At Haiku Games our goal is to deliver the best games we possibly can. An important part of that is creating a game that’s free of bugs or crashes. Our process is to test the game repeatedly while it is being developed. When it’s done, we have everyone play the game and report any issues they find. Finally, we send the game to a quality assurance (QA) team. The QA team plays the game with many different devices to make sure that everything works smoothly. Even with all of this, bugs do crop up that hamper our players experience. The point of this post is to explain some reasons why these problems might occur.
The number one reason we have bugs in our game is called “device fragmentation.” That’s a fancy of way of saying there are a ton of devices out there. We are fortunate enough to have players across iOS, Google Play, and Amazon Kindle. With that comes the responsibility of supporting a large number of devices. For example, there are thousands of Android devices. Is the device aspect ratio 16:9, 16:10, 4:3, 5:3? Is the Android version 4.3, 6.7, or 8.1? Is the manufacturer Samsung, Huawei, or Google? As you can imagine buying thousands of devices is not an option for a small company like us! We rely on our QA team to test various devices, but we have many more players than testers and sometimes a bug gets through.
Every once in a while, we will have a perfectly good game that stops working for some reason. Developers sometimes call this “bit rot.” For example, Apple require developers support something called “64 bit architecture.” So our older games had a warning that said “this device may slow down your iPhone” until we updated them to the new system. We once used an advertising provider that worked for years, but then they started showing ads that crashed our games. We had to go back and update all our games to take out that part of the code.
Of course, it must be said that sometimes we make a silly mistake and introduce bugs into our own games. For example, Apple recently allowed developers to create a game that they can pre-order, and we tried it out for the first time for Dark Ruins. We prepared an early version of the game for pre-order and submitted it to Apple, but we intended to update it before we actually released it. I read Apple’s instructions as saying “If you want to launch the game, you have to manually click the release button.” Unfortunately, what the instructions actually said was “If you want to launch the game early, you have to manually click the release button.” The implication was that the preorder automatically release on the launch day. As a result, we launched an early version of Dark Ruins that had bugs and missing features we intended to fix. We felt terrible about this. The game is now updated and fixed, but we are sorry our early players had to deal with these bugs!
What should I do if I have a bug?
If you see a bug in our game, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and describe the problem - we'll do our best to fix it! It's also helpful if you provide this info:
I hope this article helps our players understand some of the reason. Overall, our attitude towards bugs is that they are probably our fault, and even if they are not, we ought to fix them. We have a few plans in the works to address common problems, and as we continue to refine our game engine, we expect the number of bugs to keep dropping. Best of luck adventuring and escaping!