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Old June 3, 2011, 19:32   #41
Derakon
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All of those are known; the shards bug is fixed (read: will be fixed in the next version) and d_m's working on the dungeon levels. If you keep an eye on the current dev version thread, you'll see reported bugs and acknowledgements from the developers.
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Old June 3, 2011, 19:58   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
[..snip..]
Test code before submitting it. That's not no changes for a year, but at least it would slow development from a hurricane to a gale.
Are you seriously suggesting that a developer should test every gameplay change with every class (because let's face it, that's what's required to fully test) before submitting code to the development branch?

The result of that would be that nothing would ever get done.

Maybe there should instead be a set of people testing changes, let's call them "beta testers". Every once in a while this group would get a new executable to play with, let's call this the "nightlies" which they could test for balance, stability, etc.
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Old June 3, 2011, 20:12   #43
Timo Pietilä
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymousHero View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that a developer should test every gameplay change with every class (because let's face it, that's what's required to fully test) before submitting code to the development branch?

The result of that would be that nothing would ever get done.
Basic testing with one char for every gameplay change is enough. Balancing is a bit different thing, change can be seen much faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymousHero View Post
Maybe there should instead be a set of people testing changes, let's call them "beta testers". Every once in a while this group would get a new executable to play with, let's call this the "nightlies" which they could test for balance, stability, etc.
I just found Cammithrim and was wondering should I keep the Cestus of FA instead of that one. That's do I want (+2,+2), FA and sust CON instead of (+0,+3), FA and no sustain. Not an easy question, especially since I have only RoFA giving me FA currently.

Decided to go with my current Gauntlets of Power (+3,+5)(+4) and RoFA and store Cammithrim to home for a possible case of finding some ring that beats those gauntlets. Not very likely though. Maybe if I find Thorin....except that Thorin has FA.
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Old June 3, 2011, 20:50   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilä View Post
Basic testing with one char for every gameplay change is enough. Balancing is a bit different thing, change can be seen much faster.
Unsurprisingly, I disagree. Balance is actually really really difficult to see. If you haven't played the game much, you don't really know what balance is. If you have, you *think* you know what balance is, but you have a much harder time adjusting your perceptions to accommodate new features and paradigms.

As Derakon and AnonymousHero have both helpfully pointed out, dev versions are published precisely to increase the amount of gameplay testing of changes. The devteam make sure that there are no obvious crash bugs [cough]usually[cough], but since most of us are not very proficient players, it is not sensible to hold back dev versions while we playtest.

There is an alternative, of course - we could stop producing dev versions. That way everybody waits for six months while we make changes and test them, and then all the complaints come at once after each new release. Sounds far less good to me, but you might be able persuade takkaria to go there...
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I just found Cammithrim and was wondering should I keep the Cestus of FA instead of that one. That's do I want (+2,+2), FA and sust CON instead of (+0,+3), FA and no sustain. Not an easy question, especially since I have only RoFA giving me FA currently.

Decided to go with my current Gauntlets of Power (+3,+5)(+4) and RoFA and store Cammithrim to home for a possible case of finding some ring that beats those gauntlets. Not very likely though. Maybe if I find Thorin....except that Thorin has FA.
That sounds superb - you've really had to think about that, and neither your current choice nor your future choices were obvious.
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Old June 3, 2011, 21:01   #45
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
If you have, you *think* you know what balance is, but you have a much harder time adjusting your perceptions to accommodate new features and paradigms.
This almost rubs me the wrong way. It almost sounds like "You'll know we've achieved balance when we tell you that we've achieved balance." I almost feel obligated to add the smiley face. Ehh, what the hell! .
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Old June 3, 2011, 21:27   #46
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Unsurprisingly, I disagree. Balance is actually really really difficult to see.
You got my words backwards. Change in gameplay is easy to see (does it work or not). It's possible effect to balance is a different matter completely and needs longer testing.
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Old June 3, 2011, 21:33   #47
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Timo stated that you don't want to "release/finalize" a release without 6 months of testing.
He said 1 year but 6 months should be plenty. The point is you don't have a full idea how balanced something is until people have played all the races/class combos through to the endgame. I don't think anyone can deny the logic of that.

The reason we aren't getting that is we have the release builds and the dev build.
I've worked in software development for a while, and imho, the failing is the lack of an intermediate build - the functionally locked beta test build.

( DISCLAIMER: If I am wrong and we DO have a beta build (labeled #2 below), then the rest of this post is invalid and should be ignored ).

We should have:
1) Fully stable/playable build. This is 3.2
2) Functionally locked build for bugfixes ONLY. And required balance fixes. (the leather shoes bug - stuff blatently wrong).
3) The pre-alpha build for testing new features and stuff not ready for prime time.




The problem is that the dev build is avoided because new features always contain major bugs. I'd love to try it but everytime one bug is fixed another is added. Pval errors. Shards not working. Crashes due to the new rooms. Food not working. That will NEVER stop until you functionally lock down the product. Every single major software product must go into a functionally locked/alpha/beta/release candidate/Final release cycle.

Timo's post incorrectly implied that development should stop for 1 year. That's not correct.
Development never stops - but it happens in codeline #3. #2 is stabilized until it becomes the new #1. Bugs discovered in #2 should take top priority. Once #2 is declared 'good to go' it becomes the new #1 and then stuff that is 'close to ready for prime time' gets pushed into #2 for the next round of playtesting.

Developers and people who want to be bleeding edge can downloaded and test #3.
The general public who wants to play something new and generally stable play #2.
Players who won't tolerate any weirdness/crashes at all can play #1.

I think this is sane and fairly standard.
Let's look at Firefox - last I checked there was the 'Generally available' 3.5, 3.6 beta, and the nightly builds for 4.0. (i'm sure the version #s are bumped up now, but you get the point)


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Old June 3, 2011, 21:34   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzkill View Post
This almost rubs me the wrong way. It almost sounds like "You'll know we've achieved balance when we tell you that we've achieved balance." I almost feel obligated to add the smiley face. Ehh, what the hell! .
I honestly wasn't grinding any kind of axe - I was just trying to say "the better you know something, the harder it is to adjust to changes to it". So when I watch an episode of Babylon 5 or Star Trek or whatever, I'm not at all fussed if they've done some massive retcon, but if I were an aficionado who knew all the backstories, I'd be royally pissed.

@Timo - sorry, I did indeed parse your words backwards. So we agree once more!
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Old June 3, 2011, 21:41   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChodTheWacko View Post
I think this is sane and fairly standard.
Let's look at Firefox - last I checked there was the 'Generally available' 3.5, 3.6 beta, and the nightly builds for 4.0. (i'm sure the version #s are bumped up now, but you get the point)
Yes, this is how Debian does it too - Stable, Testing, Unstable. If I've understood takkaria correctly, we will be moving towards something close to this model. 3.3.0 will be the "Stable", and there will be a "bugfix" branch for 3.3.[1+] which will be bugfixes only. The main staging/master development branches will be your #3, which will eventually become 3.4.0 ... and so on.

Crucially, one of the devteam will have a responsibility to cherry-pick bugfixes and update docs for the bugfix branch, and to do bugfix releases. This enables the rest of the team to get on with the next version, without anyone feeling guilty about bugs in the major release version remaining unfixed.
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Old June 3, 2011, 21:57   #50
Timo Pietilä
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChodTheWacko View Post
We should have:
1) Fully stable/playable build. This is 3.2
2) Functionally locked build for bugfixes ONLY. And required balance fixes. (the leather shoes bug - stuff blatently wrong).
3) The pre-alpha build for testing new features and stuff not ready for prime time.

Timo's post incorrectly implied that development should stop for 1 year. That's not correct.
I did mean that development should continue for bug fixes so that people get time to actually get to know the game and all the new features. Currently we don't have #1 at all, we have few #2 stage versions that are treated like #1 (both 3.1 and 3.2) and #3 that is changing like mad.

Also the bottom truth in angband is that it is or more correctly was a ready product. It just didn't need huge changes and lots of development. Changing it rapidly for sake of change just breaks things. Frog-knows with modern UI would still be a great game. 2.8.3 still is a great game. 3.0.x with JLE changes required balancing that didn't happen. From that point onward balance of the game has got worse in every version. MoD with 6 blows for warriors, 8 if it is extra blows. That kind of stuff should not happen.

(BTW your FF example wasn't the best possible example. There will be huge major changes in that within this year, they move from 4 to 7 in just few months. I hope they get it stable, but that fast I don't think they will have huge success in it).
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