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Saturday 21 July 2007

Ubisoft sucks [Beej]

Back in 2004 (ish) we the clan of the leet were so frustrated banging our heads against the wall with Ubisoft, that I started but never finished not just a blog but a website about why they were pissing us off so much.
At the time it was their failings in their creation of the PC versions of Raven Shield and the mission pack Athena Sword. We also played Ghost Recon at the time, but now that its 2007 we've got GRAW and GRAW2 and all that funky modern consolesque shiznaz.
So with the release of GRAW2 for PC comes the usual ubisoft laziness. Is that too harsh? Maybe its incompetence then. Either way, its institutional at Ubisoft because as this blog will show, they've been churning out bug-ridden PC games for years.
Strap yourselves in, here we go.


Mitchell is back, and surely this time he's bug free? Ubisoft have been doing these games for years now! Of course not. This game has bugs and whimsical patches just like everything else Ubisoft ever do on the PC. So, the game itself is relatively bug free. But not completely, oh no. We couldn't have that.
  • During co-op multiplayer, when someone (re)spawns, be they Tango or player, they may (at random) be spawned on the wrong team, and will hence start shooting at their buddies with wild abandon.
  • Of course, Aegea PhysX is present once again in all its previous glory. And of course, it handles errors with all its previous aplomb, that is to say none.

However, there is of course a bigger problem. It's the year 2007 right? So, you'd expect that multiplayer via the interwebnet would just work? I mean even the console peons have managed it. Oh no. Let us count the woes:
  • Approximately 20 million ports need to be forwarded if you want to set up a server. (Compare this to say, 1, for a well-made modern game)
  • uPNP, while evil, was supposed to be a way for peons to get around having to know what TCP and UDP ports were - in GRAW 1, uPNP worked. In GRAW 2, it simply doesn't. (Or rather, it looks like it creates a uPNP entry for the game port, but not for the master server polling port?)
  • A clanny couldn't join an internet game that two other clannies had joined successfully - just timed out ad infinitum.
  • If you're playing the SP campaign co-op, then you have up to 10 missions to play, right? So you have 10 mission briefings, during which you'd expect people to be able to join, if there are free slots right? Not so. If you don't join before the first mission, you can't join at all.
  • player names locked in LAN games (nearly forgot this one. It took until patch 1.05 before players could change player names. WHY? IS? THIS? NOT? TESTED? It's laziness, that's what it is)

It just beggars belief that in this day and age, having paid money for a game, it's easier to set up Hamachi and play via a VPN than to go through a games inbuilt hosting/server browser.


Yes, the better-on-Xbox game that came out in 2006 was a resurgence in Ubisoft laziness/incompetence. We were reminded of how dumb we were to buy a game that ultimately punishes you.
  • Won't work with virtual cd software (See Blog 1028)
  • can't select your screen resolution (But it does if you edit an XML file! Lazy shits. See Blog 1028)
  • You will install Aegea PhysX. (You will install it and you will enjoy it. It will sit in your system tray so that you can enjoy the incredible real world physics of a carelessly discarded cans of coke kicked around Zoccalo Plaza by your team of elite operatives in the heat of battle)
  • "Mitchell! Mitchell! We got a Captain down in Zoccalo Plaza..." (if they even tested this game they'd realise that this is tedious after the second or third time, let alone tenth or twentieth)
  • Cameras on a UAV cannot be controlled! (That's right. The US Department of Defense spends millions of dollars on floating trashcan UAVs but you have to cross your fingers that the flying trashcan UAV will actually look in the direction you want it to. Like I dunno, ooooh, in the direction of the frickin' bad guys. It just can't look right now ok? It's looking at that pile of planks. It'll look at your patrolling terrorist by accident if you're very very lucky)

Rainbow Six Raven Shield and Athena Sword

First of all, the really bad stuff that Ubi did all the time, without fail, because they presumably just didn't prioritise it.
  • Patching Athena Sword (This was a nightmare that sapped your will to live. Its a mission pack. But it doesn't like the patch that you're already running on Raven Shield. So you've got to reinstall that. Then you patch Athena Sword, and it does stuff. Then you have to patch it again. And then again. And I think it was again? Ubisoft just didn't care about the end user)
  • the virtual cd fiasco (if you had daemontools or similar virtualcd device driver running, the game would just not start, possibly silently)
  • "please enter your cd key" (The best bug of them all. This lasted for months because Ubisoft just hadn't done any adequate testing of online play. You installed the game, went through PATCH HELL, then every time you tried to play online it would forget your CD key and you had to get the box and type in WTFU-FCKI-NG-AZZ-H0L3S every time. And no, this wasn't fixed until about 5 patches later)
  • playing online with (It hurt a lot. It was awful)
  • no linux server (they just couldn't be bothered, so the game was never as readily available as a Quake/HL server, and its one of many reasons why the online experience died quickly)
  • "please insert the correct CD-ROM and restart the application" (You've paid for the game, installed the game, patched the game, installed the mission pack, patched the mission pack, but that's not good enough for Ubisoft. You are the end user and you will pay for your incompetence)

Next, our old list of things that should work when you buy the game. You'd think. But no, this is Ubisoft, so several patches later and they still don't work.
  • The chasecam doesn't lean (watch your teammate look and fire through a wall)
  • Autopatcher doesn't autopatch (that's right, it didn't work)
  • Two subway maps (was this map mismatches? it may have been. I forget the intricacies of Ubi at work)
  • Crates! (maps full of templated warehouses full of motherfucking crates. Under guard by terrorists. Sigh)
  • watched your handcuffed arse (so playing online, you'd get handcuffed, and then that's it, you spend the rest of the game looking at your arse, in handcuffs. Can't complain about the level of thought that went into testing that eh?)
  • thermal scopes that don't see heat sources, oops! (yes, that's right, when they finally implemented a thermal scope in the series, it was such a bad implementation that hot things weren't hot. Like fires. Or cars. Or in fact, anything except people)
  • L85/SA80 doesn't actually have a burst mode (Yes, that's a Googleable fact. Just implement every single rifle with a burst fire mode like an M16 rifle okay Ubi? No-one will notice in this sort of game I'm sure)


  1. ...although....GRAW2 is otherwise a highly polished game. They clearly need to sack the people responsible for the network code DESIGN ARCHITECTURE (the team-change respawn bug being bizarre, other and inexplicably stupid I grant you) because actually there's nothing wrong once you get in game with how the network code works.
    But the above is utterly correct - it is actually easier to connect via Hamachi than get a game in the original despite the fact that we are all playing with original legit software and all have high quality broadband. That is unbelievable.
    Anyone have the name and email of the head of Ubisoft?

  2. Actually, I'd like to just add one other thing - picking up on the fact that during the installation process, you're forced to install the Ageia PhysX driver.
    I think only one member of EED has bothered to buy one of these cards, and lets be honest, they are not exactly a required purchase; only a handful of games support them, and they languish pathetically in an Overclockers backwater; going for about 98GBP.
    Why in the name of all that is holy should I have to install a taskbar app & drivers for a card I do not have?
    What logic drove GameTards to enforce this on the end user? If you don't have an Ageia card, don't install the driver, and don't enable the fancy Ageia underwritten physics crapola in-game!
    You know, we could exhaust the internet's entire data storage capacity writing about the phenomenal ineptitude of GameTards and their approach to life in general.
    Or, we can point back in history to a concrete example of French incompetence.

  3. Join with me brothers. Join my Ubisoft Sucks Ass social club and despair!
    The terrible thing about all of this is that if the dickheads weren't making games that fundamentally are the sorts of games we want to play, we could just forget about them and never buy anything they ever laid a hand on.
    But no... they had a game that was basically better than Counter-Strike with the original Raven Shield. It could have been huge. All they needed to do was actually hire some proper staff to do the network multiplayer, sort things out just how they work in every other competent PC multiplayer game and they could have had the world at their feet. Or at least, um, us anyway.
    I think I'd put it down to the fact that whatever producer is involved here, they're dramatically out of touch with what people are playing. They've never played Quake, Unreal Tournament, Battlefield or whatever. Never seen how key mapping should work, selecting resolutions, finding games, mapping ports to host your own games and so on and so forth.
    Surely they can't be oblivious to all the criticism? They can't miss the fact that the world is still playing an ancient tactical squad multiplayer game (CS) in preference just because they couldn't fix the last few things up, things that would have taken a few weeks at most compared to an 18 month dev cycle. Or, more competently, have just been done in parallel.
    The solution for them would have been to have this stuff tested by a clan. Not us, I guess, since we wont be on their Christmas card list but by some random stripy tights berret wearing French clan or something. They could have pointed all this stuff out and they could have fixed it and ... jeez, imagine how big the whole franchises would be on the PC? They'd own PC multiplayer gaming.

  4. You forgot to mention vegas which was such a 'perfect port' of the 360 version that it was completly broken in multiplayer.Let me explain. For those that don't have a 360 theres a thing called the friends list. This is where you put people you know or enjoy playing with. Then when you set up a game to can specify that only your friends can join. Its a superb idea and one of many very cool things about the 360. Anyway, on the PC port theres no option to put a password on your server unlike every game released for the last 10 years+. Instead theres the option of a private server for only your friends. Pretty cool except theres no god damn friends list on a PC!!! MORONS! So basically your only option is to make your server public and then keep kicking innocent people until you get your friends in.Another less serious gripe is that you customise your charater with a leet electric blue outfit/cammo gear and then find that it doesn't even use it in co-op. For no obvious reason at all!!
    Ubi sucks.

  5. Our early focus on mp games or probably more correctly, the interminable attempts to get a mp game where anyone can play, has left me delinquent on progress in the SP. So last night I whizzed through the training and the first couple of mish's and cleared out the Quarry. Troops join me on helicopter saying 'you rock sir' and similarly insightful commentary and we hit the mission completed screen. I am a Man of Steel who gets A grades - RAAARR.
    And then I sit there and nothing much seems to be happening. So I sit some more. Then I click 'return to menu' thinking well that must be it - that must be how one progresses to the next level.
    What mission am I offered? The Quarry that I've just completed, not the next one. Frustration. So I reload the last savegame and completed from a start point not far from the end of the level. Out to completion screen.
    Are you guessing what happened next?
    And again.
    Will it be better tonight?

  6. Well you crazy kids might already have done the bastard, but I've been playing slow time. The current patch is 1.03. Today it just crashed twice for no reason with the random reason that:Crash in application version: 30553.2792Streaming WAV file from bank joe_wave not found at path: data/sound/voices/joe\joe_wave.bankI just checked the install and there is no "joe" in the voices directory. Well okay, maybe its virtual or something. Should a missing sound file FATALLY CRASH THE ENTIRE GAME TO DESKTOP?No it shouldn't. That's just a failure to trap errors, which is programming laziness.