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PC Games (Games) The Military Entertainment Games

America's Army 3 Has Rough Launch, Development Team Canned 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-stop-loss-here dept.
incognito84 writes "The development team responsible for the creation of the freeware game America's Army 3 has been canned, days after the launch of the highly flawed game, which was distributed mostly via Steam. 'The anonymous America's Army 3 developers in touch with Kotaku unsurprisingly didn't sound too pleased with the current situation, venting that "a lot of good people [worked] insanely long hours on this game that was butchered by outside sources.' The game's launch was plagued by massive server authentication issues which inhibited most players from playing it even two days afterward. One of the developers made a post on the official forums saying they were 'effectively stabbed in the back,' and that much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy. A patch has been released to address some of the game's issues."
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America's Army 3 Has Rough Launch, Development Team Canned

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  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:14PM (#28399139)

    "...much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy."

    I've noticed a pattern in a lot of talent-based industries. On a small scale, or with an upstart CEO you can have talent-driven companies. But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor. Every company I ever interacted with in the corporate world was like this. And, once you've got suits in charge, they make sure that they're well compensated.

    • by JohnBlueMO (1403531) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:34PM (#28399235)
      Yep. In fact, its a social phenomena that is not limited to talent-based industries. It effects governments, non-profit organizations, religious groups, clubs...you name it.

      Strangely, I rarely hear talk of it. For reference, see something called the Dunbar Number [wikipedia.org].

      Any organization that grows over 150 (or so) people either fails or forms a personality-stomping bureaucracy to survive. It doesn't happen right away, but it always seems to happen. And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        What about Valve? They have roughly 200 employees and they seem to be very much "talent based". Their methodology for making games has worked pretty damn well for them IMO.

      • The Wikipedia article you cite says no such thing.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Any organization that grows over 150 (or so) people either fails or forms a personality-stomping bureaucracy to survive. It doesn't happen right away, but it always seems to happen. And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

        The question then becomes whether a larger organization must necessarily stomp your soul more than a smaller one. Anecdotally, the federal government is the U.S.' largest employer.

      • by sco08y (615665) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:37AM (#28401325)

        And, ahem, the U.S. Army has way way more than 150 people :).

        However... the typical company (or troop or battery) has approximately 100 people. You can spend as much as 10 years working at the company level before you reach Sergeant Major or Major. Some jobs, e.g. Adjutant General (which is essentially HR) are tied more closely to Big Army, but others, e.g. combat arms, are more insulated. Even now the traditional terms "troop" and "battery" are retained, even though there's some OCD bureaucrat who is waiting for the chance to wipe them out and call everything a "company."

        I was a Cavalry Scout and we were aware that they were trying to wipe out personality and make us all fit neatly in to their org charts. All the (arguably stupid looking) emblems the units had painted on their HQs were painted over, they banned profanity, and of course our various alcohol sodden rituals were always causing problems for our CO, but for the most part we just ignored them and did whatever we wanted. The flip side of "don't be an individual" is that the Army also demands that you take pride in your unit.

    • by RudeIota (1131331)

      But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor.

      When companies *have* to be large, I believe keeping small, relatively autonomous groups of talented employees is the cure. Once a group becomes too large or the group is stripped of its autonomy to enforce mono-culture, innovation takes a back seat to sweeping, generic, stuffy rules that attempt to keep things 'safe' and 'organized'.

      Just about every company wants complete control from the top -- The problem is it's dangerous to assume people from the 'top' have enough insight and knowledge to make good d

    • I've noticed a pattern in a lot of talent-based industries. On a small scale, or with an upstart CEO you can have talent-driven companies. But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor.

      This is very true. It even extends beyond the corporate world into all kind of organizations because it deeply relates to human nature.

      It is so prevalent that it has been named "the Iron Law of Bureaucracy". This law states that any organizatio

    • http://jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2mail/mail408.html#Iron [jerrypournelle.com] is not just for governments. It applies to any organized group of people above a certain size.

  • by Sylos (1073710) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:20PM (#28399169)
    A couple of ways to deal with their firings a)Take their skills and go elsewhere. If they're actually any decent, they can make an impressive game to knock the socks off AA3 b)Complain.. c)(and only if it's true ) realize they suck at programming and find a new career. I make no defense of the Army, I'm sure it's a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit, even more then normal(yay for government!), but c'mon. Basic things like not being able to handle auth servers? Something that is at the VERY CORE of the game, that without *the best* you can do is a plain m16 is crap. There was a pretty massive user base for AA2.x and they did a fair amount of hyping for it(hell, I heard about it and I don't even check gaming news websites.) That's one of the more *important* things to handle. Now, if it was crappy funding issues(god knows I don't know what happened), that's another story. If it was programming/design related....that's something *important* to get working right. Who knows? Maybe they are staying truth to the authenticate Army lifestyle, bullshit and all?
  • Abysmal builds (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stray1 (862245) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:29PM (#28399213)

    As a member of the beta team , I can tell you everyone was pretty damn concerned about the state of the game so close to its release.

    It was obvious SOMETHING was wrong given the alpha state of the builds they were giving us.

    As it is, you load, hit a button and crash, repeat. I tried to withhold my judgement until they released into open beta, but its just horrible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:03AM (#28399349)

    The American army has a long history of killing their own allies.

    • Now either your talking about Friendly Fire. Which is in bad taste.

      Or your talking about turning on allies like Russia which is in only slightly better taste.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tcolberg (998885)

        Now either your talking about Friendly Fire. Which is in bad taste. Or your talking about turning on allies like Russia which is in only slightly better taste.

        There is a third option: that he's talking about the US Army/Air Force routinely bombing the crap out of civilian targets we're supposed to be protecting and not getting too bent out of shape over it because it's just "collateral damage".

  • by sealfoss (962185) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:04AM (#28399365)
    I spent four years in the Army myself. I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me. I've got two deployments to Iraq under my belt. Really, I have to tell you, every other iteration of the America's Army "game" I played blew ass. I had more fun going to work. Seriously, they gave you "Task, Condition and Standard" in a video game?!?! Jeeze, I'd rather shine my boots and clean my weapon. Not to mention that they just happened to leave out the whole screaming-in-horrendous-agony part of war. People usually don't just fall down and play dead when shot or hit with shrapnel from one source or another, you can trust me on that too. So, I'm kind of glad this game ate shit. The only "realistic" part of it was how outrageously boring training in the Army can be. Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army. -Reed
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by petrus4 (213815)

      Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army. -Reed

      Yep. My generation has spent its' adolescence with Doom, Quake, and Half-Life. Teenagers have learned very basic things from those games like the use of cover, and the necessity of ammo conservation, maybe, and on the basis of that, s

    • Hear, hear. The most fun I remember in America's Army was shooting the drill sergeant and ending up in the brig.

      Haha so you were a 25F? Yea the title sounds so glamorous, until you actually have to setup a SSS and pound 6' ground rods all day

      • by sealfoss (962185)
        Yeah, the job kind of sucked ass. That is until I knew what I was doing in the Node Center, and thus supervisors started relying on me heavily enough that I got away will bloody murder. Some of my fondest memories are of sending in network status reports to Battalion Command with our unofficial platoon motto "Balls Deep!" Pasted across the bottom. Signal Battalions in the Army are sort of a testament to how quickly communications jobs, and technology in general, has been changing. For instance, our plat
        • Yep ahh the memories lol... and yea a lot of the 'older generation' just knew that we turned red lights into blinky green lights, and that was good enough for them

          I was a 25B, and at Fort Huachuca pounding 6' ground rods into the hard ass desert ground was no fun.

          Half the time we just left the rods because they'd end up bent to shit if we tried to pull them out.

          The coolest stuff I had the opportunity to work on was in Iraq though... satellite shots galore, the Ku band, tiny little dishes so there was no gai

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      I spent four years in the Army myself. I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me. I've got two deployments to Iraq under my belt. ... So, I'm kind of glad this game ate shit. The only "realistic" part of it was how outrageously boring training in the Army can be. Other than that, the only purpose it served was to give children a false impression of war, and how god-forsaken horrible it is. Usually that wouldn't matter in a video game, but it certainly does matter when that video game is really a recruitment tool for the US Army.

      So I'm curious - what recruitment tool worked with you? Was your recruiter entirely truthful? And did they spend a lot of time drilling the horror of war while recruiting you? When did you realize the reality of what war was and why do you think you didn't know this before hand (with the assumption that your recruiter didn't manage to get this through to you)?

      • by sealfoss (962185) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @02:37AM (#28399953)
        The recruitment tool that worked for me.... hmm... being bored to tears in college... and planes flying into buildings (that happened in September, I signed up in December). I wanted some adventure. I was young and still stupid enough to think that America's foreign policy might actually do the world some good. Not going to get too political now, but rest assured I don't feel the same way now. Of course they didn't spend time "drilling the horror of war" while recruiting me. That was my point, recruiters are *supposed* to blind potential recruits with "glory" and "action" and shit like that. A joke is that another name for Army recruiters is "liar." Nothing really wrong with all of this I think, it is how you get people to join the Army after all. Now, normally I would apply the same thought process to Americas Army, the video game. But I run into a moral conundrum when doing so, because Americas Army is just that, A VIDEO GAME. And who plays video games? Children play video games. If you, as a legal adult and the Army thinking that war would be anything like what you see in Americas Army (or any other video game for that matter), you are a dumb ass, and you deserve what you get. Either that, or mentally retarded in some way, shape or form. Darwinism at its finest. On the other hand, children do not have the same cognitive ability as an adult, and therefore should not be held to the same standard. The act of killing people being a fun and relaxing experience in any situation, or being able to reset a match when you get shot in the face, are just bold-faced lies when told to children. This is because children will look at the game as being official, released by the Army itself (and who knows more about war than the Army?) AND THEY WILL BELIEVE IT. My recruiter told me a story once about how he had been driving down the road in a particular Eastern-European, war-torn nation. The Humvee in front of his (they were of course driving in formation at the time) was unlucky enough to hit a landmine. "Scared the shit out of me" is the way I believe he put it. Other than that, he didn't go into too much detail as to how well (or not) the passengers of that ill-fated Humvee turned out. Now, in this situation, it wasn't really how much he did tell me about what happened as much as it was the expression on his face and the way in which he skirted around my questions that gave me a pretty good understanding of what it was like. For myself, I don't think I realized what the hell had happened until a year or two AFTER I was out of the Army. There is no thinking about what is going on while you're actually there. No time to stop and say "what in the name of FUCK am I doing here?" Because doing things such as that are counter-productive in the long run, as there really isn't much you can do to get out of the situation anyway (until your time is up). I hope this answered your questions, asshole. -Reed
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
          I used to joke that the recruiting tool that worked for me was Top Gun - the joke being that the movie was about the wrong branch of military service. The reality is that I joined because of the financial boost. I had Army recruiters hounding me and a Navy recruiter that played bait-and-switch. No recruiters talked about war.

          I was taking a taxi during my time at tech school. The taxi driver was an older guy with long hair and a beard. He noted that he was retired and started to talk about how my "r

          • by sealfoss (962185)
            Yeah, I know, I'm not arguing whether video games are bad for children. In my opinion they aren't. I also realize that every child with access to a computer has that access via the consent of an adult, direct or otherwise. What I'm arguing is that a recruitment tool in the guise of a game is immoral. We had our fair share of conscientious objectors as well. This didn't get them out of the war zone, it just got the bolts take out of their rifles. Congratulations, you are no longer able to defend yourse
            • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

              Yeah, I know, I'm not arguing whether video games are bad for children. In my opinion they aren't. I also realize that every child with access to a computer has that access via the consent of an adult, direct or otherwise. What I'm arguing is that a recruitment tool in the guise of a game is immoral.

              I don't see why. How is it any more or less immoral than the glossy brochure that promises a life of adventure? Or the one that plays up the GI Bill? Or the Navy's involvement in the filming of the movie Top Gun?

              • by farkinga (113105)

                One unique aspect of America's Army is that it's funded by the real Army, which is entirely funded by the public. Movies aren't funded like this.

                So let's say AA3 is your concept, and you're the producer for the project. What kind of grant are you going to write to get funding for this concept? How are you going to justify the expenditure?

                I don't imagine the selling point was about "making a great game." They got the funding because the game was supposed to make something happen; I'm guessing they justif

                • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

                  One unique aspect of America's Army is that it's funded by the real Army, which is entirely funded by the public. Movies aren't funded like this.

                  But movies often get support from the US Military who will put forward resources to assist in making the film. Granted - it's not outright funding. But there is support. Where's the moral outrage?

                  So, we can argue about what kind of person gets recruited by a game like this... but what I think is beyond arguing is why the game exists, and the reason the game exists is because someone thought it would have an impact on recruiting.

                  Yes. And your point is? Are you trying to say that recruiting for the military is immoral?

                  It is also different from a brochure, in the same way that cigarettes can no longer be sold by Joe Camel. The difference between a picture of cigarettes and a picture of a cool smoking camel (it has been argued) is that Joe Camel appeals to kids, and a picture of cigarettes doesn't.

                  Maybe cigarettes weren't marketed to kids, and maybe they were, but Joe Camel was outlawed. America's Army 3 has more in common with Joe Camel than with the brochure.

                  And now you're saying video games are for kids? You are aware that the demographics tend to be at 30 on average - which is almost too old to enlist.

                  Of course, video games tend to deal with the same cultural misunde

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Sponge Bath (413667)

          A joke is that another name for Army recruiters is "liar."

          My recruiter drove me to the MEPS on my first day. I had drunk too much the night before and was nauseous, so I chugged some Pepto-Bismol before he picked me up. Close to the end of the drive, it was too much and I spewed huge amounts of pink, alcohol reeking vomit onto the floorboards. There was so much material, it formed a clumpy, steaming pool. There was not enough time for anything other than a pissed off look from the recruiter as I was wisked

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          >>No time to stop and say "what in the name of FUCK am I doing here?"

          LOL, My third trip to Iraq I actually did have time to think about this. I'll set it up for you (it may not make sense to everyone):

          I was standing at the back of a long line at the west side BX at Anaconda where there were like 6 other empty but unmanned lanes for checkout. I'm pretty sure I was buying soap or clothespins or something. Most of the people in line were contractors in jeans and t-shirts. That's not where it began to sin

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            I just wanted to say, *this* post is an example of why I still bother reading Slashdot. Among the piles and piles of dreck, there are occasionally shining lights, and you, my friend, are one of them. Well written and poignant. Thanks for taking the time to rant! :)

          • by flibuste (523578)
            Text of such quality are very rare on /.
            Thank you.
    • It would only take one person on the team or an organized handful of technically inclined pacifists with moral objections to making war a game to take down the auth servers. Not to mention America's wars are not exactly popular right now, and many execs would have no problems pocketing the funding for reasons so well described in the parent post.
    • by volpe (58112)

      I was a "Network Swtiching System Operator/Maintainer." Sounds a lot cooler than it is, trust me.

      Man, that must have been REALLY un-cool.

    • by dave562 (969951)
      As far as FPS games go, AA.2 is good for being a free download. As far a recruitment tool goes, I agree with you that it sucks, but for opposite reasons. When I first started playing it (and keep in mind I have been playing FPS games online since Quake), I was surprised by how quickly I died, especially on new maps. In the earlier iterations of the game before they introduced the mini-map and tagging enemy locations, it took a couple of rounds to even figure out where the bad guys were. It is a common o
    • by meyekul (1204876)
      So you're saying they glamorized something to sell it? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!
    • by dindi (78034)

      "leave out the whole screaming-in-horrendous-agony part of war"

      This is not to bad mount the army or hurt anyone's feeling, but you have to know (as you know) that the game is a recruiting too.

      They went the extra step and made sure that you get hurt when you get shot, and that is great for people who like to play tactical, and for the idiots who think war is like doom where you respawn 100 times.

      But how would that recruiting factor be if people splashed to the walls and screamed with missing legs after a gre

  • unfortunately the patch can't be said to have really helped. All the auth servers are still down, meaning no official servers currently work. the game still freezes for several people. I'm optimistic however that eventually the game servers will be functional and people will forget about the horrible launch.
  • by DesertBlade (741219) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:19AM (#28399425)
    Long hours unpaid, shortage of personnel, impossible deadlines, sounds like my time in the real US Army.
  • I managed to get in a few servers and get a half hour of combat in. It's very intense and really a good tactical shooter. If the auth server had any stability or capacity there would be no story here aside from a few bugs that can be eliminated quickly. (Such as having two main menus up at the same time in-game, a few minor animation bugs, etc.)

  • Ha ha ha ha!

    Their trouble is that they didn't give this job to the pure propagandists, (you know, guys like Westwood and. . , well Hollywood).

    Heck, I'd only be half surprised if this wasn't a failure-by-design to make the military look useless and all "Beatle Bailey" in the eyes of the public while the real recruitment officers, (the News, for instance), do the dirty work.

    Of course, it could also simply be the result of endless wishful thinking; you know. . . Imperial Rot and Decay before the Mongol Hoards

  • the odds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:25AM (#28399455) Homepage

    The chance that the entire team was incompetent is very small. When a project fails, look to its management, not to every single engineer on the team. Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

    • Re:the odds (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:37AM (#28399501) Journal
      And if they were all incompetent, then the fault lies with the asshat who hired them.
    • Re:the odds (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zeussy (868062) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:57AM (#28399575) Homepage
      If I had mod points, I would mod this up. So much rides on the shoulders of good management to allow the developers to do their job, and stop the shit filtering down from the higher ups, they also need to learn to say NO to feature creep, or feature swapping so "Yes I can do X, but to do it in time and on budget you can't have Y or Z so you choose.". Crap management just drags everyone and the project down.
    • Re:the odds (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:33AM (#28399717)
      Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

      But it takes a special talent to fail when your funding is provided for you and you can give the game away for free.
    • Also keep in mind that half of software projects in general fail; it's a very immature industry.

      The industry has been around for a while. I don't see any evidence that it will change significantly in the future, management-wise.

    • Re:the odds (Score:5, Insightful)

      by deathguppie (768263) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:52AM (#28399783)

      No it's a very mature industry. Allindustries go over time and over budget. It is a reality of life that we all think we can do more than we actually can. When that happens on the job we feel the consequences.

      Now I'm not saying that is what happened here but it is a reality.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        It is a reality of life that we all think we can do more than we actually can.

        It's a reality of life that those not doing the actual work think that those doing the actual work can do more in the same amount of time than they actually can.

        That separation of roles is important: in a large number of organizations (the military is probably no exception) the people making the scheduling and budgeting decisions and the people doing the work are not the same people. Which lends itself to exactly what happened here: when the project goes over time and over budget, those responsible for unre

      • Re:the odds (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:31AM (#28400995) Homepage

        That's true for schedule and budget overruns, but not true for the massive amount of failures. It's extremely rare that say a construction firm says "Man, this house is bad. In fact, it ended up so poor we can't even sell it. We'll just have to demolish it and start over." Then, again few try to redesign the house while they're building it...

        • Houses are different. If you build a house you get one house. If you make a program then you get unlimited copies of that program. So if somebody buys the bettr house then the rubbish house is the only one left but with software if somebody buys the better program then nothing has changed.

    • by binkzz (779594)

      Only half?

  • by apharmdq (219181) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:17AM (#28399645)

    The situation is not quite that bad, though the summary makes it seem so. From what I gather, it wasn't a major part of the development team that was released, but rather 3-4 people in a small satellite team. Of course, there would definitely be bitterness about this, especially in this economic climate, but the job cut definitely wasn't extensive.

    As for AA3 being flawed, the only major issue it's had is that the authentication servers have been overloaded by the hoards of new players trying to log in and play the game all at once. Obviously something like this can't be predicted, so no one is to blame. (I'm sure many of us recall Quake Live being hammered when it was released in open beta for similar reasons. And Demigod as well.)

    The game itself is a LOT smoother and cleaner than any of its previous iterations. There are some occasional bugs and glitches that need ironing out, but thus far I haven't seen anything drastic.

    (Yes, I am an AA player, and I have enjoyed for quite a long time. No, I'm not at all interested in joining the US Army. I realize it's a recruitment tool, but that doesn't mean there's any reason for me to shun it as a game.)

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Obviously something like this can't be predicted, so no one is to blame. (I'm sure many of us recall Quake Live being hammered when it was released in open beta for similar reasons. And Demigod as well.)

      You just contradicted yourself; it sounds like it was actually very predictable.

      • by dave562 (969951)
        Agreed. Like the OP, I'm a long time AA player (since 2003). I remember the original versions of the game, and they had auth problems with the training content. In other words, you'd go through the training and when it came time to upload the results, they wouldn't upload. That was six years ago, and the same thing happened in this iteration. I think what really happened is the dev team knew there would be problems, but they under-estimated the impact of them. They probably figured a small percentage o
        • by dindi (78034)

          Actually there was an other patch which fixed some things yesterday. However it seems it broke some other things.

          I was actually able to play more than an hour on release day and not even from the US, and lag wasn't bad at all.

          Yesterday however I had more problems than before and was barely able to join anything, then finally the server list function died completely.

          Well, I guess most of the people wanted to have a nice Friday nigh AA release play night and just pawned the servers to death again.

          I honestly d

    • by Verunks (1000826)
      I had the authentication problem yesterday for just a couple of hours, the real problem is that everything else is bugged, I've completed one of the training mission with full score, yet at the end it says that I failed it completely, I've tried to play online but after joining a server and choosing side, I couldn't choose any class, so I changed server and it was even worse nobody could choose any side, so I changed again and with all other servers after the loading screen it sent me back to the menu. I tr
      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @05:43AM (#28400665)

        I had the authentication problem yesterday for just a couple of hours, the real problem is that everything else is bugged, I've completed one of the training mission with full score, yet at the end it says that I failed it completely,

        That's a problem with the auth server. After you complete training, the game needs to successfully communicate with the auth server to update your stats. If it can't, it automatically defaults to "YOU ARE A NO GO!". This in an of itself was a mistake on the devs part IMO; they should have had a message encoded in which said "Unable to communicate with Authentication Server" or something so people didn't think that they failed training.

        Moreover, every time you restart training, you have to sit and listen to the same diatribe by the D.I. This is not necessarily so bad for some things (where the speech is like a minute and a half long), but I feel really bad for the people who didn't get CLS (Combat Life-Saving) done the first time. You actually have to sit through a video and like a ten-minute lecture on how to properly administer first aid. Thankfully, the pass went through on my first try.

        I've tried to play online but after joining a server and choosing side, I couldn't choose any class, so I changed server and it was even worse nobody could choose any side, so I changed again and with all other servers after the loading screen it sent me back to the menu. I tried again the next day, I choose a server with a ping of 32ms yet it was lagging like hell and I even spawned without a weapon, I had to find a dead body to steal his

        You got further than me.

        Even though I've completed Basic (qualifying on most stuff with Expert, otherwise Proficient), I can't actually join any games. Last night I was in a game where there was literally *one* guy playing and 23 people sitting in spec because they flat-out couldn't get in.

        Again, it seems to be some kind of problem on the AA server's end, because more than a few people have set up LAN servers and you can play on there just fine.

      • I even spawned without a weapon, I had to find a dead body to steal his

        Naw, that's a feature. They're training you to recreate the human wave attacks used in WWII after they run out of funding for rifles.

      • by dindi (78034)

        If you are talking about the granade throwing that asks you if you wanted to restart, then whatever you do you are thrown out:

        i completed it 3 times..... and failed ... then the next day the training was approved. Interesting.... quite interesting.

        I think the data is actually updated on the server, but then somehow it is not coming back to you.

  • Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JayTech (935793)
    This doesn't come as a surprise to me... sometime around the version 1.6/1.7 release, a bunch of the DEVs were let go/fired/left (I don't remember specifics) and the game hasn't been the same since. I participated in the beta testing process at one point, and there were a bunch of great guys doing the testing and lots of reports of issues were being relayed to the developers. But it seemed that there were always issues slipping through the cracks because the Army was more interested in phasing in the overal
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Why is this modded flamebait? I think a fanboy just saw something that they didn't like and had some mod points to spend.

      Mod the parent out of -1 Hell, please. I have mod points but I have obviously posted in this article so I can't use 'em.

      And just so people can see it, here is his comment:

      This doesn't come as a surprise to me... sometime around the version 1.6/1.7 release, a bunch of the DEVs were let go/fired/left (I don't remember specifics) and the game hasn't been the same since. I participated in the beta testing process at one point, and there were a bunch of great guys doing the testing and lots of reports of issues were being relayed to the developers. But it seemed that there were always issues slipping through the cracks because the Army was more interested in phasing in the overall "experience" or storyline of the game, rather than gameplay. I haven't been following the development of the game since a few years ago when the gameplay went south, and I imagine they've been losing lots of veteran players since then. Being the army, it should be easy to assume the DEV team was pressured with unrealistic goals and an unrealistic deadline for launch. Since the game is (obviously) targeted at young adults and they failed big-time on first impressions for many new players coming on board with this release, it's easy to see why someone's head was required on a platter even though the blame really lies with the Army officials. Typical bureaucracy at its finest. I hope the fired DEVs find good paying jobs with companies who don't require treading manure on a daily basis.

      That said, I do hope that moving development into the military sector instead of the private sector ends up saving taxpayer money in the long run, IMHO the game as a whole isn't really an effective recruiting tool anyway. The only thing that's really useful is the virtual-reality training for our soldiers, and that should be the main focus of the development.

    • by afxgrin (208686)

      They should take a look at the Battlefield 2 mod called Project Reality. I find it far more interesting, and playable, than America's Army. Everyone seems to consistently use microphones in-game, people generally work as a team. It's one of the few multiplayer games I've played that people just automatically start working as a team, and following squad leader orders.

      Sure - there's no honor system in the game - but that could easily be implemented.

  • by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @03:50AM (#28400211)
    If these guy's had use the Imperial handbook, they wouldn't be in this situation.

    "The Emperor is most displeased with your apparent lack of effort" - Vader
    "He asks the impossible, we need more men, we need more time" - Commander
    "Then perhaps you can tell him yourself when he arrives" - Vader
    "The Emperor is coming here?" - Commander
    "That is correct Commander" - Vader
    "We shall redouble our efforts" - Commander
    "I hope so Commander for your sake, the Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Vader
  • a lot of good people [worked] insanely long hours on this game that was butchered by outside sources.

    I kills me to see this pattern repeated over and over in the technology industry. Smart managers/leads/companies know that pushing too hard will always hurt you in the long run. Of course there are times where you push hard as a team. But when 12 hour days become the rule not the exception you are establishing an unsustainable habit and company/team culture. Attrition rates will increase (draining you of talent), word will spread into the industry about the negative work atmosphere (making it hard to hire/r

  • I guess I have been around long enough to understand when it is release time get the resume ready. The budget
    is gone everything switches to maintenance mode and the team size dwindles end of the road. As for the game
    problem freezing or crashing by the client now that is a solid programing issue. The authentication servers now
    that is a problem that can be fixed and fixed extremely fast. If the authentication servers are still down it is
    a good indication that the project is completely out of cash and no one i

  • The game itself had a few glitches and flaws, but the real problems lied with the server infrastructure and poor planning. With the launch of a FREE first person shooter on a huge platform like Steam, no one bothered to improve the server infrastructure the game uses for online play, which resulted in most of the issues players see.

    One of the problems I've heard the most about is the inability to get past the Training missions because the game does not properly save your progress when you've beat a Training

    • The problem with this logic is that AA is only online. There is no single player or offline mode. Therefore, even if the client is perfectly made, the game still has flaws if the infrastructure sucks, because you can't get away with NOT using the servers.
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      The really sad thing is that the game looks beautiful and actually runs pretty damn well. If they hadn't colossally fucked up the server-side part of the launch plan I think the game would have thousands of people playing it right now instead of a handful.

    • by iCEBaLM (34905)

      Barring that, the game crashes way too often. It's not just a server issue (which is a huge issue) but it is also a stability problem. I can flip a coin to figure out whether it'll actually load and let me play a training mission, sometimes it will, sometimes it won't.

  • "a lot of good people [worked] insanely long hours [on this game] that was butchered by outside sources.' .... One of the [developers] made a post on the official forums saying they were 'effectively stabbed in the back,' and that much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy"

    wow, if this wasn't talking about a video game, I would almost think they were talking about the real Army!

  • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:47PM (#28403455)

    Why did they work long hours? Against whom is the U.S. Army competing? The game, like its previous 2 incarnations, was to be free-as-in-beer.

    And why is programmer psychosis [blogspot.com] so prevalent among game developers? Is it because so many developers (like me) got their start wanting to write games, hence strong competition for jobs as game developers?

    Any time long hours are involved, you can be sure it is the result of one or more of at least 3 things:

    * market competition forcing businesses to make promises that cannot be kept except by unreasonable behaviors, such as overtime
    * lousy project management (is there such thing as competent project management? Even at firms praised by clients for having "great" PMs, I've found PMs to be lousy)
    * developers with mental issues of sanity and pushback willpower

    Fuck long hours - especially if they are unpaid (as is almost always the case. It is time for developers to fight-back against being taken advantage-of; we need to demonstrate that we are worthy of respect and reasonable lives too!

  • Hate to sound rash, but when are people in the game industry going to understand they are contract workers getting paid salary? Meaning: when the project is done, your job is done. There is very little tech re-use between game projects, so there is usually no reason to keep staff. This is different than most major corporations that build upon the same product with new releases, and very rarely re-tool. But really, there isn't job security anywhere. However, for the game industry, and the nature of its proje

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