Balance is a non issue - lets talk about bugs and software quality.

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by Greendolph, February 6, 2016.

  1. Greendolph

    Greendolph Active Member

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    A lot of players seem to enjoy complaining about balance in a game where both players have access to the same units. Balance effects the mood of the game and the dominant strategies, but issues with individual units pales in comparison with another issue.
    (Many) Months after release and after a major expansion, PA is still by far the buggiest game I own (ignoring, for now, the DayZ standalone.) Before people go screaming "you don't know how hard coding is".. I am a software developer. I understand - mostly.
    When I or the person reviewing my code finds a bug, I fix it before I move on to other features. This is basic QA.

    Buttons regularly fail to complete any action. Large units (like commanders) often walk in the opposite direction you ask them too. The system designer is an absolute mess - especially with the innovative non-deterministic saving that Uber seems to have invented. The chronocam double-speed doesn't work reliably, even though the presentation layer updates and claims it does. If you click any buttons or tab out while a system is loading you may either crash to desktop or simply load in to a game with no units.

    I checked - I am not running PT, but it sure feels like it.

    The last hotfix was in October of last year.

    PA:T is hands down my favorite game I have ever played. It pains me to see it in this condition.

    If someone can give me a long rant about the history of the project and the reasons it is in the shape it is in, maybe I can direct my ire at dynamically typed languages and their difficulty with compile time error checking instead.
    xankar likes this.
  2. stylisticsagittarius

    stylisticsagittarius Active Member

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    Maybe you have a buggy pc... Or else maybe do a clean install cuzz none of the problems you mention have happend to me outside of early acces.
  3. corwin1

    corwin1 Member

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    You'd have to talk with Uber programmer to know. I can imagine, though. It's an ambituous project with plenty of new technology, and someone probably made a few bad decisions along the way, only realized when it's too late. (I bet the third party UI framework is one of those. Probably it has some good points, but it feels as slow, clunky and unresponsive as I've ever seen, and there's been plenty of UI bugs.)

    If you've always been in position where you can fix all bugs before moving on, consider yourself extremely lucky. Have you never seen bug tracker full of tickets about things someone reported year(s) ago, things that apparently happen on some exotic hardware configuration when the moon is full? Or maybe they happen to lot of people, but somehow you just can't repro them. Or they seem to happen inside some third party plugin you can't easily debug or replace. While your producer tells you that quality is all well and good, but you must have that demo for a trade show ready next week or all hell's gonna break loose? And the deadline for RC is month after that, and there's still promised features missing, and you know you can always patch the issues later, right?

    I don't disagree though, there is too much strange stuff happening. For example yesterday when I tried creating a new game, it just kept loading some random replays instead. And as for replays, whether they show anything or not, let alone load the one you wanted, seems completely random.

    For the previous poster - no, it's not buggy PC. It's _almost_ never buggy PC. Mostly it's real bugs that manifest in unpredictable ways due to timing (for example if your CPU has half the number of cores, you might never see a multithreading bug he sees all the time). Or maybe slight differences in drivers, or any number of other random variables.
    cptconundrum and dom314 like this.
  4. stylisticsagittarius

    stylisticsagittarius Active Member

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    buggy pc is sarcasm...
    Clean re-install was the tip wich 50% of times solve weird bugs not many others have.
  5. huangth

    huangth Active Member

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    I don't feel that.
    And I don't encounter too many bug in game, either.

    I only feel the server may be lag when there are too many players online.
    And the server runs slowly when playing large system with many planets.
    The limitation of a system is about 5 planets.
    For the system with even more planets, I just feel it is unplayable for me.
  6. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    Having helped for quite a while with support cases (haven't done as much lately, that has mostly been @DeathByDenim although I do keep an eye on it from time to time), many of the issues that result in PA / Titans getting labelled as 'buggy' or 'broken' actually stem from user config issues.

    Case in point: "PA Crashes all the time"- 99% of the time this is down to running a machine (usually a laptop) with the *out of the box gpu drivers it came with several years ago* and never updating them. Most games work fine like this (outside of exotic setups like SLI / Crossfire) however the PA graphics engine is rather sensitive to graphics drivers (which is something I am used to coming from ye olden days of gaming when every single game required you to updated your drivers before it would even start). I think maybe this issue is down to the fact PA is built on a brand new engine, quite unusual these days as most of the AAA titles are built on a common engine which has been in development for years and is the basis for multiple games. The other issue with PA is that it is adversely affected by 3rd party software which is strange but another quirk or the engine I guess.

    On top of that, you have the mod support which throws in another quirky unpredictable angle on performance / stability. I was having terrible lag problems after Titans released, turned out one of my UI mods wasn't compatible and disabling it fixed it. These are things people don't think of and the result is people crying 'it's broken'.

    Now with the above said I do agree there are some things that need addressing:
    1: I agree, the feedback (or specifically lack thereof) for save in the system editor is annoying. In defence of the system editor, the basic tools work pretty well and I've made plenty of interesting multi planet scenarios with it. The hand placement stuff is fiddly to say the least and could use some documentation imo.

    2: The AMD graphics issue- really this is unacceptible. Uber have stated they think it's a driver issue introduced by AMD, although that doesn't ring true given that *on the latest AMD drivers my older GCN 1.0 card works fine* (so if the same driver works on one card but not another, how can the driver be fundamentally flawed?). Also irrespective of if it is AMDs fault or not, they are still a significant player in the GPU market and this issue is with their latest generation of card. So far all new gpu designs released by AMD post Tonga (R9 285) have these issues so the problem isn't going away. It stands to reason the next generation Polaris cards will also have this problem, yet I've seen no info released by Uber to say PA:Titans isn't compatible. Really they should be getting an engineer to look into it and at a very minimum provide an option to disable the shader causing the problem.

    I've not experienced crashes when tabbing in / out.

    Also buttons are all working fine for me- I had issues in the past that were mod related so you might want to go through your mods with a fine tooth comb and double check all that.

    As for the chronocam- yes this is buggy. It's also quite frustrating at the time it takes for the end of match results to update on a longer game.

    I generally feel that PA these days is fairly stable and runs well enough. What needs to be made clear to potential purchasers though is:
    1: Don't even attempt to run PA with less than 8gb of ram.
    2: GPU drivers must be up to date
    3: Certain 3rd party tools than involve overlays will kill performance in PA and need to be disabled
    4: Don't purchase if you are running one of the latest generation of AMD gpu as there is a bug with no workaround

    Also existing / returning users need to:
    1: Disable all mods when installing the latest version. Check it works first then turn them back on as some original PA mods are not compatible with the game post Titans launch (even for vanilla PA).
  7. Greendolph

    Greendolph Active Member

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    Most of these are experiences I've had across 2 machines (one of which is a minimum spec machine) with different operating systems (linux mint, ubuntu, win 7, win 10) and several clean installations.
    cdrkf likes this.
  8. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    The linux builds are tricky- they are probably where you button problems stem from? I've not had laggy buttons on Windows 7 or 10 on my main desktop (note my laptop which is pretty marginal specs wise could be a bit slow with the UI although not catastrophically so, so I guess it could be a hardware limitation?).
  9. dom314

    dom314 Post Master General

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    I would just like to point out that a driver is a piece of software, it can make decisions based on the the hardware it is wrapping. It is not inconceivable that the driver then has a fault which only occurs when specific hardware is used.
    Greendolph likes this.
  10. Alpha2546

    Alpha2546 Post Master General

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    Pls kust install the kappa driver don't blame uberonis they're just trying to create a new pizzaronib flavour
  11. g0hstreaper

    g0hstreaper Well-Known Member

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    When you see a glitch,balance post
    [​IMG]
    tunsel11, xankar and Killerkiwijuice like this.
  12. Greendolph

    Greendolph Active Member

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    [​IMG]
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  13. Greendolph

    Greendolph Active Member

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    Where do I get the Kappa driver? That apparently doesn't come with the oem update utility..
  14. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    Even so, is it really AMD (or nvidia for that matter) responsibility to bug fix independent studios engine issues, or does the responsibility for keeping on top of compatibility in fact rest with the software developer?

    How many more 'well pa doesn't work with this hardware config' is it going to take before they graciously provide a bug fix patch. If PA suddenly became broken on all latest gen nvidia hardware I have a feeling uber would have fixed it already, and as they are still selling the product, without instructions / warnings to the consumer of a compatibility issue then really it's not unreasonable for said consumer to expect the product to function on current hardware.
    tunsel11 and dom314 like this.

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