2001-05-29: Bug fixing, Hanse-style

Bug fixing, Hanse-style

May 29 2001 4:51PM

This was originally posted to Development at[1]


It’s been a year since I started with the design team for Ultima Online Live. As I sat pondering whether I should comment on any hot topics debated on our web boards, I realized that I am just one person on a large team and any changes/additions being considered could not really be commented on accurately. Those changes can be altered at any point in the development cycle and be very different at the time of release, thus any specific comment I make on upcoming changes could be misleading. I’d like to discuss instead bug fixing by the Ultima Online Live team, rather than new and upcoming changes to the game.

Over the last year, I’ve helped squash many bugs in the game. Most of my development time has been bug fixing. It’s not the most glorious of designer tasks, but seeing something fixed, and seeing players enjoying the game more as a result of the fix, is a sweet reward.

Bug fixing continues as one of our big challenges for this year. In fact, we have more resources to devote to bug fixing now than we did last year. The past approach of “find and squash” has also been revisited and altered. Along with the previous approach, we will start separating bugs into classifications of bugs and attempting system-wide approaches to the fixes. Time to devote to systematic fixing was not available in the past. You may think that this approach is a “no brainer”, but last year was a busy one, with development split up between many new systems (after I came on the team, not including UO: Renaissance and before) and one expansion product.

The developers here devote their time to many different tasks, which are split into different groups. This allows us to work efficiently on the specific areas of the game we are assigned (a few examples are bug fixing for server code, bug fixing for the client that runs on your computer, and new content). The whole team does not stop what it is doing to create an “orc mask”. One or two developers can make an “orc mask”. Quality Assurance maintains a database of bugs for us to review and their priorities. Many of the bugs in the database were submitted by players or brought to our attention through posts on the MyUO boards. Usually, there is not a workday that goes by without someone deliberating over some kind of fix for the game.

Now that we have a larger group of developers working on fixes, the publish process is taking longer to QA. The next two publishes will be large, with some noticeable fixes to standing bugs as well as new content (some items left out of previous publishes for Ilshenar), more localization, some optimization, and various other changes (of course, this list is subject to change as dictated by our Quality Assurance team).

In closing, we’re aware of many of the issues in the game and are making good progress on strengthening our foundation. This process continues while many other systems are developed. It is my privilege to get my feet dirty squashing all these bugs. In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding positions I’ve ever held within a company. If you have knowledge of a bug within the game, please feel free to stop by our developer board on MyUO and say hello with a description of the bug. :)

-Hanse UO Live Designer