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View Full Version : Bioshock Interview: Ken Levine Answers Activation and Widescreen Criticisms


delas52
08-27-07, 09:31 PM
http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/bioshock/news.html?sid=6177728

GS: What happened with the PC authentication servers?

KL: Everything went perfectly. What are you talking about? It was awesome. No, it was a bit of a cluster****. 2K wasn't prepared for the deluge of interest in the product. I don't think they understood that if you have a new game on the PC and you have these authentication servers, you need to have round-the-clock monitoring on the server. Those things started going down, and there was nobody whose job it was to make sure that when they went down, they'd be fixed. They went down for six or seven hours at one point. We ended up last week scrambling and coming up with a plan to address that. When the server went live in Europe a few days later, the server went down also, but because we had a new plan in place, there were people to call and deal with and ready to go, so we got it back up in an hour and a half. That was really the problem. We just didn't have a plan in place. I just don't think the company was prepared for the deluge of traffic and it overwhelmed it.

GS: Steam users also reported having problems on launch day. Were they related?

KL: My understanding is they had a huge influx of traffic, again they weren't prepared for. I don't really have any insight to that or knowledge to that. I just know they had a bunch of slowdown and overwhelming [demand]. The same thing happened when we launched the demo on Xbox Live. We basically took down Xbox Live for the second time in their history. The first time was when they launched their downloadable movie service, and that was because it was a new technology. Here it was just the amount of demand for the demos all at once.

Generally for better or worse, you don't design systems to handle unprecedented demand. You design them to handle the demand you expect. And everybody got caught a little short. I wish we could say we planned it better, but we didn't.

GS: One nice feature of the game is the unlock framerate option. Why don't more games offer this? Was it terribly difficult to implement?

KL: You can't really throw almost anything on at the end of a game because there are so many unintended consequences coming out of everything. We have people saying, "How come you don't have this or that?" Some of the things we had, but the question is can we implement it and can we test it for long enough to make sure you're not going to have huge problems.

The notion of unlocking the framerate came out of a PC game background. As PC game developers and players, we're used to having a lot of options. I hate going into some of the Japanese console games and your options are a color border outline and stereo or mono music. I like big options screen because--and I'm sure you'll get to the widescreen question-- I generally believe that gamers should be able to play the game the way they want to. And if we can support that, we will. So we were looking down the road a bit and we have this framerate here and some people don't mind the tearing and some people do--let's give people an option.

GS: So about the widescreen question…

KL: I didn't know that was coming. [laughs] This is sort of how it came to be. I understand why people are upset. I will say if you travel from the future and go six months in the past and you found me when we were crunching this thing… When you're making a game, you expect people to not hate the story and the gameplay and hate this or that. I was pretty overwhelmed with surprise when I found out the thing people hated about it is the widescreen support. I think that says something about the game too. The things people are freaking about are the copy protection and the widescreen support, not the gameplay itself, which I'm very gratified by.

We made the game and focused on choosing the right field of view (FOV) for the widescreen user, which is where we started. Then when we went on to make the fullscreen, we looked at our options. You could do black bars on the top or bottom or you could extend the verticality there.

We said we could cut it off or leave it, and we made in retrospect the fairly unpopular and potentially unwise call to do it the way we did. But the widescreen view is the way it was intended to be. And if the 4:3 view never existed, nobody would even be aware of it, because it's only a relative comparison.

But at the end of the day, they paid $50 or $60 for the game, and if we can hook them up, we'll hook them up. And the plan right know with the PC version--we haven't announced anything for the 360 version--is to hook them up with a patch to give them more control over the FOV.

Fats_43
08-27-07, 09:37 PM
yeah listen to the PC Gamer podcast for an interview as well.

delas52
08-27-07, 09:54 PM
I'm really amazed at the support and customer care that 2k has been giving for Bioshock.

For another interview (with a level designer and art designer) check out the GameTrailers newest bonus round episode.

Fats_43
08-27-07, 11:01 PM
I agree most companys just ignore users, I'm impressed, thes guys actually want to make the users feel like they got what they paid for.
So hard to please such a massive fan base though.

jAkUp
08-27-07, 11:25 PM
Ken Levine is a good guy, he is really open and can speak freely. Not many devs are like that.

I remember when he said "EA didn't give a **** about System Shock 2"

Athena
08-28-07, 02:47 PM
Good read, thanks for the post. :D

Tygerwoody
08-28-07, 03:09 PM
B1OSHOCK! Worst L4unch in History! Only Validate Tow TIMZES!

Paddywak
08-28-07, 04:51 PM
http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/bioshock/news.html?sid=6177728

We made the game and focused on choosing the right field of view (FOV) for the widescreen user, which is where we started. Then when we went on to make the fullscreen, we looked at our options. You could do black bars on the top or bottom or you could extend the verticality there.

We said we could cut it off or leave it, and we made in retrospect the fairly unpopular and potentially unwise call to do it the way we did. But the widescreen view is the way it was intended to be. And if the 4:3 view never existed, nobody would even be aware of it, because it's only a relative comparison.That is just marketing spiel ... to turn it back at the community ...
People were unhappy because it felt wrong ... and that is why there was such an uproar ... and why are they changing it.

The game engine is ... it appears ... by default is this way ... i.e. it cuts the top and bottom of when in widescreen ... look here ... http://www.widescreengamingforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11775

Bioshock ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ...
Medal Of Honor: Airborne ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ...
Gears of War ... on the 360 ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ... will it be the same on the PC ?

What about Unreal III ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ... ?

When the questions were asked on the Epic forums they locked the thread ... http://forums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=576029

Nitz Walsh
08-28-07, 05:24 PM
That is just marketing spiel ... to turn it back at the community ...
People were unhappy because it felt wrong ... and that is why there was such an uproar ... and why are they changing it.

The game engine is ... it appears ... by default is this way ... i.e. it cuts the top and bottom of when in widescreen ... look here ... http://www.widescreengamingforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11775

Bioshock ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ...
Medal Of Honor: Airborne ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ...
Gears of War ... on the 360 ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ... will it be the same on the PC ?

What about Unreal III ... top and bottom cut off in widescreen ... ?

When the questions were asked on the Epic forums they locked the thread ... http://forums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=576029
Thanks for that. It's not like it's been addressed and re-addressed 10,000 times by now.

Paddywak
08-28-07, 05:32 PM
Thanks for that. It's not like it's been addressed and re-addressed 10,000 times by now.Thanks for that ... ;)
A bit of an exaggeration ... ;)
and ... it isn't sorted yet ... which is the point ... :rolleyes:

sammy sung
08-28-07, 05:40 PM
Why.....all......the.....dots...? Sarcasm.....?........Cynicism....?.....Or.....are. .....you......just.....from.....outer......space.. ..?

delas52
08-28-07, 05:42 PM
Ok. Or they just designed it around widescreen and decided to add more to the top and bottom when they programmed full screen....

I'll take Levine's word over yours, thanks though :)

Paddywak
08-28-07, 05:46 PM
Why.....all......the.....dots...? Sarcasm.....?........Cynicism....?.....Or.....are. .....you......just.....from.....outer......space.. ..?


... :captnkill: