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Learn to, you know, read.

Last post 03-20-2008 5:07 AM by ender. 26 replies.
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  • 03-18-2008 6:00 PM

    Learn to, you know, read.

    I maintain a game mod (for those interested, this one), which requires a working Diablo II install. To install the mod, you need to download the .zip archive, open it up, find the README.rtf file, which tells you to take patch_d2.mpq from the download, then replace the one in your Diablo II (LoD, 1.10-1.11) directory. Every day, I get a cretin who doesn't manage this feat, for one of the following reasons:

    - Decides to rename the file to something easier to remember, like patch_d2_mod.mpq, and is surprised when the game can't find it.
    - Has a Warcraft 3 map editor installed, which claims .mpq files, so he only sees patch_d2 and doesn't make the intellectual leap of faith.
    - Has a Mac and follows the instructions labelled WINDOWS.
    - Receives a write error due to attempting to copy the file onto his Diablo II cd (which doesn't have a patch_d2.mpq anywhere).
    - Doesn't look inside the .zip archive, but just downloads it into Documents or wherever and expects it to magically work.
    - Doesn't have 1.10 or 1.11 -- one of those told me that the patches are 'the same' as the unpatched game: it is still Diablo II...!

    And those are just the acts of idiocy that don't require any background knowledge (ie. having played Diablo II ever before in your life, which one might assume is what most people do before they go looking for mods for Diablo II).

    The grand finale, of course, is when they try to uninstall the mod and come to the realisation that instead of replacing the original file, they forgot to make a backup copy and now they're stuck. Too bad about the whole 'yell and scream at Laz for ruining their game' part that follows. 

    ......

    Even more interesting is the huge number of people who ask stupid questions on the forum which are in the documentation. The documentation is in the folder Documentation in their mod download, in .pdf format. The official website where they downloaded the mod has the same information. Some of the questions are answered right in front of their nose.

    For instance, the fact that you cannot make runewords in magical items is A. a feature from classic Diablo II, which any player should know; B. mentioned on the first page of the bloody runeword database, which they need to consult to find the runeword they are trying to make; C. marked in bold and underlined. There is no way they can make a runeword without seeing that line. Yet...

    ......

    I know most of my players are retarded (such is the price of seeking popularity), but I didn't know it was that bad. Next release, in an act of despair, I'm going to put the most important information on the game splash screen...

  • 03-18-2008 6:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Brother Laz:
    Next release, in an act of despair, I'm going to put the most important information on the game splash screen...

    Who the hell reads splash screens?

  • 03-18-2008 6:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    MasterPlanSoftware:
    Who the hell reads splash screens?
     

    Yeah, I put all important messages in the window title bar.  Can't quite remember where I learned that trick... 

    Your utterly arbitrary convention is the opposite of my utterly arbitrary convention! Get out of here!
  • 03-18-2008 6:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

     

    MasterPlanSoftware:

    Brother Laz:
    Next release, in an act of despair, I'm going to put the most important information on the game splash screen...

    Who the hell reads splash screens?

    Noone, except this particular game has a full screen one with a 3 second delay before you can click through it. It just may be the only place where people might read it. (The other place is on the forum after asking the millionth stupid question, provided people aren't smart enough to answer RTFM)

  • 03-18-2008 6:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Peer: Oh this has contextual help? I never knew that!

    Me: Yes that's what the help button on every form does.

    There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
  • 03-18-2008 6:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Brother Laz:

    Noone, except this particular game has a full screen one with a 3 second delay before you can click through it. It just may be the only place where people might read it. 

    Nope, they won't. You could force-show it for five minutes and it would still fall victim to banner blindness.

  • 03-18-2008 7:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    PSWorx:
    Nope, they won't. You could force-show it for five minutes and it would still fall victim to banner blindness.
     

    Nice article, reminds me of my english language exam at school.  This was a reading comprehension exercise where you had to read a reprint of a tabloid newspaper article, and one of the questions was to quote three facts from the article.  The main text was all opinion and the only three facts in the piece were in call-outs which of course I skipped over a couple of times, treating them like they were just there to break up the flow of text.  That was >20 years ago and some papers still write the same way.

    TRWTF is I read paper newspapers... 

    Your utterly arbitrary convention is the opposite of my utterly arbitrary convention! Get out of here!
  • 03-18-2008 9:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Brother Laz:

    I maintain a game mod (for those interested, this one), which requires a working Diablo II install. To install the mod, you need to download the .zip archive, open it up, find the README.rtf file, which tells you to take patch_d2.mpq from the download, then replace the one in your Diablo II (LoD, 1.10-1.11) directory. Every day, I get a cretin who doesn't manage this feat, for one of the following reasons:

    FAIL #1: Instead of writing that on web page, you give directions to a file that gives directions... Also you write only "Installation instructions are provided in the readme." - right... of course everyone will know what readme is and how to open that weird .rtf format they've never seen before. I'll tell you something - most probably you don't get emails from people who don't know how to "download the .zip archive" and "open it up" just because finding your contact and emailing you is just as hard for them.

    FAIL #2: "in your Diablo II (LoD, 1.10-1.11) directory" - and you didn't get "but when I click on Diablo II icon, the game starts, there is no directory" yet? Wow...

    Brother Laz:

    The grand finale, of course, is when they try to uninstall the mod and come to the realisation that instead of replacing the original file, they forgot to make a backup copy and now they're stuck. Too bad about the whole 'yell and scream at Laz for ruining their game' part that follows.

     

    That's what installers are for - because users WILL NOT EVEN TRY TO UNDERSTAND AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. If you want to publish some software AND make people happy, you should really make one.

    Brother Laz:

    Even more interesting is the huge number of people who ask stupid questions on the forum which are in the documentation.

    Most FAQs are just that - frequently asked questions. Nevermind that you can find the answer in documentation.

    If you want to be user-friendly, think like typical user (I mean - don't!) and try to follow instructions... after 10 beers... switching mouse to the other side... with most horrible eye-burning-goggles-do-nothing system theme that you can find... without using keyboard... on 486 and 2MB ram  - if you succeed, your program is userfriendly. If you don't - prepare for more stupid questions...

    PS. Yes - tried to publish some software. No - I will never try again. 

  • 03-18-2008 9:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    viraptor:
    That's what installers are for - because users WILL NOT EVEN TRY TO UNDERSTAND AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. If you want to publish some software AND make people happy, you should really make one.
    That right there is the problem, Laz. As soon as you said "zip file", I knew you were asking for trouble. Expecting everyone to know where it went, how to open it, and even navigate all the way to the game folder is a bit much. It's really simple to put together a NSIS installer that would take care of it all, including making a backup. You could also create Start Menu icons for the documentation and uninstaller.

    Join us at #TDWTF on irc.slashnet.org !

  • 03-18-2008 10:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    I agree that you should make an installer to manage the mod. You would have saved yourself most of the support headaches. Its not to say you wont have any problems, but making users manually install a game mod is just not right. We want to get into the game, lets leave the tedious computer stuff for work or something.

  • 03-18-2008 10:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    pitchingchris:
    I agree that you should make an installer to manage the mod.
    Which is odd, because almost every modding community I've seen (Starcraft, Warcraft II and Diablo II) released mods which do not feature installers, as the mod authors tend to be script kiddies (in the sense they use someone else's tools) and not programmers. That has the effect of every mod requiring the exact same steps to install. That being said, in batch a really stupid installer (use a self-extracting zip for distribution):
    @ECHO OFF
    REM haven't tested this, I'm not on a windows machine
    set DIABLO_DIR="C:\Program Files\Diablo 2\"
    copy patch_mod.mpq %DIABLO_DIR%
    cd %DIABLO_DIR%
    COPY patch_d2.mpq patch_d2.backup
    COPY patch_mod.mpq patch_d2.mpq
    
    Alternatively you can use MPQ2k to patch the MPQ through the batch itself, which has the benefit of (normally) being smaller to ship (as it only ships changes and not the entire patch_d2.mpq, which isn't that big iirc). I would suggest StarFire's MPQ2k bundle over Quantum's (which requires SC 1.03's staredit.exe). Although I thought that Diablo 2 had a modding tool like SC's MPQ2EXE (can't remember its actual name, Quantum released it, makes an exe that patches SC on the fly without any user alteration, to uninstall delete the exe/sempq), anyways, most tools I used for SC/D2 modding were found at www.smempire.org (running joke is the site having an even 50% uptime), try it with and without the www part.
    irc://irc.slashnet.org/#TDWTF (Redirects to #CodeLove)
    <anon> Goddamnit, I wish I still had a gf to make a bikini for
  • 03-18-2008 11:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Lingerance:
    Which is odd, because almost every modding community I've seen (Starcraft, Warcraft II and Diablo II) released mods which do not feature installers, as the mod authors tend to be script kiddies (in the sense they use someone else's tools) and not programmers. That has the effect of every mod requiring the exact same steps to install.

    And has the effect of frustration on noobs -> every page of http://www.promode.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=17 has at least one "cpma doesn't work" problem, which is usually resolved by asking if dir 'cpma' is inside 'Quake III Arena', but not inside 'baseq3' ;)

    Or maybe in reality that's just a good idea for enforcing "we don't support noobs" policy?

  • 03-19-2008 3:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    It also has the effect of opening up users to malware. Diablo II probably won't have a problem with it, but I know World of Warcraft has been having some problems with trojans masquerading as mod installers.
  • 03-19-2008 6:47 AM In reply to

    • Daid
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-30-2007
    • Posts 446

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Installers. They are lifesavers. Gota love Unreal. They provided the .UMOD extention for easy installation of mods. Not to forget the whole game is mod friendly.
  • 03-19-2008 9:41 AM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Users don't read instructions.  Users don't read the manual.  Users don't read the documentation.  There's really not much you can do about it, short of simplifying the install process.  Unfortunately mods generally are a bit more complicated to install and set up, so I feel your pain.

    (* I don't know how the word "manual" got highlited in yellow. I say we blame the text editor.)

  • 03-19-2008 10:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    medialint:

    Peer: Oh this has contextual help? I never knew that!

    Me: Yes that's what the help button on every form does.

    ORLY?

    I was only aware that two cases existed existed when clicking the Help button.

    Case 1: "There is no help available for this item". Gee, thanks.

    Case 2:

    Error                                         [x]
    -------------------------------------------------
    
    /!\  Error 0xFB380140: The tribbulator ist kaput.
    
                 [ Help ]  [[ OK ]]
                 
    -------------------------------------------------

    Help topic: Error 0xFB380140

    This error indicates that your tribbulator ist kaput. Have a nice day.

  • 03-19-2008 12:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Lingerance:

    @ECHO OFF
    REM haven't tested this, I'm not on a windows machine
    set DIABLO_DIR="C:\Program Files\Diablo 2\"
    copy patch_mod.mpq %DIABLO_DIR%
    cd %DIABLO_DIR%
    COPY patch_d2.mpq patch_d2.backup
    COPY patch_mod.mpq patch_d2.mpq

    Boy, are the n00bs ever going to hate you for that:

    support:
     

    - support:  "Did you double-click on the batch file to install the mod?" 

    n00b:

    - user:  "Yep, I did it twice just to make sure". 

    support:
     

    - support:  "Oops.  Hope you really like our mod." 

    Should have gone the extra mile with that testing after all!

  • 03-19-2008 2:09 PM In reply to

    • dlikhten
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-27-2007
    • New York Citeyah
    • Posts 670

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

     

    upsidedowncreature:

    ...

    Reminds me of regents exams in school. You choose 3/5 problems and solve them. People forget to read instructions, solve all 5, don't label which to omit and then complain "i didnt know i could choose my best answers" even though there was big bold text up top.

    Code is like a box of chocolates. You never know who stuck a turd in there and why.
    The Stupidest Man On Earth
    SSDS Bug: Program should not start up
  • 03-19-2008 2:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    viraptor:
    FAIL #1: Instead of writing that on web page, you give directions to a file that gives directions... Also you write only "Installation instructions are provided in the readme." - right... of course everyone will know what readme is and how to open that weird .rtf format they've never seen before. I'll tell you something - most probably you don't get emails from people who don't know how to "download the .zip archive" and "open it up" just because finding your contact and emailing you is just as hard for them.

    It would make no difference. I know from past experience that nothing I write on the download page gets read - people are there to download something, so they ignore all the annoying letters and click on the first download link they find.

    And yes, people do manage to not find my contact address. I mean, it's very well hidden behind the 'Email me' link on the website, right at the bottom with the other links. (TRWTF 1: putting the site navigation at the bottom. TRWTF 2: the rest of the site. I make mods, I don't make websites)

     

    pitchingchris:
    Which is odd, because almost every modding community I've seen (Starcraft, Warcraft II and Diablo II) released mods which do not feature installers, as the mod authors tend to be script kiddies (in the sense they use someone else's tools) and not programmers.
     

    Let's ignore the derogatory use of 'script kiddie' as someone who doesn't make his own tools (and just makes the rest of the bloody mod). Face it, programmers don't make the compiler either.

    It is true that many mods require such complex installation procedures that it is clear that the modmaker didn't give a crap. All too often I read 'uninstall the game, reinstall and patch to 1.10, then...'. Expecting the user to reinstall the game and get a specific patch version to use the mod is a sign of total disrespect.

    However, in this case, the installation procedure involves replacing a single file.

     

    Lingerance:
    Alternatively you can use MPQ2k to patch the MPQ through the batch itself, which has the benefit of (normally) being smaller to ship (as it only ships changes and not the entire patch_d2.mpq, which isn't that big iirc).

    I like this line of thinking, but there is one pitfall - which I learned the hard way when I tried to use this as a patching method in the past. MPQ2K includes a file named storm.dll. So does Diablo II. They are not the same. If you just extract the files into your Diablo II directory, you lose the original and the game will no longer start. Oopsie.

     

    AbyddonKraft:
    That right there is the problem, Laz. As soon as you said "zip file", I knew you were asking for trouble. Expecting everyone to know where it went, how to open it, and even navigate all the way to the game folder is a bit much. It's really simple to put together a NSIS installer that would take care of it all, including making a backup. You could also create Start Menu icons for the documentation and uninstaller.

    There are various issues that make an installer somewhat impractical:

    - This mod is compatible with both PCs and Macs. Installers aren't.

    - Mods do not work on battle.net online. Without a fancy installer, you can just swap out the file again in 10 seconds. With an installer, you have to run uninstall, and god knows if you'll lose all your characters. It would be more user-friendly, but very much slower.

    Still, I see I'll be releasing the sequel with an installer, Mac users be damned. That'll probably take care of the installation issues... though not necessarily the many RTFM moments that follow ('Where do I find a list of runewords?' 'How about M2008 runewords.pdf?').

     

    DaveK:
    - support:  "Oops.  Hope you really like our mod."

    LOL :D

  • 03-19-2008 3:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Hey Brother Laz... you quoted me wrong.. Somebody else quoted me and you quoted them, but my name is on your quote. Not that it bothers me.  Learn to, you know, quote :)

  • 03-19-2008 3:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Lingerance:

    Hey Brother Laz... you quoted me wrong.. Somebody else quoted me and you quoted them, but my name is on your quote. Not that it bothers me.

     

    Don't you hate that?

  • 03-19-2008 4:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    The solution to this problem is to only mod for games that require some modicum of intelligence to play in the first place. For example, I've created a few mods for System Shock 2, and the number of install-related questions is practically nil.

  • 03-19-2008 4:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    MasterPlanSoftware:
    Don't you hate that?

     

    Bet he only does it the once though.

    Your utterly arbitrary convention is the opposite of my utterly arbitrary convention! Get out of here!
  • 03-19-2008 7:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Zylon:
    The solution to this problem is to only mod for games that require some modicum of intelligence to play in the first place.

    You'd be surprised what Diablo II becomes if you all just stop making hammerdins and actually make a difficult build. I know, BLAZE CANT KILL DAIBLO CLOEN LOLOL ROFL.

    Zylon:
    For example, I've created a few mods for System Shock 2, and the number of install-related questions is practically nil.

    As is the number of players, probably. :-P

    Diablo II is all about the popularity factor: watching download counters, making fancy graphs comparing downloads/day vs. homepage hits, throwing a party when the 100K rolls by, and collecting magazine articles in Turkish and Russian. Do I like to play my own mod? Not anymore, other than to make artsy screenshots - it has become too easy in order to cater to the mass market.

    Being a ROCK STAR in my little kingdom, standing tall and looking down upon the fools who sweat blood and tears trying to gain a few hundred players with their labour-intensive but oh-so-intelligent Quake 2 mod is worth it, though.

  • 03-19-2008 7:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Brother Laz:

    Zylon:
    The solution to this problem is to only mod for games that require some modicum of intelligence to play in the first place.

    You'd be surprised what Diablo II becomes if you all just stop making hammerdins and actually make a difficult build. I know, BLAZE CANT KILL DAIBLO CLOEN LOLOL ROFL.

    Zylon:
    For example, I've created a few mods for System Shock 2, and the number of install-related questions is practically nil.

    As is the number of players, probably. :-P

    Diablo II is all about the popularity factor: watching download counters, making fancy graphs comparing downloads/day vs. homepage hits, throwing a party when the 100K rolls by, and collecting magazine articles in Turkish and Russian. Do I like to play my own mod? Not anymore, other than to make artsy screenshots - it has become too easy in order to cater to the mass market.

    Being a ROCK STAR in my little kingdom, standing tall and looking down upon the fools who sweat blood and tears trying to gain a few hundred players with their labour-intensive but oh-so-intelligent Quake 2 mod is worth it, though.

     

    You really need to get out more.

  • 03-19-2008 10:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    Brother Laz:

    Lingerance:
    Alternatively you can use MPQ2k to patch the MPQ through the batch itself, which has the benefit of (normally) being smaller to ship (as it only ships changes and not the entire patch_d2.mpq, which isn't that big iirc).

    I like this line of thinking, but there is one pitfall - which I learned the hard way when I tried to use this as a patching method in the past. MPQ2K includes a file named storm.dll. So does Diablo II. They are not the same. If you just extract the files into your Diablo II directory, you lose the original and the game will no longer start. Oopsie.

    Are you using Quantum's or ShadowFlare's? IIRC SF's does not need storm.dll as she made her own MPQ reader, if not hexedit FTW.
    Brother Laz:
    - Mods do not work on battle.net online. Without a fancy installer, you can just swap out the file again in 10 seconds. With an installer, you have to run uninstall, and god knows if you'll lose all your characters. It would be more user-friendly, but very much slower.
    Slightly incorrect, most mods (for SC at least, D2 isn't that different in this regard iirc) will work on B.net, they will cause players to desync if people use different versions of the mod, although I have been able to play D2 modded on LAN with people who did not have the mod, although the mod wasn't very thorough. Also mods will only destroy items in my experience, which is why I now play D2 in virtual machines and each VM is either vanilla or modded.

    Also about the script kiddie comment, I meant it as a way of distinguishing between someone with the skill and time to make their own tools for modding versus someone who just bums someone else's.

    Also I need to stop using the phrase "IIRC", seriously. Also: "Also", "at least" and a few others I can't recall at the moment.
    irc://irc.slashnet.org/#TDWTF (Redirects to #CodeLove)
    <anon> Goddamnit, I wish I still had a gf to make a bikini for
  • 03-20-2008 5:07 AM In reply to

    • ender
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-27-2006
    • Sunny side of the Alps
    • Posts 1,398

    Re: Learn to, you know, read.

    In my experience, users never read anything. You can have the intended download linked from the front page and from the side menu, and the source code for application (since it's GPL) on a separate page (which only has 1 link pointing to it, named "Source code") with a red blinking "Do not download from this page" (with another link pointing to the installer download), and users will still download the source code and send questions "What do I do with c files?". FAQ? Nobody reads the FAQ (except users who would've probably solved the problem even if the FAQ wasn't there).
    Because 10 billion years' time is so fragile, so ephemeral... it arouses such a bittersweet, almost heartbreaking fondness.
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