Saints Row developer talks about the patch!

Posted by Jason Triplett Saturday, September 09, 2006

Over at the developer's forums, Saints Row developer "V-HarlequiN" made a revealing post about the upcoming patch and the DLC. many people want to know WHY the DLC is out before the path, and this guy has the perfect answer.

UPDATED: Added the contents of a second statement from the same dev, going further in depth.

"Some DLC can be created partly before the game even hits the shelves - it gives artists something to do while we wait for Microsoft to accept the game and for duplication to be done, neither of which happens overnight.

Patches on the other hand require the game to be out before they can be started, since until peope actually play it and say "Hey, I have a problem", we won't know what needs to be patched, if anything at all. Patching is also an enormously complex process, since while fixing problem A and B you might inadvertantly break something that was working perfectly well before. This is especially likely in a game the size of Saint's Row, so each step of the patch has to be made as carefully as possible.

Patching and DLC are also made by two seperate teams. DLC is predominantly artists, Patching is predominantly programmers. The creation of one does not appreciably delay the creation of the other.

I believe the patch also has to go through Microsoft for approval before release, and that would take an indeterminate amount of time.

So even we don't currently know exactly when the patch will be released, but I can assure you we're working very hard on it indeed (well, I'm not, but the programmers are), we want it out as soon as possible too."

The following is the most recent response from the same dev (from a different thread, also linked below):

"We've covered this ground before, but I'll cover it again (and probably add it to the FAQ).

The game was tested online, thoroughly before release. Not only by Volition's internal team, but also by THQ, other THQ studios, and Microsoft itself. None of the problems you guys have had were discovered during those tests or it would have been fixed before hitting the shelves.

So, how come all these problems were missed? It's all a question of numbers and probability and that sort of thing.

How many people tested it before it came out? Maybe 500 or so total - and it's doubtful more than 100 were testing it at any given time. That's a lot of testing by the way, more than most games probably get.

So how many people, so far, have checked out Saint's Row's multiplayer? Perhaps a few hundred thousand. Maybe a few tens of thousands at any one time (I don't have the accurate figures, given that it's Sunday night).

So the chances of a couple of hundred thousand people finding the exploit for Clothing is far greater than 500 people testing it. It only takes one of those thousands to find it, and it'll spread like wildfire. Likewise we had no way of knowing we would have such apparent lag until we had thousands of people playing all at once. It's just not something that can be tested "in the lab" as it were.

As for how hard the guys are working to get this fixed, well, you don't know what you're talking about. Nothing that is done in under two weeks could be considered even remotely stable and worthy of release, and that is how long these guys have had to work on the patch - since we didn't know it was needed until SR went live at the end of August. Even when it's finished being written it still needs to have additional testing to ensure it doesn't cause something far worse to occur, and that also takes time. Then it has to go through the channels for approval - if it has an issue at any step along that road then it's back to the beginning and you all have to wait even longer.

So be a little patient. When it's ready it will be released. If we rush it, it will actually mean an even longer delay for you guys."

There you have it. A logical answer to the question you have all wanted to ask.



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