Where are my bugfixes!?

Posted by Hugh 12 months ago

A small development team walks up to the bar. One of the programmers says to the bartender: “I’ll take big new content, a tight deadline, and in depth technical changes.” The bartender looks at the programmer, and the team behind him. “Sir, you’ve had quite enough already.”

At least that is what should happen, when Unknown Worlds sets about making game. In a more staid, rational world where the Unknown Worlds team worked according to established principles of game development, we would not do things like Reinforced. There are limits to how much code, business and art complexity a small team can handle in a limited time.

Natural Selection 2

Burning down a harvester in a Build 256 playtest yesterday

The result of smashing against those limits is the set of bugs and issues many of you are facing right now. Input lag, server rubber-banding, Reinforcement Program rewards freaking out, 32-bit OS out-of-memory-crashes… It’s the wild west out there.

We know from our data that the game is not breaking down for most people, but it is breaking down for an unacceptable number of people. The fact is, we bit off more than we could chew – Hitting the Reinforcement deadline with the ambitious feature set we set for ourselves proved a little bit too much.

Natural Selection 2

Desperately healing a Hive during a Build 256 playtest yesterday

Well, screw that. If we can’t chew it, we’re going to swallow it whole. Natural Selection 2 was not born of taking the ‘safe route,’ this game does not exist because Unknown Worlds bowed to accepted definitions of what is ‘possible.’ It may well be that we were too ambitious with Reinforced. But we were also too ambitious with launch, with Gorgeous, with building the game in the first place.

Without ambition, without pushing the limits, without telling nay-sayers to sit down – There would be no NS2, and there would be no Unknown Worlds. We may be biased in our assessment, but it seems to us that such a situation would be less exciting for everyone, even someone who has to suffer crashes on the release of one of those ambitious builds.

This is not the first time UWE has released a build that is not perfect, but we always come good in the end. That’s what we are working to do right now. Build 256 is under construction, and it exists solely to sort out the performance, input lag, crashes and bugs that are hurting you in Reinforced. Build 256 put in a good show during playtesting last night. Apart from Exosuits appearing as female marines, it was generally well sorted.

It will probably arrive on Steam next Thursday. We know that is too long, and it much longer than we want it to be. Unfortunately we can’t push harder. Many members of the team took a few scheduled days off after Reinforced, to recover from lack of sleep, lack of family and an overload of coding. That means 256 has been a little slower out of the gate than we would like. But it is on its way.

In the 26 updates we have made since launch (An average of oneĀ every two weeks) we have never left you hanging when we have reached too far and fast – We are not about to start now.