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Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:07 pm

Shoju wrote:@Sab- My very first C++ Class. Then, the first day of SQL, Then the first day of .php, then the first day of actionscript. I'm pretty terrible with a lot of languages I learned bits and pieces of, but I did get the picture drilled home that documentation is the very basis of making sure your large projects run smoothly.

EDIT: And yes, all my C++ / VB was taught by one guy, and all my php / sql / actionscript by one other guy.


From this description (languages rather than concepts) I get the impression that you weren't actually studying computer science or software engineering, you were studying programming. Which is totally cool and I don't intend any slight against you or your education. However it is not particularly relevant to the Software Engineering principles needed to keep a ridiculously large gaming project like WoW running.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Shoju » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:35 pm

No offense taken Sab, you are right. I'm a programmer / database guy. It isn't the same thing as software engineering.

That doesn't change the fact that not documenting changes is sloppy at best, lazy at worst. In fact, one could argue that in a software engineering setting such as WoW, where you have more hands, more programmers, and more code going on than in my line of work (I'm the only guy left here working on the site and I'm able to run it, and handle the e-commerce orders, and the whole sale orders, and a small network), documentation would be far more important (arguably critical) part of the process.

Why that documentation isn't passed along is what really gets me.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:57 pm

Shoju wrote:No offense taken Sab, you are right. I'm a programmer / database guy. It isn't the same thing as software engineering.

That doesn't change the fact that not documenting changes is sloppy at best, lazy at worst. In fact, one could argue that in a software engineering setting such as WoW, where you have more hands, more programmers, and more code going on than in my line of work (I'm the only guy left here working on the site and I'm able to run it, and handle the e-commerce orders, and the whole sale orders, and a small network), documentation would be far more important (arguably critical) part of the process.

Why that documentation isn't passed along is what really gets me.


If I handed you an Source Control (pick your favorite) commit history for the WoW code base, complete with messages, good documentation, and full diffs, could you then take that and transform it into patch notes intended for the player? Do you think that process is easy?
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Njall » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:59 pm

Sabindeus wrote:
If I handed you an Source Control (pick your favorite) commit history for the WoW code base, complete with messages, good documentation, and full diffs, could you then take that and transform it into patch notes intended for the player? Do you think that process is easy?


Back away from the scary pit of horror.

(insert some lovcrafting quote here)

Yes, Carstairs, there are some things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby theckhd » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:01 pm

Sabindeus wrote:If I handed you an Source Control (pick your favorite) commit history for the WoW code base, complete with messages, good documentation, and full diffs, could you then take that and transform it into patch notes intended for the player? Do you think that process is easy?

If that were your job? Probably. Especially if you do it in small increments on a daily basis, and were familiar enough with the code by virtue of doing this job for a long enough period of time.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:05 pm

theckhd wrote:
Sabindeus wrote:If I handed you an Source Control (pick your favorite) commit history for the WoW code base, complete with messages, good documentation, and full diffs, could you then take that and transform it into patch notes intended for the player? Do you think that process is easy?

If that were your job? Probably. Especially if you do it in small increments on a daily basis, and were familiar enough with the code by virtue of doing this job for a long enough period of time.


I really dont think they have any developers whose full time job it is to do that, nor do I believe that it would be an easy job to get perfect patch notes every time without talking to the developers and designers (as they do right now to compile the patch notes) even if it was your full time job. I'm sure they have code reviews and such but the codebase can't be such that it is easy to just glean the in-game intent of a change from the source code. There's just no way.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Shathus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:12 pm

My last job was a fairly large codebase, but nothing like what I'm sure this game has, but when we had releases, people would go back through all the bug (from the tracker system) and even code commits into CVS and then QA would basically just have to go back and bug the developers "so i saw you make X change, what was that for?" needless to say it was arduous and our change log notes weren't very good :)

Besides, comments and documentation are what you do AFTER you finish coding, if you did them along the way, you'd have to change them too much =P
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby theckhd » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:30 pm

Sabindeus wrote:I really dont think they have any developers whose full time job it is to do that, nor do I believe that it would be an easy job to get perfect patch notes every time without talking to the developers and designers (as they do right now to compile the patch notes) even if it was your full time job. I'm sure they have code reviews and such but the codebase can't be such that it is easy to just glean the in-game intent of a change from the source code. There's just no way.


Intent would be impossible without consulting the developers, of course. I assume the intent of each change isn't logged in the comments. But still, I'd expect that to be part of the job description - be present at developer meetings, and question them about the intent behind changes as you compile the changes themselves.

They probably don't have someone doing this as their full-time job, but they really ought to.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Shoju » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:34 pm

I'm not saying that I could get them all, but I bet you that I could make sure that one class doesn't go 2+ years with undocumented changes every patch. If they don't have someone whose job it is to compile these things, they should. Up until recently, MMO-Champ had better patch notes than the company who made the game. they found more stuff, they reported more changes, they were on top of it better than Blizzard.

This Should Not Happen.

No one is perfect. I'm not expecting that. I'm expecting that I'm not going to play a Jack-in-the-Box surprise game every patch to find out what they didn't tell me. Every patch since 3.1 has seen a paladin "whoops we forgot to tell you, sorry. " type of moment. They haven't all been nerfs. But there has been one EVERY. SINGLE. PATCH.

They even had WEEKS to comment on this before hand and didn't. It comes off as laziness, sloppiness, or maybe just trying to hide from it.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:42 pm

theckhd wrote:
Sabindeus wrote:I really dont think they have any developers whose full time job it is to do that, nor do I believe that it would be an easy job to get perfect patch notes every time without talking to the developers and designers (as they do right now to compile the patch notes) even if it was your full time job. I'm sure they have code reviews and such but the codebase can't be such that it is easy to just glean the in-game intent of a change from the source code. There's just no way.


Intent would be impossible without consulting the developers, of course. I assume the intent of each change isn't logged in the comments. But still, I'd expect that to be part of the job description - be present at developer meetings, and question them about the intent behind changes as you compile the changes themselves.

They probably don't have someone doing this as their full-time job, but they really ought to.


The thing is they have several people do this regularly. We know that's how the patch notes are compiled. Talking with the developers to find out what changed. Looking at the code is a red herring, that's really not what's going to expose the actual changes. But some stuff inevitably falls through the cracks. It's going to happen.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:44 pm

Shoju wrote:I'm not saying that I could get them all, but I bet you that I could make sure that one class doesn't go 2+ years with undocumented changes every patch. If they don't have someone whose job it is to compile these things, they should. Up until recently, MMO-Champ had better patch notes than the company who made the game. they found more stuff, they reported more changes, they were on top of it better than Blizzard.

This Should Not Happen.

No one is perfect. I'm not expecting that. I'm expecting that I'm not going to play a Jack-in-the-Box surprise game every patch to find out what they didn't tell me. Every patch since 3.1 has seen a paladin "whoops we forgot to tell you, sorry. " type of moment. They haven't all been nerfs. But there has been one EVERY. SINGLE. PATCH.

They even had WEEKS to comment on this before hand and didn't. It comes off as laziness, sloppiness, or maybe just trying to hide from it.


Yeah, I get why you're angry. I'm angry too. But I don't hold any illusions about how difficult it should be to compile those patch notes. And I also recognize how much better and more detailed the notes have gotten since Vanilla Closed Beta and 1.0.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby fuzzygeek » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:46 pm

They should do a Gource on the WoW code base.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Dantriges » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:11 pm

Perhaps it´s a dumb laymen question but well if you design and change something in this size of project, doesn´t someone actually has know what´s actually going on? I mean like a meeting agreeing what´s needs to be changed and if it´s just the head developer yelling orders? And if you changed something after coordination, don´t they need to get an ok or at least file a report?

Like I don´t know
Report on the Paladin class:
Changed talent x in the follwoing way, changed coeeficient on spell y
Fixed this
And so on.

They probably don´t have to go into much detail until somesthing screws up and they have to review their comments, why ability y behaves in an unexpected way.
But this was a deliberate change. Can´t they just keep a report list about the projects they are working on? You probably don´t have to comment every bit but if you change a bigger part of the game system someone somewhere must have made a decision about it, assigned people and resources to work on it. It probably takes a few minutes to add the decision to a list, so that your fellow coworkers and superviser know what you are working on. Or if the Chief Designer decided to make a change, people know what´s on the To Do list.

Well the whole thing looks like people cannot be bothered and are a bit lazy. Whoever monitored the forums, never bothered to ask about a possible (major) bug, reported by the playtesters and the design team seems to work on a total ad hoc basis where no one really knows what´s actually going on.

But well I don´t work on large scale projects.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Sabindeus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:33 pm

Dantriges wrote:Perhaps it´s a dumb laymen question but well if you design and change something in this size of project, doesn´t someone actually has know what´s actually going on? I mean like a meeting agreeing what´s needs to be changed and if it´s just the head developer yelling orders? And if you changed something after coordination, don´t they need to get an ok or at least file a report?

Like I don´t know
Report on the Paladin class:
Changed talent x in the follwoing way, changed coeeficient on spell y
Fixed this
And so on.


Probably not? I think if every individual change and bugfix were ticketed they wouldn't get anything done. There's a certain balance to be found in the spectrum from no accountability/logging to too much process taking up your developers' and designers' time.
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Re: Observations post Cs Change - Pulling out of frustrations.

Postby Karnadas » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:51 pm

Since the patch, I've killed 7 heroic bosses and 4 normal bosses. Only on Heroic Maloriak did I really dislike the change (I was trying to get enough holy power to hit myself before Engulfing Darkness).
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