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Skyrim Developer Says PC Development is a Headache

By - Source: Joystiq | B 123 comments

Between piracy and the infinite number of hardware configurations, developing games for the PC can be a real "headache."

Wednesday in an interview with Joystiq, Bethesda VP of Marketing Pete Hines admitted that PC development can be a "headache," especially when the team is trying to create a universal experience across multiple platforms. He states some of the obvious factors which have reportedly driven other developers completely (insane and) over to the console side, namely piracy and numerous hardware configurations.

"From a technical standpoint, yes, the PC is a headache," he acknowledged. "It just is. A million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc. As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as 'buggy' when in fact it's a really solid, stable game."

Naturally piracy is also a major factor to deal with in PC development. Other studios and publishers have claimed that services should be offered to convince gamers not to steal games while others force titles to remain connected at all times or come packed with heavy-duty DRM.

"Unless you decide not to make your games available for PC, it's a problem and you have to deal with it," he said. "So we do the best we can to protect it without resorting to Draconian measures, and we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the Creation Kit and the ability to create and add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game."

Also during the interview, Hines was asked if he could see Bethesda developing anything else other than massive RPGs. He said that he'd like to see Todd Howard develop a modern NCAA football title because both men love the sport. Still, he would expect fan responses to be less-then lackluster given large-scale RPGs is what Bethesda does best.

"We do what we do best," said Hines. "We make big, crazy RPGs, and fortunately for us the previous ones have done really well so there's no reason for us not to keep making them. If that's what we loved doing and nobody wanted to play them, we'd have a problem on our hands."

Guess that means we'll never see another Terminator title from the studio ever again? To read the full Joystiq interview, head here. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim lands on store shelves tomorrow, November 11, 2011, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.

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Top Comments
  • 47 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 10:46 AM
    Quote:
    Naturally piracy is also a major factor to deal with in PC development.


    Oh STFU, it's possible on consoles, as well!!

    Quote:
    we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the Creation Kit and the ability to create and add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game.

    I cannot imagine a TES game without mods. It'd be an incomplete experience - I remember all the mods I had in Morrowind, they enhanced the game experience so much!

    Quote:
    As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as 'buggy' when in fact it's a really solid, stable game.


    BS, BS, BS!

    You know, somehow The Witcher 2 does NOT have any issues like that and it's one of the best-looking and most stable games I've played!
  • 45 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 10:51 AM
    Quote:
    A million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc.


    BTW, another load of BS! That's what DirectX is there for - it's a hardware abstraction layer; so when you make a game, you make it for DX, NOT for some "specific hardware configuration". Don't try to bull$h!t the enthusiasts, Bethesda!
  • 43 Hide
    boju , November 11, 2011 10:53 AM
    consoles have made lazy developers.. this makes me sad

    edit; well put amk
Other Comments
    Display all 123 comments.
  • 32 Hide
    wooodoggies , November 11, 2011 10:44 AM
    sissy devs, so they want a huge paycheck with no work? anything worth doing IS DIFFICULT
  • 47 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 10:46 AM
    Quote:
    Naturally piracy is also a major factor to deal with in PC development.


    Oh STFU, it's possible on consoles, as well!!

    Quote:
    we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the Creation Kit and the ability to create and add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game.

    I cannot imagine a TES game without mods. It'd be an incomplete experience - I remember all the mods I had in Morrowind, they enhanced the game experience so much!

    Quote:
    As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as 'buggy' when in fact it's a really solid, stable game.


    BS, BS, BS!

    You know, somehow The Witcher 2 does NOT have any issues like that and it's one of the best-looking and most stable games I've played!
  • 16 Hide
    campb292 , November 11, 2011 10:51 AM
    "As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as 'buggy' when in fact it's a really solid, stable game."

    This comment assumes for years the drivers from nvidia and amd/ati with Rage were rock solid and right before release they rewrote the drivers and thus the game seemed buggy. They released the game without testing the game with recent drivers? They could even include the last "good" driver right on the disk - the problem is there wasn't one.

    Come on people, take responsibility. How could any tester have tried a mid-higher end AMD card on that final product and said, "This works great".
  • 45 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 10:51 AM
    Quote:
    A million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc.


    BTW, another load of BS! That's what DirectX is there for - it's a hardware abstraction layer; so when you make a game, you make it for DX, NOT for some "specific hardware configuration". Don't try to bull$h!t the enthusiasts, Bethesda!
  • 43 Hide
    boju , November 11, 2011 10:53 AM
    consoles have made lazy developers.. this makes me sad

    edit; well put amk
  • 21 Hide
    dillonpeterliam , November 11, 2011 10:55 AM
    @amk-aka-Phantom
    You hit the nail on the head with your Witcher 2 comment, It had issues but they were not as extreme as Fallout 3 or Skyrims.
  • 25 Hide
    g00ey , November 11, 2011 10:59 AM
    Quote:
    From a technical standpoint, yes, the PC is a headache
    Well then, take an aspirin and shut up!
  • 13 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 11:05 AM
    dillonpeterliam@amk-aka-PhantomYou hit the nail on the head with your Witcher 2 comment, It had issues but they were not as extreme as Fallout 3 or Skyrims.


    Skyrim already has issues? :lol: 

    When you develop an RPG as huge as Morrowind or Fallout 3, I can tolerate quest issues, because I understand that it's a huge amount of work to make sure all quests come together without interfering with each other. And let's be honest, all Morrowind bugs were fixed in the last patch, although it was quite funny: Morrowind has bugs, Tribunal comes out, fixes Morrowind bugs and introduces new ones, Bloodmoon fixes Tribunal bugs and introduces new ones, then FINALLY they fix ALL the bugs in the patch :D 

    Witcher 2 DOES have a few quests that can be broken. It's fine, I always play such games with their Wikia page open to know what I have to avoid in order to not break the quest :D 

    But this is graphics issues they're talking about, and Witcher 2 has none. And I can name a ton of other games which might be even console ports and STILL have good graphics and no RAGE-like problems.

    Indeed,

    bojuconsoles have made lazy developers


    Probably why tablet gaming is considered such a profitable market - you can milk way more customers for cash without having to develop much at all.
  • 1 Hide
    dormantreign , November 11, 2011 11:05 AM
    I finished up my review on this game for PC last night and then came here and saw this as a headline, the header may explain why this game is so crappy on PC. I was super disappointing with it. Anyways you guys may want to see my review for yourselves. I didn't give the pc game a high review, but i think it was a fair one.

    youtube.com/watch?v=YqX03R4Q1QE
  • 29 Hide
    LORD_ORION , November 11, 2011 11:10 AM
    No, this is what happens when you develop for consoles and try to port to PC so you don't have to do as much work.

    Also, it is funny they are talking about piracy when Oblivion had no protection, yet still sold awesome on PC?
  • 9 Hide
    Maxor127 , November 11, 2011 11:18 AM
    I'll wait for the inevitable GOTY edition, so I can have a good value of DLC, bug fixes, and a ton of mods to choose from.
  • 0 Hide
    billybobser , November 11, 2011 11:25 AM
    Excuses in early boys!

    Probably the reason people pirate bethesda games, is because they are so buggy and poor.

    Afaik, it isn't graphics that makes the rediculous amount of bugs in fallout / elder scrolls.
    Since elder scrolls was crap on the console also.
  • 0 Hide
    evo_7 , November 11, 2011 11:32 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomSkyrim already has issues? When you develop an RPG as huge as Morrowind or Fallout 3, I can tolerate quest issues, because I understand that it's a huge amount of work to make sure all quests come together without interfering with each other. And let's be honest, all Morrowind bugs were fixed in the last patch, although it was quite funny: Morrowind has bugs, Tribunal comes out, fixes Morrowind bugs and introduces new ones, Bloodmoon fixes Tribunal bugs and introduces new ones, then FINALLY they fix ALL the bugs in the patch Witcher 2 DOES have a few quests that can be broken. It's fine, I always play such games with their Wikia page open to know what I have to avoid in order to not break the quest But this is graphics issues they're talking about, and Witcher 2 has none. And I can name a ton of other games which might be even console ports and STILL have good graphics and no RAGE-like problems. Indeed,Probably why tablet gaming is considered such a profitable market - you can milk way more customers for cash without having to develop much at all.


    * There's also the assumption that you're making that some people actually update their drivers. Being a gamer doesn't equate to being knowledgeable about the stuff. I still encounter people every now and then who run a Windows XP service pack 1 and haven't done updates for several years on anything. When it comes to updated drivers for the GPU end, I still see it and they usually contribute it to the game rather than their hardware.

    LORD_ORIONNo, this is what happens when you develop for consoles and try to port to PC so you don't have to do as much work.Also, it is funny they are talking about piracy when Oblivion had no protection, yet still sold awesome on PC?


    * Good sales and/or a game doesn't imply little to no piracy. The basic model most people agree with that applies is when a title is highly anticipated and features good gameplay it sells very well and is equally as pirated as much. It's the same correlation for a movie; the more the movie sells the more it's pirated and why its no surprise Avatar is the most illegally downloaded movie.

    g00eyWell then, take an aspirin and shut up!


    * I assume they could've just made it for console and not hear people whine as much and say to them to take aspirin as well and STFU.
  • 4 Hide
    phasmantis , November 11, 2011 11:40 AM
    wooodoggiessissy devs, so they want a huge paycheck with no work? anything worth doing IS DIFFICULT


    As if making a game on any platform doesn't require a lot of work? We're talking about Bethesda here...
  • -4 Hide
    Jung , November 11, 2011 11:55 AM
    I will help him out by not buying their stupid games anymore.
  • 25 Hide
    AntiZig , November 11, 2011 12:00 PM
    honestly, I'm sick and tired of this excuse that companies switch to consoles because of piracy. Like piracy doesn't exist on consoles, come on.
  • 3 Hide
    cyprod , November 11, 2011 12:09 PM
    I seem to recall reading that the platform with the sheer largest number of pirated copies was xbox 360. So why is piracy only a problem on the PC again?

    Maybe the reason sales are poor on PC is because PC gamers expect good games, and sorry, but the entire elder scrolls franchise has been nothing but drivel. It's the halo of the RPG world. Lowest common denominator. Tried Morrowwind, gave it up a couple hours in because there was nothing engaging about the world. Dropped Oblivion because I discovered that as much as everybody talked about how pretty it was, that's all there was to it, no game play. I assume skyrim will be more of the same.
  • 6 Hide
    zanny , November 11, 2011 12:13 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomBTW, another load of BS! That's what DirectX is there for - it's a hardware abstraction layer; so when you make a game, you make it for DX, NOT for some "specific hardware configuration". Don't try to bull$h!t the enthusiasts, Bethesda!


    This is tangental, but I would much rather devs write games for openGL rather than directX, so they can release them on OSX and Linux as well without almost any problems.

    I think the big problem is that when you develop a game for a console, you have to fine grain control every pixel buffer and bit of memory in the video card and system RAM because the resources are so constrained. When you go back to the PC, you forget that PCs are so much more powerful than consoles that using some abstraction layers like the SDL or OpenGL on top of standard library C functions is more than enough to get a game that will compile anywhere.

    They are so used to the overly complex development environment for consoles, where each platform must be built almost independently of one another because they have completely different architectures, they forget on the PC you can abstract away almost all of the platform dependencies.
  • -2 Hide
    rantoc , November 11, 2011 12:45 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomBTW, another load of BS! That's what DirectX is there for - it's a hardware abstraction layer; so when you make a game, you make it for DX, NOT for some "specific hardware configuration". Don't try to bull$h!t the enthusiasts, Bethesda!


    What he means is not likely the code itself but rather the scale, even when its written towards a single api with the same language the code have to allow good performance from the weakest to the more high end machines to be enjoyable for all, if you don't support the weakest the game wont sell ┬┤well and if you don't support the high end you will hear loads of crying harming sales as well. I can understand the headaches in where to put the bar in that regard. With consoles its still the same crap hardware it was years ago so you know when the dev cycle begins where to put the bar. On pc alot changes in the years it take to make a title!
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