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A:EftP - Why does it take so long to port this game to windows


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Some bugs are specific to the port where the operating system handles things differently than in the original Mac port. Just recompiling the Mac version to use the most recent development tools can produces strange bugs. When Avernum 6 was recompiled to sell in the Mac App Store several monsters suddenly were colored green.

 

Also Jeff makes changes to the game balance to deal with customer complaints that some fights are too hard. A small typographic error in a script for a monster can produce a bug that makes a fatal error where the fight can never end. During beta testing a part of the game that worked fine when it was originally tested can suddenly develop a bug from a change so you can't get experience for a quest.

 

So three months of testing helps to make sure no new bugs have crept into the game.

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Unless it's released early, or at least in the first week of April, it'll be four months. Regular mac users probably know exactly how this guy feels.

 

Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Some bugs are specific to the port where the operating system handles things differently than in the original Mac port. Just recompiling the Mac version to use the most recent development tools can produces strange bugs. When Avernum 6 was recompiled to sell in the Mac App Store several monsters suddenly were colored green.

 

Also Jeff makes changes to the game balance to deal with customer complaints that some fights are too hard. A small typographic error in a script for a monster can produce a bug that makes a fatal error where the fight can never end. During beta testing a part of the game that worked fine when it was originally tested can suddenly develop a bug from a change so you can't get experience for a quest.

 

So three months of testing helps to make sure no new bugs have crept into the game.

I dont know man, I have a hard time believing bugs and balancing could account for that much time on a port unless things really fell to pieces. I'm not exactly hurting or anything, I'm sure it's coming, but a little more information would be nice.

 

April is also Q2, if that hasnt already been pointed out.

 

e; It's possible I'm just comparing it too closely to Avadon, but I can't think of a Spiderweb game that wasnt ported mac -> pc, and this is a remake! Shouldnt it be faster, if anything?

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I suspect that of all the people really burning for this game to be released on Windows, Jeff is by far the one who wants it out the door most. Porting a rewrite is probably no faster than a new game since porting the content isn't what eats up the most time. Porting the code is and the code is new.

 

I also suspect that Jeff is already working on Avadon 2 in order to get it released by the end of the year and maybe the time usually set aside for porting this time simply isn't enough. Perhaps the original code base has changed significantly due to the use of new coding tools - the Mac OS certainly has changed. Who knows? But I'm sure he's giving it is best.

 

PS: Welcome to the boards wink

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Why so rush? Be patient please. Rather than play a game full of bugs that may crash down repeatedly and make your monitor blur or what's even worse damage your savegames halfway driving you crazy, I'd wait. Better late than buggy! Only GIFTS appreciate things full of juicy, fresh and yummy bugs crazy

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You'll probably have time to play through all of the second trilogy, maybe even twice if you're good at it. The ETA is 2 years, from what I was told*.

 

Originally Posted By: Lilith

Spiderweb Software has only three staff, and only one of them is a programmer.

 

Why, surely Spiderweb is doing well enough right now to hire a couple more people at least.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

* Anyway, nice to see a fellow windower screaming for a quicker release.

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Originally Posted By: BMA
Why, surely Spiderweb is doing well enough right now to hire a couple more people at least.


One of the reasons Jeff Vogel runs his own software company in the first place is that he doesn't want to work with a lot of other people. He contracts out art assets from time to time, but that's it. Plus, Spiderweb is not making the mad bank that you might imagine: he blogged a while ago that a game that sells 4,000 copies is considered a success, and that's just about enough to put food on the table for three people for a year.
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Quote:
You'll probably have time to play through all of the second trilogy, maybe even twice if you're good at it. The ETA is 2 years, from what I was told*.


Did you mean 2 months? Or were you meaning to talk about Avernum: Crystal Souls? Because it is extremely unlikely that it will take two years for AEftP to come out for Windows.
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Originally Posted By: Kendroxide
Side note: Do you think I would have enough time to play through any of the second Avernum trilogy games before A:EftP is released?
Fairly easily, depending on how much of your free time you're willing to spend on your computer each day. In fact, if you really have a lot of time on your hands, you might be able to play all three of the second Avernum trilogy games.
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It isn't so much the months & months of waiting, it the always missing out on the new release excitement. I've been a faithful follower of Jeff's since the E2 days & loved every minute of playing in his universe (Mrs TR isn't quite so happy about all that time but...) playing & replaying his games. In the pre-forum/online community days it really didn't matter what time frame the games came out in. Unless you happened to be friends with a Mac user who also liked Spiderweb's spelunking expeditions, it was just you & your computer. Then came the internet & the discovery that no matter how obscure your personal obsession was, there were others out there just like you. Suddenly everything changed.

 

Regarding Jeff's/Spiderweb's policy of Mac first & then work on the Windows, from a practical standpoint it makes sense (do what you know best/are most comfortable with first & then go to the others) however it still sucks. For years now whenever Jeff announces a new game there is a tremendous amount of discussion & excitement building up & building up, finally reaching a crescendo on release day when people giddily race to their computers to download the demo (& hopefully immediately call Seattle to register/pay for the game). The message boards explode with threads upon threads & pages & pages of comments, criticisms, stories of lizards vanquished & maidens rescued, towns looted (don't those people ever put two & two together to realize that the gems hidden in their dresser probably left with the pack of adventurers suddenly wandering around their house?), roads cleared of bandits, & dungeon upon dungeon cleared of beasties making room for more of the Empire's rejects being tossed into the pits. It's like a flood of adventurers washing through the cave system & through the boards talking about it (a quick & dirty count today showed about 250 threads in the AEftP area). Most are progressing at roughly the same rate & are talking/typing their way through problems right as they are happening. It's a great time to be a Mac user & part of the excitement.

 

Windows users get none of that. By the time we're able to join the party, the tidal wave of excitement is long past. People on the boards don't want to talk about/help solve issues that they've worked their way through months ago (not everyone to be sure, but it's nothing like it was a few months past). Down in the caves merchants are giving every new face the stink eye trying to figure out who's going to loot them next. Townspeople are locking their daughters up at night. The mayor is wondering who the joker was who tied her cat to the ceiling fan. The local priest has given away all of his goodies except for a couple of +1 ace bandages of renewal. Etc, etc, etc.

 

It really isn't much fun knowing that there is a big celebration going on but also knowing that you can't participate until much later. You don't want to read the threads for fear of too many spoilers being given out. You can't join in the discussions on how to solve a certain puzzle/way around an area. You really can't do much more than stare in the window at the party going on in full swing & know that, while you may be welcomed in, you really don't belong.

 

I love Spiderweb/Jeff's games & will always buy whatever he puts out, but it really does suck not being able to participate in the initial fun of a new release.

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Originally Posted By: Kreador
Originally Posted By: TriRodent
I love Spiderweb/Jeff's games & will always buy whatever he puts out, but it really does suck not being able to participate in the initial fun of a new release.

And now you know how we in the Mac community feel about 99.99999% of game releases. smile

When the companies even make a Mac version. Although now with newer Macs using Intel CPUs it's possible to run Windows and its games unlike the old days.

Welcome to Spiderweb Software. Please leave your sanity at the door. If you have any left waiting for a Windows game release.

It's shouldn't be more than two weeks based upon comments from testers. At this point it's mostly making sure the game installer and registration system both work.
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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Welcome to Spiderweb Software. Please leave your sanity at the door. If you have any left waiting for a Windows game release.

It's shouldn't be more than two weeks based upon comments from testers. At this point it's mostly making sure the game installer and registration system both work.


Thanks for the welcome although actually it really isn't needed. I've been hanging out here (well, the old boards...) on an occasional basis since about '03 (with a long forgotten login & an even longer out of business ISP/email). I don't think that anyone had over 2500 posts when I first found you guys. Sadly much of that time was (& probably will remain) lurking as I really don't have the time to do more than pop in for a few minutes every few weeks (more when I'm stuck somewhere wink ).

And I know that the windows version is very close, it was just a combination of actually having time this week to some serious spelunking & the pent up frustration over many games of not being able to participate in the pre/early release buildup/excitement.

Ah well, in a couple dozen days at the most Jeff will have a few more of my ha'pennies, Mrs TR will again be grumbling over my time spent mentally underground, I will once more be happily sleep deprived, & the world will be right again....
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Yes, its difficult not being able to join in when the mac-users are celebrating.

 

But it would be much better if, when the windows version comes out, a new, fresh & from-the-start forum is begun, exclusively for windows, instead of us having to use the existing one which already has 259 threads.

 

This way, we are not deprived of the the pleasure of posting. Someone begins to say something and then a mac user, who has been following the Aeftp forum from its infancy, puts in some full-stopping post like "We've already discussed this issue.Check before you post."

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I hope all of this porting is completed soon. Not that I care about the Windows version tongue

 

Honestly I hate to bug a guy who's doubtlessly working hard to do a job he loves in order to feed his family, but... feel free to finish off that iPad port so I can take it to Afghanistan with me. Pretty please.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeff programs in C++. The time isn't for making the port, but getting testers to check that it works right with no errors creeping in that cause the game to hang in special boss fights, the graphics work, and that it will run on different computer configurations without too much slowing down for older computers.

 

Just look in Tech forum at all the problems people have once it has been tested where it won't work on their specific computer. The Windows version has to support both OpenGL and Direct X.

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I'd rather it take a while and come out mostly bug free, than get a rush job smile. I just finished Avadon: The Black Fortress, which I got on Steam. It's my first Spiderweb game, and I really loved it and I wanted to start Avernum next, but I only use windows. It's just as well, since I can just get Geneforge to play until it is released smile I want to get it on Steam anyway.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Spiderweb Software has only three staff, and only one of them is a programmer. There's also a need for an extra round of betatesting to catch any bugs introduced in the port.

Wait what?! only three staff? I thought they were like 12 and more...
===========
Originally Posted By: Lilith
has only three staff

I need to grow up faster...
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Spiderweb is Jeff Vogel, his wife Mariann Krizsan, and their office manager (whatever that means) Linda Strout. Jeff does all the coding, and I believe all the design. Mariann and Linda do some of the town layout and maybe some dialogue, but mostly they handle the business side.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't think Jeff wants more staff. He doesn't want to work for anyone, but he also hasn't sounded very enthusiastic about having to manage anyone either. Quite probably he just wants to be left alone to make games exactly the way he wants them.

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Originally Posted By: Alorly
—Alorly, who doesn't think Jeff wants more staff. He doesn't want to work for anyone, but he also hasn't sounded very enthusiastic about having to manage anyone either. Quite probably he just wants to be left alone to make games exactly the way he wants them.


Only solution=Buy their games
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Jeff recycles graphics enthusiastically. Many from Avadon showed up in A4-6 and Geneforge first, although they've gotten some facelifts. A:EftP uses the same graphics style and most of the same graphics as Avadon, at any rate.

 

—Alorael, who thinks this should be apparently from the screenshots. And the way Jeff generally works, too: he rarely looks back on old engines and old graphics. The Nethergate remake is the only exception.

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I was browsing through Jeff Vogel's blogspot when I found this:

 

Q: You didn't do the ports yourself?

 

A: No, they were ported by skilled third-party developers in close consultation with us. My increasingly old brain doesn't have the space to learn to develop for any new platforms. It doesn't even have space to hold everything I need to know now. The number of things I need to do for my job that I need to relearn from scratch every time I do them is already really high.

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With the increased income per game, it might be worthwhile to Jeff to offload porting duties entirely and speed up his new game development cycle by those few months. That way he could remember less and do more.

 

—Alorael, who isn't sure how much he'd have to pay someone to port, though. It takes Jeff months, and he'd probably rather not give up quite that much money. But if experts can do it faster, maybe it becomes a good decision.

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