Is it time to rethink DCS World’s release structure?

The latest DCS World Open Beta patch is out and it appears that patch 2.5.6.50726 is, for lack of a better term, a big mess. Dozens of comments and what appear to be hundreds of bugs that cause significant problems for DCS World players are littered through this open beta release and some of them are bad enough to prevent people from even flying some aircraft in any sort of meaningful way thanks to display bugs. This is hardly the first time something like this has happened so is it time to rethink the way that DCS World structures their releases?

Stable versus beta

DCS World is released in two different release pathways. There is a stable release and a open beta release.

Stable is updated infrequently and only typically after several open beta patches have come out. It’s intended to be the more ‘stable’ release that has fewer bleeding edge updates and where most things work correctly or about as well as they can be expected to.

Beta release is where testing is typically done. Beta software is usually something that is theoretically content complete (in reference to the current version anyways) but undergoing testing to find problems. It’s where new features go to get tested and then later approved for stable release.

The reason for the open beta model

New releases like the DCS: Supercarrier come to beta first – which entices people to play the open beta release.

One of the key reasons for the open beta model is that Eagle Dynamics is a niche software company operating in a niche market. Flight simulations are big and demanding but they command only a small audience relative to the rest of the entertainment industry. Large companies with big audiences can afford to have large testing teams and can crunch bugs more effectively as a result. At least, that is what happens in theory and anyone who has been a Battlefield V fan over the last two years can attest to how often even big teams can make major mistakes and release game breaking or experience busting patches.

One of the words we have from Nick Grey, co-founder of Eagle Dynamics and owner of The Fighter Collection as well as an increasingly vocal voice in the DCS World community, is that the open beta and the early access release model help Eagle Dynamics get thousands of testing hours in a very short period of time. That helps them make a better product on the whole as well as being an essential part of their release structure.

And generally speaking, he’s right!

No matter how big the testing team, releasing a patch to thousands of fans will organically cover the testing needs of a sim in a matter of a few hours that it could take testing teams weeks to cover. It’s a challenge of software developers everywhere and no matter how good the testing is it will always run into obscure problems once it arrives in the hands of the general public.

To some extent the open beta model is something that Eagle Dynamics needs to continue with and it has my full support but it does have a fundamental problem too – a large percentage of the community, one could even say most of the community, are using the open beta release and that is causing some friction.

The intersection between early access and open beta

There’s a crossover point between early access and open beta too. Open beta is where early access content goes first before it arrives in the stable release. That process sometimes takes months which makes waiting for a new module while your friends on open beta are already flying it excruciating. And that is the answer of why everyone has moved to open beta – because of early access.

Right now, if you want to fly the new DCS: P-47 or DCS: The Channel Map that everyone is talking about and sharing video and screenshot of, you’ll need one of the latest open beta releases to access the new content. If you have the public release, you’ll need to wait a while yet before accessing it and right now we don’t know when that will be.

As a result, much or or most of the DCS World community uses the open beta release and not the stable release. Even more, if you want to play DCS World multiplayer you have to run open beta if you want to be able to fly on any of the popular servers.

Fans of the DCS: JF-17 had to wait a long time between the early access release and its appearance in the stable release

There is a difficult push and pull in place here. While open beta is essential to solving problems, it’s also the most enticing place to be for DCS World as it is where all of the new content goes first and the people are just following the newest content.

It’s a difficult position to place fans of the series in and frankly I see some fraying that edges here after the latest patch has caused so much trouble. One need only look at a recent r/hoggit thread or venture onto any number of DCS World related Discord communities to see the complaints.

The heart of the problem

Beta software sometimes breaks aircraft that were functioning fine which leads to frustration.

The biggest problem as I see it is not the open beta patches themselves. Beta software breaks, doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, and is generally cranky. That’s normal! However, most average users of software should never interact with the beta or at least not unless they make a decision to actively try and support the development and give the beta version a try. But that’s not what is happening in the DCS World community right now.

When you break it down there are two fundamental parts of this problem:

  1. The open beta patches are far too enticing for the community to ignore and that has moved a lot of the community into the position of using open beta. From training servers, to single player campaign developers to dynamic war servers, nearly everyone in both single and multiplayer arenas are using open beta. The rest are often cajoled into getting it because that’s where everyone else is. It puts a lot of people who aren’t as well setup to tolerate bugs with software in a position of essentially being a public tester and that can be frustrating.
  2. More users are using the open beta software than should be. That means that every broken beta patch is a PR problem for Eagle Dynamics with their community managers having to deal with angry messages on nearly all platforms. It gives the impression that the team doesn’t release quality software. That is, in my opinion, hardly the case given the impressive overall nature of DCS World if you look at the stable releases and the big picture over time.

For my own part, I have spent the better part of the last two months mostly choosing to fly mostly IL-2: Great Battles with my multiplayer group because of the performance glitches and problems with DCS World 2.5.6 open beta. Yes, we absolutely could go to the stable release but then all of the servers we play on don’t support public release and are on open beta. If any one of us wants to check out the latest exciting content release we’re essentially forced to the open beta and that usually means bringing the rest of the group along with us.

What should be done?

Most of you who read Stormbirds.blog know that I highlight problems with constructive purpose. I am one who firmly believes that you have to think about and then strive towards positive change. Sometimes it takes just a small nudge in a new direction to make a big change to the status quo and some changes need to be made in my opinion.

I propose that Eagle Dynamics fundamentally alters their release strategy and that the DCS World community makes a big change in supporting it. The first change comes from Eagle Dynamics themselves. They need to commit to releasing new early access content to a stable release first thereby removing the draw to open beta for new content. Then the second change then comes from the community where we agree mostly to shift to the stable release structure on most multiplayer servers – except for those who want to do the testing. That should still be an option.

Open beta is still a useful thing to have and a smaller and more bug tolerant side of the community should still, if they want to, maintain an open beta release on their computer. Open beta would still be where engine tweaks, new audio and lighting updates, and other new features are added and tested in a bigger group than an internal tester group. New content on the other-hand would undergo a period of closed beta testing (as it already does anyways) before first emerging into the stable release structure.

There may be flaws in how this works from a developer standpoint. I’m the first to acknowledge that while I have maybe more than average understanding of this area (having worked in IT departments for a very long time), I am still not a software developer and I am not a software developer at Eagle Dynamics. So I may have missed a key mark here.

This is, however, the best way I can think of to tackle the problems of the current model which clearly is not working given the angry posts, the lists of bugs on the forums, and the number of people who straight give up and do something else until a new maybe less problematic beta patch arrive. It creates a situation where you never really know if you’re going to have fun on DCS World tonight or if you’re going to fight bugs the whole time and I think that’s what most people are facing right now and I think it needs a rethink.

TL;DR

DCS World needs a new release cycle where new early access content such as aircraft and scenery are tested in a closed beta cycle and then released to stable. Open beta should become a place where where the majority of other tweaks and core system changes are made. The DCS World community should then commit to moving multiplayer servers to stable release for the majority of the community.

Your thoughts?

This being an editorial is just another one of those times where I get up on my own soapbox that I’ve built here and give you my thoughts. But as with just about any subject I am also eager to hear your ideas too. How do we solve this problem or should we continue to let it go on?

43 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike Humphrey says:

    The issue is that Open Beta is actually Open Alpha. ED just need to do their jobs right and this all becomes a non-issue. It doesn’t have to be this way, but they are so consistently incompetent and mismanaged that they make it seem like it does to the uninitiated. (Professional coder here.)

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      You may be right that it’s more alpha than beta. I have for a long time felt that we shouldn’t be in a position where the majority of the community is on the open beta ring and not on stable.

      There’s plenty arguing they want to stay but they are also having a ton of issues too. It’s a weird state of affairs.

      Like

  2. Rob C. says:

    An excellent and logical view on the situation. I hope the interested parties see this and take it seriously.

    I too am going back to IL2 for a while. Personally its been pretty frustrating going from DCS module to DCS module the last couple weeks so I can fly one that’s relatively stable only to have each one in turn knocked out by a “patch”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jester says:

    Simply moving everyone over to stable will not solve the underlying problem. Most of the horribly buggy, untested code that causes problems in Open Beta makes it to Stable. All moving everyone to Stable will do is delay the complaints by a month or six, because the core problem is the code itself and how they manage their time. They need to spend more time fixing and bug-testing their product, and less time cramming to introduce new features. Simple as that.

    Like

    1. Jester says:

      And to expand on that, NineLine revealed that it is “not uncommon” for releases to get LESS THAN 12 HOURS between sending to QA and releasing publicly. There is very little testing being on on their code before they release it. That makes it what they’re releasing to the public an Internal Alpha in industry-standard terms, NOT a beta. That is irresponsible of them, IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Piguet j-f says:

      j utilise les deux versions dcs world
      Mais je joue qu en solo et pour moi tout va pour le mieux,je n ai pas remarquer de bug majeure,cela voudrait dire que les bugs se trouvent uniquement en multijoueurs??

      Like

  4. Fernando says:

    With this and Star Citizen my only hope is that 2077 will be good and without bugs so I can play (and relax) with that (dreamed) one and forget for a while two of my favs sims/games out there. This is sad. Hope they will change the system for good. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hitman7777 says:

    I think the problem is that DCS getting more and more complex.
    There are now so many third-party providers! That is not easy to Handel and to be integrated in the game. With a small team I think this is not easy.

    If an error happens in the open-beta it is usually fixed with the next update!

    I was an F-16 Pilot for the very beginning and there were a lot of mistakes and restrictions. But that should be clear to everyone when you play an early excess version in an open beta world.

    I am happy that I can use a test version. Normally it is only for VIP people I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Michael Rockford says:

    A dedicated multiplayer server run by ED would also be very useful (especially with dynamic campaign components). The multiplayer function of DCS has always been trash and having ED actively promoting a stable version with good MP gameplay would keep me engaged and less distracted by shiny new content.

    But I agree with a lot of what you said. When ED released the F-16 and it had no damage model, it ruined DCS for me because I mainly play MP, and so we had a cartoon aircraft running around in every major MP server because everyone wanted to try it out. And when people would chastise you for criticizing an open beta product, I would often refer to the above points… that’s where EVERYONE is. I would play stable, if there was a community on the stable branch, but there isn’t. So they need to do something to make stable enticing.

    I think releasing early access content into stable would help, but honestly they probably get a lot out of the open beta testing with early access content as you pointed out too.

    What I really think will make this game better, is a stable MP server run by ED. Something like Blueflag but run by their team, on their servers. I think having something like that would help draw people for the gameplay experience not just the new shiny content experience. So until ED fleshes out that online gamplay experience, this will continue to be a problem for them as their only draw is new content.

    Like

  7. Mikeloto says:

    Subscription model is the only feasible way I think , slow down releasing new modules to get money and focus on finish the things that are EA , etc…

    Like

    1. Jeremy Romulux says:

      Lets be straight up. The only reason you want subscription is you can get away with paying $10.00/month for thousands of dollars worth of content, while everyone else and ED eats the real expenses. You aren’t really interested in the well being of ED, or else you would recognize that what you are proposing is not a sustainable business model and would most likely kill ED instead.

      Like

  8. Tom says:

    Well – I would go so far and say that they should or even better have to change their way of making money. Yes, we (and I do include myself here) spend a lot of money on the modules, but the actual playground, the maps are still free. If I would be in ED’s shoes i would change it to a monthly subscribtion model. Charge 5 bucks per month – witch is, if we are honest, nothing to the single player – but will have a gigantic impact on ED’s financial situation. The thing is: They do release a module and make money. But – they have to pay for development costs and the following support of the module. Since a lot of us are buying these modules when they come out, they have to use that money to cover costs they had in the past and costs in the future. So – You have a big cash flow the moment a new module comes out and the no or very little further income witch forces you to release new stuff more and more frequent, no matter how far in developent or how playable they are.

    So – Monthly subscription, generate a constant cashflow. That should allow ED to:

    – hire more developers, coders, whatever they need to engange bugs a.s.a.p.
    – it should allow them to spend mor resources in maps and the basic code of dcs
    – make it possible to release more modules more complete in shorter period of time
    and so on an so forth.

    In the end it’s all just a matter of how much money you can throw into it,

    Like

  9. Simfan says:

    You nailed it Shamrockonefive !
    My personal issue with previous DCS World OB : it took me just 1 minute to know the OB version was broken.
    Just trying to use the fast mission editor to fire up a mission with the new Channel map … failed each and everytime !
    The FME also crashed on most other missions I tried to generate.
    How could they have missed this one !?
    The lighting issues I can understand, but if someone NOT looking for bugs (me) stumbles on something like this in under 1 minute !? (and this is no joke … under 1 minute)
    This got fixed in the latest OB.
    Thank you for yet another great article … I hope ED reads it too !
    (BTW you are also right about IL-2 … now also got my full attention and appreciation … it seems better at dealing with severe issues, this doesn’t happen all too often with IL-2 GB !)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eviscerador says:

    If you have any issues with the current Open Beta / Stable you have two really straightforward solutions:
    – Have two installations. Only for the rich ones that can afford very big SSD drives to have dual installations (not that big if you only have one map)
    – Use DCS GUI by Skatezilla. Switching between open beta and release versions is made by clicking one button and letting the updater do the job. Easy, clean and you will only need one installation.

    The rule of thumb is play in open beta, test, try, do whatever you want. Do you have bugs you don’t like? revert to the version you want or even back to stable with the GUI.

    Don’t want to experience bugs at all? play only fully released modules on stable. They rarely have any bugs (they do on open beta though)

    Oh but I want to fly my new early released Viper! Well… that’s early release for you. It will be bugged, it will lack content… just play the A10C, the F5E, the Sabre, the Albatros, any of the Helos and you will have a lot of content free of bugs on a stable version of the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tomsk says:

    Part of the problem is that all the new things go into OpenBeta, which entices people to use it. The other part of the problem is that stable is often not significantly better. ED have quite a history of promoting really fairly broken builds to stable on a regular basis. This is particularly the case because they will promote a build to stable even if one module is broken, providing the entire of DCS is not broken. This can be pretty frustrating if you are part of squadron who are using that module as your main aircraft.

    As such from a user’s point of view there seems little advantage to being on stable: you get the new features later, and it may well be current stable is more buggy than the latest OpenBeta version.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. CanadaOne says:

    Good article.

    I’m for the Open Beta early release way of things. But I’m also an SP sandbox flyer, so I can be as undisciplined as I wish and if Plane A is wonky, I just go to Plane B (pardon the pun) and it’s no muss, no fuss, I’m not screwed out of MP with several people being disappointed because something doesn’t work, if you see what I mean.

    But, as mentioned, the answer may be to have two installations; a Beta and a stable. That may eat up 300+GB of space, but given the cash we’re all blowing on flightsims, a bigger SSD is not that unrealistic a demand.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nyx says:

    IDK if my first post got stuck in Limbo, but here I go again,

    Good article Shamrock.

    The last couple of days have been embarrassing for both sides (ED and some members of the DCS community).

    I hope we do get more voices from the community that try to provide constructive criticism and possible solutions and don’t spam vile and poisonous posts without proper content.

    TL;DR (the stuff below):
    Have a longer release cycle 2-8 weeks. Cycle between pure technical patches and pure content patches. Make the open beta patch only briefly relevant – e.g. stable patch release 1 week after Open Beta patch dropped.

    I agree with your observation, that DCS is to be played – in its current state – on the beta client. The problem with doing so is, that one could always say “Oh if you don’t like the bugged Beta, go play the stable.” – which isn’t helpful too. Your reason, to make the stable version more enticing seems logical. I would like to extend your idea and propose a patch cycle similar to “Warthunder” and “Escape from Tarkov”.

    Warthunder: they usually announce their patch including the expected content roughly 1 month ahead of release. This gets the community hyped and active on the forums to discuss the content. 1 week before the official release, you can use the test client (in EDs case the open beta client) to test the product and get a glimpse of what to expect. As we’ve seen with the community, it usually takes less than 24h to find any game breaking bugs. This would also ensure, that the argument “Play the stable, it’s just a BETA” actually is true. Granted, ED does their part and ensures a solid stable release.

    Escape from Tarkov: the update cycle is altering between a technical + quality of life patches and new content patches. In EDs case, they would focus during a technical patch on things like lighting, Vulkan API, Flight Models, UI, all the current broken stuff, etc. This would ensure a “more solid” technical platform for additional content, which would then be released in a content patch (new modules, new weapons, new systems, etc.).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Al-Azraq says:

    They should have a real Stable version and then most of us will change to it. However Stable is just a not very bugged Beta release. They just push Beta releases to stable. That’s just crazy. The Beta version should be used to test and polish new features and once they are ready, you merge them to Stable but branches should be separated and updated differently. However ED just waits until a Beta release which is functional more or less and just push it as Stable with all its bugs and issues.

    I would kill for a really stable version. I don’t care much about timing, I can wait, I understand things are more complex than they seem usually, and I am a patient guy. But I can only do that if I really have something stable that I can enjoy. But the Stable version still have desync, lighting issues, 1995 sim-like clouds, a bad damage model for ground units and WW2 planes, ground units can’t move in MP if you appreciate your FPS. Overall, game is still hollow in the end.

    Fix all that, give me a stable release, and you can update it every half year for all I care. Because then the enjoyment won’t come of having the new shiny missile for the Hornet that I can learn using in 5 minutes in the limited escenarios DCS offers, but it will come from really using it in complex escenarios with dynamic missions and in a enjoyable environment.

    These things will increase the value of the modules by a lot but with current state of the sim, the value of a module is quite low from my point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jason says:

    “As a result, much or or most of the DCS World community uses the open beta release and not the stable release”
    Just to pick up on this…according to ED’s user statistics (as per Kate Pederenko) TWICE as many users on Stable as Open Beta

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That IS an interesting statistic. It’s unfortunately not indicative of multiplayer at all unfortunately.

      Like

  16. D says:

    “DCS World needs a new release cycle where new early access content such as aircraft and scenery are tested in a closed beta cycle and then released to stable.”

    Yeah right.

    They have the closed beta team. They claim it has even been expanded after the previous screw-up (initial release of the 2.5.6 OB). And yet we have yesterday’s patch. Or a bug-ridden 2.5.6 OB pushed into Stable. Or their PR guys openly admitting that sometimes they don’t have time to test anything at all.

    A new early access content = buggy content. This is especially true with ED and their spaghetti code. You can’t really separate “an aircraft” from “a core systems”: in DCS it’s all intertwined, often in a bizarre ways. Sometimes ED cannot fix a bug A in a module B without breaking a couple core systems and some other modules in the process.

    So, no. I don’t want early access content in Stable. Especially after ED’s *closed* beta testing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Doctor Drago says:

    I was a Stable holdout for a long time, since I’m not often in the mood to spend my free time being a beta tester (which is important work and has my admiration!). What drew me over to OB in DCS was the content gap between that and Stable, which kept widening with each successive update.

    It would be no mean feat, but it would help if that gap could be made more predictable: so tested features would move from Beta to Stable as new features moved from Alpha to Beta, keeping the releases flowing and lessening the feeling of being left out playing Stable.

    I also think it would help if they took a page from 1C’s (and others’) book and did away with the semi-rigid update schedule, instead releasing things when they were more complete. That’s not to say they’d be perfect right out of the oven, but as has been said already here, it changes the Open Beta to a true Beta experience, and keeps the Alpha Phase for internal testers only. It seems from the feedback we keep seeing that people may complain about waiting for features and content, but deep down they’d rather have things work when they release.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Juan "Baco" fernandez says:

    Well, I believe Nothing Should be done. The name says it all: OPEN BETA. You dont like surprises, stick to Release version. H you want to try new lovely thingies, well, then DONT complain whenw a BETA throws a tantrum…It s simple.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Unfortunately, as I laid out in the article it’s not that simple. New content releases go to beta first which entices the community to use that version and as more of the community went to open beta more multiplayer servers went there to which is now at the point where most of the popular multiplayer servers (104th, Into the Inferno, Hoggit, etc.) are all on open beta which means that players also need to be on open beta or not play on multiplayer.

      If it were that simple we wouldn’t be talking about it I don’t think.

      Like

  19. Matt says:

    I could not disagree more. I think ED’s early access model is excellent and it allows us all to get our hands on content a lot sooner than we otherwise would. If you don’t like too many bugs play the stable version. It is largely a very stable and bug free experience. If you want the latest and greatest play the open beta build. The cost of that is bugs. It is a simple choice and I for one am glad they give us that choice. I have both installed.

    I hear what you say about multiplayer but frankly that is not the fault of ED. That is the fault of the community choosing the latest and greatest (with bugs) over the stable alternative. If someone feels so strongly about it set up and play a stable server yourself. It isn’t hard.

    By the way Supercarrier is already in the stable version and it is a cracker of a release. You guys are enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the sim community at the moment and yet are complaining about it. Don’t complain just set up more stable release servers. 1st world problem solved.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks for your comments Matt. I actually don’t think we’re too far off with our thinking here.

      Supercarrier is actually the model I’m suggesting. It came to the stable release first and that was a pretty good patch. If they did that more often I think we’d see fewer on the beta and more on the stable and most people would be happier in general.

      Ultimately I don’t mind much which way it goes exactly but I do think we need to improve somewhere.

      Like

    2. whiskers says:

      The focus on the open beta is a huge obstacle to overcome for new people. The learning curve is steep enough without bugs, and a lot of newer players don’t have the space to be able to have both installed. So when a new player wants to start really getting into multiplayer, it’s almost a choice of do I continue with this product or move over to something easier like Microsoft Flight Sim 2020?

      I’m only mentioning this because from commercially from Eagle Dynamics’ perspective, they need to be thinking about player retention. The longer they keep new players playing, the more people there are to buy more modules and the entire community can grow. So if this is a concern for Eagle Dynamics, which I would Hazzard to guess it is. Then they should be thinking of ways to move at least the majority of multiplayer servers over to stable.

      Like

  20. YSIAD PIR says:

    The DCS user community has a lot of passion and the platform, not surprisingly, many sophisticated bugs.
    Critical Problem Solving
    Point #1: All stakeholders must agree on what the main problem(s) are.
    Point #2: 80/20 Rule- What is the most significant set of problems that are causing 80% of the waste/rework or frustration?
    Point #3: Make a Plan, Execute the Plan, Check the Results, Act on Results and Continually Improve.
    Yes, I know It reads like Corporate Brainwashing BS, but you won’t believe how many products/projects failed because one or some of the three points are poorly executed. I guess I am not reading the DCS forums enough, but at this point, I am not sure if Eagle Dynamics’ top Problems are the same as the Top concerns of the user community. I am okay with the Open Beta Program, I keep my OB and STABLE copies of DCS on my 1 TB SSD. I use the 2.5.5 Stable when I want to compare and see how much better or worse something is. It is very much like a marriage, for better or for worse. I don’t want a divorce, at this time… lol.
    Cheers.

    Like

  21. Rob says:

    Honestly, I would just like to see vulkan implemented. Once you go VR, you can’t go back. But not even a top end rig can run this software at the moment. DCS is billed as the most realistic flight sim but cannot even be flown in the most realistic way, in VR. Where do I sign up to be a vulkan beta tester? I’d gladly do it.

    Like

  22. jbarnson says:

    You are writing from the perspective of a hardcore player, and you are looking at the relatively hardcore community. And while they are a dedicated community and way more focused on DCS than some might consider healthy, they don’t represent the larger group of players, *and* many of them are not prepared to deal with beta issues. And yeah, we all think we’re happy to test in exchange for early access to the new stuff, up until it breaks stuff we rely upon.

    And maybe therein lies the rub. We are willing to test, but we want to play. The giant size of DCS means that most of us are forced to do one or the other. If switching between stable and Open Beta took no effort at all – and if stable wasn’t terribly behind Open Beta in terms of features – we wouldn’t have the problems of being on one or the other, and the servers could be more easily divided between the two because they wouldn’t have to cater to “where the hardcore players are” – we’d all be on both.

    It might be more trouble than it’s worth to have DCS have a set of deltas it can switch between so that everyone could be on “both” without exploding the storage and download requirements or causing a whole new set of recurring bugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jbarnson says:

      I guess I didn’t complete my thought there… I was going to say it might be more trouble than its worth, but I think it is worth considering.

      Like

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s an interesting solution. I’ve no idea if it’s possible but that would certainly be an out of the box kind of solution.

      You’re right that my perspective is somewhat limited as someone who has been into simulations for a long time. I do my best to try and bring in that more casual perspective whenever I can but it is a challenge to be sure!

      Like

  23. Francesco Kasta says:

    My thoughts? Somebody stirred up a hornet’s nest here.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s certainly got people talking both here and everywhere I shared it. That’s ok. Dialogue is good and more than a few are suggesting changes – that speaks to the passion and interest here. I’ll remain ultimately upbeat. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Jay says:

    They just need to release products that are closer to done than Undone. I don’t know what percentage complete their release requirements are BUT I know for a Fact FALCON could not have been 50% complete. THATS the problem IMO. Releasing too many incomplete modules having too many BEta products in testing at once is just inherently dysfunctional. If its a financial issue resolve it woth some form of venture capitol investment or something other than letting users finance the project. I don’t know the answer but when I see them release XYZ plane and the one I’m flying has half its systems not working or not even there that sucks. I still support the product because HANDS down this is THE best combat flight sim on the market. But I will not buy another early release product.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. whiskers says:

    This issue is super frustrating for me. I’m new and have been learning the F/A-18. I want to start trying my hand online but I for one, don’t want to fly a product in beta, I have enough trouble working out the hornet’s systems, let alone throwing bugs into the mix. And two, I don’t have the space to keep stable and beta installed. So I would have to sacrifice the Stable branch entirely to play on beta. This is enough of an issue to prevent me playing multiplayer and move onto another product like Microsoft Flight Sim 2020.

    Star Citizen has a pretty good model, they release updates to a select trusted group first called the Evocati. Then to paying subscribers, and finally the public often a week or 2 before it hits the stable branch.

    This is going to be a super controversial idea, but it has already become clear that revenue invested into Eagle Dynamics is not held for profit, but instead invested back into the product.

    I think on top of more timely updates to the Stable branch, the public beta should require a cheap monthly subscription to access, $5 or something for example. Something to resemble Star Citizen’s structure described above.

    The aim of this isn’t to turn it into a cash cow, but instead help ensure the commitment of the community to use stable branch primarily as the main product.

    Like

  26. laterarrival says:

    I feel you nailed it. After a few years break, I decided to jump back in and purchased the new A10-C II module. I updated to the latest Stable and couldn’t work out why my shiny new plane wasn’t available. Took me a while to realise that it’s because the module only works on the Beta branch. With no info available on when the module will work on Stable, my immediate thought was, “Oh, I suppose I’d better install the Beta”. As a casual player, it’s disappointing that the paid module I’ve just purchased – and that everyone is talking about – doesn’t work on the stable release.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Peter M says:

    First, thanks Shamrockonefive for raising these issues. My thoughts are:
    1. Beta is as vital as Stable. Updates are inevitable and necessary, but ED needs to ensure that their complexity does not exceed their necessity. We know that has happened when we spend as much time trying to get DCS to work, as we spend in flying. Many of the negative comments we see on the forums are generated by lack of experience and the frustration of trying to master new developments introduced in the updates and new mods. Help on the forums does not always answer the problems. Tutorials are better, but rely on third party input and are often badly produced. What may not be realised is that many of ED’ customers are not as sim- literate as others and many might be surprised at the advanced age of some DCS players ( I am 75 and have friends of over 60 who also play). Sure, they could say. “Don’t join if you can’t understand” but that would be bad press. The bottom line here is simplification and developers’ own brief instructions on the more difficult updates.
    2.At the moment complaints and bug reports are scattered all over the forums, often repeated, overlapping and difficult to research. There needs to be a well defined single channel for bug-reporting. We find and report bugs but only rarely do we get a “reported” response. If bug reports were limited to, say, 250 characters it would force reporters to identify the bug succinctly so ED would not have to waste time wading through surplus matter. Then we would know that every bug was noted and (we would hope) being attended to.
    3. ED needs to do something about ATTENDING to bug reports, no matter how minor. A guaranteed time limit needs to be observed, and bugs attended to in the order they were reported. I have reported at least two bugs ( one acknowledged) which remain even after 6 months. Not a good look.
    Peter.

    Like

    1. Peter M says:

      Thank you. Would you edit the word “catered” in line one of para. 2, to read “scattered”.
      Regards,
      Peter.

      Like

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Done! ☺️

        Like

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Peter! I generally agree on all counts. Those are areas that could be done better.

      Asobo Studio took the bold step of just providing a weekly update on the top bugs and what they doing with them. That’s one possible way towards engaging on that front.

      I stand firm, despite the improvements we’ve seen since this piece was written, that the beta as release needs a tweak. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to new customers in particular. I understand ED’s point that the beta process is essential for them but there has to be something better – even if it a release cycle name change and a commitment towards better beta’s.

      Like

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