Developer 343 Industries has been remarkably thorough and transparent throughout the process of porting the Halo: Master Chief Collection to PC, often releasing in-depth blog posts about the process. This week, community manager Tyler “Postums” Davis has posted an update on how the team handles bugs, from reporting to patching, after a bug-riddled release of Halo 2 Anniversary wreaked havoc on the Master Chief Collection.
While a lot of the discussion around game bugs is usually centered around the technical aspect of fixing them, Postums also goes into detail about how the community team is involved. As the first line of contact with the players, Halo’s Community Team usually hear about bugs first, and often has to triage the seriousness of a newly reported issue. While this process also happens through Halo Support, the official tool for tracking and reporting bugs, players are just as likely to report bugs through forums, Discord, or in public social media posts.
Once identified, there’s still a big process to go through before a bug can be fixed–one that ensures resources are assigned in the most efficient way. Testers look into details of a bug, finding out how and where it can be reproduced. When bugs are logged, they require details including “an outline of area, severity, description, reproduction steps, impact, expected results, media, and an assignment.”
The bug is then reviewed by someone in the testing team called a ‘Redliner’, who either sends the bug back to testing for more information, or forwards it to Triage. “Triage is a meeting where a collection of individuals from across the teams discuss a bug and help determine what happens with it,” the post explains.
Triage can then send the bug to different teams depending on how it needs to be handled–either going to Design, Production, Engineering or back to Testing. The most severe bugs are sent straight to Production when they’re identified, skipping the extra steps. Tricky bugs can come back through Triage multiple times, if more information from testers is required.
Bugs are then either assigned to be fixed on a set timeframe, or designated as “By Design” or “Won’t Fix” where they’re left as is.
Once a bug has a fix applied, it’s assigned back to the original tester, who has to confirm both that the original bug has been fixed, and that no new bugs have been created as a result.
In the case of games in the Halo series that have been released multiple times, it can take longer to deal with a bug, as the developers must look through other releases of the game to see if these bugs have cropped up before. “Currently, Halo 2 takes the most time to check as we sometimes need to look back at previous MCC builds, H2V, and H2 Back Compat for a single issue,” Postums elaborates.
The original post contains even more exhaustive detail on what happens to a bug–and helps to understand why they can’t always be addressed straight away. After 343 community director Brian Jarrard literally had to ask fans to stop yelling at the team, hopefully this update will help shed some light on the hard work happening behind the scenes at 343.
Halo 3 is the next game scheduled for release on PC, with Halo Insiders previews beginning in June.
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