From: Cologne, Germany
RE: Silent Hunter 5
So basically, moral of story: stay away from anything produced by Eastern European or Russian Dev studios -- while they can produce a very nice looking game on the cheap; it seems like quality control in those areas is weak to non-existent.
Well, that statement is either triggered by prejudice or lack of knowledge, or maybe both.
Eagle Dynamics (Moscow) produced excellent titles, like "DCS:Blackshark" and especially "Lock-on", and the Flaming Cliffs 2.0 upgrade, will rock, I guess.
IL-2 Sturmovik was also an excellent game.
Another example for really original (like Hertston pointed out) games and gameplay coming from Eastern European developers would be "Soldiers" (published by Codemasters, which had its downsides and some quirks, but it was still enjoyable) and especially "Men of War" (published by 1C, both from the dev BestWay), for sure, which took Soldiers' new RPG/micromanagement elements to RTS and managed to blend these with a somewhat realistic approach regarding the computing of ballistics in a destructable environment, where you could even take over the gunner's position.
The Czech developer Bohemia Interactive created a game ("Operation Flashpoint", 2001) that was well ahead of its time, providing 3D mission areas of up to 40 kilometers (an imaginary Island that's being invaded by the Russians), where you could freely travel across the island.
If it would have featured a dedicated server for online games (players had to host, limiting the number of players and limiting the number of hosts with decent connections, as you had to have a 1- or 2-Mbit connection [upload] for lag-free gaming), its Multiplayer could have prevailed.
Bohemia created a Military spin-off from the OFP-idea and environment, and its military version (VBS1 et sqq.) is quite successful.
Dice's Battlefield 1942 (2002) pretty much copied the vital OFP-elements + elements from Tribes (Tribes 1 - 1998, Tribes 2 - April 2001)(regarding use of vehicles in a MP environment and the ability to have different players take over the driver and say the gunner position), managed to provide a somewhat better netcode, and programmed a dedicated server. They basically exploited and picked up the innovations, to create an arcade WW2-version with a tiny mission area and less realistic approach regarding ballistics, but which appeared to be more polished than OFP ever was. Aircraft handling was terrible and it didn't improve until they had hired the creators of the Desert Combat mod, who then refined vehicle handling for Battlefield 2.
In turn, there are other games from Eastern European devs, just like SilentHunter, or let's say Battlestations Midway (EIDOS Hungary), where you can tell that the developer is either still learning how to program (and how to ship titles with a relatively low amount of bugs) or where they're being pushed for a premature release by the publisher.
The whole idea behind Midway, while rather being an arcade-style game, for example, was to blend rts elements (map/command screen) with first person elements, where you can switch to the pilot seat, or be captain/helmsman/gunner of a vessel (carrier, capital ships, etc. or submarine), or even the commander of an airfield (and its spuadrons). Basically it was a new and fresh "Battlefield meets RTS meets strategic arcade sim" thing, where the Multiplayer stuck out, absolutely. If it would have featured a better netcode and less bugs, it could have been a huge success. The sequel is more polished, but features new quirks. Still, the AI (player and CPU) is pretty decent.
Theater of War 2 is another example for a game with deficiencies, the scripted AI is piss poor, and the game lacks content (really short campaign, lack of multiplayer maps, bad mission generator, small arms too lethal at medium/long range), but - in theory - it's still an innovative and promising approach (if the devs manage to cater for the deficiencies).
So, saying that it's wise to stay away from Eastern European games is a pretty bold generalization.
It seems that UBIsoft, Codemasters and EIDOS, besides UBI's and Vivendi's trend to seemingly focus on development for consoles, started to employ Eastern European devs a couple of years ago. While some of these releases seem to be rushed, or packed with bugs, other games (developed in other countries) aren't better off.
UBI employs a division in Shanghai, for example, that creates PC versions (IIRC), eg. the PC version of Splinter Cell:Double Agent, and while the PC versions have less features (no co-op play, etc.) than their console counterparts, they feature heavy bugs in the savegame routines (saves disappear or are corrupt).
Programming of savegame routines (where you can save at any location/time in the game) takes quite some effort, and is usually dropped in case a dev is just porting a game from the console to the PC. In the case of Splinter Cell the PC version was developed simultanously, so it seems that the chinese programmers just got owned by the complexity of the job.
So ... this isn't a Eastern European thing exclusively, it deals with qualification and motivation of the staff, with the publisher's will to finance independent development for the several platforms and how much time they would grant a dev team.
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 3/9/2010 3:23:34 PM >
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