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Wired News: 2002's Greatest Vaporware 398

Quill writes "Wired News has once again compiled a list of last year's greatest (worst?) pieces of vaporware. The winner (I won't spoil the surprise) has been on the list three times now! The nomination process was mentioned a few weeks ago on Slashdot."
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Wired News: 2002's Greatest Vaporware

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  • hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by pummer ( 637413 ) <spam @ p umm.org> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:23PM (#5003850) Homepage Journal
    how did they forget a Pentium that actually beats an AMD chip running at 2/3 its clock speed?
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Funny)

      by dagar17 ( 579917 )
      forget the clock rate. How about a pentium that matched the performence for anything near the same price?
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CrazyDuke ( 529195 )
      Well, intel has been using a quad pumped (overrated) 100mhz FSB until just recently (now its a 133) while AMD has been using double pumped (again overrated) 133mhz FSB since the 1Ghz+ Tbirds. The new opertons, hammers, or whatever supposedly have an fsb that truely runs at 166 to 200mhz. So the ante will be upped again soon.

      Point: Its kinda keeping pace at 3/4's the speed. ;P

      Side note/rant: Personally, I'd rather have a 133 32bit frontside 1.0Ghz AMD than a 100 32bit frontside 2.4 Ghz Intel. Who gives a shit about the difference between 10 and 24 multipliers. What, so the cpu can wait 2.4 times more clock cycles to actually get something to do? Unless of course your PC is doing nothing but "i++;", etc. Then it can run off the cache.

      Hell, I've got a P-classic 233mmx underclocked to 225mhz with a 75mhz fsb instead of 66mhz and it smokes most PII's(except the ones that have an fsb faster than 66mhz of course)
  • tf2 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Senator_B ( 605588 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:26PM (#5003871)
    From the tf2 news pages:

    [December 18, 1998] - I Want My TF (TM) II
    Well folks, Team Fortress (TM) 2 will be here shortly and community sites are popping up all over the web. Clans are starting to form, Tournaments are being planned, and information pages are being posted. If you haven't checked out the sites yet, be sure to visit our links section or visit PlanetFortress.com for more information.

    Gee, I hope none of the tournaments have filled up yet, my clan was just getting off the ground.

  • by bucklesl ( 73547 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:26PM (#5003875) Homepage
    My #1 would be "Intelligent Posts on slashdot".

    • by Gyan ( 6853 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:37PM (#5003927)
      >i>My #1 would be "Intelligent Posts on slashdot".

      How is that vaporware ? No one expects it in the first place.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I was going to moderate you, but it seems they have misnamed the option "-1: Wrong" in the moderation menu.

        Most likely an oversight.
        The real moderation menu, once fixed, should read like this:
        "Funny because it's True"
        "Karma Whore"
        "Friend of a Friend"

        I think I'll make a post-it note of those so I can tape it on top of the mod menu whenever I need to moderate.
  • by MrWa ( 144753 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:27PM (#5003882) Homepage
    And people wonder why it is so hard to make money in the computer game industry...how many people, getting paid how much, have worked for so long to make this game? What are the chances it will come even close to breaking even? If every person that owned a computer bought a copy of this game, at the insane price it would have to be, would that even be enough?

    It has been said before but bears repeating: the games of yesteryear had something that all these new games, with their fancy graphics and supposedly advanced AIs, still can't seem to replace. Repeat after us Mr. Game developers: it's all the gameplay.

    • Just think, they didnt even have to make the engine, they bought it from DE/Epic.

      This speaks volumes for guys like Carmack who not only design great games, but do so in a timely manner PLUS do it from scratch.

      It's just pathetic these guys have taken so long when the single hardest and most complicated part i.e. the engine, was designed YEARS ago by another company.
      • by MuValas ( 91840 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:47PM (#5003991)
        Actually, the engine, although definitely one of the most technically complex parts, is no longer the "hardest" part. The core engine can still be designed by a small team ( 5, easily, 3 or less if they're really good, a la Carmack), and even in that, the core graphics is pretty much done by one person even on today's game. All the tools for the artist, level designers, and such, take up significantly more programmer time than the engine. And that is dwarfed by the content creation that artists and designers go through. I'd say the hardest part is actually making a fun, interesting game, while still maintaining a shiny patina of graphical goodness.

        Go create a single, high-poly, production-level model, including a bunch of animations, and then multiply by about 10,000 and you'll get a feel for the effort involved.

        And while I'm sure he was in on the design process, its not like Carmack sat around doing everything himself, surrounded by a chorus of yes-men-and-women, cheering him on. I'm pretty sure most everything outside of the graphics is done by others, please correct me if I'm wrong. Take a look at Armadillo Aerospace, and you'll see where he's been spending his time (and money, yikes!).

        And as for needing to sell a copy to every computer user, at an inflated price - do the math and you'll see that's a bit off. Say, $100, and 100 million computers in the country, which makes for a nice cool $10 billion if my maths (as the brits say) are correct. Its a moot point anyway, I'm sure the Duke Nukem' group have made so much cash off the old franchise, that its pretty much a rich-person's hobby at this point.

        Hell, I'll be incredibly impressed if they do get a good-quality game out the door any time in the next decade. Give me $50 million or so, and I don't think I'd ever get anything done again, especially not something as demanding and intense as game development.

        I'd just get stuck at the stripper motion capture sessions the press has mentioned ;)
        • ...all they need to do is sell a few hundred 'super special editions' and then give an extra DVD full of animations that are in the game that the people that can't get through the game will watch. Add a soundtrack and you got a special, limited edition $99.95 version that all the people lusting after for years will buy, halving your development recovery costs.
        • in that situation would be Carmack's girlfriend.

    • mostly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SweetAndSourJesus ( 555410 ) <JesusAndTheRobot ... .com minus berry> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:34PM (#5003914)
      Metroid Prime : exceptional gameplay
      Super Mario Sunshine : exceptional gameplay

      There are still fun games being released. Good gameplay isn't gone, it's just being drowned out by all the crap out there.

      Of course they're the minority, like in anything. How many movies came out this year that were focused on viewer enjoyment rather than glitz and flash?
      • Re:mostly (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Osty ( 16825 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:03AM (#5004057)

        Metroid Prime : exceptional gameplay

        Metroid Prime: horrid control scheme

        Super Mario Sunshine : exceptional gameplay

        Sure, but it's nothing new. It's just Mario 64 with fancier graphics and a water gun. That doesn't mean it's not fun, just that it's nothing new.

        Now, how about Splinter Cell? It has the graphics thing down cold (mmm ... real time dynamic lights and shadows, soft body physics ...), and the gameplay is new and interesting (okay, so it's not revolutionary either, being an evolutionary step from games like the Metal Gear series and previous Tom Clancy games).

        Of course they're the minority, like in anything. How many movies came out this year that were focused on viewer enjoyment rather than glitz and flash?

        Exactly. This is something that the retro guys always forget -- they're looking back through rose-colored glasses. For every Super Mario World, or Legend of Zelda, or original Metroid there were hundreds of stinkers, rip-offs, and copies. There were tons and tons of games with terrible gameplay and no redeeming qualities. But, because it's the past, we don't remember those. We only remember the good games. Same goes for movies and for music. The past wasn't any better than now, it's just that time has made you forget the horrendous crap that was released.

    • by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:53PM (#5004017) Homepage Journal
      And people wonder why it is so hard to make money in the computer game industry...
      It is hard if you don't know what you are a doing. Unfortunately, creating software is much like any construction project: without proper planning and design, the only thing you're going to do is spend a lot of money [cnn.com] and put out a crappy product [carleton.ca]. Now, there are exceptions -- particularly if you are working on a single-developer, small project, or you are incredibly lucky -- lucky like my 90-year old grandma who smoked a pack a day ever since she was nine.

      Let me quote from the article:

      "We're undeniably late and we know it. We've switched engines a couple of times, and we've started over a couple of times. We've made some mistakes, and we've learned from them.
      --George Broussard, President, 3D Realms
      That pretty much says it all: they had no plan, they're making all of the classic mistakes of software development [stevemcconnell.com], and they are burning through the cash as if it were marshmallows at a boy scout outing.

      The least they can do is hire a competent project manager to slap those ho's back on track.

      Way I figure it, if they had 3 developers and one manager working full time for five years, they've already burned through close to two million dollars and have nothing to show for it. Hope they figure they can sell enough copies to *cough* at least break even. Do'o!

      • The least they can do is hire a competent project manager to slap those ho's back on track.
        Project management is a complete waste of time when you don't know how you're going to create the finished product. When you're doing a whole heap of things for the first time you really can't know how long it's going to take.

        If, however, all the technical issues have been solved and you just need to put it all together (often a huge task in itself), then you can get a project manager on the payroll.

        The actual problem is not poor project management, but out of control marketing. When the programmer says that they don't know how they're going to solve all the anticipated problems (never mind the unexpected ones) don't start hyping the final product. Wait until the technical people actually agree that the project is possible.

    • The Max Payne dev team had about 20 people over 2 years, so if they were payed well that's a production cost under $5 million. There are 200 million computer users in the US alone, and the company makes $20+ from each $25 copy sold. So, they only need to sell 500,000 copies to get $10 mil, which is a 100% return on the investment in only 3 years. IIRC, they sold millions of copies.
      • by KewlPC ( 245768 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @03:32AM (#5004682) Homepage Journal
        If you buy a game in a store for $25, the best the developers could hope for is $12.5. This is because the retailer gets half of the game's cost. And them getting as much as $12.50 assumes they published the game themselves, which in the case of Max Payne, they didn't

        $25 / 2 = $12.50 (half for retailer, half for publisher)

        Of that $12.50 that the retailer doesn't take, it is common for the publisher to take 50%, and divide up the rest among whoever is left. Now, Max Payne was developed by Remedy Entertainment, produced by 3D Realms, and published by GodGames.

        So, GodGames got 50% of that $12.50, or $6.25. The remaining $6.25 was divided up between Remedy and 3D Realms. Exactly HOW it was divided up is unknown to me, but let's assume that each got 50%.

        Therefore, for every $25 copy of Max Payne sold in a retail store, the developers (Remedy Entertainment) got about $3.12. Now, for a while the game cost $40 or $50, but most publishers pull all sorts of shenanigans so that they can stiff the developer out of their share of the money. Even if the publisher is as honest as a Boy Scout, that's still not a lot of money.

        If Remedy was smart, they demanded royalties from the movie rights, console and Macintosh port royalties, etc., but hey, who knows, not everybody has good business sense (and some have downright horrid business sense).
  • Wow, look at that, I was right! [slashdot.org]
  • segway (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:28PM (#5003890)
    They're still not shipping segways.

    Amazon claims they're selling, but isn't releasing any numbers.

    Wasn't this supposed to have changed every american city by now?
    • Re:segway (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      Wasn't this supposed to have changed every american city by now?

      Well, I dunno if they will be the last, but San Francisco has already moved to ban [yahoo.com] them from sidewalks.

    • Re:segway (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Accipiter ( 8228 )
      Nonsense. I've seen a few scooting around in downtown Atlanta. Even the police are using them.
  • Maybe there should be one of those annoying yet ubiquitous "under construction" animated GIFs [prohosting.com] on Oqo's website [oqo.com]?

    Regardless, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one waiting, perhaps in vain, for the Oqo. Like the author, I was more than ready to whip out any number of credit cards for one when it was first announced. If I were to get one now, it'd probably just be a remote control to my HTPC.

  • Don't read anymore if you havn't read the article.

    I jusr love the fact that they are still not willing to scrap DNF.

    I can here them chanting in the office now...."Keep hope alive"

    for the article:

    "In the end all that matters is the quality of the game," he continued. "So, lessons have been learned, and progress is being made, and we're working as quickly and quietly as we can. You're completely justified in calling us 'turtleware,' at the very least, but the release date is still 'when it's done.'"

  • Geforce FX ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gyan ( 6853 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:34PM (#5003917)

    Vaporware ?

    Granted, it's not out yet.

    But its delayed, not "vaporware".

    It was demonstrated a few weeks back and is set to be released in 5-6 weeks.
    • Granted, it's not out yet. But its delayed, not "vaporware".
      That fails the vaporware test. The test is simple: if no one can purchase it then it's vaporware.
    • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @01:02AM (#5004292) Journal
      Look, of the products on the list, I believe the new Amiga (9), Shadowbane (8, actual beta test), Team Fortress (3, demo'ed in 99!), and Duke Nukem Forever (1, if not demoed at least *known* to exist)

      And QuarkXPress for OSX (7), MOO3 (5, has to have been demoed at some show), and the Neverwinter Nights mac/linux client (2) certainly exist somewhere as actual code.

      Only Electronic Film (10) and the Oqo (4) are candidates for "don't really exist even as prototypes", either of which may have been seen by somebody other then me and joining the first list.

      The thing is, the term "Vaporware" still covers these things because by and large, these things won't ever come out. Generally they are cancelled. The Wired list is a bit of an exception in that it covers highly hyped products, which by the nature of the hype improves the chances of actually seeing the product come out; normally "vaporware" just sort of vaporizes.

      So yes, the nVidia card qualifies. Many products have been demo'ed and "mere months" from release and still end up axed. (I still regret "Secret of Vulcan Fury.")
  • "This game has been talked about since 1999 or even earlier," wrote reader Chris Mendoza. "And we are about to go into 2003 and still no TF2. The homepage for the game even has a quote from 1999. They haven't even got the decency to remove it!"

    It's too bad that so many companies do this - I'd much rather not see any quotes than see what Bob had to say in 1995. I wonder if the Enron site has any quotes...

  • VaporStory (Score:3, Funny)

    by CySurflex ( 564206 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:37PM (#5003935)
    They promised us a story about vaporware 4 times but only posted 3... it's a vaper story!!!
  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:40PM (#5003952) Homepage Journal
    I started helping on an open source project called Project Armageddon in 1996. It became a massive thing, with about 50 guys working, artists, programmers, the works. It was due for release in 1998. It still hasn't been released..

    Why? Because technology moves too quickly and your game looks old fast. If you write a game with a target for release in two years, you write for the highest end kit, make sure your engine scales, and hope for the best. But what if when two years have passed, you need another year to finish the title? Your title immediately looks old!

    What if Red Alert 2 ran a year late? It'd look like an old clunky piece of crap. Okay, it's still an excellent game, but it was more cutting edge in 2000 than it possibly could be in 2001.

    So, when titles run even just a year late, the developers have to rush and scramble to make their graphics engine look up to date.. but that introduces new bugs, so they become even more delayed.. then they need to upgrade the engine AGAIN, and repeat ad nauseum.
    • For 3D Realms your argument doesnt apply, they didn't write the engine, someone else did ages ago.

      There is no excuse for being this late.
    • Our game was looking pretty crappy a few years back. They had just released a new version of the Diku engine. Well, needless to say, we were pretty screwed. It tooks up two months to convert all those damn files to the new format. Not to mention the graphics! They were black and white single color text. Luckily one of our guys new how to take advantage of the new ANSI colorFX chip in the Diku engine. Everything was upgraded, but truth be told we weren't using the PKill2D features nor the DirectCast features. But we were using the latest and greatest Diku dFORCE text-rendering library. Along with the best DRUID compiler.

      (Yeah, I know, I've done better, but hey, I gave it a shot.)
    • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:13AM (#5004089) Journal
      technology moves too quickly and your game looks old fast.

      So find another niche to play in. Actually invent a new game, and it will look new.

      But what if when two years have passed, you need another year to finish the title?

      This sounds cruel, because the market is cruel, but your product then deserves to die. Schedule estimates off by 50% are rarely survivable.

      Please don't think I'm attacking you or your project, or that I'm saying I can somehow do better. I'm just saying that when trapped in a rat race with otherwise identical competitors, you must either do the job better than anybody else or create a new job entirely.

    • So, when titles run even just a year late, the developers have to rush and scramble to make their graphics engine look up to date.. but that introduces new bugs, so they become even more delayed.. then they need to upgrade the engine AGAIN, and repeat ad nauseum.

      All the more reason to bank on good game-play rather than flashy graphics from the beginning. This, along with the growing installed base, is one of the things that draws developers to the Game Boy Advance. It's just a raw art and design problem. You aren't going to get engineers finding clever new ways to exploit the hardware (at least, not like you would on a PC or even a modern console.)

      If it's cutting-edge technology that's driving your game, as the parent post suggested, you've got the ticking of the technology clock constantly reminding you that you'd better hurry up, better cut those design corners, better add that new feature you saw at E3...
    • technology moves too quickly and your game looks old fast.

      You know, I wish developers would worry less about how many polygons they can push and put together a good storyline and give me stuff to do besides kill everything/find the switch.

      Half-Life is a good example of a game that came out late and sold well even though there were better looking games around. People still play it for the great storyline and creative gameplay.

      Good gameplay will compensate for old-looking graphics every time.

    • Why? Because technology moves too quickly and your game looks old fast.

      Sorry, but that's a cop-out reason. Other developers manage to get their products out on time, and with high-tech graphics to boot. There's no reason a team of 50 can't get a game out in under 5 years, even if they are all volunteers. There's even less of an excuse for a professional development team.
      • You have to be smart about which engine you pick. Smart developers pick an engine which can be easily updated.

        That is why id Software engines are so popular. For example, by licensing the Quake III engine, you get access to all updates to it for something like a year. Then all you need is a few programmers to write the non-engine code for your game, modify the engine to suit your needs, integrate the latest engine versions, etc.

        Epic has been doing this with their own engine for years. Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Unreal Tournament 2003, all used THE SAME ENGINE. The only difference was that UT used a later build than Unreal, and UT 2003 used a later build than UT. Whats more, anybody who licenses the Unreal engine gets access to the latest build. So anybody who made an Unreal-engine game around the time of UT was using the same engine as UT, and anyone who makes an Unreal-engine game now would be using the same engine as Unreal Tournament 2003.

        Therefore, theoretically, Duke Nukem Forever could have fairly decent graphics, assuming they updated their version of the Unreal engine to the latest build.
  • Duke Nukem Never (Score:5, Informative)

    by Angry Black Man ( 533969 ) <vverysmartman&hotmail,com> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:40PM (#5003954) Homepage
    Duke Nukem Forever started out on the Quake II engine. When that became outdated, they rewrote it for the Unreal engine. That was the last I ever heard ANY news on the game.

    They're going to have to write it again for the new Unreal engine, and then when they're done with that, they'll have to redo it again for the Doom 3 engine.

    It's a vicious cycle. Bets that this game won't see the light of day?
    • What now? I was just playing Duke Nukem Forever. I got it on a warez site. It Rocks!!! The graphics are amazing, and Duke has a lot of cool new phrases like, "Suck Deez Nutz, Bubba," "How ya like dem apples, Beyotch!" and ...
  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:42PM (#5003965)

    It's Daikatana, right?

  • by xchino ( 591175 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:44PM (#5003976)
    Persoanlly I'm glad Duke Nukem has been taking forever. I know this company has the ability to make a great game, and that they WANT to make a great game. Taking their time to do it right means alot to the overall gameplay. Even the best game ideas can be slaughtered by lack of attention to details.
    They've updated the engine a few times and started over a few times.
    Any coders out there know that sometimes intense modification or starting over is just what has to be done to make your program what you want. Or you could take the easy route and compromise your program concept to account for a mistake. A poor analogy would be that this is like shoveling all the crap in your roomunder the bed instead of cleaning up.
    • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:24AM (#5004144) Journal
      Any coders out there know that sometimes intense modification or starting over is just what has to be done to make your program what you want.

      Yes, in many cases a rewrite is better than reuse. However, you do not discover major faults in your code that require a rewrite (much less "a few times") in the middle of development. To do so indicates that your team does not understand the code base it was to reuse, or did not understand the requirements. Either form of incompetence rightfully results in failure, especially in a cutthroat market like games.

      Also, "started over a few times" does not say "taking time to do it right" to me. It says they don't know how to do it right, and are just fumbling in the dark.

      Note that I am not familiar with their actual development practices, so I am assuming your description is accurate, and basing my comments on that.

      • Mod parent up. Unless your requirements change you shouldn't have to do a redesign. They should have stuck with the quake II engine and invested more into quality design and artwork.

        If they really wanted to do a game with the unreal engine, I'd say put it off until Duke Nukem Forever and Ever.

        Technology does not a good game make.
        Quality artwork is better.
        Quality AI is better than artwork.
        Quality game play is supreme.
  • Quark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:47PM (#5003990) Journal
    The OSX/Quark problem affects much more than "graphics enthusiasts" as they put it. Working at a prepress company as I do, it's a very real problem. I don't know why a "graphics enthusiast" would get Quark anyway, when I think of that I think of people like the Digital Blasphemy guy, not assembling postscript documents in Quark.
    • Re:Quark (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WatertonMan ( 550706 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:16AM (#5004105)
      It has really hurt Apple though, which in turn affects many other things. A lot of people think that the two things holding Apple back from large increases in market share were no Quark for OSX (and a crappy version 5) and then Motorola's falling down on the G5. (Which, now that Motorola cancelled it, would get a vote from me for vaporware - however the cancelation sort of neglegates a true "vapor" label)

      Here's hoping IBM delivers the 970 soon and that Quark won't release something as bad as I think they will. Not because I'll use Quark, but I know how the "trickle down" effect works. By the same reasoning I didn't own Global Crossing or Enron stock, but their screw ups affected me nonetheless.

  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <.gro.ognats. .ta. .todhsals.> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:48PM (#5003992) Homepage Journal
    When the request for nominations went out, I posted my nomination, QuarkXPress for OS X, in the previous /. discussion, [slashdot.org] and also submitted it to Wired.

    Lo and behold, not only is it #7 on the list, but they quoted me in the article!

    To quote Bart Simpson, "There's only one thing to do at a moment like this: strut!" <cues up "Stayin' Alive" [snowcrest.net]>

  • "What can I say? We're undeniably late and we know it. We've switched engines a couple of times, and we've started over a couple of times....In the end all that matters is the quality of the game"

    So he's saying that if you released a great ground-breaking game a few years after it's great and ground-breaking, that's still ok.. Sign me up! I'd love to work for a company like that. Until they run out of money, that is.
    • "In the end all that matters is the quality of the game"

      So he's saying that if you released a great ground-breaking game a few years after it's great and ground-breaking, that's still ok.

      Um, a game doesn't have to be `ground-breaking' to be good, it just has to be good. See the GBA for countless proofs of this.

      Indeed, sometimes companies forget this, and fixate on `ground-breaking' at the expense of `good' (I think the FF movie is an example :-)

      [hmmm, maybe having switched engines so many times is evidence that DNF is making the same mistake...]
  • by TomHandy ( 578620 ) <tomhandy@gmail.3.14159com minus pi> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:55PM (#5004027)
    My understanding was always that vaporware was specifically supposed to refer to products that are claimed to exist, and perhaps even exist in some basic stage of development, but are essentially non-existent in any practical term, despite the company's claims it is coming. The reason I ask is that it seems unusual to list products like the GeForce FX as "vaporware", just as it seems odd to list other products that are merely delayed but clearly do exist realistically. So, has the definition of vaporware changed to refer to anything that gets delayed, whether or not it exists....or has my understanding of what constitutes vaporware always been incorrect? -Tom
  • by sam_handelman ( 519767 ) <skh2003@@@columbia...edu> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:58PM (#5004031) Homepage Journal
    I've been keeping my ear to the ground, reading the trade press, trying to anticipate future trends. I've come across something called "Vaporware" which is generating a lot of buzz lately.

    Yes, I know vaporware has been around for a while. In fact, if I look right here I see 10 other companies have allready brought Vaporware products to market. If you guys read the more informative literature, like Wired here, instead of, what is that you have, IEEE conference proceedings? Whatever. Anyway, if you guys could put in the work required to keep up with the state of the art, and bring this stuff to my attention sooner, we might get in ahead of the curve? I'm not criticizing anyone, I just want to see you guys make the improvements that will justify the decision to retain you in this downturn! You're all replaceable now, you know.

    Where was I? I've been reading up, so I'll spell it out for you. "Vaporware" is technology that is so awesome no-one believes it could be real. Like microwaves, or stealth bombers.

    Okay, Bill, you've got a comment.

    Uh-huh. Did everyone here Bill? He says everything in our last prosepectus was Vaporware. That's the consensus? Good. The thing I want to know is - why wasn't it marketed as such?

    Yes, I agree, marketing shares the blame in this. The point is - marketing doesn't know what we're selling. Stop laughing, Ed, this isn't funny. The point is - you have to tell them. If we've got something in development, and it's Vaporware, we need the world to know. Our advertising budget has been cut enormously, we need all the free publicity we can get. When wired puts out there top ten list next year, we can be number 1! Let's do this thing.
  • So many games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by opencity ( 582224 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @11:58PM (#5004032) Homepage
    It's interesting to me that so many of the entries are games. Does this reflect Wired's readership or are games the cutting edge/only thing being worked on/pushed back.

    I'd like to hear from some ./'ers involved in bioinformics, kernel hacking etc ... Someone posted about a late "Intel's 512-bit high-end graphics card" but nothing from the scientific establishment, which, IMHO, is probably where the action is. Is everything coming out on time?

    • I want my damn flying car.

    • Re:So many games (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Otter ( 3800 )
      It's interesting to me that so many of the entries are games...but nothing from the scientific establishment, which, IMHO, is probably where the action is. Is everything coming out on time?

      I think what it is is that games get an enormous amount of public hype very early on in their development, consumer and business software gets less and scientific software, especially university-developed software, gets none.

      I'm sure there's some grad student reading this thinking about how many years behind schedule his project is, but no one has heard about it except him, his advisor, his girlfriend and his parents.

      • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:46AM (#5004241)
        I'm sure there's some grad student reading this thinking about how many years behind schedule his project is, but no one has heard about it except him, his advisor, his girlfriend and his parents.

        Girlfriend? A grad school programmer with a girlfriend? Hmm, if the list was written by programmers, Girlfriend 1.0 would be the ultimate vapor...
    • Re:So many games (Score:3, Insightful)

      by puppet10 ( 84610 )
      but nothing from the scientific establishment

      Hmm that reminds me of the greatest vaporware of all - fusion energy, its been continually 30-40 years from being used for power generation.
  • modern computing?

    On one hand I suppose it indicates just how complex game development has become.

    On the other hand, it suggests that the greatest customer demand lies in computer gaming, rather than, for products suporting some other grandiose application of the future. Perhaps the great demand for computer games reflects a simple need for escapism in light of world events, but the fact that most are networked multiplayer enviroments again brings to the fore, the dusturbing trend of avid computer users replacing real human interactions with interactions behind the mask offered by networked gaming enviroments.

  • Well Done (Score:3, Funny)

    by LtOcelot ( 154499 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:15AM (#5004095)
    When I told my father about Duke Nukem Forever, the release date of "when it's done", and the failure of the company to ship anything, his response was this:

    "Stick a fork in 'em, they're done."
  • Last spring, Oqo promised its "ultra-personal computer" -- a pumped-up PDA that runs Windows XP -- by the end of the year. The wallet-size computer promised a 1-GHz Transmeta chip, a 20-GB hard drive and more, with a price of less than $1,000. Reader Nick Didenko noted, however, that nine months later the specs have become less impressive while the estimated price has ballooned to more than $1,600.

    Look like they've overlooked the license fee of Windows XP in the initial estimation. :)
  • New Amiga (Score:4, Informative)

    by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:29AM (#5004166)

    It's shipping, people have the new motherboards up and running. See Eyetech's (who are making the boards) announcement at http://www.eyetech.co.uk/amigaone/oct252002a.php [eyetech.co.uk], or the discussion at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/amigaone/ [yahoo.com]. The OS itself isn't out yet, but the boards run Linux PPC just fine.

  • by nsample ( 261457 ) <<nsample> <at> <stanford.edu>> on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:33AM (#5004189) Homepage

    They've always been honest about their release date, and posted it openly since day 1. It's not their fault if the public can't read properly:

    Duke Nukem Forever
  • ...I'd nominate the Tiqit 83 [tiqit.com]. A similiar idea, only with a built-in keyboard which would seem to make it more useful. Any bets on which, if either, will make it to market first?
  • This article [slashdot.org] is the call for nominations. You know, like what happens before you vote.

    The article that this comment is attached to is the awards. You know, the part that comes AFTER the vote.

    A -1 redundant on all who state otherwise.

  • by Reductionist ( 523541 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:43AM (#5004227)
    Prey! Anyone else remember this much vaunted/hyped fps from 3D Realms? It was first promoted back in '96 right before the original Quake was released.

    Googled this bit of info from IGN..

    March 12, 2002 - Prey, its very name is the definition of vaporware, and is even perhaps responsible for a lot of the Duke Nukem nay saying. You see, Prey was to be 3D Realms' grand first-person shooting triumph. What it promised to sport in 1997 was a new engine with better than Unreal looks, Max Payne radiosity lighting, and Red Faction environmental interactivity.

    It was only after sometime that the reality of lacking technology sunk in and Prey, along with its Turok reminiscent story of a Native American gone alien abductee superhero was axed. From then, DNF was put in full swing, and has still yet to arrive, leading conspiracy theorist gamers with way too much time on their hands to always expect the worst.

    However, in 1999, 3D Realm's George Broussard made it abundantly clear that the title was still in some way, shape, or form being developed, but that it should not be expected anytime soon. Despite this, and all the other hype surrounding the title, it seemed Prey eventually wound up on the dreaded backburner (insert Prey falling prey pun here).

    That was then... This is now.

    Web rumor (as wonderfully reliable as it is) suggests the game has perhaps risen from the dead by the helping hand of Rune's own Human Head Studios. Further speculation cites the latest in Doom technology to be the likely power behind this prey's second wind.

    All parties rumored to be involved are obviously tightlipped (the terribly sad norm in this industry). We'll be back with more details if further information arises substantiating or debunking this rumor.
  • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:54AM (#5004274) Journal
    This story should be

    from the I-want-new-shiny-things-to-distract-me -from-my-mind-numbly-unfulfilled-life-and-I-want-i t-now! dept.

    I admit, I'm guilty of this too.

  • "What can I say?" he wrote in an e-mail. "We're undeniably late and we know it. We've switched engines a couple of times, and we've started over a couple of times. We've made some mistakes, and we've learned from them. I'm just glad we're in a position to do those things, and to be able to make the game we want to make, instead of being rushed out the door to meet stock projections.

    While a lot of people (myself included) are privately theorizing that this game will never make it out (Duke Nukum, Never), if it ever does arrive I have the feeling it will sell rather quickly. Over 5 years waiting tends to add to the hype, and, as mentioned, they've done a lot of overhauls. I will gladly wait 8 years for a game that turns out really good, rather than have them crank out another lame clone after a few just to meet a deadline and stop the complaints about delay.

    That being said, I wonder how the upcoming release of D3 will measure up against a possible DN forever. Which would be better, and/or more anticipated

    Ah, the memories of the hidden doom marine in DN3D, will we see a dead duke in D3, or perhaps some jokes about the delay.
  • by Dunkalis ( 566394 ) <crichardsNO@SPAMgmx.net> on Friday January 03, 2003 @01:19AM (#5004329)
    This is the mother and father of vaporware. I mean, look of "vaporware" in a dictionary, and you'll find...

    GNU Hurd

    Couldn't resist!
  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @01:20AM (#5004330) Homepage Journal
    Step 1. Think up an interesting idea for a game. Spend a few days coming up with mockup graphics.

    step 2. Keep working on other projects and spend a few hours a month working on more mockups and prototypes.

    Repeat step 2 for a couple years, show the 'game' to reporters. Hype relentlessly, but gradually taper off.

    Wait a few more years, occasionally report problems 'we switched engines' etc. everyone laughs, you become the quintessential vaporware, etc. Tell everyone you're waiting because the game is going to be perfect. Ship the games you were actually working on

    After 4 or 5 years of this, start working on the game. Everyone's heard of it, everyone knows about it. And when you're finished (in a year or so) everyone downloads the demo, even non-hardcore gamers. Of course, you'll need to make sure the game is fun, and polished, but if you succeed you'll have huge mindshare already, and probably a hit.

    Unreal was delayed and delayed, and since it was pretty good it sold well. Daikatana took forever, but it was shitty. If it had actually been a good game, it probably would have done well. We'll have to see what happens with DNF, but I bet it would have sold well if it was good.

    With my plan, you'll have years of hype and anticipation waiting for a game that only cost a year or so of development costs.

    and licensing my patent will only cost you 4% of the development costs!
  • by d3xt3r ( 527989 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @01:31AM (#5004372)
    This is just games not software.

    The best piece of vaporware still goes to Microsoft for .Net. A software product that doesn't exist but MS claims to be anything and everything at the same time.

    I hate to complain about posts but, Slashdot belongs in the "King of the misleading headlines department" lately.

    P.S. - you can't really mod me down for being off topic, this whole damn story is off topic.

  • Those daggummed Matrix sequels. How long has it been since those teasers started popping up?
  • by rtphokie ( 518490 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @02:00AM (#5004484)
    Am I the only person left on ./ who isn't obsessed with gaming? Computers are wonderfully useful tools for tasks other than playing games.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday January 03, 2003 @02:46AM (#5004583) Homepage Journal
    since they've got such a good grip on what's going on, and have for such a long time. Anyone else remember the tragically optimistic "Push" issue [wired.com] of Wired Magazine? I quote: "The Web browser itself is about to croak."

    I couldn't help it. Dammit, I'm already accruing coal in my stocking for 2003...

  • QuarkXPress (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @09:28AM (#5005436) Homepage Journal
    > "Apple should buy out Quark simply to get this app out," opined
    > Stuart Long. "It's the one app holding back the adoption of an
    > amazing Unix OS."

    First off, the only thing holding back adoption of OS X is time; as
    people replace their old Macs with new ones, and as new apps and
    versions of apps are released that do not support Classic, adoption
    of OS X is a foregone conclusion. No one app matters, really. It
    can make the difference of a couple of years for some people, but
    in the long run it doesn't fundamentally change anything.

    My other comment about this is that for Apple to buy out Quark in
    order to get XPress out would probably disgruntle Adobe, which is
    probably not something Apple particularly wants to do.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...