Jeff's rep and the Perils of Creating a Scenario Editor

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AuthorTopic: Jeff's rep and the Perils of Creating a Scenario Editor
Babelicious
Member # 3149
Profile Homepage #25
quote:
Originally written by Theodis:

Yep money is a powerful persuasive force. Though I'm quite sure a good majority of Jeffs buying customers aren't forum goers. I've been playing Exile games since back in '96 when I got the internet yet until recently I never even checked the forums. And if you don't like a companies policy on support you certainly shouldn't support them by buying their products.
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(to Stareye) See that's the thing. Even though the products aren't perfect and Jeff makes statements you find assinine you still think it's worth your money otherwise there would be no hesitation in just leaving. If you're still unsure just don't buy the product right away and see what people have to say. Games rarely get too much support after its initial release since it's generally not very profitable and even if a game isn't perfect if its fun people will continue to buy products from you. So if after a few months the game/editor still isn't at the state you want then don't buy it.

I don't support them. I haven't bought a Spiderweb game since Blades of Exile, and I will buy Blades of Avernum only under the condition that Vogel right some of his previous wrongs.

Remember, at the time I bought BoE, I had no reason to believe that I would receive anything less than what I purchased.

In addition, the majority of Jeff's customers may not be forumgoers (although I question that; the forums have been up since 2001, and most new customers are likely to at least visit), but this is relatively insignificant. What is significant is that the core customers, the scenario designers, are generally forum-goers; they are also the most likely to be directly affected by all of this. If the designers are driven away, there are few scenarios for people to play; word will get around very quickly that BoA has a dearth of play value and it won't sell.

By the way, Stareye was a major beta-tester of Blades of Avernum. He didn't have to pay, and he (like others) is still maintaining hope that Vogel will reverse his previous course.

I simply don't understand where you're coming from here. Software development is a two-way process! Anything less than continual feedback in both directions is poor process and poor business -- and we don't have to accept either. How would Vogel know why we weren't buying his games if we didn't tell him loud and clear? Why should we just bite our tongue, shake our heads, and walk away when we see something on the verge of quality that just falls short?

Like I said, it's the game developer's mentality. Once the game is out, it's done. But Blades of Exile/Avernum are not games, they are systems and they are applications. If he is unwilling to treat designers as first-class customers -- which requires a more exacting, interactive approach to customer service -- he should not advertise to them as if they were. If Blades of Exile/Avernum are just games that happen to have scenario editors tacked on, he should make that clear -- "Scenario editor included, AS IS" or the like. Otherwise, he should provide adequate support for that aspect of his product.

If he is not willing to support his products, he should not sell them while saying he will.

If he doesn't abide by that basic rule of ethics, it is my legal right and moral duty to warn all potential customers of his behavior, so they can be informed consumers.

[ Tuesday, September 28, 2004 22:30: Message edited by: Andrea ]

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I've got a pyg in a poke.
Posts: 999 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 455
Profile #26
quote:
If you're still unsure just don't buy the product right away and see what people have to say.
. . . . provided, of course, that they don't "yell" at or "insult" the company in question. That wouldn't be good manners -- and business, while it may not be about ethics, it sure is about good manners . . .

Let's be clear: nobody had been up to much "yelling" at JV on these boards recently until a remarkable number of new visitors took an interest in trolling through the back issues. And if you don't think there's a point to complaining about a product you've purchased, take a look at how much better JV's support for BoA already is than his support for BoE was. If you're telling me he did that out of the goodness of his heart, I refer you to your earlier remarks about business and ethics.

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Forgive them, for they are young and rich and white.
Posts: 265 | Registered: Saturday, December 29 2001 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 3418
Profile #27
quote:
Originally written by Andrea:

Hey, could you do me a favor? If you actually do go into game development, please, let me know what games you're making. I don't want to waste my money on a game made by someone who feels that it's all right to rip people off, as long as it's only for $30.
No problem. As of yet I haven't made any commercial games since Nintendo owns all the rights to anything I make at Digipen :P . Anyway here's a link my last game project http://s92177798.onlinehome.us/thelema/ThelemaSetup.exe . There are also builds for Mac and Linux I could dig up if you want. Of course that $0 price tag might be a bit hefty for you if you can't handle the loss of $30 on a lousy game.

quote:
Originally written by Andrea:

What is it with prospective game developers and their defense of Jeff Vogel?
It's easier to empathize when you have a better understanding of the development process.

quote:
Originally written by Andrea:

Is he a success story? Proof that you, too can overcharge for games and not even follow up on your promises? I can see how you'd respect his lowering the bar.
Of course here's where our views largely differ. I find his games to be excellent and much more entertaining than games I've spent $60 on! So the fact that he charges $30 for games that are so great is just an outstanding deal to me :) . So you may have recieved an awful deal but mine was awsome even if we paid the same amount since the actual value of an object differs largely from person to person.
Posts: 16 | Registered: Tuesday, September 2 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #28
quote:
Originally written by Theodis:
In buisiness ethics are generally thrown out the window.
Your apologism may have gone somewhat too far here.

While you personally may not feel ripped off because ZKR was good enough for you, other people have been a tad frustrated to have battled their way through the majority of Demon Island II and not be able to finish because of an undocumented bug. And moreover, many people bought BoE in order to make scenarios, not just to play them.

Perhaps that's the issue, come to think of it: BoE had at least three different components, namely 1) playing the three pre-packaged scenarios, 2) playing third-party scenarios, and 3) making scenarios. BoE pulls off 1 quite well, but many people didn't buy it for that. BoE somewhat fails at 2 -- undocumented bugs make an incredible number of scenarios more difficult and sometimes impossible to finish. BoE is not quite a disaster at 3, but it comes close in some ways.

You bought it for 1, but many people didn't. I know I bought it for 2 and 3, mostly 3, and there it does not do what it is advertised as doing. Hopefully you can understand that someone else who bought BoE with different things in mind feels differently when confronted with BoE's limitations.

Spiderweb really doesn't care if we buy a couple of their games, realize the support just isn't there, and then never buy more. They make much more off of new customers than repeat customers (and no, I don't have the statistics to back me up on this, but I can almost guarantee you that it's true). Thus, voting with one's pocketbook is not terribly effective. Of course if we hate their games and their company we won't buy them anymore, but it would be nice to get what we were told we paid for.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Babelicious
Member # 3149
Profile Homepage #29
quote:
Originally written by Theodis:

No problem. As of yet I haven't made any commercial games since Nintendo owns all the rights to anything I make at Digipen :P . Anyway here's a link my last game project http://s92177798.onlinehome.us/thelema/ThelemaSetup.exe . There are also builds for Mac and Linux I could dig up if you want. Of course that $0 price tag might be a bit hefty for you if you can't handle the loss of $30 on a lousy game.
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It's easier to empathize when you have a better understanding of the development process.

Sorry, I don't install random closed-source software on my computer.

That's funny. I don't empathize one bit.

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I've got a pyg in a poke.
Posts: 999 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #30
quote:
take a look at how much better JV's support for BoA already is than his support for BoE was
Were you here when BoE came out? Were you involved in the early designer community, or did you ever seek Jeff's support on the game at that time?

If not: How would you or I know how good Spiderweb support was for BoE in the year after it came out? How could we assume how good support for BoA will be when it will be as old as BoE is now - and when Blades of Geneforge is the 'sparkling new engine' just out? :P

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"Polaris leers down from the black vault, winking hideously like an insane watching eye which strives to convey some strange message, yet recalls nothing save that it once had a message to convey." --- HP Lovecraft.
"I single Aran out due to his nasty temperament, and his superior intellect." --- SupaNik
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Shake Before Using
Member # 75
Profile #31
Two things.

1) Most of the community's complaints towards Jeff have been based on some horrible decisions made about BoE.

Theodis, would you defend scenarios (Bandits II, (The Creator's) Revenge) disappearing from the official scenario list, Spidweb refusing to post new scenarios as .zips instead of .sits (er, I forget which one this was), or simply not posting other scenarios (Nebulous Times Hence) at all, giving no reason as to why?

So far, I only have one major complaint about BoA, from a player's point of view - a seemingly stupid design decision regarding potions.

2) Theodis, did you really like the Za-Khazi Run? Honestly, it's one of the worst things Jeff Vogel's ever designed.
Posts: 3234 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 3418
Profile #32
quote:
Originally written by Imban:

2) Theodis, did you really like the Za-Khazi Run? Honestly, it's one of the worst things Jeff Vogel's ever designed.
Really? I don't see why you think it's so bad seemed like a solid scenario to me. Like the others I've went through it 3 or 4 times.
Posts: 16 | Registered: Tuesday, September 2 2003 07:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #33
I hear a good point here that I didn't really think about but assumed to be true. Our complaining did lead to much better support for Blades of Avernum. So far, I am quite pleased with the support it has received.

If you look at Jeff's statements in interviews, this has been largely because of the loyalty of the Blades designing community. Heck, we've got a promise to try to fix a lot of bugs in the near future and at least a got him to take community suggestions under consideration. This is what we pushed for in Blades of Exile and we are getting it for Blades of Avernum.

I'm willing to bet if the community just gave up and left, we would (1) probably not have a Blades of Avernum period, and (2) even if we did, it would not have the support it is now getting.

As someone who's been around here since BoE was released, I can tell you that service for the product was better than nothing, but was still not exactly the best. It's hard to compare because at the early times there really was not a core designing community yet. Fortunately, in the short term, things are looking pretty good.

As far as Za-Khazi, it was good in the early days of Blades of Exile, but use BoE players have been spoiled by the high quality works which have yet to materialize in Blades of Avernum.

Theodis - The business practices of your company are quite odious. Thank you for informing me as I will never purchase their products now and discourage everyone else I know to do the same. I'm thankful with your attitude that you are in a computation field where nobody can get hurt or killed by your shoddy practices.

The reason I am so disgusted with this is because my field (engineering) does not live in a nice pristine ivory tower. My computer codes MUST work or people can die. If I release a bad code, it is my duty to at least inform my industry customers of its shortcomings. Yes, the stakes in the game design industry are a lot lower, but still, the ethics should be constant.

An licensed engineer working for a company that misuses its products in such a way is ethically obligated (under the universally accepted Engineering Code of Ethics) to (1) cease service to that company, and (2) inform the public of its shortcomings. Failure to do so would result in serious fines and a revokation of that engineer's license. Unfortunately this does not always work in practice, but I feel these standards are applicable to any field and should be adhered to.

[ Wednesday, September 29, 2004 07:33: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #34
Have you, by any chance, bothered playing any non-Vogel scenarios?

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
BANNED
Member # 4623
Profile Homepage #35
MOD EDIT: Pointless image slowing down load times.

[ Wednesday, September 29, 2004 15:09: Message edited by: *i ]

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The Great Mister

kommari@gmail.com[/url]
Posts: 417 | Registered: Sunday, June 27 2004 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4154
Profile #36
Even if you are content with what you recieved, Theodis, that doesn't mean that the product's failures deserve to be ignored. If something doesn't work as advertised, I expect either the advertising to be fixed or for the product to be fixed, and I prefer the latter. The product in question here is one that needs even more support than other games. There's no reason to refuse to buy BoE, because it's a great game. It just could and should be a lot better, which is frustrating.

BoA, so far, has recieved excellent support and I hear there's to be another update in a while. I can tell that from our constant griping, Jeff has learned something.

Saying that the difficulty of game design is an excuse not to provide support (which I don't know if it's an excuse Jeff uses) is like saying that it's okay if everyone does a mediocre job at things that are hard. I bet you wouldn't want to apply that to a world leader.

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You're a moron if you think I'm not.
Posts: 213 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00

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