@Kalms Patching in BC2 & NAM

Neil

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#1
Hi Kalms,

I was going to post this on EA forums but it would probably get blasted by flamers and trolls so I will ask the question(s) here in regards to patches.

I am wondering if there will be any issues with patching either game in the future? As we all know it is very difficult to re-build the game after applying fixes and sometimes it breaks other things in the game. Is there going to be an issue where one gets updated and something is going to break in the other? I hope not :(

Kind Regards,


Neil
 

Kalms

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Feb 1, 2010
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#2
Adding Vietnam makes testing a bit more convoluted. We need to ensure that any changes to gamemodes or internal datastructures work in both non-Vietnam and Vietnam mode. For instance, it's unclear to me right now which internal changes might affect the flamethrower. So it increases the QA burden a bit, but it's not unmanageable.
 

Neil

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#3
Adding Vietnam makes testing a bit more convoluted. We need to ensure that any changes to gamemodes or internal datastructures work in both non-Vietnam and Vietnam mode. For instance, it's unclear to me right now which internal changes might affect the flamethrower. So it increases the QA burden a bit, but it's not unmanageable.
Thanks Kalms for your reply.

Would it not have been better to keep the games apart? I know the thinking behind it (not having to run a different exe) but I just feel with FB 1.5 there are going to be issues when one game is patched; both games are compiled into the same exe; and then this causes something to break horribly.

I am really hoping that patching in FB 2.0 has been or is going to be vastly improved. :)
 

Kalms

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#4
Except for changes to game-specific content, the other changes apply to both games. We would like to do any such changes to both versions of the game.

Developing and publishing a patch (with such common changes) for BC2+Vietnam, compared to developing and publishing a patch just for BC2, adds perhaps 20% workload. It would be considerably more work if Vietnam was a separate source+executable (another 20% extra workload). This has to do with how QA and distribution works.

Having two executables (and thus two sets of source code) means that making changes to one executable will not affect the other one. However, what about data? Should the data also be split? This will make the game a bit larger - I'm not sure by how much.
At that point it will be very important to remember to bring over changes between versions. People sometimes miss that. The rudimentary testing that is being done in conjunction with any minor code/data changes usually has to be done twice (but you would need to test in base+vietnam less often if it's a shared engine).
Knowing that both engines are identical at all times simplifies testing. Otherwise, the more the engines drift apart, the more pondering and testing you need to do when bringing something from one codebase to the other.

If Vietnam would be a separate executable, then you'd want there to be a separate clickable icon in the Games Explorer, right? Who creates that icon and when? (The installer did it for the main game back then) Will that require a new installer? If so, where do people get that installer from? There might be some other side effects related to introducing a new executable.

To sum it up, the engine changes made when creating BC2:Vietnam were small enough that it's worthwhile sharing executable & some data between the base game and Vietnam. If Vietnam had involved many disruptive modifications to the game engine, then I might have been of a different opinion.

And yes, we're more on the ball with FB 2.0 - both the FB team and the BF3 team are making a serious effort there.
 
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Neil

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#5
Except for changes to game-specific content, the other changes apply to both games. We would like to do any such changes to both versions of the game.

Developing and publishing a patch (with such common changes) for BC2+Vietnam, compared to developing and publishing a patch just for BC2, adds perhaps 20% workload. It would be considerably more work if Vietnam was a separate source+executable (another 20% extra workload). This has to do with how QA and distribution works.

Having two executables (and thus two sets of source code) means that making changes to one executable will not affect the other one. However, what about data? Should the data also be split? This will make the game a bit larger - I'm not sure by how much.
At that point it will be very important to remember to bring over changes between versions. People sometimes miss that. The rudimentary testing that is being done in conjunction with any minor code/data changes usually has to be done twice (but you would need to test in base+vietnam less often if it's a shared engine).
Knowing that both engines are identical at all times simplifies testing. Otherwise, the more the engines drift apart, the more pondering and testing you need to do when bringing something from one codebase to the other.

If Vietnam would be a separate executable, then you'd want there to be a separate clickable icon in the Games Explorer, right? Who creates that icon and when? (The installer did it for the main game back then) Will that require a new installer? If so, where do people get that installer from? There might be some other side effects related to introducing a new executable.

To sum it up, the engine changes made when creating BC2:Vietnam were small enough that it's worthwhile sharing executable & some data between the base game and Vietnam. If Vietnam had involved many disruptive modifications to the game engine, then I might have been of a different opinion.

And yes, we're more on the ball with FB 2.0 - both the FB team and the BF3 team are making a serious effort there.
Thanks Kalms for the insight. I really do hope that BF3 patching system is top notch.
 

Garrett2112

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Oct 28, 2010
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Rockies USA
#6
Thanks Kalms for that info & now makes sense why we downloaded Vietnam in the Map Pack 7 update (If I got that right...lol). :p

My apologies ahead for being off topic/going down memory lane/being sappy here - but been a Game Development junkie since I first got to play (key word here "play" lol) with the Looking Glass Studios Thief Editor Dromed. Which really opened my eyes to how much goes into Game Development (albiet just a lil) & thus so much more appreciate game development & more importantly most games because of it.

Also made me appreciate what a lot of folks do in here - take a great game & make it better with ultra cool mods/tools to/for it (like the Extreme Mod for COD4 just for one example). :salute:

Anyway, was so awesome that those LGS guys like Emil Pagliarulo (now at Bethesda), Tim Stellmach (Vacarious Visions), Randy Smith (Tiger Style), Warren Spector, Ken Levine (who just recently blew me away by responding to a PM I sent him with a nice note..) and ect corresponding with us in the forums (and felt welcome enough to do so) & sadly, we know where a lot of those forums have gotten to now (as Neil elluded to above..lol) except for a few great websites/forums like this one.

Said all that to make the point - I hope you guys @ DICE still continue to do so - as I sure miss those days and thus, was great to see you guys doing so (and still do) with BFBC2. It was also soo cool to see Baza in the forums so much both after the release of BFBC2 & MOH - when IMO, most developers just seem to avoid them now (and even some CM's).

Apologies again for steering off topic & thanks to Rude, the FPS team, the PBBans folks, and those modders/tool developers in here for this site & the great contribution you guys continue to give to gaming. I sometimes don't think us game players tell you guys how much we appreciate all you do & just wanted to do so. :salute:
 
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