Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 The priorities fallacy
02-16-2010, 12:05 PM
I've played my fair number of MMOs, and I like to participate in the forums to get information, collaborate on tactics, and just generally expand on the game experience. You know, the reasons most of us are here.

There's a pattern I see come up rather frequently, though, on many game forums, which I find kind of annoying, to be honest. I call it the priorities fallacy.

Basically, a developer, or the patch notes, will state that a given feature is being worked on, or has been implemented. This is usually followed by a normal level of debate about the feature itself, which is great, but then there's always someone who invokes the priorities fallacy. It goes something like "why are they wasting time on A, when B is clearly so much more important!" where A and B are two very different things. I'll give you an example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jesterx93 View Post
I h8 to be a negitive nelly here... but

wouldnt it be nice if the devs found a way to enhance sever stability, create inovative ground missions, repair rollbacks and bugs, and then come up with some grand scheme for tribble breeding and the formulas to do so?

or ..

Is tribble breeding just a sneaky way to take our attention off other problems?

on a positive note there are studies that show caring for a pet is good for your health..
"Why is this a fallacy?" you may ask. Well, different people on game development teams are responsible for, and capable of, different things. The graphics programmer isn't going to (and probably can't) debug the networking code. The artist responsible for skirts isn't responsible for rebalancing weapons or fixing bugged missions.

So I hope this provides a little insight into why things sometims happen the way they do, and why this sort of complaint really makes no sense. In fact, any time you see someone make this errorneous argument, just link them here!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-16-2010, 12:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenderTheRobot
It goes something like "why are they wasting time on A, when B is clearly so much more important!" where A and B are two very different things.
I agree 100%.

A development team is working on STO, and as I've learned from a rep in the past, Cryptic is around 300 people big, with roughly 100 people contributing in one way or another to the STO product/service. Of that, there are approximately 50 devs working on STO. Granted, this was back in October of 2009, and I know Cryptic had some turnover rate. But those numbers should be similar even today.

So with 50 devs, they're most likely working on multiple things at one time. That's why this is actually a fallacy as the OP stated.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-16-2010, 12:11 PM
That would only be a fallacy if they had more than one person working on game development.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-16-2010, 12:14 PM
The larger problem is that the forums run on internet time, or maybe children's time, where a week is an eternity. Developers work in normal time, where a week is barely enough time to design a fix, much less code it test it, package it, etc.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-16-2010, 12:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naevius
The larger problem is that the forums run on internet time, or maybe children's time, where a week is an eternity. Developers work in normal time, where a week is barely enough time to design a fix, much less code it test it, package it, etc.
hahahaha, good point.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-16-2010, 12:23 PM
Actually, its more fundamental than that...what gets worked on FIRST is what can be fixed easiest...

Nothing will get repaired in the gameplay system until any and all additions or modifications already in the system (like adding Borg content) are rolled out. A fix won't be issued mid-way that might break something nearing release...because that causes more problems for more people.

I expect there will be a Klingon content addition and then there will be a gameplay system modification that will address issues that are currently under discussion. The only exception to this will be a sort function for the Exchange - because that system is self-contained and easily rectified...HINT HINT...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-16-2010, 12:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nixboox View Post
Actually, its more fundamental than that...what gets worked on FIRST is what can be fixed easiest...

Nothing will get repaired in the gameplay system until any and all additions or modifications already in the system (like adding Borg content) are rolled out. A fix won't be issued mid-way that might break something nearing release...because that causes more problems for more people.
Are you being sarcastic? It's too dry for me to tell. If you're serious, then that's just a stab in the dark and not true for a lot of situations.

You didn't factor in severity or scope of the bug. Many developers will take in a bunch of factors when prioritizing bug fixes. For example, serious bugs that affect everyone or nearly everyone and cause game crashes are probably going to get fixed first. Minor bugs that affect a much smaller audience are probably going to get fixed last.

Once those bugs are prioritized, individual programmers and/or programmer teams may then take their periodic list of high priority bugs and fix the easiest ones first in each chunk. But that's subjective and not something any dev would like to admit.

For me as a software engineer, I take the bugs in priority order, but if I have several to work on at once, I'll take the ones that I enjoy fixing first. That's just subjective and a personal process.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-16-2010, 12:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher_nemo View Post
Are you being sarcastic? It's too dry for me to tell. If you're serious, then that's just a stab in the dark and not true for a lot of situations.

You didn't factor in severity or scope of the bug. Many developers will take in a bunch of factors when prioritizing bug fixes. For example, serious bugs that affect everyone or nearly everyone and cause game crashes are probably going to get fixed first. Minor bugs that affect a much smaller audience are probably going to get fixed last.

Once those bugs are prioritized, individual programmers and/or programmer teams may then take their periodic list of high priority bugs and fix the easiest ones first in each chunk. But that's subjective and not something any dev would like to admit.

For me as a software engineer, I take the bugs in priority order, but if I have several to work on at once, I'll take the ones that I enjoy fixing first. That's just subjective and a personal process.
I never tire of watching people disagree with me by agreeing with me.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-16-2010, 12:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenderTheRobot
...

"Why is this a fallacy?" you may ask. Well, different people on game development teams are responsible for, and capable of, different things. The graphics programmer isn't going to (and probably can't) debug the networking code. The artist responsible for skirts isn't responsible for rebalancing weapons or fixing bugged missions.
How cute. Someone took an argument class.

It's a good effort, but your description is to general. It also lacks the understanding that most things require team input from various departments.

You are right, there are times people make the mistake about priorities, but it is harder to discern that when we are talking about 1 entity where we have no clue how that entity is integrated. So if they tell us about A and nothing about B, then we must assume they are not working on B... why not? Make a team for B, or tell us it is next on the list, and so on.

Also, I'm afraid your example is taken out of context or just misunderstood. Maybe that was just the best example you could find.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-16-2010, 01:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nixboox View Post
I never tire of watching people disagree with me by agreeing with me.
Then may be i just misunderstood what you posted? The written, English word is not perfect.
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