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Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."
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Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards

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  • Re:Saboteur, hey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:09AM (#30374530)
    I get very tired of these sorts of bugs. I had experienced a title screen bug for Fallout3. After spending 4 hours trying to get it to work, I just gave up and returned the game.

    It seemed that I was not alone either. Unfortunately, the games industry is being pushed by customer demand and sabotaged by shrinking budgets from the corporate side. In the end the only thing that can be cut from the budget is QA, which is a fatal mistake.

    Worse still is places where you cannot return your product. Talk about non efficate product.
  • ATI bugs... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:14AM (#30374550) Journal

    Eve Online just introduced a new graphical problem (which actually results in a CPU spike too) in the latest expansion (Dominion) that's causing problems with a lot of ATI cards.

    This is why I go with nVidia: my card may be slower than your ATI and I may have paid more for it, but I'll have driver updates twice a week that almost universally work flawlessly. Never had any luck at all with ATI's drivers for any product.

  • Re:Saboteur, hey? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:23AM (#30374600)
    I'd love to know where you shop. No matter how much I bitch and whine they never take back my opened software.
  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:48AM (#30374706) Homepage Journal

    The studio is being retired; there's no value in having the product work at launch. If it takes them a month to get the patch out, so be it, people will blame (the now defunct) Pandemic, and people will continue to buy EA games. If they ever revive the Pandemic name (why? what notable titles have they made? Dark Rein comes to mind, if only because my buddy was obsessed with Dark Rein 2 for so long in high school) nobody will remember this flop in 5-10 years time. The only flop anyone ever remembers is Duke Nukem Forever. I doubt most geeks could tell you the name of the rouge iD developer who made his own FPS (which failed miserably), or what the name of his game was. In two years nobody will remember the "Pandemic studios Pandemic of 2009".

  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:57AM (#30374754) Homepage

    This is exactly the problem and I don't blame you for posting anonymously. Every single EA game I have owned after a certain point shipped with horrible bugs. Things that you could have caught in testing after about an hour of play time. Game stopping bugs. Only to be fixed a MONTH later when I shelved the game or had taken it back and swore off EA. It's getting harder and harder to avoid their games, though, since they keep buying out good ideas and then turning them to shit.

    You know, EA, games take a while to develop. If you don't have the resources, time, or patience to deal with it, you're welcome to go eat a bowl of dicks. I'm tired of promising games being snatched up by EA, only to have them lay everyone off at the last minute and skip testing. They've done this with pretty much every single game, even their successful ones.

  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @03:05AM (#30374802) Homepage

    ...about the games they're going to spend money on, and then find out too late that it has problems (ie, after they've paid for it).

    Gamers need to get over that urgent, gripping need they have to rush out and buy a new game the second it is released. They've become too complacent and accustomed to game developers not releasing demos, and - sadly - this has become the status quo. Instead of a demo being something that absolutely has to happen before people even glance at your game, publishers have figured out that they can release some PRs, screenshots, and trailers, and slap anything in a box and it will /still/ sell enough to justify doing it that way.

    Once they've gotten your money, it's basically too late (unless you have the energy to go and demand a refund).

    BE A DISCRIMINATING GAMER. Read reviews. Try demos, and if they don't have one post on their forums asking where their demo is. Check out their forums and see what people are complaining about. It's all about knowledge.

    Further, anyone that has touched an EA game in the last 10 years should know by now that they make games based on a deadline. Unless a game is catastrophically not ready, then it will be shipped and shelved, and any problems will get fixed later (maybe). They make a lot of great games, but a good rule of thumb is to only buy them after it's been out for a month and they've fixed all the critical bugs (a good rule for PC games in general).

    Note: I'm not trying to justify shitty development practices. Far from it. I'm trying to make sure people understand the most effective way to vote on this stuff is with their feet - don't buy broken video games.

  • Re:Saboteur, hey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arQon ( 447508 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @03:32AM (#30374896) Homepage

    For all that "the industry is being pushed", it's not ALWAYS the game developers' fault. For a "real" game (ie "not a crappy movie tie-in generic copypaste with new art") you can easily go through dozens of driver revisions during years of development, all of which work fine, and then have a new set come out after you ship the master which suddenly doesn't work with your game.

    ATI, much though I love their hardware, border on completely indifferent to driver bugs, and nvidia aren't really that much better. Unless your game is a "showpiece" for their hardware, they simply don't care if something doesn't work the way it's supposed to or even has catastrophic errors in it. Case in point, every ATI driver release from April through OCTOBER this year *hemorrhaged* memory if you used VBOs a certain way. 6 months to fix a bug that critical is pretty miserable.
    Yes, modern graphics drivers are horrifically complex, but still...

    Sometimes it works the other way too. There's a tiny little bug in Quake3 that can make an invalid GL call at times: it "worked" for 7 years because the drivers gracefully ignored it, then suddenly started to cause *massive* slowdowns on nvidia cards (from 400+ fps to 100). Technically, it's id's "fault", but it's pretty hard to blame them for it - or to blame nvidia for the drivers going into Sulk Mode, since it IS an invalid call.

    That's an extreme example, but the point is that you're dependent on drivers that you don't "own" for your game to work, they frequently don't, and you've got no control over them at all.
    If you're id / Epic / Valve, and pushing a AAA title that will prompt players to upgrade their cards, you can doubtless get someone at the IHV to look into the problems. If you're at a company like Pandemic that basically folded before even finishing the game, good luck with that even if you actually have any developers left to try to get a fix or hack up a workaround if a driver rev pulls the rug out from under you.

    Of course, the developers COULD have been so completely half-assed that they didn't run a single build on an ATI card, in which case they should indeed be beaten to death with cluebats. :P

  • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @03:58AM (#30374974)

    From a non-biased GAMER who's still sees both sides, I would say consoles (as an experience) today suck!

    Consoles today are basically the worst of the PC world and the worst of the old console world.

    Consoles used to be about highly polished games that the developers (not the artists & marketing) put a lot of work into. Now a days with the net connection, most games deliver as betas (like the PCs), and then after 2 updates become... ok. The graphics are better, but the controls, storylines, action, and overall game play has gone down the crapper. We have games that are cross platform on the PSP, Xbox360, and PS3! So those games basically cater to the lowest common denominator of all three and not take advantage of any specifics. Xbox360 ports to the PS3 look like crap (I am looking at you EA)!

    The worst of the console world... the price tag. Cause its on a "console," there is a huge upfront price tag. And with the net connection, you get the rest of the game delivered via additional charges! There is also the bombardment of marketing (which I think is the major reason for the price tags) that drone on and on about the latest upcoming game that is either a sequel or must have new concept. Which of course rarely lives up to the hype. Not to mention, we mostly lose that big benefit of consoles... local coop play. With the net, every bloody stupid game wants you to connect to some random 12 year old to play what should be local coop, or a rip off of counterstrike.

    All consoles today are: locked down, controlled, 2 year old proprietary hardware... PCs! The only advantage is the massive number of games made for it (cause its a great way to lock in customers).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @04:18AM (#30375050)
    Anybody who claims that consoles "just work" obviously haven't tried loading Borderlands on PS3 - it takes 3 hours to download and install all the patches to make it work... besides, playing a first person shooter on a console is like eating soup with fork - sure you can do it, but it's awkward as hell and will take you forever to get used to. And once consoles do everything the PC's can do - they will just become PC's and then the point is moot anyways.
  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @04:30AM (#30375102)

    As an avid non-gamer, mostly because PC gaming sucks and console gaming is too costly,

    This is offset by PC games being cheaper to buy. A$10 cheaper in fact. Lets look at Modern Warfare 2 shall we, Xbox 36 = A$119 [], PS3 = A$119 [],PC = A$99 []. OK that's A$20 dollars cheaper but I'll argue at A$10 because I'm nice.

    I buy two games a month, that's A$540 off the cost of my A$2000 gaming rig over two years. So that reduces the cost of the rig to A$1460. The cost of a PS3 is still $600, a new HDTV is A$1000. The price of a PS3 when I built my gaming rig in Feb was A$999. A$2000 is a top of the line gaming rig, Phenom II 955BE with a Geforce 985

    This is of course ignoring digital distribution. I can pick up steam and Impulse games for A$50 easily.

    Beyond price there's usefulness. After the Xbox 360 is superseded the Xbox 360 is useless, my PC can be re-rolled into a word processing/email machine.

    There's also the question of graphics, As FarCry 2 proved the PC is still the superior graphics machine. I also get flash games for free, a superior control system, cheaper add-on packs and strategy games. In fact I just bought the latest add-on for Sins of a Solar Empire for US$10.

    PC gaming is only more expensive for those who do not know the real costs.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @04:40AM (#30375130)

    Luckily there are not only some good console games still being released, but there's also little hassle generally with running older games.

    I've got a bunch of old N64 and SNES cart (yes, spot the fanboy*) but why I cant play these in my Wii. Yet I can play Mean streets and Martian Memorandum on my new gaming PC. Not a problem via DOSBOX, I can also run Half Life 1 and System Shock 2 without a problem on XP.

    * - Yes I still have an N64 and SNES, although the SNES was not my first one.

  • Re:ATI bugs... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @06:05AM (#30375432)
    Then again, I haven't heard of a notebook being rendered useless due to ATI's inability to properly specify the package for their GPU. That very thing happened to me with a NVidia IGP. Experiences like that or NVidia's horrible OS X CUDA drivers (that may or may not work and may or may not negatively affect regular rendering) tend to make one suspicious of the quality of their offering.

    Note that I didn't have many issues with their discrete graphics cards under Windows and Linux but that was before I used Mac notebooks almost exclusively for a while; plus, my current desktop's ATI IGP (didn't yet have the time and money to go discrete) also performs without any issue.
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @07:50AM (#30375850) Journal DO know that the same argument applies to a PC, right? Cost of a 2 port KVM switch? Around $10 at Newegg. Cost of a Win2K era PC? Under $30 but can usually be had for free at places like Freecycle or just watching your local curbs. Being able to run Redneck Rampage under actual DOS? Priceless baby, priceless.

    I am sitting here looking at an old 733Mhz SFF Office box that came with XP that a local company was tossing, throw in a Geforce FX5200 Lo Pro and it makes a great Win9x/WinXP dual boot for old games that don't run correctly on modern OSes (like MechWarrior 3 and the bouncing APC bug) and the cost for the whole smash was $24 for a 4 port KVM. Considering how shitty some of the older consoles were, like the 3 NES (those early flip loaders sucked!), 4 Sega CDs, and 4 PS1s I went through before finally moving to PC for good, finding a decent running console for older games can be expensive or damned near impossible.

    Comparing the 16 years I've been PC gaming (93-current) to the 18 years I spent console gaming (77-95) I'd have to say with the exclusion of the damned near impossible to kill woodgrain VCS that I've had less hassle overall with the PC. Of course I'm not stupid enough to try to surf on my gamer box so I don't have to deal with AV, firewall, or any of the other FPS sucking crap, so that may be why I've had better luck. Every customer I've dealt with that had serious problems with PC gaming were trying to do everything on a single box and just weighing the poor things down. I tell them to pick up a cheap PC for use as a "netbox" along with a KVM and save the gamer rig for gaming. They always come back talking about how much "nicer" everything works now,LOL! Like having over a dozen programs running at startup isn't gonna effect performance!

  • Re:Saboteur, hey? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <> on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:59AM (#30376494)

    That used to be the case, but now since they have bulit in storage, they can patch them too. That's also encouraging developers to ship now and patch later even on the consolesm and I'm not happy about that.

  • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:28AM (#30376738) Homepage Journal

    You say that as if I wasn't a PC gamer who knows first hand that if you give it a chance and get used to the controller just like you had to with mouse and keyboard originally then there is absolutely no issue.

    Believe me, I've spent as much time with the gamepad as it took me to get used to the mouse and keyboard, and I'm not alone. The gamepad still feels like playing in quicksand.

    Maybe you're an exception. Or maybe you were just never very good with the mouse and keyboard, so you don't notice a difference.

    This is mirrored by the fact there are so many console players playing online now, enough to dwarf the PC playing population in just about every dual platform multiplayer game- because it's just not a problem, or at very least not enough of a problem to be unable to outweigh the rampant cheating issue on the PC.

    The reason it's "just not a problem" is that they all have the same handicap.

    And don't kid yourself about "rampant cheating". Few people choose consoles because of cheating; they do it because they want to play from the couch, or save a few bucks, or play with their console-owning friends, or avoid the hassle of drivers and OS upgrades. Personally, I've seen more cheating on console games than PC games, thanks to the fact that they're hosted on other players' consoles instead of impartial third-party servers.

    But then, games like Shadowrun that had PC vs. XBox multiplayer worked fine and XBox players were certainly at no disadvantage, you really couldn't tell if you were playing against another XBox or a PC player from the XBox and vice versa.

    I suppose you think that had nothing to do with the weak PC controls, the gamepad aiming assistance, and the fact that Shadowrun de-emphasizes quick aiming in favor of other skills anyway?

  • Re:Saboteur, hey? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chrish ( 4714 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:42AM (#30376834) Homepage

    "Me too." but I always went one step further and switched to using my Mac laptop all the time (except when I'm at work; we do .NET and Silverlight software).

    I've still got a (shrinking) cache of games that I need to BootCamp to finish, but I've sworn off buying PC games. Dragon Age is tempting me, but I imagine we'll get a Mac port in a year or so. :-\

    Whenever I boot into XP to play one of these older games (all circa 2006 or earlier, I think), I get to waste some of my rare gaming time installing updates. This reminds me why I stopped buying PC games... it was much worse when I was "current" with PC gaming... each gaming session (usually) required OS updates, driver updates, and then game updates, leaving me with so little time to play I'd give up and fool with my DS...

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.