From: Vermont, USA
It's been over a year (albeit a very busy one) since we took a step back to post a more comprehensive look at where we are and where we are going with MWIF. Thank you all for your patience and support of MWIF over the many months since release and we hope you will stick with us as we are continuing to work on and support this release. A large number of the issues we've been able to resolve have come directly from customer reports, both automated and manual and we greatly appreciate the involvement in improving the game that this shows from the community. Let's start with what we've done since release and then we'll take a look at the future.
From the release until about a week ago, thanks to the diligent and invaluable efforts of Steve Hokanson and feedback from customers and hard work from the testers, we have resolved about 3,300 issues and have received or created ourselves over 3,800 save game files for debugging purposes. Some of those issues turned out to be duplicate issues, so each one is not necessarily a unique bug, but that's the total number that we've had entered into our to do list that have been able to be removed thanks to being resolved. We still have about 400 issues remaining on our list and of course it's not static as new issues are periodically added.
In general though, we've been making good progress and gaining ground and the game has reflected that progress. At the same time, the sheer size of this effort also reflects the many issues that we did not realize existed until after release and I'm sure there will be others that continue to appear as unique new situations arise within the many nearly infinite interactions that MWIF makes possible. It's important to note that when you remove duplicate issues and look at issues that arise from various symptoms or interactions caused by one core issue, then the total number of issues is less daunting. However, at the same time each time we resolve something that allows players to more fully explore parts of the game that had blocking issues before, we do find new issues that in turn need to be resolved.
A few more breakdowns on those statistics. We currently have about 70 issues still to resolve from the test team, about 97 still to resolve that came in through our help desk and about 235 still to resolve that have been received through various e-mail addresses. That gives us our total of around 400 known issues and these cover the entire spectrum from minor or rare issues to more serious ones.
After spending most of 2014 resolving the most serious and common solitaire issues, we renewed our focus on NetPlay with the goal of getting the Barbarossa scenario entirely playable and hopefully soon thereafter the campaign game. The problems with NetPlay have been a long-term frustration for all of us and we never expected that we would still be working to resolve them in mid-2015. However, while we have continued fixing other serious or important issues, our attention has remained on NetPlay and fortunately that focus seems to be succeeding. We are down to a total of 20 known unresolved NetPlay issues, of which many are not critical. The result of this is a recent new public beta update 1.4.10 that made great strides in solitaire play as well as other areas and an upcoming public beta update which we hope to release by the end of June which should finally resolve the remaining known issues which affect Netplay in scenarios and the global campaign. In other words, MWIF NetPlay will in theory be fixed with the next major update.
As always, there are enough complex interactions in MWIF that we have no doubt new bugs will be found as games proceed, especially with different playstyles and combinations of optional rules. However, we're getting very close to sounding the "all clear" on our side to ask customers to dive back into NetPlay and kick the tires, so to speak. We're hoping it won't take many more iterations after that to get to a long-term stable state for the vast majority of players and fulfill our promise to get the NetPlay issues resolved.
Solitaire has similarly improved along with NetPlay and the state of the game now is much better than it was when I posted the 2014 State of the Game update. For many players, solitaire can now be played with relatively few bugs or problems, though for some playstyles and rule combinations and some areas of the core rules, there are still serious issues that we have to fix.
Our primary goal for the rest of this year is to finish working through the remaining issues list and to make sure that solitaire and NetPlay are as bug-free and stable as possible for the vast majority of players. We also plan to address any core rule issues first before we move onto optional rules and other additions to the game. Because of the complexity of MWIF, putting a timeline on this is near impossible, but the steady progress of the last year gives us some optimism that we are getting nearer to that goal every day and that it is possible we will reach that point this year.
In terms of future plans, some of which may begin in parallel with a few of the remaining issue fixes, this is our current priority list. We're focusing on what we promised to add to the original release first. Again, we do want to make sure we have a stable solitaire and NetPlay version available with all major bugs resolved before we start adding these in.
Please note that timelines here are very much estimates and may change significantly once we get into each of these areas, given the nature and complexity of MWIF so far. I decided to give some timelines as without them there's no way to compare these areas in terms of work or effort required. While we may end up spending the rest of this year making sure Solitaire and Netplay are fully fixed and stable, it's also possible that we may be able to start working on these sooner than that. In either case, these are somewhat optimistic goals and our past experience with MWIF indicates that some will likely take longer than expected.
0. Finish Fixing Solitaire and Netplay (details above)
1. Additional Optional Rules
If you look at the beginning of Vol. I of the Player's Manual, you'll see a list of additional optional rules to add, with those that are closest to completion marked with asterisks.
The exact order of implementation for optional rules remains to be decided. We would welcome community input and feedback on which optional rules are of greatest importance to you. The below are currently the closest to completion:
- Optional Rule #47 (Isolated Reorganization Limits)
- City-based volunteers (this is already mostly implemented)
- Guards Banner Armies
- Rough Seas
- Naval Supply Units (this one is harder and will be left as one of the last)
- Convoy in Flames (this is likely the hardest and riskiest of all - we're expecting to get to this only once we're very happy that the vast majority of issues have been resolved)
We expect about 1-2 months of development to be spend adding in some of the additional optional rules, depending on which make the final list.
2. Additional Scenarios
- Fascist Tide
- Day of Infamy
Each of these will need about 1 month of development time. We're planning on Fascist Tide first, but much of the required work will apply to both, mainly in terms of how the off-map forces/assets/production are handled.
3. NetPlay expanded to 4 players (possibly 6)
Only after we're sure that NetPlay is very solid for 2 players, but we do not expect 4 or 6 player NetPlay to generate many issues that would not already appear in 2 player NetPlay. This is estimated to take 2-3 months of development time.
4. The AI (post-2015)
This is still something we plan to and want to do, but will nevertheless be a large task. Realistically this is not going to happen this year, but could be started before the end of next year. When we get started on this, more information and details will be provided. This could swap places with 4 player NetPlay in the priority order depending on community preference, though we expect 4 player NetPlay to be a much smaller task once we get to that point.
< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 6/11/2015 10:21:37 PM >