10/6 @ 5:55pm EST - Today was mainly bug fixes and optimizations. A patch came out earlier which included the following things:
- Performance improvements
- Diogo's new water (now with proper reflections)
- New texture for the tool cupboard (see here, detail here)
- Fix for some door fuckery (should see less desyncing now)
8:36pm EST - A server and client update just came out before which appears to have improved performance, fixed campfires, made decay timers work properly, and fixed rocket damage. Expect more fixes tomorrow.
3:34pm EST - The update last Thursday was the most unstable release of recent memory. Working through the weekend, the team released several patches in an attempt to regain some semblance of stability. Adding salt to the wound, several of these patches caused buildings to collapse, forcing many server owners to wipe multiple times.
Although there are still some bugs at play (decay, fires, rockets, memory leak, etc.), things do appear to be getting better. Also, Garry apologized to the community yesterday in the devblog 80 postmortem, and posted some polls to gather community feedback. Most unanimous of all the results, players would like an in game reporting system, and that is exactly what Garry is working on today…
In game bug reporting
A custom, ingame bug reporting system has been added to the development branch. Activated by pressing F7, this dialog allows players to type a short description and also sends important debug information like system specs, steamid, and more. Here is what it looks like:
If you're wondering how to get on the dev branch, find instructions here.
An ingame system is a step in the right direction, however, I don’t think that alone will cut it. Garry has said several times that he does not want an in house QA team. Feeling it is an antiquated way of doing things, he would rather rely on the players to report bugs. Although I do agree, employing a large team just for QA doesn’t make sense, there is a fundamental breakdown which occurs when you solely rely on the players to report bugs: Static.
Take support.facepunchstudios.com. Launched earlier this year, it seemed like an amazing way for the community to communicate with developers and prioritize bugs. And, for the first week or so, it was. Then static took over; inefficient, low quality, duplicate reports flooded the system, overwhelming it to the point where a properly reported high priority bug became a needle in a haystack. Subsequently, this tool was rendered useless.
Now to the ingame system. There are some definite benefits over a web based solution: easy access encourages more people to report bugs; client specs are automatically captured so the devs are more informed. That's great, but it doesn’t solve static. How do you keep up with the massive influx of bug reports? What is Facepunch putting in place to ensure this system doesn’t simply go the way of the previous ones?
Although a full team just for QA would be overkill, the benefits of hiring one person to triage bugs, recreate and gather information, then deliver priority issues to the appropriate developer could be profound.
Some may say, “We don’t need that, it is the responsibility of the developers to manage.” To that I say: The heart of development is creation -- and fixing bugs along the way. Triaging thousands of reports is a distraction.
Given polling the community is so hot right now, let’s do that: