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Blocking Open Beta from public multiplayer


Pikey
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(discussion with ED's COO and development manager Kate P on the open beta and dev process)

 

We've no one to blame for this but our own desire for power, greed and fame.

 

MP servers like Blue Flag and others (including my own) exclusively attempt to utilise the OB branch for their public offerings because it has all the new things we like.

 

When they roll back, the backlash is explicitly directed at Eagle Dynamics, when in fact every opportunity to have an early look at OB whilst remaining on the Stable Branch was bypassed and the guarantee of something at least "known" was surrendered in favour of blindly updating to get the new content.

 

Human nature? It matters not. The playerbase needs coaching. I don't like this anymore than others. I would like perfection delivered every time, but the fact is, as history shows us, there is always a high chance something bad happens on a release to Open Beta, yet we still do it (well most of us).

 

It comes to the point then, when we have to be parented to avoid these massive disappointment feedback loops. A proposed suggestion is to stop Mutiplayer, the most fragile of DCS environments, from being able to publically operate on the Open Beta Branch.

 

Things we know:

1. People want the latest release and will gamble.

2. Servers encourage this, they want the same, to meet player expectations

3. Servers on Stable don't get the visibility

4. Open Betas can, and have for as long as I can remember, have bugs that are undesirable.

5. You cannot ask people to remain on Stable branch, they just won't, given the opportunity.

6. This has long become the status quo and the expectation bar is raised on OB, making the entire public testing effort a ridiculous lost point and cycle of update > disappoint > backlash > update > disappoint > backlash.

7. ED need us to test. Nick Grey said their QA couldnt touch the amount of testing required to release a perfectly stable product each update without our help and they need us. (and that's absolutely understandable given the complexity and depth of DCS)

8. The stable branch has lost it's point. People live on OB where they can.

 

What keeps being suggested from us is that we have deeper access to testing. But that is because we don't utilise the stable>OB branches. I don't want to go back to having three builds, I dont even want two builds of DCS, personally, so an "Alpha team" seems a counter productive act of pushing in the wrong direction. I suspect ED gave us what we wanted, but not what we needed.

 

We've asked for this by not supporting or understanding the complexity and limitations of DCS well enough and having completely sky high expectations. So this is the proposal:

 

  • Remove access to Multiplayer for dedicated servers on Open Beta DCS branch.
  • Drive the player base to the stable branch.
  • Fix the release pattern so that we can get sprints of OB iterations in quick succession, a week or two of stability before any new feature/product lands in order to shorten the wait for new products into the Mulitplayer environment
  • Get used to Beta being a Beta - we shouldnt use it for all purposes and allow it to be available for testing rather than the expectation of live use.

The net change is not that much work for ED given these explosive backlashes from some community members, but they don't realise they have propelled this situation themselves. It is what it is, because we allowed human nature to dictate what could have been a workable system of community testing (that's not changing by the way so dismiss any hope you will get perfect releases).

 

I don't like this, I want the new modules first. But I can see how I would adapt. I'd be trying the new releases and going back to the two build process. I'd test my missions and content early and have weeks ahead of the live branch to prepare. I could play private multiplayer with my friends who could do the same and apart from the large popular servers there's not that much change, expept a lot of people wont be up for that and remain on Live/Stable, which is the net outcome we would want.

 

The alternative is either:

People change their expectations . (Not going to happen)

ED broaden the internal testing group (the scale needed would likely be prohibitive to be useful and create too much erosion of the testers group to be useful)

 

And I'm going to go on record with some negativity here at the end. I don't think the testers team actually targets the right things in terms of multiplayer and under the hood items to date. I offered help as many do, I called out there would be issues and I'm a bit dejected that my fears became reality again. We should not be in a position where we fear an Update and expectations become true, it really shouldn't happen because it shows we don't learn.

 

Thanks for reading, I love DCS!

___________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE SCENERY SAVING * SIMPLE GROUP SAVING * SIMPLE STATIC SAVING *

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Absolutly against this!

I fly DCS pretty much exclusively in MP and I want to have the newest fixes, features and aircraft available and not having to wait for additional weeks for them.

 

Also this:

That may produce a completely different outcome: Less beta testers would mean more bugs slipping through beta to stable, especially MP exclusive bugs.

 

 

The choice wheter OB or Stable is getting used should be with the server hosters and players!

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I have noticed players on the forums talking about this or that mod for either beta modules or the theaters etc, then when there is a problem whining about this being broken or whatever.

 

I think it is more than just multiplayer that needs locking maybe the modules in beta can be locked so a mod can't break it and cause ED to investigate a problem that is made by the user.

 

I no longer have the open beta branch or buy any modules before they are on stable branch because I no longer want to troubleshoot as it is getting crazy so many modules in beta then there are the theaters and of course the branch itself.

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Every time you open DCS openbeta it should tell you in screaming WordArt letters that this is Openbeta and bugs, crashes and instability will occur.

 

If players still bitch about it, simply ask them if they've seen the warning when they launched DCS.

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

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Every time you open DCS openbeta it should tell you in screaming WordArt letters that this is Openbeta and bugs, crashes and instability will occur.

 

If players still bitch about it, simply ask them if they've seen the warning when they launched DCS.

 

YES! you got that right. I don't like things broken in OB, but I DO KNOW what I'm getting. If I say something, it's "Hey ED: the landing gear won't come up."

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... A proposed suggestion is to stop Mutiplayer, the most fragile of DCS environments, from being able to publically operate on the Open Beta Branch.

...

 

I fully agree with your view ... public Servers should use only the stable branch; the MP users should adapt or install both branches on their PCs. I do hope that ED agrees with your suggestion.

 

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I'll bite.

 

I think the bigger problem is that we have modules that are in perpetual Beta, which drives people towards the Open Beta versus the stable version. ED could alleviate this problem by finishing modules in a timely manner instead of releasing more modules and leaving modules previously released in a half-finished state.

 

Let me elaborate and please spare me the condescending lecture on what a Beta is.

 

People are drawn to the OB because they want the latest and greatest. We as a community have grown accustomed to ED modules that stay in Beta for years. There is a healthy amount of cynicism in the community when ED announces yearly plans. ED has a credibility issue in this area. As a result we lean towards the OB because we know it will be years before a module comes out of Beta. So the gap between stable and OB grows larger and larger. As stated numerous times by DCS loyalists, "it's a Beta!!!!" Sure, but in reality, most DCS users are treating it as a stable since the gap between Beta and stable is growing and continues to grow.

Not to go down a rabbit hole, but there is also dynamic of those who play DCS as an arcade game and those who want more of a simulator. The former are content with a buggy platform while the latter want finished products that accurately emulate reality in terms of systems and flight models. ED has to balance that spectrum and allocate resources according to the their business plan.

 

While users must realize the bugs of a open beta, ED must also bear some responsibility. People are people, and they will lose patience. My humble suggestion and it is just a suggestion. ED should go on a "clean up stand down" for a specified period. Finish modules/projects on their plate before releasing anything else, with the intent of closing the gap between OB and stable. Get some credibility points on the board. If that's not an option due to business plan and financial constraints, then I support closing the MP to OB for the long term viability of this project.

 

On a personal note, while I may sound harsh towards ED, I love the product and want the company to succeed. Overall this is a small bump in the road.

 

Ready for spears.

Paco

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I know I’m new, but it seems pretty simple. If you accept open beta, you agree to be part of the testing team/ process and as you find issues, by all means post in the bugs section. By the same token, you forfeit your right to bitch.

It’s like continuing to hit your head with a hammer deliberately then complaining that it hurts.

It certainly would be nice to have more stable servers with actual participation for us noobs.

Great sim, keep up the excellent work!

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Of course folks are against it.

And they'll continue to moan about quality of beta.

And if you think this will enhance the bugs that get from Beta to Live that already happens, I reported dozens of bugs that get put right onto live. But I've also offered to help Alpha and that wasnt taken up either. This simply prevents Servers running OB and the mass users moaning that they didnt have a choice, when of course everyone did but they ignore the warnings and forget Beta is beta and what that entails, at least from ED's historic standpoint.

 

Predictable reaction. :)

So, it matters not what you want, because it's proven time and time again, people can't choose the sensible answer. And then they blame someone else for it! Suggest something better for stability of MP?

___________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE SCENERY SAVING * SIMPLE GROUP SAVING * SIMPLE STATIC SAVING *

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This isn't about modules in beta, its about the core game in stable and open beta and the recent update to DCSW 2.5.6 that broke statics, lods, airbase ids, events, lots of related scripting, MP performance, mods and textures, internal object textures, lighting on cockpits of more than one module, lots of ME items like static naming and... um ive forgotten, whatever else has been reported that I've missed, this just off the top of my head.

Modules are developed with their own beta status independently of the core game. The views on that are valid but different and not in scope for the OP.

 

I'll bite.

 

I think the bigger problem is that we have modules that are in perpetual Beta, which drives people towards the Open Beta versus the stable version. ED could alleviate this problem by finishing modules in a timely manner instead of releasing more modules and leaving modules previously released in a half-finished state.

 

Let me elaborate and please spare me the condescending lecture on what a Beta is.

 

People are drawn to the OB because they want the latest and greatest. We as a community have grown accustomed to ED modules that stay in Beta for years. There is a healthy amount of cynicism in the community when ED announces yearly plans. ED has a credibility issue in this area. As a result we lean towards the OB because we know it will be years before a module comes out of Beta. So the gap between stable and OB grows larger and larger. As stated numerous times by DCS loyalists, "it's a Beta!!!!" Sure, but in reality, most DCS users are treating it as a stable since the gap between Beta and stable is growing and continues to grow.

Not to go down a rabbit hole, but there is also dynamic of those who play DCS as an arcade game and those who want more of a simulator. The former are content with a buggy platform while the latter want finished products that accurately emulate reality in terms of systems and flight models. ED has to balance that spectrum and allocate resources according to the their business plan.

 

While users must realize the bugs of a open beta, ED must also bear some responsibility. People are people, and they will lose patience. My humble suggestion and it is just a suggestion. ED should go on a "clean up stand down" for a specified period. Finish modules/projects on their plate before releasing anything else, with the intent of closing the gap between OB and stable. Get some credibility points on the board. If that's not an option due to business plan and financial constraints, then I support closing the MP to OB for the long term viability of this project.

 

On a personal note, while I may sound harsh towards ED, I love the product and want the company to succeed. Overall this is a small bump in the road.

 

Ready for spears.

___________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE SCENERY SAVING * SIMPLE GROUP SAVING * SIMPLE STATIC SAVING *

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Hi all

 

We understand your concerns and we have been feeding back to the dev and management team.

 

We are collecting and reporting bugs from the new 2.5.6 Open beta and issues are being worked on and resolved, open beta is not ideal for everyone, it is a public test build so there will be ups and downs a long the way. Your reports and feedback help us a lot.

 

It is ultimately up to the server admin what version of DCS they use for multiplayer, I can tell you we are very grateful for the information shared by server admins in the 2.5.6 update and multiplayer will always be available in our public builds.

 

Thank you.

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Well, the Dedi is still in beta. And just to hit the general topic: Most bugs are found in multiplayer sessions. Excluding MP from the OB would literally reduce the reasons for having the OB almost completely. Especially MP related issues need lots of players for testing, you'll never be able to test that properly with a small, closed group.

 

And just by a short glance - the people disagreeing with the OP are not the ones moaning about Open Beta and Early Access. And whatever happens, the latter won't stop complaining anyway.

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

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We've no one to blame for this but our own desire for power, greed and fame.

 

Yeah, right. You forgot ED and all their efforts to promote OB's features.

 

It comes to the point then, when we have to be parented to avoid these massive disappointment feedback loops.

 

Speak for yourself, please. I don't mind occasional bugs in exchange for the latest features AND fixes of the known issues. OB is totally fine when it was properly tested internally - and not just half-arsed like the 2.5.6.

 

* Remove access to Multiplayer for dedicated servers on Open Beta DCS branch.

* Drive the player base to the stable branch.

 

You're missing a key point already mentioned by others: a Stable version cannot - by definition - be stable if it has a bug-ridden MP not tested by other players.

- Dmitriy

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I wouldn't like to see any punitive actions against users.

 

Instead, ED can separate the OB from Stable even further.

 

They can make it more clear that the Open Beta is BETA, and that nasty things could (and most likely will) happen to its users.

 

They can make it extremely obvious that this is not the main and preferred DCS version.

 

They can mark all OB servers with the red labels ("UNSTABLE").

 

They can create separate OB forums.

 

Etc, etc.

 

But even these basics things are not that simple to implement.

 

And I'm not even sure that ED wants to change anything at all.

- Dmitriy

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Great idea. But no the main issue.

 

Finish your products ED and put them out of early access. Basically all planes are EA and get frequent updates. Planes which were released 1-2 years ago are still EA.

Hello Hornet. Hello Harrier.

No surprise that everyone is on OB not on stable.

 

This is the results of starting that much modules without finishing them. ED was warned about that by the community several times.

 

No other SW uses such a strange environment like DCS where beta is the main release. Stable is for what?

 

 

...open beta is not ideal for everyone, it is a public test build ...

 

Thank you.

 

No its not. It is your main release. Not a test build. If ED likes it or not. People play mainly on OB.


Edited by DerFangzahn
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I can't see the big problem.

 

Between dev test and OB, we need a new layer: Closed Beta.

A group of players, newbies and veterans, playing on scheduled times, on a DCS server. Then ED have full control over the tests.

 

The open Beta can catch the bugs, that slipped through Closed Beta. I presume it will be minor things.

 

That's how I would have done it.

 

Edit:

Btw, I am happy to fly OB, but not this update. It was way too much trouble.

I also thing that a closed beta would speed things up, when it gets in system. ED can see the bugs for themselves (on the server) instead of hundreds of weird bug reports.

 

I am usually flying MP, but I lost mood. I have only been flying once since the new update.


Edited by Shuenix
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No its not. It is your main release. Not a test build. If ED likes it or not. People play mainly on OB.

 

To paraphrase. No, it's still a beta. Not a stable build. If people likes it or not. Vocal minority play mainly on OB.

 

Prove me wrong :smilewink:

 

It's like Pikey said in other topic:

 

the more people that tell ED what alpha, beta, live, stable, release blah blah actually are, the harder they will laugh.

- Dmitriy

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That may produce a completely different outcome: Less beta testers would mean more bugs slipping through beta to stable, especially MP exclusive bugs.

 

Unfortunately I think this would be the case. Most of the dedicated hardcore players are on the servers and do decent beta testing. Put those servers, those guys will mostly goto stable to play there, and not do the beta testing. Also, the MP bugs (of which there are many) will have no place to actually get tested, and then stable will have MP bugs. Plus its not like "stable" is all that stable to begin with, its just less buggy than the latest beta.

 

I mean its a chicken and egg problem, but I think the status quo is probably as good as its gonna get.

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  • Remove access to Multiplayer for dedicated servers on Open Beta DCS branch.
  • Drive the player base to the stable branch.

 

I believe that change would defeat much of the purpose of the OpenBeta branch, and would prevent a whole lot of bugs from being found and reported, before they get pushed to stable.

 

Ultimately it is not our job to concern ourselves with the backlash towards ED from angry players and server admins who misunderstand or misuse the OpenBeta to mean "earliest possible access to fully fleshed out features". From what I've gathered, ED is pretty happy with the feedback they've received regarding 2.5.6, so the OB is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing.

 

As for public servers, I guess every admin has to weigh stability versus new features. As far as I am concerned (not running any servers myself, but participating in closed MP groups), it is beyond me why anyone would run missions on the OpenBeta branch unless specifically doing so in order to test something. But I have both branches in parallel and know how to upgrade/downgrade, so I don't see much of a problem either way.

 

IMHO, the only real problem is when known broken features get pushed to stable and players are left with the choice between several bad options. But that seems to be beyond the scope of this particular discussion.

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Sweet child, you actually think there's a way to curb the e-angst? There's exactly two kinds of people here, the ones that get it and the ones that don't. The ones that don't are *never* going to get it and will always whine. It's just the cost of doing business. Ignorance is cheap, and most people have it in abundance.

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Sweet child, you actually think there's a way to curb the e-angst? There's exactly two kinds of people here, the ones that get it and the ones that don't. The ones that don't are *never* going to get it and will always whine. It's just the cost of doing business. Ignorance is cheap, and most people have it in abundance.

 

So what are you suggesting? Do nothing and just let them whine?

 

Or somehow make it even clearer that they aren't the coolest kids on the block? And that the stable version is the main and preferred version - not the other way around, like ED is trying to tell us.

- Dmitriy

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