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Salk

Why don't modders bother with Hotfixes?

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Hello!

 

Some other times I tried to bring up this subject with practically no feedback at all.

 

Now I try again since this situation repeats itself in cycles and seem to be a non written rule among modders.

 

It's often the case that people are not allowed to play the most bugfree (or perfected) version of a Mod for months despite reported bugs being squished - and here comes the hated word - "locally".

 

I understand (but only partly) that a mod producer/creator wants it released at more or less regular intervals (but sometimes there is a new release just few days after), but what I really cannot understand is why there are almost never hotfixes for people that would not mind downloading and unzipping a few corrected files.

 

Would it be such an heavy job to keep an updated version of a Mod? What are the real disadvantages of this?

 

After this "rant", let me say that I am very very grateful for the job all modders do, no matter me being or not one of their user.

 

Thanks! :(

Edited by Salk

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You'll probably get as many answers to this question as there are modders.

 

Sometimes, it depends on the availability of a quick and easy fix that will affect games in progress without messing up new games. Don't forget that many times, the bug is already in the saved-game, so installing a fix is going to be a bit dicey. You don't want to introduce a new bug while fixing an old one.

 

Also, some modders do not have places they can upload a hotfix, though with so many cable/DSL companies offering limited web storage for free, that's becoming less of an issue.

 

Also, some modders would probably prefer to just release a new version. "Install my mod, but don't forget the patch!" I tried that. It was all right, I guess. Now I just version up.

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Also, it's sometimes non-trivial to generate a hotfix - the fix may be quite integrated into whatever local version you're running.

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I am not sure I know what hotfix means. I try to update the mod as soon as I encounter a bug. It's far easier and more efficient than creating a fix that tries to redo something of the current mod version.

 

EDIT: I think the reason why mods might not get updated with bugs corrected locally is lack of time of the modder of some sort. If I don't even can't find time and motivation to create a new debugged version, chances that I'd make a hotfix which can turn out quite complicated depending on the kind of bug are very low.

Edited by jastey

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When modding makes me money, I'll start coming out with quicker fixes. :(

 

On a nicer note, I frequently offer players to play the most updated version of my mods. I ask for their email and I can send them the fix/new mod. I usually do this before the actual release because I know that it isn't practical for me to make CamDawg post a new release every time a bug is found and squished.

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Thanks for your feedback.

 

Very appreciated.

 

Some replies:

 

- DavidW: surely some fixes might be non-trivial. In my experiences over different modding boards, most of them are very trivial. So much that a non modder like myself can scavenge them sometimes attached to singular posts. Perhaps a better organized support with stickied trivial hotfixes might be a good compromise?

 

- jastey: I am all on your side. Since numbers are infinite I would (if I was a modder) release a new version for everytime I find a bug. Mostly if it is an annoying, non random one.

 

- berelinde: your points are valid (except maybe the "I dont know where to upload my fix...") but when new mod versions are released it happens sometimes that new bugs are introduced (an example is the BG2 Fixpack). So the hotfixes = less reliable equation doesnt fully apply, I think.

 

- Theacefes: I understand that having a new release for every bug found can be unpractical and realistically noone is asking for that. But to let months (and in some cases years) pass without a release while in the Forum there are many topics with bug reports being acknowledged and fixed by the author locally is a bit sad.

 

Thanks! :(

Edited by Salk

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Since numbers are infinite I would (if I was a modder) release a new version for everytime I find a bug.

 

Umm, are you even remotely aware of the amount of effort that this approach would require?

 

Even large companies like Blizzard and Bioware don't release patches for their games whenever someone discovers a bug, unless it's a highly critical one. They usually wait until a fair amount of bug reports to get collected and then release a patch which addresses all of the reported issues. IMO, it would be extremely unrealistic to expect modders who do their work in the free time, without payment and without access to a professional QA department to do better than that.

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Since numbers are infinite I would (if I was a modder) release a new version for everytime I find a bug.

 

Umm, are you even remotely aware of the amount of effort that this approach would require?

 

Even large companies like Blizzard and Bioware don't release patches for their games whenever someone discovers a bug, unless it's a highly critical one. They usually wait until a fair amount of bug reports to get collected and then release a patch which addresses all of the reported issues. IMO, it would be extremely unrealistic to expect modders who do their work in the free time, without payment and without access to a professional QA department to do better than that.

 

^BTW, that was me, I forgot to log in.

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Yes, I do realize that it is an unrealistic approach.

 

But you miss my point here: modders often indivudate a bug and fix it. It's not rare that many bugs are reported and a fair amount of them is squished.

 

Still it can be that the modder's policy is that a new release won't be out untill all bugs are taken care of.

 

And I have seen this philosphy applied many times.

 

Not to mention that it can be that a developer or mantainer of a Mod just decide to disappear all of sudden leaving the community. All those "local fixes" are gone because no one can take an abandoned mod in his hands without the original author's permission.

 

Given for granted that each Mod is intellectual property of the author and that we users have no rights whatsoever to receive support, I ask you: is this the best way to benefit the community?

 

Well, I don't think so.

 

I don't think it's even fair to compare the productions of Blizzard or Bioware to a modification. The scope of the two are usually extremely different and so is their complexity.

 

I believe I have always showed due respect to all modders and always encouraged them in every way I could so I am well aware that modders do this in their free time without being paid. I am no Infinity Engine modder but I released a Mod for Final Fantasy VII for PC and I didn't get a single email to say "thank you" after hundreds of downloads.

Edited by Salk

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Last time I mentioned something of the kind about BGT update(BG1->BG2 transition in BGT hasn't been working for four months now), I recall that the author of this very topic said he didn't know what I was talking about. :(

 

Is it a cry for attention, an indirect attempt to flame a particular mod, or... what? If you want to say "Modder A, fix mod B!", saying so in mod B forum will net better(if emotional) results. Trying to have your cake while eating it - trying to update the desired mod and to avoid abuse of "How dare you tell me the mod I maintain hasn't been working for half a year!" hurled at you - won't work. Word.

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Kulyok,

 

with all due respect, you are missing my point big time.

 

If I had an issue with Mod A, I would have written a message in that particular Forum.

 

I am speaking generally, like it should be obvious from the topic's name.

 

BGT is no exception to this. I would rather have Ascension64 release a new version with all the so far squished bugs. I can hardly complain though at the support there. Usually each issue is answered to the very same day. Ascension64 has never been away - to my memory - for longer than 10-12 days and he even often cared to warn the users about that when it happened.You must also be fair and acknowledge the fact that the one gamebreaking bug for v1.05 of BGT has a hotfix downloadable from the BGT Forum. And when I wrote that I didn't know what you were talking about I meant for you to go down to the topic of your complaint because I just wanted to be sure that you were bashing BGT for a bug for a patch was made one day after it was reported.

 

It's more than I usually find.

Edited by Salk

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I don't think it's even fair to compare the productions of Blizzard or Bioware to a modification. The scope of the two are usually extremely different and so is their complexity.

 

Personally, I consider larger mods (i.e. total conversions like EasyTutu, BGT and such) to be very near commercial expansion packs in terms of development complexity.

 

Still it can be that the modder's policy is that a new release won't be out untill all bugs are taken care of.

 

Naturally, I can't speak for other modders, but my own general approach is something like this:

  1. Release a mod version which introduces new content and has been thoroughly tested for critical bugs
  2. Wait for a month or two to gather any bug reports and/or updated translations
  3. Make a minor update of the mod which is purely a bugfix release and adds no new content (save for the translations) thereby lowering the risk of introducing new bugs
  4. Repeat step 3 until a highly stable version of the mod is released
  5. Repeat step 1 when desiring to introduce new content

Now, as you can see, my ultimate goal is to release a completely bugfree version of the mod, but even though I test each version thoroughly (and have a small team of dedicated beta testers to help me) I can't be 100% sure that some bug hasn't slipped into the new release whenever new content is introduced. Fact is, some bugs only surface in very specific situations which makes them hard to notice during standard testing and that's why I consider minor bugfix updates as the best way to go.

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Historically, I've always done "hotfixes" for mods (the QP forums is full of them if you go back far enough). The only reason I don't now is because I don't typically have IE games installed at uni.

 

Indeed, on occasion bugs will crop up which are more sensibly addressed with a new mod version than dropping a file in the override--I think this is more true of AI and tweak mods than it is of, say, quests, where by-and-large you can backtrack to a point where nobody's computer catches fire.

 

The key problem with the method I use (override drop) is of course that it doesn't take great pains over compatibility. However, writing a full WeiDU patch to fix every bug is going to take a very long time, and you'd almost certainly be better updating the mod itself.

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In my case it's because I prefer to work with one game at a time and apply as many fixes as possible into the next version; and the games you no longer interested in playing are actually not very interesting to mod either, particulary when you are trying to snatch every minute for a new shiny project. And I always hope that that next version is the last. never happens, because I am a lousy coder, but one could hope.

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