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Old August 31, 2009, 20:51   #1
Magnate
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Using nightly/dev versions

Just wanted to start a discussion about the use of nightly/dev versions and how to go about discussing them. I've seen a few threads recently which make me think that we don't all have the same attitude - I'm just wondering whether I'm in a minority or not.

(Please note that all that follows is definitely IMO only, and I don't speak for Takkaria or any other developer or maintainer.)

IMO the fact that we already have a playable beta (3.1.1.1626 - it's called a beta but it has way fewer bugs than most commercial games) means that we should all play dev versions with VERY low expectations. I know there are major issues with 3.1.0 but in general (i.e. after 3.1.1 becomes "stable") the dev versions are the third tier of the game: a stable version, a "beta" version, and the nightly/trunk versions. IMO you can expect both the first two to be not only playable but relatively bug-free (serious bugs in betas will be fixed). You can't expect the same of the dev versions - that's where major changes get tested, often in stages. It's a perfectly normal part of development if some of those changes get reverted after testing and discussion - so if you happen to play a version in the middle of that progression, it may well suck.

In a former thread (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=2095) I suggested that we split discussion of dev versions from discussion of stable (and now beta) versions. I originally suggested a separate subforum, but the Development forum seems as good a place as any.

IMO we should (do more to) encourage new players to play either the stable or beta versions (obviously not 3.1.0 at this moment), and point them here for discussion of their issues. IMO all the discussion of dev versions on here makes it an unhelpful place for new players.

I could be completely wrong - YMMV.

CC
(edit)P.S. I realised that I omitted something which significantly affects my view: it *really* bugs me that this forum software doesn't have "ignore thread" capability - I hate wading through mentally-ignored threads every time they acquire a new post. At the moment I can ignore the entire AAR forum with a custom query, but there's no way to sift through the threads in the V forum. So I wasn't being completely altruistic about new players - there's a selfish motive too. Sorry.

Last edited by Magnate; August 31, 2009 at 21:40.
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Old September 1, 2009, 05:48   #2
Pete Mack
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@magnate -- I don't think people expect the dev branch to be bug free. What they do expect is that bugs get fixed in some finite period of time. Unless the feature is something really big, it's a huge win for a developer to get feedback on bugs in short turn-around. Basically you are farming out your testing.

I think of bug reports against the dev branch as ordinary nightly regressions, not as criticisms.
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Old September 1, 2009, 20:33   #3
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
@magnate -- I don't think people expect the dev branch to be bug free. What they do expect is that bugs get fixed in some finite period of time. Unless the feature is something really big, it's a huge win for a developer to get feedback on bugs in short turn-around. Basically you are farming out your testing.

I think of bug reports against the dev branch as ordinary nightly regressions, not as criticisms.
I think it's fine to criticise the dev branch - if it's a change with which you disagree, and you can articulate your reasons - that's all part of the development process. Much better to have it out over a dev version than once it's released as a beta or stable version. But I don't think you can expect devs to fix anything non-trivial in the dev branch in any particular period of time. I think that's what I'm getting at - yes, giving people access to dev versions is farming out testing, but it doesn't come with any SLA for changes. Reports of bugs are as you say very very welcome - but they might be around for a while if they are not easily fixable.

Just my 2p.
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