Sponge pointed me earlier towards a highly illuminating post over on the Call of Duty: World at War forums discussing the process of patching things. While I’m admittedly not too knowledgable on CoD:WaW, the post is pretty applicable across the board, especially regarding more conventional methods of patching (i.e. not Steam where they can track things and update far more quickly)
Honestly, I don’t really understand why more developers don’t post this kind of information more often. A good example where it would have been useful recently would have been with GSC and its efforts to patch STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky. Not only did any kind of patch seemingly take months for both games, but there was absolutely zero indication from the developers of any kind of release window. The result? Many angry fans – especially given the buggy state both games were released in.
While I suppose developers don’t really have to tell the fans anything, but I would say basically, it’s nice to know we’re being heard a little more often. Most importantly, I think it’s worth fans knowing that the first two weeks are going to be information gathering periods – flagging up any issues you’ve found in a calm manner (as opposed to open abuse about the developers mothers) are going to help developers immensely.
The bottom line is really quite simple – patching is no quick bandaging up before throwing it out onto the frontlines. If you can imagine certain games in the PC market like the Total War series, or the X games, the fact that they have to test the whole game – that’s a whole game of Total War folks. They take me bloomin weeks! In this respect, I think you’ve got to respect developers. They spend years getting the darn things out, and then have to support them for months, maybe years afterwards, all the while they’re working on new projects.
So basically, developers, more posts like these. Fans, try to ease up on the flaming now and then!