Towards the end of Vesteria’s Alpha, and as we jumped into our Beta, our team transitioned from a bi-weekly update schedule into a rapid-fire release cycle that notably impacted the way we work. On some weeks, we began to push patches and shut down almost every day.
This production schedule has had serious repercussions on our productivity, and more importantly, our creative process. Constantly releasing patches to live servers forced us to be in “operations” mode, focusing development time to putting out fires, fixing bugs and exploits, and just not working on content.
We were also stuck in a very short-term tunnel vision that made us prioritize pressing and urgent issues and content over nice-to-haves and bigger-picture improves & features. It was very difficult for us to plan ahead so we were always stuck in the now.
In light of these production issues, we took a serious look at our development workflow and are announcing big changes.
Updated Release Cycle
Moving forward, we will be moving to a monthly or even bi-monthly release schedule. This will allow us to prioritize and optimize our workflow to focus on bigger picture goals such as introducing subclasses, professions, crafting, the monster book w/ monster idols, expanding the level cap and much more.
By moving to a longer-term cycle, we’ll also be able to dedicate a day out of every week to working on a lot of the “nice to haves” that have previously been prioritized down to never-happening land. Stuff like adding a rooster to farmlands that cokadoodledoos every morning, to adding a moving carriage to a map that players can jump on. We have a lot of cool ideas to make our world more immersive and now we’ll finally have the time to give those ideas the attention they deserve.
Most importantly though, by stretching our update release cycle we are eliminating much of the time that we currently spend putting out fires after patches, and spending that time adding new content and making the game better. This will also greatly reduce the amount of server restarts we need to preform.
Updated Release Pipeline
It’s no secret that a LOT of bugs get accidently introduced whenever we released updates. We introduced the verified Tester program to help us identify, reproduce and solve bugs quickly. But we’re going to take this a step further by introducing a new step to our update release pipeline:
Internal Build Testing -> Production Servers
Internal Build Testing -> Tester Environment -> Production Servers
We will be introducing a special environment for our testers, where they can preform intensive tests and log issues for us to resolve before an update hits live servers. We’ll be able to push to this tester environment very frequently, allowing us to notice bugs and fix them without having to wait until the last moment.
We are moving away from our rapid-fire release cycle, and introducing a new testing environment for our verified Testers so that we can focus more on big-picture and long-term improvements and features for the game, and so that we can start releasing bomb updates again that shake up the game. We’ll continue to regularly post sneak peaks on our discord to keep you excited.