Letter from community manager suggests Agile development is getting a new role
DICE has declared war on the low framerates and high CPU usage experienced by beta testers of the upcoming Battlefield 4.
The studio has already churned out three game client and server updates in an attempt to combat the issues, which are mostly experienced by PC users.
While PCs are usually a great deal more powerful than an console, the systems aren't standardized, meaning the developers of Battlefield – and any PC game – have to spend extra time debugging multiple systems to ensure a smooth launch.
DICE chooses to gather real-world data from external beta testers to make sure they have enough information, but if and when information about bugs leak to the general public this strategy can pose some PR challenges.
In an attempt to nip skepticism about the game's perfomance in the bud, DICE community manager Vincent Vukovic has published a bug report – titled as a thank you to the beta testers – that glosses the steps the studio is taking to make sure the reported issues are fixed.
“Rest assured that we’re using the information we received to optimize the performance for the launch of the game,” he said.
“We also released three game client updates and a number of game server updates during the Beta to address some of these issues and to gather more information to ensure a smoother launch.”
“This was a true Beta, and as such all the crash reports that were generated during this period will actually help us make a better game.”
To some, the items Vukovic lists might look like user story cards from the Agile development pipeline along with a few sentences describing progress to release.
With Agile development gaining a wider acceptance in the games industry, it's worth considering that user stories can become front-page news on consumer sites if left to sit in the backlog for too long.
Using them as talking points for community managers is an interesting idea; as a story progresses through the pipline a studio can keep fans informed of how their concerns are being tackled.
It's a right clever use of a system rarely thought of in the context of community engagement.