Sunday, 23 May 2010

I Hate Mountains will soon be your nightmare

Yes, from the creators of Portal Prelude, this very ambitious campaign will be available in one week now.

Now it took ages for them to create this campaign (which should be awesome by the way). The team leader explained blog after blog how much Valve screwed developers.


If you want my point of view (and even if you don't want it, it's my blog, so I do as I please), they were VERY ambitious, and they asked for mod interfaces Valve would never have thought about. I bet they had problems. To quote some of their rants (about Valve):

  • "On Portal prelude: We are aware that there is some problems running the game with the free version of Portal on Windows but there's nothing we can do. Do yourself a favor and ask Valve instead, because it's their entire fault. basically there seems to be a problem on the free version of Portal Valve distributed since some days, and their mod is not working anymore since then". So, Valve give Portal for free since one week, and they bash them because since then, their mod is not working anymore?

  • "Oh great, the release of The Passing broke our intro camera because they thought it would be funny to modify L4D1 animations. This is great.". And so? They should not modify anything so your still not released work should work?

  • "What the fuck is wrong with this game, where the hell is my drawer? ": And you never thought you could have make a mistake, my friend? Once in your life?

  • "I don't see where you've seen that there's not so many companies who share their tools with the general public. Today, most (if not all) of the major companies share their tools with the general public as a
    business move. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Epic Games, Paypal, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc. I worked with the tools of all these companies, and the vast majority was top notch, perfectly working, fully documented and behaving as expected
    ". Really? Every time I use Microsoft development tools and APIs, I have to rely to internet forums to make it work well. Unfortunately, a lot of people have the same problems as me.. Google Android API is still a bit under-documented (to say the least). Due to the fact it has a long history, Win32 is really a mess. MFC architecture makes it really VERY difficult to use, and totally cryptic (nothing's logical there). XUL is very poorly documented. This list can goes on an on, and some of these libraries are not free. Basically, if you want to use an API (especially if you don't have access to the sources), you should be prepared to some problems. That's how life's goes on. But that does not make them unusable.

  • "This is an horrible process that involves the terrible Faceposer tool."

Now about non-valve things

  • "FluxBB creators obviously know nothing about creating easily skinnable style sheets"

  • "Dammit, the Twitter plugin on our website isn't updating anymore. What did I do wrong this time? Boy, Wordpress seems so unstable."

That did not prevent them to use the free audio Valve gave them (as for other mappers) for their campaign, like for example "I Hate Mountains".

You get the big picture. And don't say I'm not knowing anything about software development, I've done and I'm still doing a lot, using all kinds of libraries.

So, OK, Valve's SDK could be better documented (still there's the Valve Developer Community, which is free, contrary to MSDN (and don't say that MSDN is clear, it's also a mess, and it cost a lot). But I bet that a lot of people who have problems with the Source SDK won't write in the wiki.

However, enough with this. While I don't like very much the attitude of some of the I Hate Mountains team, I'm sure they are very good at mapping, and that their campaign will be great. They just need to learn a little more humility sometimes.

Monday, 17 May 2010

On google docs

We see a lot of buzz about google docs everywhere on the web these days. There's even a well-known blogger on zdnet writing that Open Office is Dead, because google docs web applications work so well.

Well I have tried to use google docs very recently, and the results were so bad that I will not go back:

  • Compatibility of google docs with Office format is abysmal. It just does not work at all, even for very simple documents. Converting a short and very simple Word document in google docs took ages, and the resulting document lost a lot of markers and tags. Converting back the same document to word did not work at all. The resulting document could even not be opened in the last Word version. End of story. It seems that google docs lives in it's own little world, but it really is not enough for an office suite

  • On the other hand, conversion from and to MS Office format work very well in open Office, even for huge and very complex documents. I lately had problems with a huge Word document at work which took ages to work with in Word (even Word 2007). I opened it on Open Office at home, lost nothing (same document), worked on it without problems, and then converted it back to Word. Again I lost nothing and all worked very well

  • I don't see the point in needing to have constant internet access to work on a document

Seems that google still has a lot of work to do to have a competing Office suite. But they also seem to work on too many things at the same time.