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  • Opt-in Prerelease for 1.1!


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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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    29 minutes ago, Red Iron Crown said:

    I don't see any reason to think that Steam users will make better testers than store users. If you think none of them will be "on the forums a week into the opt-in beta posting screenshots and bragging about playing 1.1 instead of filing bug reports" then please tell us why you think that is so.

    I don't see why it's wrong for store users to want the same opportunity to help test the prereleases as Steam customers. 

    It's not wrong for them to want that opportunity. What's wrong is reacting as though Squad is just arbitrarily singling out Steam players for preferential treatment when the fact is that it's just not feasible to bring non-Steam players into the opt-in at this time.

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    33 minutes ago, Speadge said:

    it has been said in the OP that it is not about treating steamers other than the storers, but that it is about the infrastructure and squad just cant handle another distribution method for "nightly-builds" to such a big community.

     

    2 minutes ago, Starwaster said:

    It's not wrong for them to want that opportunity. What's wrong is reacting as though Squad is just arbitrarily singling out Steam players for preferential treatment when the fact is that it's just not feasible to bring non-Steam players into the opt-in at this time.

    Please take my post in the context of a response to the post I quoted. Accusing people wanting the opportunity that other users have of just wanting to play the game and not doing any testing is not supportable, there's no reason to think that Steam users will be any better at that than store users. There is no reason to assume that people who want early access will not be good testers based on where they purchased the game.

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    1 hour ago, comeonnow said:

    It's clear that's what people who are complaining want - they want to play the game 2 weeks early.  They don't want to hunt down and report bugs.  These same people, if they were on steam, would be on the forums a week into the opt-in beta posting screenshots and bragging about playing 1.1 instead of filing bug reports.  They want to misuse the system for their own desires.  And because they can't do that, something like jealousy is causing them to lash out in hopes of stopping the opt-in entirely - assuming incorrectly that everyone else is just like them and wants to join the opt-in beta for personal gratification rather than actually hunt for bugs and help Squad out.

    The devs shouldn't cave in to this pressure, the idea to crowd source the last leg of bug testing will almost certainly result in a better release.

    That's a incredible amount of assumptions and generalisations you managed to post there... Please don't speak on behalf of a diverse group of people that only share that they bought KSP from the store instead of steam and are passionate about the game.

    I bought KSP from the store (since I wanted to support the devs) and have no problem waiting two weeks to see how 1.1 will look like. On the other hand, I am sad I don't have the opportunity to help Squad in improving the game I love so much... Contributing to this beta would've given me the feeling that I took a (minuscule) part in actual KSP development, so can I fully understand that some of my peers are quite sad/passionate/vocal about being excluded.

    Edited by Yakuzi
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    Once the 'closed' experimentals has been completed and the 'open test' begins the game and it's features will effectively be available to anyone to view and play with should they so wish.  Does this mean that the 'veil of secrecy' will then be fully lifted and that squad will be posting reports, details and images etc and that those taking part in the test will also be free to talk about it and post on the forums?  This will also allow those of us not participating in the open test (by choice or otherwise) to at least join in to a degree and ask questions and raise any concerns or issues from, at least, a position of 'some' knowledge.

    I did read that a dedicated temporary forum/thread was to be created for the test, but will it be open to all or limited to those testing to communicate specifics about the test itself?

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    3 minutes ago, pandaman said:

    Once the 'closed' experimentals has been completed and the 'open test' begins the game and it's features will effectively be available to anyone to view and play with should they so wish.

    Not true, only steam users will be able to do this, that is what all the hubbub is about.
     

    4 minutes ago, pandaman said:

    I did read that a dedicated temporary forum/thread was to be created for the test, but will it be open to all or limited to those testing to communicate specifics about the test itself?

    It is public and open.

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    4 minutes ago, pandaman said:

    Once the 'closed' experimentals has been completed and the 'open test' begins the game and it's features will effectively be available to anyone to view and play with should they so wish.  Does this mean that the 'veil of secrecy' will then be fully lifted and that squad will be posting reports, details and images etc and that those taking part in the test will also be free to talk about it and post on the forums?  This will also allow those of us not participating in the open test (by choice or otherwise) to at least join in to a degree and ask questions and raise any concerns or issues from, at least, a position of 'some' knowledge.

    The devs have been saying things like "We won't give any official performance numbers until we get experimental data"

    My guess is towards the end of closed experimentals they'll start teasing us. It's been stated there won't be any restrictions on the people using the open beta, they'll be allowed to stream and post until the cows come home.

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    So what is the means of getting on the list of people in the steam beta?  I missed the window of time to get in on the Experimentals group.  I'd really like to get as much of a headstart as possible on making the kOS mod become KSP 1.1 compatible.

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    Just now, Steven Mading said:

    So what is the means of getting on the list of people in the steam beta?  I missed the window of time to get in on the Experimentals group.  I'd really like to get as much of a headstart as possible on making the kOS mod become KSP 1.1 compatible.

    Have KSP through Steam. That's it.

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    Just now, Steven Mading said:

    So what is the means of getting on the list of people in the steam beta?  I missed the window of time to get in on the Experimentals group.  I'd really like to get as much of a headstart as possible on making the kOS mod become KSP 1.1 compatible.

    All you'll have to do is allow Steam to download the beta. It won't be available for a few weeks, but they'll make an announcement when it's ready.

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    I don't think steam users are any better at testing.  There will be plenty who selfishly abuse the opt-in beta for their own enjoyment instead of actually helping with the testing.  The point is, it's ridiculous to be so jealous of those people that you want to cancel the opt-in bug testing, which will just make the release take longer and/or contain more bugs.

    To the people genuinely interested in helping out the development, you need to accept the fact that the developers are working within their means.  Steam is a nice easy way for them to implement an open beta.  Their storefront isn't.  Pressuring the devs to do it differently is setting up an obstacle in their path.  Complaints just make things harder for them.  If you really want to be part of the development, start by adopting a team-first attitude.  Then realize that you'll have to accommodate the developers wishes.  In this case they are taking advantage of the steam platform to get the beta out to a lot of people for cheap.  Either do it their way, or don't take part in the testing phase.

    Are you going to volunteer for a soup kitchen, and then complain that only the cooks get to taste the soup?

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    @Red Iron Crown @mcirish3 Pretty sure the only reason steam users will have access to the Exp version is due to the fact that steam has the infrastructure to support round the clock updates whereas the launcher will and can only update when launched.
    And as far as which is better for the developers, really doesn't matter because even if you buy their game on steam, they still sell merch on their site and that's a great way to support them if you like T-shirts of the games you play or desktop nick-knacks.

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    39 minutes ago, mcirish3 said:

    Not true, only steam users will be able to do this, that is what all the hubbub is about.

    Agreed.

    Though my point was that the 'option' to purchase on steam is open to anyone, so in that respect it is very much out in the public domain.

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    1 hour ago, Gnoyze said:

    @Red Iron Crown @mcirish3 Pretty sure the only reason steam users will have access to the Exp version is due to the fact that steam has the infrastructure to support round the clock updates whereas the launcher will and can only update when launched.
    And as far as which is better for the developers, really doesn't matter because even if you buy their game on steam, they still sell merch on their site and that's a great way to support them if you like T-shirts of the games you play or desktop nick-knacks.

    We both know this very very well.  NOT the point at all.  It is the fact that Squad has gone back on their word that has, me at least, upset.  Again you point to the fact that Steam users are infact being treated better, and KSP store users would have been better off showing their support through other merchandise, instead of buying the game through the KSp store.

    A. How were they to know that at the time?
    B. That would mean spending extra money over and above the cost of the game, that they did not necessarily have.

    42 minutes ago, pandaman said:

    Agreed.

    Though my point was that the 'option' to purchase on steam is open to anyone, so in that respect it is very much out in the public domain.

    DId you just say go purchase on steam if you want to be treated better?  So you admit that Squad "did a number" on users who purchased the game via the KSP store and other sources.  These users purchased under the assumption that they would be treated the same as everyone else becuase squad very clearly said they would would be treated the same as everyone else.  But now it seems their word is garbage.


      Your answer to this is go spend another $40 on the game on steam!?

    Why would you buy a second product from someone who just betrayed your trust?

    Edited by mcirish3
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    The more I think about this business, the more it bothers me.

    I bought the game through Steam. Whatever early access there is for Steam users, as it stands now, I'll be able to download, play, report bugs, whatever. So that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is Squad going back on an explicit promise that Steam and KSP Store users would be treated equally and get access to new versions of the game at the same time. I'm worried because this sets a dangerous precedent. Sure, I got lucky this time and ended up in the "privileged" group that's benefiting from this particular decision, but what about next time Squad goes back on their word? Just cause I'm not getting shortchanged this time doesn't mean I never will in the future.

    To be perfectly honest, I'd rather have 1.1 later, and buggier, if it means Squad keeps their promises. I've been waiting for 1.1 for months, another couple weeks won't kill me. Neither will the (probably inevitable, open beta or not) 1.1.1 hot fix.

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    2 hours ago, Red Iron Crown said:

     

    Please take my post in the context of a response to the post I quoted. Accusing people wanting the opportunity that other users have of just wanting to play the game and not doing any testing is not supportable, there's no reason to think that Steam users will be any better at that than store users. There is no reason to assume that people who want early access will not be good testers based on where they purchased the game.

    I'm taking it in the context of the overarching conversation which is very much about exactly what I said. This thing about whether or not steam players are or are not good/better testers is a tiny fraction of the conversation which has devolved into entitlement and acrimonious twisting of words into things that people didn't really say. This thread has about run its course and nothing constructive is coming out of it, don't you think?

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    4 hours ago, Red Iron Crown said:

    Oh yeah, it's pretty obvious that Steam is being given preferential treatment any way you cut it.

    *tears*

    If you're going to complain, which you welcome to do, would you do so under a personal account please.  I am unable to silence your tears because of your mod status.  Talk about an unprofessional conflict of interest.. Maybe @SQUAD could do something about that.

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    15 hours ago, Vanamonde said:

    Once again, please do not attack each other over this. 

    I am not sure why his being a mod strips him of the right to have an opinion.  Also if he was not a  mod in what way would you silence him?
     

    Edited by mcirish3
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    So, the two options being a) Steam users get to test beta software for a couple of weeks, guaranteeing some new bugs will be found, and b) no public testing is available at all, which would you choose? I'm thankful that people will be testing even if I can't, and I know in no time I'll have 1.1 on my machine.

    This really feels like a social experiment, I hope someone is taking notes. It's a video game guys, relax.

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    Nice work, SQUAD!  I'm looking forward to seeing  what 1.1's like, although the way my life's going at the moment, I'm not sue I'll find time to play very often until next winter :-}

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    36 minutes ago, Number R09 said:

    Talk about an unprofessional conflict of interest.. Maybe @SQUAD could do something about that.

     

    All users are allowed to express their opinions in a respectful way, regardless of status. Internal dialog is also important, and you are free to disagree with a moderator even though he/she is a moderator. Again, it's all about respectfulness. And if a moderator is abusing their authority, users are free to report them to other moderators. Be aware, however, that attacking people in baseless manner (moderator or not) is not acceptable.

     

    Regardless of all that, Squad is acutely aware of the frustration felt by all players no matter the circumstances of disagreement. In the instance of this thread, Squad is already aware of the frustration and discontent expressed by non-Steam users about the state of pre-release.

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    13 minutes ago, Number R09 said:

    If you're going to complain, which you welcome to do, would you do so under a personal account please.  I am unable to silence your tears because of your mod status.  Talk about an unprofessional conflict of interest.. Maybe @SQUAD could do something about that.

    I will not violate the rules and make a duplicate account for myself, no. I'm sorry that my status as a moderator prevents you from putting me on ignore, I'll ask that you ignore me the old fashioned way if you so choose.

    As for a conflict of interest, I think you're misusing the term. I am not using my moderator privileges to silence disagreement with me or otherwise intimidate other users (and in fact I have recused myself from moderating this thread). I am a volunteer who helps with some functions on the forum, but before that I am a KSP player and community member. It is in that capacity that I'm posting here today, just as any other community member can.

    As for "tears", well I have access to the prerelease if I want it (my store purchase was before the Steam transfer deadline and I am also an experimental tester). This is not about me personally. This is about treating paying customers differently based on where they bought the game, when it was explicitly stated in the past that point of purchase made no difference. This is about how our community will be affected when half (or more) of the player base is playing a newer version and sharing their experiences publicly with other paying customers that do not have legal access to it. I'm trying to prevent the tears that are coming.

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    30 minutes ago, Red Iron Crown said:

    This is about treating paying customers differently based on where they bought the game, when it was explicitly stated in the past that point of purchase made no difference.

    I tried to use the "Wayback Machine" to find the Squad thread from that time but I came up empty handed, any chance you have a way finding it?  or at least remember the exact date of the announcement?  I think in the context  of this discussion it would be helpful to have an exact quote. Not that I think it will do any good but to make a point.

    Edited by mcirish3
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