where MMO players spend the majority of their time. And no one will really know what any of that's like for at least 3-6 months. Hitting level cap isn't the end of the game. And I don't think anyone's really capable of judging how an MMO's going to do at launch. That's the biggest problem with working on them - you have no idea where you'll actually be in a year's time.

Me, I've enjoyed what I've played so far, I will continue to play more, I'm subscribed for 3 months past my initial month that comes with the game, and at that point, I'll reevaluate, but so far, I'm pretty dang impressed. It also doesn't hurt TOR any that Cataclysm's been pretty damn bad, with one of the worst storylines they've done as of yet. (Thrall as Jesus, Thrall does all the heavy lifting and the players are, mostly, tiny cogs in a big machine - what happened to making the players all epic, Blizzard? Alas.)

So, carry on, say it'll live forever or it'll die in six months. Neither is true; everything is expected.

~c.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > BlizzCon Hate-Speech Criticized

53. Re: BlizzCon Hate-Speech Criticized Oct 27, 2011, 14:11 Devinoch
 
Darks wrote on Oct 27, 2011, 14:03:
nin wrote on Oct 27, 2011, 13:40:
I believe Iím guaranteed my rights under the current constitution.


I believe you're on a privately owned board, and your rights don't apply here.



I think some needs to go and read the constitution. Private board or not, that does not exclude our right to free speech.

I think someone needs to go take a First Amendment law class. Your rights absolutely don't apply here. It's a privately owned board. The owner has final say of things. What you're arguing is that I could come into your house and stand there and say whatever I wanted, and be protected by the Constitution. Your argument is flawed and ludicrous. Please try again.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Portal Co-creator's Quantum Conundrum Revealed

12. Re: Portal Creator's Quantum Conundrum Revealed Aug 25, 2011, 20:58 Devinoch
 
Certainly has my interest piqued.  



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > EA Revival Possibilities

36. Re: EA Revival Possibilities Aug 18, 2011, 18:54 Devinoch
 
Creston wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 12:19:
Pagan wasn't all that bad. Ascension was a piece of horseshit, but that's what happens when you let a fucking Command and Conquer producer take the reigns on an RPG.

Lead programmer, not producer, but hey, what's a few details...

Both the executive producer and the senior producer never worked on a C&C title.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > CTU - Marine Sharpshooter Unveiled

9. Re: No Jack Bauer? Feb 20, 2003, 22:03 Devinoch
 
I was actually wondering the same thing, but it's Counter Terrorism Unit in "24," not Counter Terror Unit. Bummer. Doing a day in the life of Jack would definitely be interesting. One of the best shows on TV.

~d.

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > WarCraft III: Frozen Throne Official

27. Re: This summer? Jan 23, 2003, 15:55 Devinoch
 
25, read post 14. We made the same arguments about Brood War, and it was still late...

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > WarCraft III: Frozen Throne Official

14. Re: This summer? Jan 21, 2003, 19:16 Devinoch
 
I'd like to point out that we all made this same argument about Brood War, and instead of the summer, it came out in February. I'm not doubting it'll be good (I enjoyed War3, even if it wasn't the earthshaking innovation I hoped for) but I'm doubting it'll be on time...

~d.

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > WarCraft III: Frozen Throne Official

11. This summer? Jan 21, 2003, 18:35 Devinoch
 
"Planned for a release this summer"

*collapses into horrific fits of laughter* So we should expect to see it, what, Christmas? Next February? I mean, seriously folks, why does Blizzard even give expected release timeframes any more? If it's this summer, hey, more power to them, but somehow... nah, I just don't see it happening, unless it's in beta testing, like, NOW or something....

~d.

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Unreal II Gold

64. Ugh... Jan 14, 2003, 22:57 Devinoch
 
Remind me why I tolerate this industry when THESE are the people who claim to be "the core gamer."

Pirates, whiners, moaners, etc.

I'm sure a demo will come out after the game's been released, but it takes time to do these things, and if you have it in development concurrently with the game itself, you're slowing down the game's development. In an industry where most people are whiny brats, wanting a game yesterday, how can you possibly expect a demo before the game ships, because you'll only complain that now that the demo's out, the game should be done already (see UT2k3). Demos are a fine thing, but if you don't get one, it's not the end of the world.

And you know what, there SHOULD be more reviewers that you can trust. And if you don't agree with a review on a site, in a magazine or whereever, get off your fat ass and write an email or a letter that's coherent complaining about it. As an ex-gaming journalist, I always spoke what I felt about a game, but I was more than willing to listen to RATIONAL differing opinions and give them time in the sun. Getting rational opinions ANYWHERE anymore seems to take a goddamn miracle, though...

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > American McGee Q&A

12. Re: Paging Mr. Lucas.. Dec 5, 2002, 13:33 Devinoch
 
I think most people's problem (or mine at least) is that a journalist has an obligation NOT to print things if they don't get something interesting, and Blue's right in his post -- we got "non-answers."

It's too early to really be asking about Oz, it's too early to be talking about Oz, so let's all just sit back and patiently wait for it and go play other things whilst we wait. And to "journalists" who think reporting "American McGee told us virtually nothing, but at least he talked to us!" is news... go back to journalism school. Yer not done schoolin' yet.

~d.

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Warcraft III Theatrical Trailer & Demo

3. Re: ermm... Nov 21, 2002, 16:43 Devinoch
 
Lord of the Rings is a nerd movie? Considering the droves of people that turned out for the last one, I'm pretty sure that at least some of those people haven't heard of War3. Just a thought...

~d.


Editing notes: I will figure out this damn italics thing...
This comment was edited on Nov 21, 16:45.
 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Unreal II Article Corrections

4. Re: Nice Nov 5, 2002, 16:13 Devinoch
 
Quote: "Ooooooh. A single player FPS with no multiplayer. Thats gonna sell well!
</sarcasm>"

What, you mean Half-Life?

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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News Comments > Army Game Fallout

62. Re: Once again... Nov 1, 2002, 16:41 Devinoch
 
Uh, I know I'm going to regret asking this, but how do liberals want to take away everyone's rights? The majority othe ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is liberal...

 



Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcast
http://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/
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