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Thread: How Updates Are Made

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    How Updates Are Made

    Good news! All of the fixes that we've been talking about in the Future's End Update have been sent off for certification, which is the next step toward releasing the update to you, the players. For anyone that missed the details of what we've packed into this update, here are the complete update notes:

    I feel like this is a good time to detail out the process that is our development cycle to give you all a clear picture of how we go from making changes to getting them into your hands. Particularly, I want to highlight the differences in our new approach from the way we've historically operated.

    First up, we have the "Dev" stage, where we fix bugs and make changes that get committed to our source control system called Perforce. Each developer can "sync up" to the latest version of the in-development code and content from Perforce to make sure we are fixing issues in the most current version of the game. We also utilize a series of build machines to make "dev builds" that we playtest each day to make sure we aren't introducing new issues as we attempt to fix bugs and improve the quality of the game.

    The next stage is the "Branched" stage, where we take a snapshot of the latest version of the game that we intend to push out to all of you as an update and put it into a separate area in Perforce that's called a branch. After we've made this branch, any changes that we want in that update have to be "merged" into the branch. Historically, we continued to merge any and all bug fixes into that branch as soon as they are done, but to improve the quality and stability of our updates, we are now very selective with what we merge into the branch. This is because every time a developer fixes one thing, they run a certain level of risk of breaking something else depending on the nature of the change. Our new requirement is that it must be a very low risk change with a very high reward. For example, the only fix that made the cut for being merged into the Future's End Update is the fix for players turning invisible.

    Once we confirm that the branched version of the game is ready to be tested by interested players, we enter the "Public Test" stage, also known as PTS. Many of you participate in this public testing to help us find and fix issues that we would introduce to the live game if we don't fix them during this stage. I'd like to thank everyone that participates in this stage, because you are actively helping make the game better. One change that we are currently making is increasing the amount of time between the "Branched" stage and the "Public Test", which will help limit the number of issues that have to be fixed during this stage and ultimately lead to higher quality updates.

    After we've fixed all of the issues found during public testing, we enter the "Certification" stage, where we submit the update to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The length of this stage is entirely dependent on the internal testing schedule for each of these platforms, but this is a requirement that all games must go through. We have consistently worked with each of these companies to reduce the length of this stage as much as possible, and we continually have these conversations with them, because our internal and public testing should be sufficient. At present, this stage typically takes over 5 business days to complete.

    Finally, once we get through each platform company's certification process, we're ready to release the update to the live game. We have to coordinate and schedule the release of the update with both our internal operations team, as well as each of the platform companies.

    TL;DR: It's a long process to develop, test, and release updates. And on top of all of the other issues we've fixed, we've also fixed the issue with players turning invisible in the Future's End Update.

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