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  • Opt-in Prerelease for 1.1!


    Ted
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    Hi all,

     

    As I'm sure many of you read, 1.1 is to enter Experimentals this week! It's a significant update to KSP in terms of just how much has changed under the hood. We've done a complete overhaul of the user interface from a conglomerate of interface systems to Unity 5's native system. Aside from that, an entirely new system for the wheels had to be adopted due to the major changes Unity made to the native wheels system, and the list goes on!

     

    Quality Assurance is the most bare bone part of the entire testing process and is performed by around five to ten QA testers pretty much constantly. The focussed testing and efficiency mean that instead of going through the motions of the game as a normal player would, QA tends to identify areas of the new content that would usually be prone to issue and hunt for bugs there. This cuts down the time taken to find issues by a significant margin and means that the content is tested more evenly – playtesting can sometimes skip completely past some aspects of a feature. Furthermore, this method allows the testers to work closely with the developers and compare exactly what they intended to occur for specific cases, to what actually occurs – this is where QA becomes more about feedback.

     

    QA is a lot more than just finding bugs. It’s about having the knowledge of the game (especially how it works under-the-hood), the comprehension of the ideas behind the features in the game, the understanding of what a developer wants the feature to turn out like and how you can assist them in making it happen. Furthermore, it’s about condensing all of that into concise and objectively written issue reports.

     

    The QA process on 1.1 has been going for a long time, but it has been incredibly fruitful: crushing 516 issues in 107 builds! There is still more to do however, in Experimentals we hope to only increase the stability of the game, add polish to areas and carry out some bug fixing as always!

     

    The Experimental Team comprises about 100 testers. All of these testers are volunteers who contribute their spare time to playtest the game. They are normal players, sourced from the various communities via a simple application process. Often and understandably they don’t have as much spare time to devote to testing as the QA Testers and thus there are significantly more Experimental Testers ‘signed up’ than we need at any one time. This works in everyone’s favour as it keeps the activity level throughout an Experimental Phase and doesn’t put pressure on the testers while they also deal with their personal and professional lives.

     

    After we have an update go through QA, as detailed above, it is hopefully free from major issues and each feature has had any needed major improvements and refinements carried out; the update is in a feature-complete state. However, many components of a feature may still be unpolished, such as part balancing, or the performance of newer UI on different platforms. This is where Experimental Testing comes in and assists the developers in cleaning up the remaining feedback issues.

    An Experimental Testing phase typically lasts around a couple of weeks, though it is highly dependent on the number of issues that arise and how much further development is required to reach a release state. At the end of the Experimental phase, there are still a fair amount of issues on the tracker that are still open, but it’s important to note that these issues are typically minor ones, ones that aren’t in the scope of the update or simply issues that would take too much time and resources to resolve.

     

    This time around though, things will get even more interesting after Experimental testing! Given that update 1.1 will be unlike any update we’ve seen to date in terms of widespread changes to pretty much any significant and underlying system in the game we're planning to provide an optional pre-release branch of update 1.1. This opt-in branch will run for just under two full weeks before the targeted release date of the final update.

     

    The nature and extent of the changes in the update mean that many plugins and add-ons will require refactoring, updating and at the very least a recompile. Of course modders cannot do this overnight and on the flick of a switch, especially with an update of this scope. Typically a select group of particularly KSP-savvy modders would be given access to the new update to help us find bugs, but the extent of the changes this time around is such that we feel we should open it up to everyone.

     

    The pre-release branch will be opt-in via Steam only, and won't be available via the KSP Store. We really wanted to make the pre-release branch available on all distribution channels but given the frequency of builds, the size of those builds, and the necessity for everyone to be on the latest version for testing it proved to be impossible to facilitate this on the KSP store.

     

    To facilitate discussions of the pre-release branch we’ll be opening up a temporary forum for feedback. Additionally, a separate section will be made available on the bug tracker to report bugs on.

     

    Please feel free to ask any and all questions you have!

     

     

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    A simple disclaimer at the top of the article(instead of the end) saying that it applies only to Steam users would have saved me the minor heartache.  Alas, the damage is done, and I'm still alive.  Life goes on, and I have no problem waiting.  Still disappointed though.  :(

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    Well I'm rather pleased with this development! It'd be good to have it rolled out on future updates - dependent on people not complaining about pre-releases being a tad ropey.

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    Thanks SQUAD for this thread.  I was hoping to read about all the extra bug hunting and such, but all of a sudden this thread turned into Entitlement Fest 2016.  

     

    You are due a two-fold thanks: (1)  thank you for giving us this opportunity to help the community, and (2) thank you for this opportunity to let childish users let themselves be known so they may be added with ruthless efficiency to my IU List.

     

    Looking forward to the opt-in. :thumbsup:

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    36 minutes ago, Perry Apsis said:

    My modest proposal: Decide how many users you can afford to have downloading the product from the store, and conduct a lottery among those store users who ask for access, and give it out to that many. Many (most? almost all?) of us will lose, but I truly think it would prevent hard feelings. [...]

    Please consider that, or some similar solution.

    I don't like to quote myself, normally, but this was at the bottom of a post and I really would like Squad to see it.

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    Every time the subject of testing comes up I say this, but no one seems to listen. 

    Experimental access is not a privilege. It's a job and a hassle. It's the "gift" of running into nasty bugs before other people do, of "getting to play" with the shiny new part that doesn't work like it's supposed to yet, it's the "fun" of having to constantly update your game version so that you're not reporting a bug that's already been fixed, and it's the "reward" of occasionally having your save ruined so badly that you have to trash it and start over. Ever had a flight half-way to its destination rendered unusable because its engine was re-balanced and it no longer has enough thrust to land safely? Your best airplane's control surfaces are no longer in contact with the rest of the craft? That's testing. 

    As a moderator, I have the choice to participate in testing, and I don't. Because it's a pain in the behind. I thank the people who have the patience to do it on behalf of the rest of us, but it's not a job to be envied. 

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    13 minutes ago, Vanamonde said:

    Every time the subject of testing comes up I say this, but no one seems to listen. 

    Experimental access is not a privilege. It's a job and a hassle. It's the "gift" of running into nasty bugs before other people do, of "getting to play" with the shiny new part that doesn't work like it's supposed to yet, it's the "fun" of having to constantly update your game version so that you're not reporting a bug that's already been fixed, and it's the "reward" of occasionally having your save ruined so badly that you have to trash it and start over. Ever had a flight half-way to its destination rendered unusable because its engine was re-balanced and it no longer has enough thrust to land safely? Your best airplane's control surfaces are no longer in contact with the rest of the craft? That's testing. 

    As a moderator, I have the choice to participate in testing, and I don't. Because it's a pain in the behind. I thank the people who have the patience to do it on behalf of the rest of us, but it's not a job to be envied. 

    It's a job some of us would like to do, but will not get the opportunity to do. Plus, how is what you just described any different from the series of patches after 1.0?

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    5 minutes ago, Robotengineer said:

    It's a job some of us would like to do, but will not get the opportunity to do. Plus, how is what you just described any different from the series of patches after 1.0?

    New players and Steam users who choose not to opt in will be playing 1.0.5 instead of the newer, less stable version during that two week period. There will be 1 update/download cycle for GoG and store users instead of 5. Problem reports on the forums will be couched in the less entitled "opt-in" mentality, since anyone reporting a problem explicitly chose to look for problems.

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    6 hours ago, nosirrbro said:

    Your people are yelling at us thinking we're entitled, but you aren't either. Sure, you have it on steam, but you aren't part of the development team either. And spoiler alert, this is still going to be quite stable after months of QA and experimentalls, and I personally don't mind a few bugs

    and also, we don't win. If this wasn't here, the game would have been released two weeks earlier, we get the same slightly buggier version you have the option of, some people wait for mods, they release a couple hot fixes, and it's fine. Here, we could keep everyone happy or even happier if they at least just provided a non updating pre release on the store. And I know I'm not part of the development team but neither are you so shush.

    No, you are wrong.

    The trusted modders and a select few would still have gotten this a couple weeks early, and you'd still have to wait for 1.1 to officially release.
    They would just have a weaker bug testing force. :rolleyes:

    Edited by richfiles
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    17 minutes ago, Robotengineer said:

    but will not get the opportunity to do.

    You can always buy another copy on Steam. This game is worth it, isn't it?

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    1 minute ago, _stilgar_ said:

    You can always buy another copy on Steam. This game is worth it, isn't it?

    That is not an option for many people.

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    Just now, DuoDex said:

    That is not an option for many people.

    And they can just wait two weeks? We've been waiting for 1.1 since May 2015. Do those two more weeks even matter? If they wanted to find bugs so bad, they should've applied to be in Experimental team. 

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    5 hours ago, Qigon said:

    Wow just the reason I needed to spend the free time that I don't have

    What!?! I thought I had the trademark to "free time that I don't have™" :wink:

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    Just a quick shout out to the developers here.  You guys have made an incredible game through high levels of creativity, hard work, and talent.  Thank you for that and thank you for your game.  I'm looking forward to opting in to the 1.1 pre-release.  I understand that those who are not using the Steam platform may feel left out, but I think Ted has clearly pointed out the complications of releasing it on all the branches, while still being able to go forward fully with development.  I appreciate the dedication you have put toward this project and I know many many many others in the community who do as well.  Good luck with all your future development and in the words of Tim & Eric, "Great job!"

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    4 minutes ago, DuoDex said:

    That is not an option for many people.

    Why not?

    16 minutes ago, Vanamonde said:

    As a moderator, I have the choice to participate in testing, and I don't. Because it's a pain in the behind. I thank the people who have the patience to do it on behalf of the rest of us, but it's not a job to be envied. 

    I'm the opposite I guess - I would hate moderating, but testing is fun.  Of course, my career grew out of tinkering with machines in the eight-bit era, so I may be insufficiently tinkering-adverse for a modern person.

    I WILL be opting in on Steam to try out the fancy new bugs.

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    I realize it's fun to be ~le so edgy~ and talk about how buggy release builds are, but if you honestly think there is no difference between even marginally release-quality builds and what there is at the start of experimentals testing...you are not helping your case for why you would be a good tester.

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    Well, damn. Now I'm just curious as to how playable the pre-releases will be.

    I've learned that people tend to understate things like this (how buggy it is) so.... this should be fun to watch unfold.

    Edited by KerbonautInTraining
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    3 minutes ago, Renegrade said:

    Why not?

    Because some people had to scrape up the money to buy KSP, and there are, believe it or not, people who don't have disposable income.

    Edited by Guest
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    35 minutes ago, _stilgar_ said:

    You can always buy another copy on Steam. This game is worth it, isn't it?

    I am morally opposed to paying someone in order to work for them.

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    Just now, 5thHorseman said:

    I am morally opposed to paying someone in order to work for them.

    Are you equally opposed to working for someone for free? Because that's what testing the pre-release version is... 

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    Really neat! And I'm glad I'm on Steam :D

    I hope the Kopernicus developers are on that select modder list... Without Kopernicus the planet pack community would be dead!

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    2 minutes ago, _stilgar_ said:

    Are you equally opposed to working for someone for free? Because that's what testing the pre-release version is... 

    No. I will happily donate my time. I just won't pay a company for the privilege. My time and hopefully verbose bug reports are my payment for trying the new stuff that may or may not be buggy.

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    46 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

    New players and Steam users who choose not to opt in will be playing 1.0.5 instead of the newer, less stable version during that two week period. There will be 1 update/download cycle for GoG and store users instead of 5. Problem reports on the forums will be couched in the less entitled "opt-in" mentality, since anyone reporting a problem explicitly chose to look for problems.

    And people could have chosen to play .90 instead of the buggy 1.0 releases. I understand that Squad is trying to learn from the mistakes of 1.0 in this release by doing a public beta (something I and others advocated strongly before 1.0). Also, what is the guarantee that the 1.1 beta will take a shorter time than the time from 1.0 to 1.0.5?

    18 minutes ago, NathanKell said:

    I realize it's fun to be ~le so edgy~ and talk about how buggy release builds are, but if you honestly think there is no difference between even marginally release-quality builds and what there is at the start of experimentals testing...you are not helping your case for why you would be a good tester.

    "This time around though, things will get even more interesting after Experimental testing!" The state of the game at the beginning of experimentals has nothing to do with this argument. 

    Also, Squad should know that a majority of the people opting in aren't opting in to be helpful bug testers, they are opting in to get access to new features before other users. This will happen no matter how strongly you stress that the public beta will be buggy. 

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