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Deputy276
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1 hour ago, Thadwb said:

Salutations,

 

Just a comment. When I purchase a game DVD, I expect to be able to load the game version on the disc for play. If there is an update to the game... I still expect to be able to load the original version of the game from the DVD sans update. Afterwards, I should be able to update the original DVD game version to the new version. Even If I have to pay for the new patch.  Am I being unreasonable or have I missed something? I'm sure we can reload the game from our DVD... right?

What version of the software do you have on your DVD? At what point of the intsallation process you run into problems? etc etc

Try to explain your problem a bit better and you can be helped....

 

Edited by Grenny
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I'm not entirely sure that I understand the angle. The way we do it is like this:

  1. We produce DVDs only a while after the initial release. That way we can include the first patch, so that the installation is liklely to last a bit longer than a mere month or two after the initial release
  2. We produce DVDs in relatively small batches (it'd be wasteful to order a large production run). So it's likely that, eventually, we will run out of DVDs (like we did with 3.0). If the next version is still some time away, we'll run a second batch.
  3. That second batch is likely to incorporate the then latest version of SB Pro PE right away, so that those who buy the DVD will, again, be able to install the software, hopefully without the need to apply a patch afterwards (in our latest case the DVD installs 3.028 right away).
  4. The self-extracting multi-volume RAR archive works best for web downloads. It will extract the setup executable and the cab files containing the actual installer resource files. Therefore, the installation DVDs will contain setup.exe and installer resource files directly.
  5. We have never charged our customers for patches and updates (updates are patches with minor feature additions and/or improvements).
  6. We do however charge customers of the permanent license type for upgrades. Upgrades are different in that they contain major new features (the distinction between a major and a minor feature addition is, admittedly, blurry).

That said, the notion that "patches shouldn't be something to pay for" is a fallacy. Fixing bugs costs time and effort. Whenever customers categorically refuse to pay for that effort, developers of commercial software will only invest minimal effort to fix things (that is, address the annoying, high profile bugs but leave everything else as it is); this is the only economical way to handle it under such circumstances. In other words, customers get exactly the service quality that they are willing to pay for.

Sufficiently complex software that is being written for zero defects ... technically, it's possible, but then the developer would have to charge a price that is impossible to market profitably in an environment where competitors release software full of bugs and then fix only the minimum to bring the perceived software quality to an acceptable level.

 

Commercial software is, among other things, characterized with a limited product lifetime. A computer game, for example, is usually being played for about a year, and then people will replace it with another game. This largely applies even to commercial tool type software: Word 95 gets replaced by Word 97, etc.. Notice however that pretty much all tool type software has already made or is in the transition towards a software rental business model; whether that's AutoCad, Photoshop, MS Office ... - this is because the market size is no longer growing exponentially (like it was in the early days of MS Office, Photoshop, etc.) but rather stagnating. In a stagnating market the turnover generated by software license replacements is so low that contiunuous software development is no longer viable on a large scale. This will either lead to abandoned software (the developer loses interest/can no longer financially sustain ongoing work), stagnating development (the developer reduces the head count of the team to massively slow down feature development) ... or a successful transition towards software as a service can be made where users are willing to fund ongoing development with regular payments.

 

Love it or hate it - these are your options as software consumers. If a collective of customers was unwilling to pay for a certain kind of service (and fixing bugs, from an economical point of view, is exactly that), that service would not be rendered.

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2 hours ago, Thadwb said:

When I purchase a game DVD, I expect to be able to load the game version on the disc for play. If there is an update to the game... I still expect to be able to load the original version of the game from the DVD sans update. ... Am I being unreasonable or have I missed something?

 

If you are referring to a much older version of SB Pro PE (e.g. 2.654):

a) No, you're not unreasonable

b) Keep in mind however that any version of a software can conform to the operating system standards of its time. If the operating system changes it may no longer be possible to install from a DVD without additional measures.

 

Example: "Zak McKraken", beloved LucasArts adventure of the 1990s, is a DOS game. Let's say you have it on 5.25" floppy discs. Can you install it on your Windows 10 Alienware notebook with BluRay drive? No. At the very least you need to install a virtual DOS machine and find a 5.25" floppy disk drive that you can, somehow, connect to the USB plug (I don't know if such drives exist... but who knows). Or you find installer files software on the internet from a trustworthy source (unlikely).

 

In the case of SB Pro PE: Steel Beasts requires a working CodeMeter runtime environment, and DirectX 9.0c. That means that you need to at least install a CodeMeter runtime software suitable for your current operating system rather than installing the obsolete version from 2011 that is found on the 2.654 installation disk. And you are limited to the range of operating systems that support DirectX 9.0c (e.g. no luck with pre-Windows XP, and at some point support for it under Windows 10 may also be discontinued). As long as you have the latest CodeMeter runtime software installed and the operating system can handle DirectX 9, you're good to go. Even with SB Pro PE 2.251 (from 2006).

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For mine it kept hanging on the 1st zipped install area. I offered to send the DVD to Nels at my cost to have him check it out and to verify I wasn't BSing him. He said it wasn't necessary. So I tossed the defective DVD. As to having to pay for patches...WOW...Bill Gates would be even MORE wealthy than he already is if that was the case. I remember the patches for Win XP and they were quite numerous. I think they had 3 Service Packs and God knows how many KB files I downloaded. I can't imagine paying for all of that. If a software company wants to stay in business, patches and bug fixes would HAVE to be free or they would be gone very very quickly. Now UPGRADES is something else entirely. I can certainly see paying for an upgrade, like the upcoming upgrade for SB PE. We are paying for a reliable, working software and have every right to get what we pay for. While I can certainly understand bugs slipping through, having to pay to get them fixed...no way hoesay. I suspect that software company would not only be out of business, but be facing consumer fraud charges VERY quickly. Heck, I can't think of ONE game or comp program that didn't give bug fixes and patches away for free. Charging people for patches and bug fixes is like charging someone extra to fix recalls on their car that the factory screwed up. Not gonna happen. 

Edited by Deputy276
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Salutations,

 

I have not and am not having any problems. I purchased the latest license and DVD and printed manual. I was merely chiming in about anothers post. I think it was Deputy276. I was just concerned about possibly buying the DVD version and not being able to load the game if I needed to in the future.

 

Again, no problems being experienced on my end... just concerned.

 

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On 29.7.2016 at 11:18 PM, Deputy276 said:

As to having to pay for patches...WOW...Bill Gates would be even MORE wealthy than he already is if that was the case. I remember the patches for Win XP and they were quite numerous. ... I can't imagine paying for all of that.

 

My point is, you are. By being unwilling to pay for the patches of commercial software consumers force the developers to sell upgrades. So you need to market those upgrades. Upgrades are more marketable if you can stick "selling points" to them. This in turn requires feature additions (that bring new bugs...) and bogus innovations (like, a new design of window shapes, button colors, and moving the same controls to a different place for no apparent reason).

The feature additions are usually not worth the costs of the upgrade. The profit that is being made here is a compensation for the "free" effort that was put in before to fix the bugs. UI changes are usually a net negative because it forces the customers who actually school their employees to rework their training materials, husbands to invest time to (slowly) convince household six that she, too, needs to accept the migration from XP to Win 7 (or Win 10). UI changes are almost exclusively driven by marketing requirements.

 

I'm honest enough to tell you about these mechanisms. Sometime the knowledge of Joe Public about the underlying business principles is deplorable. I've met people who told me that the sales price of a good is the direct profit that goes to the manufacturer. The absurdity of that statement needs not be commented here. What I'm trying to say though is that software rental is a more adequate form of compensation for continuous software development than the cycle of selling a software license once, and then selling license upgrades later. Of course there is an unspocen societal contract here, that the software developer needs to keep working on the software and to provide improvements to justify the rent he's asking for. But that's why users of time-based licenses of SB Pro don't have to pay for upgrades while all others do.

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9 hours ago, Ssnake said:

 

My point is, you are. By being unwilling to pay for the patches of commercial software consumers force the developers to sell upgrades. So you need to market those upgrades. Upgrades are more marketable if you can stick "selling points" to them. This in turn requires feature additions (that bring new bugs...) and bogus innovations (like, a new design of window shapes, button colors, and moving the same controls to a different place for no apparent reason).

The feature additions are usually not worth the costs of the upgrade. The profit that is being made here is a compensation for the "free" effort that was put in before to fix the bugs. UI changes are usually a net negative because it forces the customers who actually school their employees to rework their training materials, husbands to invest time to (slowly) convince household six that she, too, needs to accept the migration from XP to Win 7 (or Win 10). UI changes are almost exclusively driven by marketing requirements.

 

I'm honest enough to tell you about these mechanisms. Sometime the knowledge of Joe Public about the underlying business principles is deplorable. I've met people who told me that the sales price of a good is the direct profit that goes to the manufacturer. The absurdity of that statement needs not be commented here. What I'm trying to say though is that software rental is a more adequate form of compensation for continuous software development than the cycle of selling a software license once, and then selling license upgrades later. Of course there is an unspocen societal contract here, that the software developer needs to keep working on the software and to provide improvements to justify the rent he's asking for. But that's why users of time-based licenses of SB Pro don't have to pay for upgrades while all others do.

 

Hmmmm....perhaps there is confusion between the term "patch" and "upgrade". The way I see it, a "patch" is something that REPAIRS bugs or other problems with a program. Simple things like objects that are distorted to look at or a missing road wheel on an antenna on the wrong side of a vehicle. For most programs/programmers those are fairly simple repairs. An "upgrade" offers brand new content not in the main program. It MAY and often does also offer bug fixes and enhancements like faster frame rates (optimization) to the original program, or improved graphics, etc. I won't go into the personal situations and inconveniences of individuals. That pretty much goes with the territory and is part of the job. It's WHY they pay programmers to do what they do. I was a Deputy Sheriff for 22 years. I went through a whole crapload of personal inconveniences and problems. But I didn't use that stuff as an excuse to not do my job to the best of my ability on a daily basis. And yes, I made a decent wage, so I sure didn't complain. I expect that same outlook from people who produce a program. You are paid to do what you do. I don't "rent" software. I purchase it with $$$. Hard-earned $$$. It boils down to either a company has the manpower and will and backing to do the project right, or you simply don't do it at all. 

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I think one thing to consider here is the cash flow. Tis one thing to work for a government organization where your pay is pretty much guaranteed as everyone is supposed to pay taxes, and it is a pretty reliable source of income, whereas software is dependent upon sales and success. Most software, especially good ones, get a good initial cash flow and perhaps a little there after once the hype starts to die down. However, being able to support it afterwards requires some means of continually bringing in that cash flow. Whether this be via monthly charges like many MMOs, micro-transactions, DLC, or other forms of sales.

 

One can only be paid if there is money there to pay with.

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3 hours ago, Azure Lion said:

I think one thing to consider here is the cash flow. Tis one thing to work for a government organization where your pay is pretty much guaranteed as everyone is supposed to pay taxes, and it is a pretty reliable source of income, whereas software is dependent upon sales and success. Most software, especially good ones, get a good initial cash flow and perhaps a little there after once the hype starts to die down. However, being able to support it afterwards requires some means of continually bringing in that cash flow. Whether this be via monthly charges like many MMOs, micro-transactions, DLC, or other forms of sales.

 

One can only be paid if there is money there to pay with.

Well it such stuff or an insanely high price for the software itself that will ensure support for it over a few years.

Of course you could argue: I want to buy a working software from the start. Probem is that no software if free of bugs. If you want them fixed after, lets say 3-4 years after buying the software, there needs to be a way to finance this service and support.

A big company like Microsoft, with billions of licences  and products out there, has different ways of "crossfunding" such works then a small single product firm.

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6 hours ago, Deputy276 said:

Hmmmm....perhaps there is confusion between the term "patch" and "upgrade". 

 

Don't think so. We're pretty much on the same page here.

 

Quote

The way I see it, a "patch" is something that REPAIRS bugs or other problems with a program. ... For most programs/programmers those are fairly simple repairs.

 

Simple or not, it is effort that must be invested. And in a commercial environment that requires a way to finance it. One can finance it out of the cash flow of ongoing license sales. That's viable in a growing market, but not when the market is saturated (stagnant). Or you can finance it through some form of a software maintenance agreement (regular updates for cash - regardless whether the update contains new features or "just" bugfixes).

The only circumstances where a consumer receives free bug fixes are

  • while the developer is still actively selling licenses and wants to avoid negative PR
  • if the developer subsidizes the bug fixing effort
  • if the developer invests effort into bugfixing and hopes to sell updates later on based on his good reputation (hint: That's usually a losing strategy)

The point is, if a developer can't operate profitably he'll "exit the market" (IOW, fail as a business). Which is quite common in the games industry, by the way.

 

Quote

I was a Deputy Sheriff for 22 years. I went through a whole crapload of personal inconveniences and problems. But I didn't use that stuff as an excuse to not do my job to the best of my ability on a daily basis. ... I expect that same outlook from people who produce a program. You are paid to do what you do.

 

Paid by whom, from what?

If someone buys a software license he rewards past effort - the initial investment that the developer made in order to create the product. And that's it; if the developer cannot expect future sales, any minute invested into bug fixing is wasted, from a business point of view. The developer is better off starting something entirely new.

The (only) three reasons why developers release patches at all are listed above. What I'm trying to say is that the attitude that you describe in your post, which is quite normal among consumers, is problematic when talking about "tool type" software (software that has a much longer life expectancy than, say, a highly perishable software like a computer game) because it creates false incentives. It forces software developers to concentrate on efforts dictated by their "marketability" rather than focusing on what's actually important (e.g. bogus innovations as mentioned before - redesigning the user interface and other such nonsense).

All I'm saying is, be careful what kind of incentives you create by your purchasing habits. It's a similar thing as with variable bonus payments for business managers. They will do exactly what's necessary to earn the bonus, which often enough is not what the company actually needs - unless the owner is very careful in the selection of bonus criteria.

 

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20 hours ago, Azure Lion said:

I think one thing to consider here is the cash flow. Tis one thing to work for a government organization where your pay is pretty much guaranteed as everyone is supposed to pay taxes, and it is a pretty reliable source of income, whereas software is dependent upon sales and success. Most software, especially good ones, get a good initial cash flow and perhaps a little there after once the hype starts to die down. However, being able to support it afterwards requires some means of continually bringing in that cash flow. Whether this be via monthly charges like many MMOs, micro-transactions, DLC, or other forms of sales.

 

One can only be paid if there is money there to pay with.

That is pretty much "the nature of the beast", pardon the pun. The cash flow from a government organization usually STOPS if the job performance isn't up to par or not done at all. That is in the form of reduction in pay/rank or termination of employment. Software is either upgrade or a new version is sold. But, if the original version has bugs that weren't fixed, or the manufacturer wanted to charge for those fixes, it's doubtful a new version would sell very well, if at all. 

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17 hours ago, Grenny said:

Well it such stuff or an insanely high price for the software itself that will ensure support for it over a few years.

Of course you could argue: I want to buy a working software from the start. Probem is that no software if free of bugs. If you want them fixed after, lets say 3-4 years after buying the software, there needs to be a way to finance this service and support.

A big company like Microsoft, with billions of licences  and products out there, has different ways of "crossfunding" such works then a small single product firm.

Yes, or you could also sell the software to major government suppliers in addition to consumers. But I doubt they would continue to purchase said software if it wasn't supported in the form of bug fixes by the manufacturer.

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14 hours ago, Ssnake said:

 

Don't think so. We're pretty much on the same page here.

 

 

Simple or not, it is effort that must be invested. And in a commercial environment that requires a way to finance it. One can finance it out of the cash flow of ongoing license sales. That's viable in a growing market, but not when the market is saturated (stagnant). Or you can finance it through some form of a software maintenance agreement (regular updates for cash - regardless whether the update contains new features or "just" bugfixes).

The only circumstances where a consumer receives free bug fixes are

  • while the developer is still actively selling licenses and wants to avoid negative PR
  • if the developer subsidizes the bug fixing effort
  • if the developer invests effort into bugfixing and hopes to sell updates later on based on his good reputation (hint: That's usually a losing strategy)

The point is, if a developer can't operate profitably he'll "exit the market" (IOW, fail as a business). Which is quite common in the games industry, by the way.

 

 

Paid by whom, from what?

If someone buys a software license he rewards past effort - the initial investment that the developer made in order to create the product. And that's it; if the developer cannot expect future sales, any minute invested into bug fixing is wasted, from a business point of view. The developer is better off starting something entirely new.

The (only) three reasons why developers release patches at all are listed above. What I'm trying to say is that the attitude that you describe in your post, which is quite normal among consumers, is problematic when talking about "tool type" software (software that has a much longer life expectancy than, say, a highly perishable software like a computer game) because it creates false incentives. It forces software developers to concentrate on efforts dictated by their "marketability" rather than focusing on what's actually important (e.g. bogus innovations as mentioned before - redesigning the user interface and other such nonsense).

All I'm saying is, be careful what kind of incentives you create by your purchasing habits. It's a similar thing as with variable bonus payments for business managers. They will do exactly what's necessary to earn the bonus, which often enough is not what the company actually needs - unless the owner is very careful in the selection of bonus criteria.

 

Paid by the same government that buys software via taxes. But what difference does that make? Poor performance would end that situation, just as bugs that went unfixed would end any sales of a product. And a company COULDN'T expect future sales if they didn't fix any bugs that cropped up in present software. Why would anyone, government or individual, continue to support a company that produced a product with bugs that weren't fixed, or had to PAY for those fixes??? It just doesn't make any sense. It's like "Here, buy this product. It may have problems and defects in it, but we aren't going to stand by it. We will just sell a newer version in the future and it will also not be supported and you should buy that too." Just not gonna happen. Not with a smart consumers. Heck, not even with dumb consumers. It's the old motto "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" thing. And consumers in computer software are getting more and more demanding of a product performing as advertised every day. Perfect example is Armored Warfare.

They started out in Closed Beta being on top of bugs and problems and making sure to satisfy the customer. But when they went Open Beta, they let bug fixes slide for MONTHS. People got tired of it and left in droves. Now, PvP is nearly impossible because there aren't enough players left. And PvE (against bots) is almost non-existent too. They literally shot themselves in the foot by not coming out with bug fixes the community demanded. Instead, they went with a cash grab of selling gold, re-skinned tanks, and Premium (purchased) tanks and time. The community spotted that AW was actually a "soft release" of the game and that Open Beta was a sham pulled by the company to make a quick $$$$. Now they are scrambling to release a series of 3-4 bug-fix patches to make up for it, and even those "bug fixes" have more bugs in them and it just makes things worse. They are the perfect example of how NOT to release a MMO. And lack of bug fixes are the main reason they are suffering now. 

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9 hours ago, Grenny said:

Pah...the bonus system is failsafe! Just look at how well it worked at VOLKSWAGEN :-P

Volkswagen tried to deceive the consumer and the government by not giving them something that they promised (and paid for). They promised to meet EPA specs and they sold vehicles stating they did meet those specs. When they got caught, the suffered the consequences. Personally, I think the EPA should be abolished and/or their power greatly reduced, but that's a different topic ;)

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3 minutes ago, Deputy276 said:

Volkswagen tried to deceive the consumer and the government by not giving them something that they promised (and paid for). They promised to meet EPA specs and they sold vehicles stating they did meet those specs. When they got caught, the suffered the consequences. Personally, I think the EPA should be abolished and/or their power greatly reduced, but that's a different topic ;)

Yes yes...but the CEO(s) still received their bonus payments and such :-P

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32 minutes ago, Grenny said:

Yes yes...but the CEO(s) still received their bonus payments and such :-P

I wonder what the CEO and directors bonus will be this year after a 13 billion dollar pay out to uncle sam

The USA should build a new carrier with the money and call it the USS Passat. LoL

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To be fair with punishment, and most people prefer not to and just blame all of them, you would have to find the individual(s) who were actually responsible for VW's mistake. But most folks, thanks to the anti-capitalism that is fostered in many locations, prefer to just lump them all together. 

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