Development

Let’s have a talk about the test server

You probably noticed these strange Trebuchet-looking and Spiral-behaving weapons on our test server last few weeks. We did not explain the idea thoroughly enough, and many players got confused. The question emerged:

– Is the stuff that developers put on public test server actually going to make it to the game?

For War Robots the right answer is yes. And also no. Mostly no.

– Huh? What does it mean?

To answer this question properly, we have to delve deeper into our whole public test philosophy.

How public test servers usually work

Many developers use their public test servers to run through things that are almost ready to be released. It’s their last chance to get rid of game-breaking issues. And at the same time, for players it’s an exciting sneak peek into an upcoming update.

That’s not entirely the case with us. While we certainly use public tests to finalize last bits of our changelog, these last bits are not the only thing that makes its way onto the test server. We want to go further than that.

When developers use public tests for the upcoming updates, there is already a ton of work put into every feature. If it doesn’t quite work, it may be too easy to get blinkered and say: “Naaah, it’s too late to change that, let’s just put it on the live server and see if it sticks“ — or something along those lines. It is especially true for large-scale experimental changes. An experiment didn’t go well, but developer already used plenty of resources for it? Then scrapping the thing or pulling it back for rework may hurt way too much.

How our public test servers work

We prefer to put features on the test server as early as possible, even before the actual development of those features starts. This approach has its drawbacks — for example, the said confusion in the community that might surface once we decide to try something too audacious. And that’s why we are now discussing our thinking behind the test server.

Anyway, here is the thing:

We all want our ideas to turn into reality.

And there are tons of ideas always flying around — much more of them than it’s humanly possible to realize and implement. Brief experiments with prototypes on the test server allow us to process much more of them. We naturally want more of these experiments to happen, and also to receive your feedback as early as possible.

You tell us that prototype weapons don’t work? We scrap it without any regret. Prototype map feels terrible? We either make quick changes to its geometry or throw it away entirely. By prototyping faster we don’t have enough time to get overly attached to concepts that don’t work, so we will rather switch to the next idea than spend more time with the one that isn’t good enough.

Consequently, the test server is the place where you, the players, will notice the influence of your input the fastest. If you don’t like some particular idea, tell us — we’ll pull it back. As easy as that.

Things move fast on the test server. Be sure not to miss anything!