Are TaleWorlds bad at programming?

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FYI: This is not a critique, take it as an honest question

Are TW bad at programming? I feel like many answers to suggestions etc., are not "we wont do this", but rather "it is too complicated" or something similar. Meanwhile modders are doing it in a couple of weeks. It's really the first time ive heard a game studio often answering that something is too complicated.

All in all, it just feels weird and a bit suspicious that a small team of modders can implemented stuff in a matter of days/weeks, meanwhile TW takes months to implement it, if they even do it.

I'm not a programmer myself, i literally know nothing about it, but how hard can it be to implemented manhunters, feasts, more life to taverns like drunks, civil wars etc.?

again, NOT a critique, just an honest question if there is something i dont know.


Sergeant Knight
Not bad at programming but bad at managing the project.

Time and again devs have said things like "i could do this in a week if i was authorized" or "we took this and that suggestion to an internal meeting and management denied it/only aproved a much simpler version"


Sergeant at Arms
First of all, Talewords is a single entity so the title should be Is instead of Are.

Then modding works a bit differently than general development, mods don't have to form a basis for something else and don't really have to be maintainable. See them as banadages instead of a proper surgery to fix something.

The development of TW is the biggest dumpster fire I have ever seen and heard of, even if the developers were incapable a proper manager could do way better than what they are doing now. The software management of TW is worse than nothing it seems like, so yes they are very bad at development.
Not bad at programming but bad at managing the project.
yeah, i was about to say this. That maybe they're bad at managing..

I have the impression that the industry in general is not keen on making simulations anymore..
The A.i. is mediocre at best in most cases, the systems dumbed down, the promises of 'worlds feeling lived in' often turns into lifeless shell... With good graphics, but still...


There is someone outside doing burnouts and skidding their tyres all over the road. I am scared.

Oh **** oh God its the Bannerlord apologists coming to tell you why the game is actually perfect as is

Blood Gryphon

Master Knight
Don't misunderstand them, when we get a "it's too complex" it is not about their ability to program it, but what management thinks of as too complex for the player to handle. They want the game to have as little micromanagement as possible and have the AI able to handle everything.

While they are correct the game shouldn't rely on the player to micromanage everything, it should allow us to micromanage things if we feel its worth it. Both are important to make the game feel solid on its own but also fun for the player to actually play.

For example in warband the lords could function on their own, but you could also suggest an action for them. This is seen as too much micromanagement for bannerlord.
I have the impression that the industry in general is not keen on making simulations anymore.

Yeah I feel the same way. At some point in the 2010s everyone just gave up making simulated games and replaced the dynamic systems with static abstractions. Paradox is probably the most extreme example, but Total War, civilization, cities skylines and any number of games have followed suit. Every game feels like cookie clicker now.

I think the reason is that some psychoanalyst or game theorist or whatever realised that you make games much more addictive if you provide a steady and predictable dripfeed of positive reinforcement, as opposed to an uneven and complex system of reinforcement you might get from a simulation. One of the top paradox people openly admitted this at one point. I think it's for the same reason that this idea has filtered to the rest of the game industry.

It's kind of infuriating, but it's just a by-product of how little time games have to make an impression.


Many times they say it's complicated they don't refer to the actual implementation of features being complicated, but to features themselves being too complex and them not adhering to the vision the developers have for the game. So in that sense, no, they're not bad at programming, it's more a matter of vision and taste.

Other times they say the implementation is actually too complicated and it's not worth the development time because it would take too long and take resources from higher priorities. Could they implement it, eventually? Probably. So again, they're not bad at programming by this example. But here are two more possible situations:

Either 1) their estimation of how much time they would have to be spend on a project is correct, and it would take a similar amount of time for another company to do the same in the same circumstances (working on multiple facets of the game with the same amount of staff and having same priorities, so not modding, because modders are free to do just one task and there's thousands of them...). In this case they're not bad at programming because they assumed the work needed is right. They know they can do it, it would just take time, as some things do.

Or, 2) their estimation is wrong, and another company facing the same circumstances and priorities would make it a lot quicker than they themselves could do it. (while still delivering the same prioritized features overall). In this case I'd personally say it's just that the developers are not experienced and still need to learn things. Or, their estimation guessing game is not that good (we can't know unless they actually do it). Even if they take a bit longer, I still wouldn't consider that "bad at programming", just currently inefficient because of lack of experience or poor management overall.

All in all, I didn't see another company make Mount and Blade 2, so until that happens I'll just say they know their stuff, even with some mistakes and delays here and there. It really all depends on how you define "bad" after all. For me "bad" means they really can't do it. But from their sayings what we are getting is that for them it is "not worth doing". If they clearly said: "We don't know how to do this" and if this would be a recurring thing, and if the game wouldn't see any progress, then saying they're bad at programming would seem valid to me.
Some of the code is interesting, some of it is unnecessarely complicated for what it does (at least given what we can observe) and some of it is genuine spaghetti.


Sergeant at Arms
They cant even do a simple thing like AI pathing.

Also in MP there honestly are some examples of bad programming but also very bad testing. Imagine releasing a profanity filter and you forget to include capital letters but also censor normal words like competitive and harassment. Don't forget the atrocious update plan for MP where they introduce gamebreaking mechanics/bugs for months on end and refuse to rollback anything, but that is more management focused again.


MP is poor all round. if the mp devs were told they could start over and do what they want I don't have faith it would turn out much better. in the posts we get back from mp devs (which we all appreciate!) they don't really understand why their game is bad.


Sergeant at Arms
Companies don't invest in game AI because it's time-consuming, expensive, and not immediately noticeable, it's much simpler to use graphics to give a game a more modern look, the problem with AI is that it has to be worked separately for each game , and balanced, changing one parameter in a given aspect can affect all the others, and force you to redo a job, which at times had already taken a long time.
That's why we have several graphics engines and graphics technologies, different games can use it, but not a single AI engine. I suppose.
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All in all, I didn't see another company make Mount and Blade 2,
As of yet no company, not even TaleWorlds, has technically made a Mount and Blade 2.
so until that happens I'll just say they know their stuff, even with some mistakes and delays here and there.
I cannot remember, was it five years here and six there or six here and five there?

TW Press Release where they mention starting in 2010.
Dev Blog with someone hired specifically to work on Bannerlord in 2010.


Mixed bag really. Programming in general is full of mistakes and you have to have a process to minimize those. I'd say project management has been below average. Developers I'd guess they have some above average but mostly a mix of average/below. Some of the vision is bad (oversimplifying things that don't need it), though at the same time some of the things they've prioritized have made a big difference without people really giving them credit.

Overall, I'd say they have had surprisingly good vision, with poor project management, average to poor developers and above average persistence(they seem to get things wrong or break things, yet iteratively stuff keeps improving quite a lot). Oh and abysmal starting community communication though it has improved somewhat.


I just don't get how project managing can be so bad. It shouldnt be so hard to find out what the people want. Of course this forum is very small considered how many play Bannerlord, but why not just start by going to nexus mods and sort by popular? Implement the most endorsed stuff, much of it should be relatively easy i reckon.

Also, if pathfinding is so hard to do, why not just simplify sieges a bit? Honestly at this point i would welcome and update that just made stairs into what Warband had, and siege towers maybe having stairs like the city castle stuff where archers shoot from


Grandmaster Knight
One of the top paradox people openly admitted this at one point. I think it's for the same reason that this idea has filtered to the rest of the game industry.
I believe you, but do you have a link handy? A quick five minute google with some of the terms didn't bring anything relevant up.
I have the impression that the industry in general is not keen on making simulations anymore..
MicroProse is back with a vengeance. I've been playing HighFleet lately and it is interesting mix of action and strategy, with a lot of simulation elements. Any game where I'm firing long-range anti-ship missiles based on intercepted communications and radio direction finding before diving into a straight-up SHUMP to finish off the survivors is bound to be unique in a lot of ways.
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