Why Dark Energy Digital Won't Just Give Up on Hydrophobia

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#101 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

including a feedback system in this sort of single-player game is ridiculous.
You can't please everybody, so why take feedback anyway?
 
If they made the game and were satisfied with it, why ask people EXACTLY what they want?
 
most gamers don't know what they really want, and asking them about it instead of being a developer and thinking about it from a development standpoint is just plain lazy.
 
I don't mind them releasing new versions of their game, but THEY should be the ones coming up with ideas, not the community.  It's their game, they should be the ones developing it.

#102 Posted by BigChief (503 posts) -

You know, I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but it certainly is interesting. It's at least neat to see their dedication to listening to feedback.

#103 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@Vigorousjammer said:
why ask people EXACTLY what they want?
The feedback system isn't asknig what people want, just how they feel about a given section in th game, i.e. you can say things like "Gameplay - negative - frustrating", all select from a menu. And there have been more then a few handful of games where I would have loved to tell developers how shitty a given section of a game was so that other don't have to suffer through it and the developer can just insert another checkpoint or fix.
#104 Posted by Jost1 (2077 posts) -

This is getting pathetic.

#105 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@lowestformofwit said:
They need to sort out the voice acting.  Scoot (or scotty or whatever you call him) has a put on Scottish accent which just plain insults us Scots. 
They already have complete revoiced the part of Scoot for the PC version.
#106 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@Twinblade said:
where is this update for 360? i was one of the few who bought the original, and now they're just dumping us on the side of the road.
It is not their fault. As far as I understand it the problem is Microsoft again, who don't allow large patches for free to games. As far as I remember Valve ran into the same problem when they wanted to offer additional free content to the Orange Box.
#107 Posted by TwoLines (2811 posts) -
@LordAndrew said:
@TwoLines said:
We changed this game like... 5 times, and people STILL don't like it! Please, tell us what are we doing wrong! Clearly, we have NO idea how to make a game. Can you help us? Please, oh god, PLEASE help us!
Generally, the people who still don't like it are the people who haven't given it another chance. Many of them haven't even given it a first chance. Of the three versions of this game, which have you given chances?
I admit, the first one. However, I am not bashing the game itself. Just the people that made it. Not only do they make constant revisions, giving the same game different names, but they're also treating their fanbase as if they were beta testers.  
I  think that they have no idea what they did wrong, and they want to understand and correct all those mistakes. It HAS to be frustrating not knowing how to improve the game you worked so much on.  
 
But you just... have to move on at some point. It's kind of sad, really.
#108 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11739 posts) -
@BlueFroman said:
Dedication to your product and obsession are two different things.   This qualifies as the latter. 
Agreed. This entire attempt to change Hydrophobia from a mediocre game to a good one has changed from "Oh, it's cool that they know their game sucked and they want to improve" to "Why don't they just make a whole new game at some point instead of trying to beat a semi-dead horse?" The whole thing reeks of desperation and insecurity.
#109 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -
@Grumbel said:
@Vigorousjammer said:
why ask people EXACTLY what they want?
The feedback system isn't asknig what people want, just how they feel about a given section in th game, i.e. you can say things like "Gameplay - negative - frustrating", all select from a menu. And there have been more then a few handful of games where I would have loved to tell developers how shitty a given section of a game was so that other don't have to suffer through it and the developer can just insert another checkpoint or fix.
I suppose in the right hands, the feedback could be useful, but think about this:
You may ask for more checkpoints to make it easier, but then somebody else might say that the game is too easy, on the other hand, some people may ask for the game to be harder, but then others will complain that it's too hard...  Some people like their games to be easy, and then others like a challenge.
 
You wouldn't want others to "suffer" through a game, but who's to say they'll suffer at all?  Hell, some people LIKE to be punished by their games, just look at Super Meat Boy.
 
This is only one example, there's plenty of opinions out there on many different parts of video games, everything is subjective.  If we get to the point where all developers simply ask for feedback from the community to "improve" their games for the majority, instead of making the game they specifically wanted to make, then in the long run it could stifle creativity and innovation.  This is just as bad as marketing people looking at graphs and charts and saying "well, this call of duty game sold really well, let's make one of those"
 
There's different games for different types of gamers is all I'm saying, developers should keep innovating, and come out with new & interesting forms of interactive entertainment.
 
To be honest, it just seems like Dark Energy is grasping at straws here.  They aren't a proven developer, and after re-tooling their game a few times, it just seems like they're at a loss for what to do next, and are now going to do whatever the community wants.  Hopefully I'm wrong, but this is just the impression I get from them.
#110 Posted by Nomin (977 posts) -

Battered Developer Syndrome
#111 Posted by Volts (17 posts) -

Good story!

#112 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@Vigorousjammer said: 

This is only one example, there's plenty of opinions out there on many different parts of video games, everything is subjective.

The existence of parts of a game that are subjective doesn't preclude the existence of parts that are objectively bad and I have seen tons of that in games. And not everybody has the money to hire hords and hords of gameplay testers like Valve.
Hopefully I'm wrong, but this is just the impression I get from them.
The feedback system is all about minor stuff, not major game changes, so yes, you are wrong.
#113 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2220 posts) -

I feel like I should buy this game just to shut these developers up. The designer says the reason why gamers haven't made up their mind on this game is because they haven't played it but he doesn't get it. gamers will watch videos and read reviews about the game and if they decide not to buy it then that's them making up their minds. The more they try to reiterate this game the less I want to play it. 

#114 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:
The whole thing reeks of desperation and insecurity.
It is an episodic title. Whatever they do here will benefit the second episode.
#115 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -
@Grumbel said:
The existence of parts of a game that are subjective doesn't preclude the existence of parts that are objectively bad and I have seen tons of that in games. And not everybody has the money to hire hords and hords of gameplay testers like Valve.
I suppose I know what you're saying about something being "objectively bad" (even though that terminology is kind of silly).  But where do we draw the line between game-breaking bugs, and just personal preference?
 
You or I may not have liked how a game controlled, or a game's storyline, but that's not to say somebody else couldn't have.  And if they did, that's absolutely fine! it's their preference! They can play the hell out of that game, and enjoy it completely!
 
As long as a game isn't technically broken (which Hydrophobia isn't) then you can't assume that what YOU want out of a game is what EVERYBODY would want.  A feedback system made to get people's personal preferences is largely not useful.
 
@Grumbel said:
The feedback system is all about minor stuff, not major game changes, so yes, you are wrong. 
How do you know what they're going to take from the feedback system for use in development?
Do you work at Dark Energy?
If not, then I believe you're once again making assumptions.
#116 Posted by raikoh05 (416 posts) -

step 1: play uncharted 2 
step 2: make your game like uncharted 2, in all ways.

#117 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@Vigorousjammer said:

 But where do we draw the line between game-breaking bugs, and just personal preference?

You don't have to draw a line. You just look at the map where most people got stuck and then do something about that. If people get stuck, then it is a problem no matter if other people like it or not (most likely they didn't even notice the spot as they never got stuck on it). And at this point its all low level polish anyway, its not like they let people vote if it should play in a desert instead of on the sea.

How do you know what they're going to take from the feedback system for use in development?

The system does not offer detailed request and it makes no sense to do any large scale rebuilding of the game at this point anyway, as they already have done so with Hydrophobia: Pure and even that weren't super huge changes, but just a lots and lots of tweaks.
 
And yes, I am totally making assumptions, but those are rather obvious things if you have used the feedback system and seen what they have changed with the last few patches.
#118 Posted by Amerist (58 posts) -

Hydrophobia. Isn't that another name for rabies? (So-called because animals afflicted with rabies have a difficult time swallowing and therefore will shy away when offered water.) Perhaps that's what happened to the developers when they started accusing reviewers of not finishing the game. Got rabies. ^^

#119 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11739 posts) -
@Grumbel said:
@ArbitraryWater said:
The whole thing reeks of desperation and insecurity.
It is an episodic title. Whatever they do here will benefit the second episode.
Then why didn't they just integrate all the improvements into this hypothetical second episode? No, I stand by my statements that they can't stand the fact that their game wasn't very good to start with (thus, their childish reactions to negative reviews), and have become obsessed with trying to change opinion on a game that wasn't that high profile to begin with. The way they do this is by making paying customers be their guinea pigs.
#120 Edited by kingofpeanuts (479 posts) -

Still not interested in the game, but I wonder if all of these edition are cost effective or are they digging a deeper grave?

#121 Posted by needforswede (492 posts) -

at first I thought you said reviewers were criticizing the developers for not finishing the game and I was like "ohhh that makes sense" haha

#122 Posted by Demoskinos (14835 posts) -

You know,  I might just  give this a whirl.  These guys obviously believe they have a good product.  And are dedicated enough to make efforts to make it more appealing and a better game.

#123 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

At this point I'm kinda like "why play this version of the game when they're probably going to make another one?" I appreciate what they're doing in theory, but at some point you have to go "this is what the game is". Still, the idea that people are bitching that these devs want to make their game better makes (those users) seem pretty fucking pathetic. "Oh, they want to improve their game? FUCK YOU!" Internet will bitch about anything.

#124 Posted by Kordesh (225 posts) -

Hydrophobia is a game that once again was poisoned by overconfident developers who felt they could put out whatever, do whatever, say whatever, and have no repercussions. I can say with confidence the sole thing that kept me from at least trying the game (which mind you is the same reason I still will not try it) is their reaction to the reviews. I understand it's frustrating when a reviewer pans a game because they didn't even bother to look at it properly even as a reader, so I can only imagine how frustrating it must be on the dev side, however, this was not the case here. The reviews were fairly straightforward, and the player feedback from those who did play mirrored them closely. I was interested in the game up until that point, but I can't support developers that act this way, no matter how many iterations of the game they push out hoping people forget about the last time.

#125 Posted by SgtGrumbles (1024 posts) -

I'm not sure how anybody can have any complaint or argument about what a single developer is doing to its game. It seems like an interesting experiment, if you don't want to help then don't? There's a lot of aggressive language and posturing going on here, if gaming learns something as a whole from what they do wether it turns out good or bad for them then that's a good thing for everyone.

#126 Edited by AquaGeneral (124 posts) -

I bought Hydrophobia on XBLA on day one and I enjoyed it. I knew while I was going in that it was not going to be a great game, but the HydroEngine is what made it fun for the most part.
 
Hydrophobia Pure was a nice surprise. It changed so many things that it felt like one of the few truly significant updates I have seen. But there is one fundamental flaw, they can't change the way the game feels. It still has the same character animations, AI and combat. While they did improve upon the combat, it still feels like my pistol rounds are almost useless compared to shooting an explosive barrel. 
 
This is the reason why so many companies move on by creating a sequel. If they were to fix any of the key issues (combat, animation, general gameplay), they simply couldn't redesign the game, they would be much better off creating a new iteration. Honestly, that's what I would have rather seen.

#127 Posted by klinkcow (257 posts) -

good story

#128 Posted by cstrang (2381 posts) -
@patrickklepek said:

I wondered whether some players took issue with even being asked to provide feedback. That's what testers are for.

That's what testers ARE for.  I'm a consumer.  I, by definition, should not be helping a developer make a game.  If they paid me to play the game and provide feedback, or at least removed the price tag until it was finished, then we could talk.
#129 Posted by Cowman (669 posts) -
@cstrang said:
@patrickklepek said:

I wondered whether some players took issue with even being asked to provide feedback. That's what testers are for.

That's what testers ARE for.  I'm a consumer.  I, by definition, should not be helping a developer make a game.  If they paid me to play the game and provide feedback, or at least removed the price tag until it was finished, then we could talk.
That is what I was going to say.  
I guess it's kind of nice that they are listening to feedback but it's a little late for that, isn't it? I know testers can't catch everything (particularly with online focused games) but how many iterations are they willing to build to please all those "blue dots." 
#130 Posted by Bloodgraiv3 (2712 posts) -

Too bad they should, I didn't much care for it at all. 
#131 Posted by mikeeegeee (1561 posts) -

Is this dude high or something?

#132 Posted by brownsfantb (393 posts) -

I don't think there's anything they could do to get me to play this. I HATE water levels in games and a game that revolves around water sounds like a freakin nightmare. I think it's way past time to move on for the devs. 

#133 Edited by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said: 

Then why didn't they just integrate all the improvements into this hypothetical second episode?  

They very likely are. Everything that benefits the engine, the performances, the controls, etc. will certainly make it into the next episode. Why shouldn't they let the players of the first episode benefit from the changes and get some feedback in the progress?

The way they do this is by making paying customers be their guinea pigs.

So what, the game is $10, its lots of fun the way it is and why should I complain when I can get an improved experience when I replay it in a few weeks or month? Would anybody be better of when they would have just said: "Fuck it, here you have a port of the Xbox360 version with no fixes or improvements"? I don't think so.
#134 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@AquaGeneral said:
  While they did improve upon the combat, it still feels like my pistol rounds are almost useless compared to shooting an explosive barrel. 
Sonic rounds when charged up kill everything in two hits, one if you are lucky. If anything, I consider them a bit overpowered compared to all the other weapons, as Sonic rounds have unlimited ammo, while other weapons don't.
#135 Posted by delrobertto (46 posts) -

interesting read, sounds like a developer with too much passion and not enough talent, at some point you have to cut your losses and afresh i doubt they'll see enough extra sales to justify all this post release work

#136 Posted by patrick (563 posts) -
@brownsfantb said:
I don't think there's anything they could do to get me to play this. I HATE water levels in games and a game that revolves around water sounds like a freakin nightmare. I think it's way past time to move on for the devs. 
It doesn't revolve around 'water levels' in that you're constantly navigatting areas by swimming, much of it is just used as a way to make levels more interesting in a way games don't typically handle water. That would be like dismissing Burnout after not liking Forza or GT.
#137 Posted by Poki3 (527 posts) -

"God dammit, one of these days we'll get it right or die trying!"

#138 Posted by syzygyeolith (92 posts) -

I played the demo when it first came out and didn't like the feel of it, but since I heard they did the update I've been meaning to give it a second chance. After reading this though I might just buy it outright now.  
Putting time and money into games that have been released  already is a behaviour I like to support, and I admire them sticking to their guns on the product they have made. 
 
Great article. 

#139 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -

Sounds like a waste of time. If people heard it sucked, what makes the devs think they'll try it?

#140 Posted by BeautifulSpaceCowboy (603 posts) -

Very interesting article. I have been curious as to why they keep spending time on this game, and now I know.

#141 Posted by YukoAsho (2050 posts) -

For all the guy's protests, Darknet sounds DECIDEDLY like an attempt to pass the buck to the community.
 
We pass, Dark Energy Digital.  We pass.

#142 Posted by ptys (1957 posts) -

I'm in two minds about this as I think the feedback system is good, but at the end of the day you should really make the game you want to make as if you continue to question your own artistic integrity you'll have no confidence to create something unique and special.

#143 Posted by THRICE (167 posts) -

I almost pulled the trigger on this for XBLA a couple days ago. Nice to too see they care though it seems the beating a dead horse metaphor is very appropriate. Perhaps I'll wait to see what this Prophecy update holds in store for it.

#144 Posted by Turtlebird95 (2389 posts) -

Eh.....
 
That was all I had to say after finishing Hydrophobia a few months ago.

#145 Posted by cursormonkey (29 posts) -

What I found interesting is the concept of Darknet and what it could possibly be used to do for pre-release testing.
 
Surely it could be used to help testers more accurately pinpoint problem areas and bugs?
 
Dark Energy Digital should license it out and make some money off of that.

#146 Posted by Korolev (1707 posts) -

They are clearly in love with their own game, which is actually a very dangerous thing to do. I can't imagine their investors (if they have any) would be terribly happy about this decision to re-re-release the same game.  
 
The name "hydrophobia" has been tainted. Even if they fixed it, the name alone will scare people off. It's time they made something new. 

#147 Posted by foofboy (15 posts) -
@cursormonkey said:
What I found interesting is the concept of Darknet and what it could possibly be used to do for pre-release testing.  Surely it could be used to help testers more accurately pinpoint problem areas and bugs?  Dark Energy Digital should license it out and make some money off of that.
Exactly what I was thinking. They should get out of the game business and get in to the testing business. This platform for feedback is quite cool. The only problem is that it's probably really locked into their engine.
#148 Edited by iSoLateD1 (4 posts) -

I bought the game on Steam for around $10, and don't regret it. I played through it once, besides it being buggy, its not a bad game.

#149 Posted by Maotou (71 posts) -
 I have to admit that is quite admirable of them to be so dedicated to wanting to make this game the best they can. Hopefully they can show this much dedication towards their next project, assuming that they move past this game after they release it. I might pick this up just to see how much they have improved it.
#150 Posted by geirr (2574 posts) -

So we're supposedly paying 10usd on Steam for an advanced beta test of a failed game? 
Sounds so dumb I might just do it.

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