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Jeff Minter vents about the XBLA cert process


It wasn't that long ago that Xbox Live Arcade releases were few and far between. Oftentimes, delays to our favorite titles were blamed on Microsoft's certification process. Unfortunately, that's really all we ever heard about it. Jeff Minter, creator of Tempest 2000 and the upcoming Space Giraffe for XBLA, has solved that problem by venting about the certification process on his personal blog. In doing so, Minter has also given us the most detailed explanation of the cert process that we've seen.

It seems that Microsoft's certification process is a long and drawn out affair. According to Minter, he now considers the Microsoft certification process to be the most stressful thing he's ever done in the game industry: "I used to tell how final test on T2K for Atari was the most stressful thing I'd ever done in the biz. I now wholeheartedly rescind that. Final test at Atari was a holiday, it was a finite process with an end that occurred in just a few weeks." Suffice it to say, Minter has few kind words for the cert process. He does have plenty of curse words though. Here's hoping Space Giraffe hits its mark and Minter can regain some of his sanity.

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Reader Comments

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1. That sucks! I'm a programmer and I just "make it work" lol

Posted at 4:44PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by TORO

2. Tempest 2k was bad ass and its the game I wanna C in the Arcade

Posted at 4:48PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by ccc

3. That sounds horrendously painful.

I can't imagine how pissed they must be sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for all this bureaucracy to finish.

Posted at 4:50PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by therpham

4. The next day he posted that they're into final cert now, so I guess that's a good sign.

Posted at 4:50PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by Tony

5. Folks just heard the news, GTAIV will slip until 2008 because they cannot get it running on ps3 and have pushed both 360 and ps3 to remain a simultaneous ship.

Posted at 4:59PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by truthseeker

6. @5

Total bullocks. Take Two and Rockstar need GTAIV to be released in time for the holiday season. They're not going to turn away 10m potential customers if there are technical issues holding back the PS3 release.

Rockstar has been consistent on message -- the 360 will offer the most complete GTAIV experience. They got millions from MS to make that happen.

...back on topic...

I'm itching for some space giraffe. Llamatron on the Amiga remains one of my favorites of all time.

Posted at 5:20PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by Wii360DSpc

7. It's been delayed, but there's absolutely no mention of any PS3 specific problems from the original source.
http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN0238261720070802

Posted at 5:22PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by Tony

8. I'm gonna listen to the conference call at 5:30 ET http://ir.take2games.com/MediaRegisterpost.cfm

Posted at 5:31PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by Joe

9. Doesn't sound like he wants to answer what platform problems just that there are technological problems.
http://ir.take2games.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=258238

Posted at 5:45PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by Joe

10. "It's been delayed, but there's absolutely no mention of any PS3 specific problems from the original source."

Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two, stated, "Certain elements of development proved to be more time-intensive than expected, especially given the commitment for a simultaneous release on two very different platforms"

Read between the lines people. There is a reason its only been demoed on 360 so far.

Posted at 5:54PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by truthseeker

11. For all his complaining about the process here, I don't feel sorry for him. I code for a living and I'm not sure why he's using the MS cert process to flush out the bugs in his product. They should have an internal test team or contract out testing to get the product complete BEFORE they do this step. MS isn't giving out free testing. If I was running the MS cert process, I would make it a pain in the ass if they fail too. It prevents developers from using them as their test group, which is not their job. IF you want to be "hardcore" and code without plans and milestones, this is what you get. Keep in mind that he's not bitching because his shit's working. He's bitching because it's not (he messed up) and MS is doing their job by not letting him release his broken shit.

Posted at 12:52AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by Mark

12. Well said Mark, agreed 100%

Posted at 2:50AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by KineticOnline

13. Actually they seem to be ranting about waiting around for an official rating, rather than the bug fixing part of it.

And I'm sure MS prefer to get their 'own guys' to do some final testing so *they* can be sure it won't break when released.

(Although fuck knows what happened with some of the XBLA releases we've had cos they couldn't have been tested at all.)

Posted at 5:24AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by Boff

14. @10 Actually I'd say there's too much reading between the lines to begin with. Various previews have mentioned the framerate problems (yes, on the 360) and even the videos of it so far seem to stutter oddly. It seems pretty clear that it probably wasn't where they wanted for either platform.

Just assuming it was a PS3 issue is ridiculous.

Posted at 9:44AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by Tony

15. @11

He does mention that they've been pushing reports out to MS the entire time. There's more than one person working on the game besides him, from what I've been able to gather. I do not get the impression that none of this was handled at all.

Instead it seems like they were waiting for some paper with a rating on it, despite knowing what it says and then MS has to test it all over again despite the bug reports and fixes they've been doing the entire time. How is that not frustrating to anyone?

MS hadn't even gotten to the point in the certification process where they'd even really discuss problems with the game itself from what he had written at that point in time. Waiting for a rating paper to come in doesn't exactly imply to me "your is broken, fix it!!!".

Posted at 9:48AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by Tony

16. That does sound sucky. Like majorly sucky.

However, I work in the pharma / medical device industry and have to deal with the FDA. So I have no sympathy for anyone with approval / certification processes that take less than a year.

Posted at 10:56AM on Aug 3rd 2007 by scaught

17. Tony, I was referring to him complaining about this:
"The last couple of months we've been hooked up to a bugs database and working back and forth between us and them we've been testing and eliminating bugs and clearing out the database until now it is nicely clear.

You would think that would be "certification" but it isn't,"

Which is what I was saying is stupid

Posted at 3:36PM on Aug 6th 2007 by Mark

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