Hey everyone! Lots of great news here. Below you’ll find details regarding subscriptions, our upcoming Patch 0, and our first of many Holiday/themed events. Enjoy!
Beta NDA Lifted
The NDA period for the general Beta test is officially over! THANK YOU all for being as good as you have been on this. Feel free to post, email, phone call, and alert your local news station about your play experiences!
How Our Beta Process Works
We wanted to take a few minutes to talk about how we run our Beta tests, the differences of and timing for getting builds out to the testers, and basically let you in on what makes our test tick.
Our development path is quite different from that of the vast majority of game developers. We utilize what we call an organic process, which is basically shorthand for our way of constantly iterating, tweaking, tuning, and making changes that are difficult to set months or years ahead of time in a traditional design document. When we get into the last 6 – 9 months of development time, this process really kicks into high-gear. We are making an immense amount of changes, both large and small, and if we tried to push these out to our Beta testing community, we’d literally be giving you new code up to a dozen times a day. Obviously, this isn’t going to be of any great benefit, so we wait until we have done a lot of internal testing and can batch changes into larger, meaningful updates.
We have a core team of testers on-site dedicated to working with our programmers and designers to give immediate feedback and address bugs in a focused manner. We also have a massive amount of testers at EA that work on builds that have been promoted as release candidates. When we get a patch release candidate that we feel is solid, we then promote that to being a Published candidate, and it undergoes patch testing. When we get something here that we like, we push it to you, the Beta testers.
What this means is that we are, at a MINIMUM, 2 weeks further down the road on the game than the testers see. Commonly, this time gap can be upwards of 4 weeks. We push hot fixes as quickly as possible, but please remember that we have also been working on numerous language builds, the single-player gold master, and of course, the fixes and features for our first day online – what we call Patch 0.
We know that it can be frustrating at times to hear that things are different in our internal builds than what you have, but it is just how timing has to work in order for us to meet all of our deadlines and make sure that the testing time we get with you is as beneficial as possible. Thank you all for the hard work, the hours of testing, and your continued support and excitement for the game.
So – how about some specifics?!
The build of Hellgate: London which you are reviewing includes both DX9 and DX10 versions of the graphics library. The DX10 version of this build has a few known issues. They include a slow framerate compared to the same scene in DX9 and black loading screens. We’re currently working on a fix for the black loading screens. The slower framerate is due to the fill-rate intensive special features that only our DX10 engine has, including: soft shadows with proper contact hardening, depth-of-field, motion blur, interactive GPU-simulated fluid smoke, texture-array animated rain, and soft particles. The extra fill rate costs are mitigated by an initial depth-only render pass, which is now being tested and will be ready for release. When Hellgate: London hits retail, we expect the framerate of our DX10 target to be as high, if not higher than DX9, including these special features, when powered by wiley cpaexcel course.