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Comment Re:a huge number of us did that. (Score 1) 170

I learned in the 1960's. There was no internet to learn from.

How do people think people learned anything before the internet? It's amazing that humans ever made writing systems and internal combustion engines, without the internet, eh?

Yes, it is quite amazing that we achieved all we did with so little. That's why history is a fascinating subject. In many ways a lot of what was happening during World War II was just as technologically sophisticated as what we do today, and they didn't even have much in the way of analog computers to help them.

However, I'm sure people who lived in the early 20th century felt it would be equally difficult to get work done without written language and the printing press. It's hard to imagine someone building a catapult or even a hut without a way to write down equations expressing geometric relationships and Newtonian mechanics, but I'm pretty sure humans already had a significant technological edge over the rest of the animal kingdom long before we had writing, and certainly before we had written symbolic representation and methodical study of mathematics.

Commonplace knowledge and technology may not seem amazing to us today, but the way that it came about -- the way it was discovered and developed -- is always amazing to learn about, because it's the story of pioneers, the story of people who reached far beyond what was ordinary for their day, and brought something new, memorable and worth keeping track of in the historical record, to humanity. And they often did it without access to some of the most fundamental communication tools we have available today.

One wonders if, centuries from now, a student of history might consider it noteworthy or remarkable that we were able to engineer computers of such complexity as we have today, without access to... well, whatever principles or practices of communication that we haven't even begun to grasp, yet, but will one day become the new normal.

I hope so. I don't think humanity should ever give up the practice of recording history and remembering what got us to where we are today. As a species, we're already very irresponsible with our lives and our resources, extremely prone to repeat past mistakes, and forgetful of the perspective that history brings us, even though history itself has seen more public attention, more scholarly effort, and more funding in the present day than it ever has before. It's scary to think of a future where we simply stop caring about history and just look toward the future. I hope that doesn't happen.

Comment Re:"Failed" push for renewables? (Score 1) 351

I don't think the article lives or dies by that "premise", though. It may be that the author threw that premise out there as a way to jab at his ideological opponents (or at least those who he feels are opposed to nuclear, since most folks pushing renewables the hardest think that no other solution is needed), but I don't think the article becomes invalid if you drop that premise.

He's making a case for nuclear, not a case against renewables. The funny thing is that pro-nuclear people don't want to stop or impede the renewables industry in any way; both renewable and nuclear folks want the fossil fuel folks to be run out of business due to the availability of alternatives; but (many, not all) folks pushing renewables would also like to see the nuclear industry go away.

I don't think some renewables advocates realize just how much energy society actually needs. It would take centuries for renewables to grow to a production output that equals today's fossil fuel output, let alone the fact that fossil fuel energy consumption continues to increase exponentially. The problem is that renewables' output is a very small exponential growth curve (small base value and small exponent) trying to "chase down" a much, much larger base value with a formidable exponent. Renewables might start growing faster (have a faster exponent) than fossil fuels, but unless it's something like every kilowatt of new renewables is only matched by a watt of new fossil fuel production, renewables are not growing fast enough to save us from climate change and/or resource exhaustion of fossil fuels and the ensuing energy shortage.

While it's true that any form of nuclear is not "renewable" and has finite resource (fission with traditional fuels, fission with "new" fuels like thorium or breeder cycles, etc., even fusion), nuclear power has the unique trait of being the most energy dense fuel we have. A single reactor, with relatively small inputs and relatively small area (compared to the amount of area you'd need for renewables, or the volume of petroleum you'd need for fossil), is the most effective use of land and mass that we have available for producing power. It's much easier for a revitalized nuclear industry to replace the fossil fuels in our energy budget than for renewables to do the same.

That's not to say renewables should stop their development or that they shouldn't try. They should! But the point of the article is that a new nuclear industry can be cheaper AND safer than before, while producing even higher power yields from new nuclear chemistries, and effectively run the fossil fuel electricity industry out of business based purely on economics, let alone any sort of policy factors that might help along their demise. This would give us the ability to leisurely deplete our much larger stores of new nuclear fuels over the next several centuries, with very little environmental impact, while we figure out how to replace nuclear with something truly sustainable. The alternative is to keep fossil fuels around, and face a catastrophic economic crash and probably global war when we run out of coal, natural gas and oil.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

Having the option to manually select a quality level, even if there's a smart algorithm "by default" that determines quality based on connection speed, would be the optimal scenario for user experience.

Come to think of it, I can state in detailed requirements terms exactly what I think this should look like.

So you have your standard "toolbar" of media controls on a video player. Play/pause button, a horizontal scale to let you skip around in the video, a volume control, full screen toggle. Now add in (either in a sub-menu upon clicking a gear icon or other settings meme, or directly in the media controls toolbar) two more options:

1. A checkbox labeled "Pre-roll". Default: unchecked. If checked, three things happen. One, you are unable to seek (skip) around in the stream while it's checked. Two, your download rate is capped at 2x the bitrate of the stream you're downloading. Three, if your quality selection is set to "Auto", the quality of the downloaded stream is the maximum quality available that's supported on the device.

2. A drop-down list labeled "Quality". The default setting is "Auto" (determine quality based on bandwidth - like most current video services). Then offer qualities as low as, say, 240p, and as high as the native quality of the source media or otherwise the highest quality offered by the service. Each quality should maintain the aspect ratio, though.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

I find it a dubious claim that if you unlocked pre-rolling that you'd waste a lot of bandwidth, especially if you limited the download rate to 2x the bitrate of the stream. So for example if the stream runs at 8 Mbps, you would prevent your servers from sending data to the client (except, perhaps, in very short bursts if they're about to run out of buffered data) any faster than 16 Mbps. If the stream is paused for a long time, you could even drop that down to 1x the bitrate (8 Mbps).

So if someone opens a new tab, pauses the video for 10 minutes out of a 50 minute stream and then closes the tab, and they have a 100 Mbps downlink, they'll still only have downloaded no more than 20 minutes out of the 50 minutes of the video in that 10 minutes. If you didn't cap the downstream rate, they'd have downloaded the entire video in that interval.

You can also add in more client-side tricks like detecting if the user is actively viewing your video player's tab or if they've task switched (I've seen a few HTML Canvas and other JS tricks that can try to fudge that detection), and pause pre-rolling if they switch tabs.

That way, people who REALLY want (no, need) to pre-roll in order to not experience degraded quality or dropouts due to a slow connection, would be able to pre-roll, but those with high-speed connections who never actually watch the video would not inundate your network with undue load.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

Sigh. How many would choose this option? Very few. Yet you call it stupid when they don't offer an option that few people would choose. I see.

What evidence do you have that "very few" people would choose to pre-roll the stream if that feature were available? I have actual numbers that favor the proposition that people would use it.

Consider that the average household in the United States has a connection that's "rated" at 11.4 Mbps or less (source: http://readwrite.com/2014/10/0... - October 2014, so maybe it's 12 Mbps by now?). Given that the actual throughput delivered on most connections is between 60 and 80% of what's advertised (for many, only 40% of what's advertised during prime time), that means most people can expect to get around 7 Mbps, optimistically. And that's before you take into account the overhead of hundreds of TCP connections -- per computer/device in the household -- that maintain background services, checking for updates, other tabs open in the web browser, etc. -- which can use up a significant portion of that overhead. So to get your average 7 Mbps, you need to go around to every room in the house and instruct everyone to stop what they're doing, stop using the Internet entirely and shut down their computers so you can watch a video at 720p with your 7 Mbps connection.

And then once you get rolling, it will still drop down to 480p or 360p fairly often when other subscribers on your oversold ADSL or cable connection try to download stuff at the same time as you. A consistent 720p stream needs a steady throughput of at least 4 Mbps, but it's very, very easy to get a lot less than that unless your connection is basically fiber to the premises.

How is that not the same thing as simple buffering? The problem is that you want control over a feature that very few people want but it's stupid that programmers didn't offer it to you. But to answer your very specific feature set, YouTube offers it from select studios.

"Simple" buffering on most streaming video players is designed to only buffer ahead a few seconds if you pause the video. It will only continue to buffer more than that if you are actually playing the video, or if your connection is so slow that it can't even keep up with the lowest available quality setting (often 240p or lower).

It's nice to know that one service out there supports what I want "from select studios", but that hardly solves the problem when the majority of the content I want is on other services. I can also download the free movies produced by the Blender Foundation and watch them in 1080p in VLC over and over, but Big Buck Bunny gets old after a while, as entertaining as he is.

Content Cartels meaning the legal copyright holders? Yes, they have control over content they own. But that's what copyright means.

The problem is that the Content Cartels deploy policies that are actively harmful to the majority of their customers, and do so knowingly, for reasons that I frankly struggle to understand. I believe that they would actually make MORE profit from their content if they would allow people to download it in 1080p and/or pre-roll the stream, because this would enable people with slower connections -- remember, a majority of the US population -- to enjoy the content in the highest quality.

My working thesis is that people who are unable to enjoy the content at a lower quality will eventually become frustrated with the service and stop using it. If this means they resort to RedBox, then maybe that's not a net loss for the Content Cartels, since they're paying as much or more for the rental compared to an online streaming subscription; but it's still a practice that's extremely anti-consumer.

Do they have the legal right to be asshats to their customers and make their lives harder? Sure. But not everything that's legal is beyond reproach or question. And just because they own the content doesn't mean that anyone who can conceive of a better world where products are more useful or more convenient should shut their mouths.

Your argument is fallacious because you are imposing a solution of yours that only you want. If people are streaming, they want it now. If they can't get it now, there are other options. That's like saying I want high speed fiber but I don't want to pay anything to install it. You have to pick and choose between two options; you don't get to create a third option then complain that it's not unfair when it doesn't exist.

I'm hardly the first person to conceive of this third option, seeing how you yourself admitted that an existing streaming service already offers it. Why is my OP modded +5 Insightful if I'm the only person to demand this? What, exactly, would it cost the studios to enable this feature? A few hours of development time to remove artificial restrictions that actively prohibit the action I'm asking for?

I'm not asking them to add a new feature, really. I'm asking them to remove an anti-feature. As a software developer and someone with extensive experience in media encoding and processing (familiar with the innards of numerous media frameworks: Gstreamer, Stagefright, Xine, DirectShow...), I can tell you that their code must be significantly more complex and harder to develop with the anti-feature of preventing pre-roll, compared to the much simpler and more "naive" case of just letting the pre-roll proceed as long as the customer wishes.

And yet you would defend them out of the misguided perception that whatever they can do within the confines of the law is perfectly fine and beyond reproach. Well, I'm voting with my money, and I'm doing everything I can to inform other users on what is possible in the hopes that they'll do the same. Let's see how many of their customers they have to lose before they start listening to the demands of consumers to -- GASP! -- expect a company to do all it can reasonably do to offer a good customer experience to their paying customers. What a concept.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

"Settle"? You're effectively asking for the Holy Grail of content freedom. :-) I'd love to have that, too, but as a bit more of a realist/cynic, I thought I'd ask for something I felt might possibly be attainable if we complained loudly enough to the powers that be.

But keep dreaming. Maybe one day we'll be able to enjoy high-quality content, without DRM, at reasonable prices, on any device, downloadable offline, shareable between devices and between friends.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

I neglected to mention in my first reply:

My eyesight is bad. Like, extremely bad. Even with glasses, I regularly experience symptoms of blurry vision due to dry eye, difficulty focusing, and many other visual impairments caused by extreme nearsightedness and astigmatism.

But even under these conditions, I can VERY obviously tell the difference between 720p video on a 720p display, and 1080p video on a 1080p display. The distinction is stark, obvious, and completely game-changing.

Now, I can't quite tell the difference as obviously between 1080p and 2K, but that's because the higher you go in definition, the less benefit you see.

Your argument was effectively that people can't tell the difference between, and don't care about the difference between, 480p, 720p and 1080p. This, to me, is completely bunk. If I'm half blind and I can obviously tell that there is far less quality and much "muddier" detail in lower resolutions (it's staggeringly obvious when comparing something less than 720p with 720p), I shudder to think how awful it must look to someone who has good vision. And those people can probably appreciate the quality improvements in 4K, too, even though I can't.

It's ridiculous to me that you think it's acceptable to have a video stream change in quality every few seconds from, say, 240p to 480p to 720p. It's like night and day. You can't even make out someone's face in a close-up shot if your original stream was at 720p but got downsampled to 240p. You just miss out on a ridiculous amount of detail. All you get is a vague idea of what apparently is going on. All the definition is lost.

You either don't watch streaming video, or your connection is so good that it never drops below 1080p. I can't imagine someone who's actually experienced streaming on a slow connection could hold this kind of viewpoint.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

Did you ever think that it's not "stupid" but more related to customer preference? I would venture to guess that most people don't want to wait for the full video to download as soon as they've purchased/rented/clicked on it. First, the customer wanted "streaming" not "downloading to play later" videos. Second if they could/wanted to wait for as little as half an hour, the customer would have gone outside and headed to their nearest Redbox or even (gasp!) brick and mortar store to get the DVD/Bluray themselves. Thirdly, you think that most people really care whether it's 4K vs 1080p vs 720p. Most people don't care that it's pixelated for part of it as long as it isn't for the entire thing.

This argument is fallacious in many ways. Let me enumerate them:

1. "Customer preference"? By saying this, you are implying that having video pre-roll before playing, AS AN OPTION, is somehow impinging on the preferences of others with the ability to stream from start to finish. However, there is absolutely nothing preventing someone to open the video player, immediately press play, and watch the video with no delay. The specific functionality I'm looking for is for the video to keep downloading the stream while the video playback is paused. So to say that the customer prefers to watch the video instantly is to completely bypass the fact that I'm a customer, too, and I want this feature that does not in any way intrude on people who don't want it.

2. I would actually prefer the ability to download the videos instead of streaming them. But we live in a society where access to legally purchased video content (movies and TV) is almost completely locked down by the "Content Cartels". The Content Cartels are a bunch of large enterprises with huge budgets that dictate terms to content providers like Amazon, Netflix, etc. by telling them how they can and can't use their content. They often specify explicitly certain features to be allowed or disallowed.

One of the most common restrictions imposed by the Content Cartels is that of "no downloading". This kind of restriction is exactly what I object to, but assuming they aren't willing to budge on that, at least pre-rolling the video stream might be a happy medium. You just download the encrypted video into a RAM buffer and decode it and send it to the HDMI output on the fly. The video is no more or less secure if pre-rolled vs. streamed "live".

Then there are additional restrictions imposed on certain devices in an effort to push consumers to purchase individual streaming providers' hardware. For example, if you want to download Amazon Instant Video titles in HD, you have to purchase an Amazon Fire device. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or non-Amazon Android device, you either can't download at all, or you can only download in SD.

3. Referring to driving out to a Redbox or buying the DVD/BluRay is fallacious, because you are referring to antiquated physical media distribution as a solution to an online services problem that can be resolved by software alone. Why should you encourage society to spend a tremendous amount of fuel on physical distribution of goods that can be delivered at a fraction of the economic and environmental cost as electrons over a wire (or indeed, over the air, if you have LTE)? "Just buy the BluRay" is about as stupid of an excuse as I've ever heard for not supporting video streaming pre-rolling.

Comment Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 5, Insightful) 508

Almost every streaming media player on almost every platform, from Windows to Linux to HTML5 Video to DRM-encrypted stuff like Amazon Video and Netflix, has severe limitations on its willingness to download the video while it's not actually playing.

This is not helping anyone. It's not a security feature, because anyone who wants to pirate the video will do so regardless of how they try to restrict it. It's not a bandwidth-saving feature, because most people who start to watch a video are going to either close the video player or watch it all the way through anyway.

The people it really hurts are, oh, I don't know, *the vast majority* (at least in the US), who don't have enough connection throughput to stream the video "live" at the highest-available bitrate. Almost no one has the ability to stream 2K or 4K at decent quality. Most people still don't have the ability to reliably stream at 1080p; "smart" streaming players will frequently drop down to 360p or 480p during playback when there are throughput bottlenecks caused by other customers or background programs or other users on the same uplink. There are even probably a lot of people who can't reliably stream 720p.

Yet streaming video players are deliberately coded to be as stupid as possible, and not allow the user to "pre-roll" the entire video, basically meaning that they open up the video player, then leave it paused for half an hour or an hour while the video downloads, then come back and watch the whole thing at full quality with no "graceful downgrades" due to their connection being slow.

This is a draconian and quality-killing misfeature that puts users in a bind, since most (good) streaming video content providers don't allow downloading, or if they do, it's in SD only. HD viewing is almost universally restricted to streaming only. And on the few devices and services where downloading in HD is allowed, often the video is encrypted and can't be streamed off of the tiny tablet you have to download it from (see the Kindle Fire lineup) without using some flaky, unreliable piece of shit like Miracast.

Apparently the video content providers are wholly uninterested in giving the best experience to the vast majority of their customers who aren't lucky enough to live in a high-income, high-population-density area that got fiber to the premises before all the big ISPs decided to stop rolling out fiber to new customers. They're perfectly content to let us watch video in varying levels of quality as the player constantly recalculates the data transfer rate and delivers quality varying between 240p and 480p most of the time, with occasional jumps to 720p.

It's galling to think that something as commonplace as streaming video has been implemented so incorrectly, and probably deliberately so, by so many tech companies -- Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and so on and so forth. And if it's actually the content cartels making them do this, well fuck them. I've stopped subscribing to their services and stopped handing them my money. They can get my money when they and/or the ISPs stop putting every citizen who doesn't live in Dallas or Seattle or San Francisco in a double bind, where they can't get a decent ISP, and can't take advantage of commonplace and desirable online services even if they pay for them, without moving their life, family, job and household into the inner city where they're choking to death on smog and can't even fart without being heard by a dozen neighbors packed in an apartment like sardines.

Comment Probably inability to scale (Score 3, Informative) 211

The fact that they were able to trickle out a few hundred units suggests that their production process was not at all fit for producing as many units as were demanded once they got popular. They were happy to accept the money coming in, but they didn't realize until it was too late that it would cost way more than that to develop a production facility that could pump out the units requested in a reasonable timeframe.

Building huge quantities of things is hard. Very hard. Just ask any car manufacturer that has tried to take a prototype or limited run vehicle and pump out hundreds of thousands of them per year. It's a completely different ballgame. It requires a very large investment in production facilities, automation, tooling, labor, supply chain, and distribution to take even a relatively inexpensive product concept and make many thousands of them, compared to making a few hundred. Some companies offer parts of the solution "as a service", but ultimately you are going to need some kind of deep customization for most products, and especially for something fairly unusual like drones.

If you only had 500 orders, you could very possibly build each one by hand in a garage. It would be tedious as all hell, but with someone dedicated to making trips to hardware stores to acquire tools and parts, someone dedicated to boxing them up and shipping them, and 2 or 3 people building them, you could definitely have a garage business where you churn out 500 drones every 3 to 6 months or so. 15,000, though, is a quantity that demands a completely different manufacturing approach, unless you plan to tell people who ordered last that their drone is scheduled to be delivered in 2025.

Based on the fact that hundreds of people got (presumably working) product out of them, I'm willing to bet that their primary, and successful, production "facility" was most likely a garage and/or basement, or a small leased or rented building with only the most basic facilities. The other possibility is that they actually tried to pay for the much more expensive full-blown process, the scale of which would let them produce around 50,000 or more drones per year, and completely ran out of money when trying to fulfill the remaining orders.

This is what happens with crowdfunding, unfortunately, unless they agree to sign a contract up-front that they either owe you your money back, or a finished product as originally advertised.

Comment Re:Rational basis (Score 2) 367

Outsider here so this may be a stupid question but how is a reputation of "Our products are finished 1-2 years after we release them thanks to the support of paying customers" a good thing? I can't imagine a high % of people are still playing a 2 year old game when the franchise has likely released 2 more sequels. Its great that a company fixes its problems...but that should be the standard, not an exception. Is the gaming industry really that awful? Do gamers give them a ton of slack because many of them work or dabble in software too?

As others have said, there are numerous incorrect assumptions here, which are forgivable because you're an outsider to the gaming industry. Others have already tackled those incorrect assumptions, so I'll skip to an analogy that might be more familiar to you.

Here's the analogy. I pay a contractor to build me a grocery store. They say it'll be ready by November 10th, 2015. Lo and behold, on November 10th, 2015, the store celebrates its grand opening and welcomes in its first customers. The shelves are fully stocked with fresh products; the produce is organized and high-quality; and the cashiers are able to complete nearly all sales with zero technical problems.

Except, wait. My new grocery store isn't perfect. There's a leak in one of the pipes in the ceiling, causing a temporary water bucket to be placed in Aisle 12. The women's bathroom hasn't had the electric hand dryer connected to the power yet, so customers are forced to use paper towels. About 0.5% of customers with strange payment methods like new chip-and-pin credit cards, or Apple Pay, are unable to complete their transaction using their preferred payment method, and either have to use a different payment method, or cancel their transaction and have an employee "un-shop" their cart.

There are even more problems behind the scenes. In the back office, the metadata system for collecting info on customer traffic, buying habits, etc. is completely down, because HQ hasn't had a chance to integrate the new store's layout into the system. The store isn't fully staffed, because they're still looking to hire additional stockers and cashiers to have enough people to run the store at full capacity. And the bakery has to keep track of custom cake design orders on paper, because the electronic system they use to track them was not installed on time by the contractor.

Considering all these issues, at the end of the day, should the store owner/manager honestly sit back and say "we shouldn't have opened today; we should've given it another month or three before our grand opening"? Should he/she have regrets that customers have not had the best experience?

No, of course not. 99% of customers will never even notice the issues, except for an eye-roll at the leak-catching bucket in Aisle 12, especially if the space it takes up causes a minor cart traffic jam. The one hipster who has to use Apple Pay and chooses to un-shop rather than use their debit card will walk away angry and probably not come back. But will the store make a profit? Yes. Will it still have a high percentage of return customers? Yes.

Did the contractor do their job? Surprisingly, yes they did. They built a building; they kitted it out with an attractive interior befitting of a store; the Point-of-Sale system mostly works; and there were enough staff on-hand to handle the issues that came up.

The main thrust of my point is that the real world, even in other engineering disciplines, is never as tidy or as "perfect" upon delivery as you seem to assume/claim it is. Part of your argument is implied to be that, since many other industries can regularly deliver flawless products on time and on budget, then the game development industry should be able to, too. But reality is far from perfect in all but the most carefully controlled scenarios, and even then we experience the occasional loss of human life during spaceflight, the occasional crash of an airliner with loss of all souls aboard, and so on and so forth.

Given that the complexity of the working parts in an open world game far exceeds the complexity of opening a grocery store, building a skyscraper, or even putting a man on the moon, it is not at all surprising that these games launch with myriad problems. After all, even for far simpler tasks with much more rigorous quality control, we regularly see defects and errors crop up in the finished product.

So I feel that you are being slightly unfair to the gaming industry and holding them to a higher standard than the rest of the marketplace outside gaming.

P.S. - To ensure that I read your post as charitably as possible, I deliberately chose not to make an analogy involving software. If I did, the defects that would exist in some non-gaming software upon release would be an order of magnitude more severe than the issues I cited with the grocery store. Indeed, in many ways, the IT services sector for line of business systems has an even worse track record than gaming, what with these systems *regularly* enabling criminals to exfiltrate personally identifiable information and financial data and use them to inflict identity theft or worse.

Comment Re:Rational basis (Score 4, Insightful) 367

Actually, from my understanding of my own personal experiences on release day with Fallout 4, and the experiences I've read about so far, overall the game IS currently a "working product". Sure, there are bugs, and certain system configurations are partially or severely broken, but I'm running a GTX 980 -- a recent, but not the fastest video card, by any means -- and I don't have any lag or crashes.

Once you are able to keep the game running lag and crash-free, in my opinion, as long as the main quests can be completed, it's fundamentally a "working product". If there are conversation bugs or NPCs that get stuck on a telephone pole or whatever, that's stuff that can be fixed later.

Face it: with a game as hugely complex as this, with an uncountably huge number of different variations and sequences of the quests and the quests' interaction with random NPC wandering and so on, you're never going to be able to ship a product that's as tight and polished on release as, say, Witcher 3, which is designed from the ground up to be MUCH less dynamic and significantly more linear. Each quest is in its own separate, isolated sandbox of sorts, like a universe in a bottle, where random deathclaws can't wander up and murder the quest-giver. That's Witcher 3. This is Fallout 4, where the aforementioned deathclaw can, and will, kill your quest-giver out of pure random chance.

And that unpredictability is part of what makes Bethsoft games fun. It also makes them frustratingly difficult to ship bug-free, but then, if their engine weren't designed in a way that's so incredibly moddable, we'd have a legitimate complaint that the game sucks. Instead, we take matters into our own hands and we FIX that telephone pole bug and we FIX that stupid deathclaw's pathing.

This is a game for people who are patient, technically oriented, and willing to deal with a product that is flawed initially but continually improving, and shaping up to be closer and closer to the individual player's ideal experience as they install mods and download patches. This is a game for people who prefer flexibility over polish. There are other games out there that accomplish the spit-and-polish, near-bug-free holy grail much better than Bethsoft ever could, but the closest those games can come to an open world experience is probably Witcher 3 (and the fact that they managed to make the game as dynamic as it is, without making it as buggy on release as a Bethsoft game, is *astouding* and a true feat of game development.) If you expect the same of Bethsoft, we'd be waiting until Christmas 2017 to get our hands on Fallout 4.

I can appreciate both types of games, myself. I definitely enjoy Witcher 3 a great deal, as well as other, even less moddable, even more linear games, like the Mass Effect series. But I find myself spending a lot more time on open world games where I can play a part in shaping the design of the game by choosing which mods to install, or even little forays into modding projects of my own.

If you want to disparage a developer who's contributing to the dilapidated state of the game development industry, complain to those who make perfectly linear FPS games that are bug-ridden, slow, crashy, and unplayable on release. Complain to those who release games that are so broken that even 6 months of patching doesn't help its case at all, like EGOSOFT and their X: Rebirth game (as well as most other titles that preceded it in that franchise). Complain to the publishers that buy up publishing rights to old, low-budget games from the 2000s and flood Steam with thousands of games that are utter garbage and not even worth the bits they're stored on.

But don't complain to Bethsoft about Fallout 4, when they're bumping up against extremely hard problems in software engineering that are necessarily exposed by the type of game they choose to build. Because the liberating freedom and long-lasting appeal and replayability of their games (ESO excluded; what a disaster) more than make up for a month or two of annoying bugs. That's why I feel the reviewers are 100% justified in giving the game a good rating despite bugs.

Comment Rational basis (Score 3, Insightful) 367

I believe there is a rational basis for giving Bethesda the benefit of the doubt that the bugs WILL be fixed. In all of their previous games -- Fallout 3, Oblivion, Skyrim, etc. -- Bethesda has released a huge number of patches fixing bugs, bolstered further by an ardent community of modders to fix yet more bugs with their own patches, that make the polished game pretty close to bug-free 1-2 years later, and still quite playable and workable even after 2 or 3 months of major patches from Bethesda.

There is something to be said for a developer's reputation. In this case, I believe the reputation of the developer is one that gives us reason to trust them to fix the worst of the problems, and the game should be moddable enough that the community will fix the rest.

Also, this is a 64-bit native game on PC (not sure about consoles), which means that we won't be getting crashes due to hitting the virtual address space limit like we did on 32-bit. It makes a gigantic difference. Even if there's a slow memory leak in the game that persists for a long time, you can just have a large pagefile, even if you only have 8 GB of RAM, and eventually the leaked memory pages will get swapped out to disk, freeing up RAM for the pages actively being used by the game.

And having it be 64-bit gives us the advantage of being able to scale up the number of objects and mods to a complexity level never seen before in a Bethsoft sandbox game.

Basically I would advise everyone to take a chill pill about the bugs. If you're being bitten by bugs currently, and feel that it's too buggy to play, just wait 2 or 3 more weeks for the first major patch(es) to land, and it'll be good enough to enjoy the experience, at least. Then, on your second playthrough a month or two from now, it'll be even more polished, and we might even have a community bugfix patch by that time, depending on how quickly and fervently people work on it.

I would not give this same level of trust and expectation of bugfixes for just any developer or just any community, though. Most games are not nearly as moddable out of the box as Bethsoft games, and most games don't get nearly as much post-release support as Bethsoft and their community gives their games.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.