Prelude To The Good Stuff
How horrific is it to lay down your hard earned cash for some lavish piece of hardware only to take it home, plug it in and realize that the driver is so poorly written it brings your entire system to its knees? How disappointing must it be for a young gamer to spend months saving up the $50 for a long awaited release only to install the game on his modest Windows 98 system and find that it won't even launch without causing a blue screen?
I love gaming and checking out new computer gadgets as much as most gamers do, and I respect and appreciate the efforts of software and hardware developers who put their hearts into these products. But no matter how hard I try, I can't help but get torqued off when I'm saddled with a pile of non-working code that won't even begin to function properly until six months worth of patches have been released.
Gamers are known as the risk-takers of the industry. They will invest their time and money into new hardware and software at a faster rate then almost any other consumer group and usually don't hesitate to pour over technical manuals and bulletins for hours trying to solve problems. The downside of this devotion to technology is that they are on the front lines when things go wrong. They often take the brunt of the hits involved in the consumer side of 'bleeding edge' technology and should get the credit they deserve for helping identify and solve some of these nagging problems.
At the same time, there is a lot more to the whole development thing than most people realize. Creating a game for the PC is no easy task - not by any means, and in order to judge things fairly, we need to have an understanding of the intricacies involved. In fact, very rarely is it the developer's decision to release a game in a particular timeframe or state of completeness.
Let's take a closer look at the hurdles today's game developers must face, and what we can do as game purchasers to aid in this seemingly sorry state of affairs.