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Good Bye Dev Branch - Marek's blog Post regarding the future Release System of Space Engineers

Discussion in 'General' started by Commander Rotal, Mar 14, 2017.

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  1. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    http://blog.marekrosa.org/2017/03/changes-to-space-engineers-release_14.html

    Short version: Dev Branch is going away, Stable will receive Minor and Major Updates, with Minor Updates remaining weekly and containing critical bugfixes, while Major Updates have no set scedule and will include more thoroughly tested features to keep the game running nicely.

    Good Guy @Xocliw just told us on Stream that an additional feature of the new system will be a ROLLBACK system where every Major Update will be saved and available as rollback. He seems.... 85% sure that this is happening; we'll know tomorrow. Xocs, please confirm when you have the time?

    There's also some teasers of the terrible new HUD that is pretty much everything i feared and worse - white text/symbols on a grey-blue-ish transparent background. My colorblind eyes are NOT happy about that. They also made the toolbar smaller to make it even harder to distuingish the already hard to see block icons. Sure hope there's a transparency slider...
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  2. Sarekh Senior Engineer

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    1,175
    Aye, HUD is not really eye-friendly. But when he says "...a nice addition to the new HUD is that it is fully moddable and can be customized per cockpit or helmet...." I expect that we can adapt contrast, opaqueness and colour ingame, should I not?
     
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  3. Hotshot Jimmy Senior Engineer

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    I'm sure they'll get around to making a coloublind filter for the game at somepoint. I think the HUD looks better than what we currently have.
     
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  4. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    I hope the new release system would bring a bit calm to the game. Seemed decent to me.
     
  5. PyreStarite Junior Engineer

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    There are always modded huds.
     
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  6. Harrekin Master Engineer

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    No actual "new gameplay features" confirmed.

    :(
     
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  7. fourthquantum Senior Engineer

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    Now that the HUD's modifiable, if you don't like it then I'm sure there will be a mod that changes it to the way you prefer. Personally I like the new HUD, it's better than the old one by far.
     
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  8. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    4,975
    Good Guy @Xocliw just told us on Stream that an additional feature of the new system will be a ROLLBACK system where every Major Update will be saved and available as rollback. He seems.... 85% sure that this is happening; we'll know tomorrow. Xocs, please confirm when you have the time?
     
  9. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    Did he say anything about how long they will be saved?
     
  10. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    No, but it sounded implied to be saved forever.
     
  11. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    HUD

    Pros: less of the screen real estate is now used. That means more of the world is visible.
    There are indicator bars for things like health, O2, etc. That means you can check your vitals at a glance.
    Many of the features that were text are now icons. This means makes it easier for localizing for different and future languages.
    Promised that the HUD will be moddable.

    Not seen:
    Toolbar versus cockpits or flight seats. What can and can't we see of the cockpit and possibly adjacent LCD and Text Panels. There might have to be redesigns when attaching a text panel to the outside of a fighter cockpit.
    Altimeter and horizon. The new HUD feature a horizon feature. However, having it on screen (white lines) was helpful with an altimeter on screen (needed to be moved over IMHO).


    Cons:
    Color scheme of the new HUD is a bit drab.
    New toolbar icons are still drab and hard to distinguish.
    Not sure if status lights will change color or just be same drab blue/grey and white.
    No status as to amount of player inventory used (as far as I could tell).

    Suggestions:
    Scribble strips above each toolbar icon that are user definable in the G menu. Remembering what every instance of a programmable block does in every ship can be a bit tedious. Having a few characters of description above them would be a helpful reminder.

    CHANGES TO DEV AND STABLE BRANCH

    Okay, the little experiment in running two versions is over. In practice it wasn't that great. I think it created more overhead for devs and annoyance for players.

    WHEN would a change filter down to stable? WHY were the same bugs in dev filtering down to stable?

    Being able to roll back to a prior version will be nice. However, it will be a version that Keen picks rather than all versions.

    I'm not adverse to this, but I hope they make it EASIER to have multiple versions installed on the machine. This will be a bit brutal for multiplayer as a major release may have several bugs that are severe for mutliplayer while a minor release might fix or minimize those bugs but introduce others. We'll have to see how this works out.


    CLOSED TESTING

    In the wake of our complaints, Keen has decided to increase the amount and type of testing done on releases. This will come in the form of a closed and probably anonymous testing group. This could be a help or a major problem. It depends on how they select the testing group from the community. If it's a nepotism thing then we're fucked. If they look for different play styles or assign different testers specific blocks or functionality to always test as a priority, it will be helpful. Everyone trying to test every feature... that would be a bit much. People having areas of expertise: awesome.

    I hope they also share blueprints with each other and possibly the community of testing grids that look for specific problems or possible stress testing. Example: a mobile grid with merges, rotors, pistons, connectors, and landing gear to test for possible interactions when connecting/disconnecting grids from any of these.

    A library of official testing tools (grids) would be great. We could show the QA team exactly where Klang gave his bad-touch on the testing dolly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  12. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    I put forward any and all of my clang related shenanigans, I've seen the Lighter sides of what the lord can offer, through much ritual, sacrifice, tribute, the occasional folk dance and arcane magic (knowledge....) Great things can be done that oddly enough don't invoke clang...
     
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  13. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    ZEALOT!
     
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  14. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    Better a zealot than a heretic!
     
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  15. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    @Ronin1973 The CTG isn't new, it has existed for years. And the post doesn't say anything about increasing the roster.

    I have no idea how they choose them but from whom I know is in and whom I suspect to be it looks like a mix of publicity and randomness. The members are not supposed to be public knowledge so I won't go into detail, but some of the YouTubers aren't exactly subtle about it...All I know is nobody has knocked on MY door yet.
     
  16. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    670
    Thanks for the post. I never would have seen that if you didn't make this thread. I like what I read in the update.....especially what they're doing with updates :p
     
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  17. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,649
    CTG has been dead for years. It existed before KSH hired more staff (actual Testers). It was not a mythical cool kids club because it didn't care about member opinions - it just needed manpower to test updates. @Skeloton is a known person who was in CTG. IIRC one bug that he found, which never got to the real game, removed all mount points and caused ships to fall apart into individual blocks.

    As we can see from Marek's blog, KSH (or He) likes to experiment with various management, development, and testing methods. I would guess that his referenced testing group is still made up of KSH staff. He likely invented the "closed testing group" phrase in the first place and likes to say/type it, but probably doesn't mean using some community group for it.

    The "youtubers" are more likely to be part of an affiliate/promotional program (marketing).
     
  18. REDSHEILD Junior Engineer

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    888
    They're basically switching to the way Medieval Engineers has been doing updates for some time.

    Which is what they should have done some time ago for SE, too.
     
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  19. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    4,801

    A good idea spreads. I think the experiment in stable/dev was a good try and lessons were learned. I feel that the system was a failure as even the names of the branches were admittedly (by Keen) a misnomer. The stable branch was never stable. Known bugs still filtered in on the regular to stable from dev and we just watched as the slow train kept plodding along... but now with TWO versions to worry about rather than one.

    I would hope that Keen recruits more community members to test their builds. Players with thousands of hours of experience are going to look for things that a vanilla tester might miss; especially the obvious stuff that becomes the bane of receiving a new build.

    Customer satisfaction is an important aspect and the game is live and in the hands of millions, even if it's (arguably) "beta." I don't think you can approach it the same way as you would a stock title.
     
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  20. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    Looks like the area around the toolbar got big? Quite a bit of empty space just to make the gravity indicator part of it.

    Hoping somebody creates a directional velocity indicator mod and Keen implements it.

    Battery fixes when?

    ME still gets weekly updates. SE is now going to be just whenever.
     
  21. Malware Master Engineer

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    No, the CTG has not been dead.
     
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  22. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    You know, i'm always happy when someone quotes me and i get that little alarm-dingy but can we return to the days where we only got that alarm when someone actually WANTED to quote me? The new forum quoting system also produces loooong posts real fast...

    SE will still get weekly updates, they're just now going to be mostly "Minor" updates (i.e. critical bugfixes, optimization, adding new bugs, etc). "Major" updates (not REALLY seeing any features comming that i would call "Major"; @Xocliw maybe "Feature Updates" would be a more suitable term?) won't have a scedule and will (probably) just replace a Minor update whenever a feature is ready for implementation and wider scale testing. And while i'm not entirely on board with the new system (it still keeps the problems of a weekly update scedule, but at least it removes the problems of a second branch, which is a godssent) i DO like them finally taking their time for proper testing. I mean, yes, i like to joke about wondering whether they even have inhouse testing, but considering how little time they have to test the actual updates they might as well not have. I'll gladly test SE on regular gameplay bugs, that's what i consider my job, but Keen doesn't need us for some of the more... obvious bugs.
     
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  23. iN5URG3NT Senior Engineer

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    1,132
    Well this is somewhat encouraging. Still too early to tell whether it will lead to real improvement, but an acknowledgement is at least a start.

    "All of these facts lead to the conclusion that we still need to update and improve our approaches for both development and management. We need to keep backward compatibility for thousands of mods out there as well as continue to push development forward. Even one small innocent change can lead to broken gameplay and enormous negative feedback. The requirements for game testing are exponentially higher than ever before and also, due to the increasing number of competing products, players demands are increasing too."

    You think he's talking about us? :D

    I quite like the new HUD, although I agree larger, clearer icons would be good.

    The new update system is much better too.

    Still a long way to go to make SE a proper "game" though.

    Ah, the CTG. If you've stuck around the community long enough, you will know somebody who knows somebody who has participated. Everyone knows the really cool kids are in the Space Illuminati though. :D
     
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  24. Malware Master Engineer

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    Agreed, and I keep forgetting to clean out the quote - not to mention it's even harder on a phone...
     
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  25. Hotshot Jimmy Senior Engineer

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    One eye on quotes on a phone and one eye on work. Triple threat over here :p with quotations.
     
  26. hellokeith Apprentice Engineer

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    Space Engineers: A New Hope
     
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  27. Syncaidius Junior Engineer

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    824
    The new HUD looks great IMO but, it better have a greatly improved chatbox for MP, because the current one is absolutely terrible.

    I never understood why we needed an entirely separate chat UI to broadcast to all/faction when it could have been done inside a tabbed chatbox instead. Making it tabbed would also provide the opportunity to add/show in-game PM's properly too as well as mission/scenario messages in a kind of "events" tab.

    Also a scrollbar would be nice.... its a major pita in MP when you're digging through your ships inventory. Meanwhile someone is taking to you and you miss everything they've said.

    Lastly..... the font of the current one is damned huge. It only fits about 6 - 8 lines of text, yet takes up almost a quarter of your view.

    /chatbox rant.
     
  28. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

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    1,551
    I think the new process shows a lot of promise.

    Having weekly bug-fix minor releases makes sense and takes the pressure off that can come from expectations of major feature updates. Really...there isn't going to be much more of that sort of thing, and having more of a structure to bring that in will help to smooth the process in general.

    As far as the HUD goes, I like it. I understand the issues for the colourblind, but also am of the opinion that it's a minority of people with that issue, and if solving that is just a question of colour choice, then it can be done with absolute ease at any point. Ideally....there should be a 'slider' or options for colours as the chosen blue is a bit similar to the current chosen skybox. It's all shades of blue. Should be more a focus on the actual layout and functionality. Those things will be harder to alter without mods ..... and lets be honest...a new HUD should work for us all without needing mods. Mods are for people wanting to change the look for other reasons, not making something workable.

    CTG ... makes sense to broaden the testing base. Let the Keen in-house team test the specifics, then roll it out when they think it works to a larger and more diverse group. No value in just giving 'mates' the task as you need testing, not mucking about. The more varied the gamer's style the better. Online...Offline...PVP...PVE...People who mess with scripts, modders, mod users and vanilla fanatics. Keen can't cover all those bases. Paying testers to do that would cost a lot....so why not get it done for free by 'volunteers'? Makes perfect sense to me.
     
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  29. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    4,801
    Having the community in the testing is a bit better. There are people that like to stretch the limits of the game by building epic size ships. There are those that are fanatics about using rotors and pistons (walking robots, transforming ships), there are more examples of styles of play. But each one can contribute considerable amounts of FEEDBACK to developers... the eyes and ears so to speak.

    Perhaps mega-builds will never run smooth at 1.0. But knowing where the limits are is useful. Knowing what conditions lead to better frame-rates and sim-speeds in epic builds gives information as to how expensive (in CPU) certain blocks really are in a game when used in a large scale. No tester is going to rebuild a 10 million block ship. But someone who loves them will.
     
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  30. Commander Rotal Master Engineer

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    Well, that'd depend on your definition of "running". Unless you use an iso-ton of Conveyors you can get ridiciliously huge builds out of Armor blocks without SimSpeed dropping... as long as it remains stationary. If you're building a starbase, that's good enough.
    As for the 10 million blocks.... i guess if you use exclusively armor blocks and add NASA-levels of RAM you might get close when the game releases. I think the biggest i ever got was 3 million? If Occlusion Culling and moving Physics to GPU could increase the block death limit... 10 million might never happen but it isn't as far out as it sounds, provided you only want to do it for the sake of doing it. Would probably instacrash your game, your PC and probably your pet birds if you added a single Conveyor, though.
     
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