Recruiting Testers

Discuss D2X-XL test procedures and results here.

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Sykes
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Recruiting Testers

Postby Sykes » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:49 pm

Welcome to the tester's area! If you're interested in helping the project continue to be bug free, then by all means, help us out! All of my testing "sessions" take place in the Steam group chat room. That's the easiest way to contact people, and it's a fast means of communication. So if you don't have Steam already, I highly recommend you get it here and look D2X-XL up. If you can't find it, send an invite to childofmaud and I'll get you hooked up.

This forum will be used for a few things... Pokeman and I haven't really made it 100% clear what we're going to put on here, but check here often for bugs that we can't quite pin down. The more people we can have testing something, the better results we can get. Diedel knows very well that when I'm the only one testing a bug, the results can be... faulty ;) The more people we have working together, the more accuracy we can have with our reports.

Looking forward to working with you all,
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Postby pokeman7452 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:07 pm

The eventual plan is to create a checklist of the most importand or easily bugged features. Then create a thread in this subforum for each release. All testers should have Visual C++ and TurtleSVN installed and be able to compile D2X-XL. Once we are organized and set, I'd like to ask Diedel to hold out on building each release until we have confirmed it is stable enough This will resuld in bigger, less frequent, and less bugged releases.
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Postby Sykes » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:08 pm

Golly... That means we have to guide each and every one of them through the VC++ setup process? You're making me work now! :roll: :P
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Postby pokeman7452 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:17 pm

I was planning on a handful of dedicated active testers compared to a flood of "I'll help if I happen to have a moment" testers. I was also thinking this subforum could be hidden from those not on the team.
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Postby Sykes » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:21 pm

I'd rather have it public. Even people who aren't testers can give a simple "Yes, this happens to me too/I've noticed this too" or "No, it works fine for me. Here's my specs". Diedel doesn't hide anything, so why should we?
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Postby pokeman7452 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:38 pm

I don't think you understood what I my original post was suggesting for this subforum. If you want to discuss bugs, that is what sourceforge is for, and you don't need a team. Ask Diedel to uncheck "Close comment posting" every time he closes a bug report. I'll be on steam in 20 mins.
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Postby Sykes » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:40 pm

But what if you want to discuss a bug without reporting it first?
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Postby Pumo » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:09 pm

Well, i agree with Sykes. I can be a full-time tester searching for bugs specially dedicated to the Modding area (as i make Pumo Mines) and i would like to be in the team.

But i'm not a programmer (i only have very, very basic knowledge of C++ and a bit more of Ruby) and i don't think i want to install Visual C++ and TurtleSVN without even knowing how to use them correctly (i just got bare concepts about Visual C and nothing about TurtleSVN) on my HD (as i need much of my space for PM and things for my work).

So, my doubt is, if i'm not a programmer, the i can't join the testing team?
As i said, i can be a full-time tester for modding capabilities and D2X-XL level features (including triggers, effects, etc...)
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Postby karx11erx » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:34 pm

Pumo,

you are a very good tester and certainly do not need to be able to setup VS or code.

Everybody who wants to help with testing can contribute here.

I am not gonna let this derail into an opportunity to elevate oneself and gain a "higher rank" over the rest of the forum or D2X-XL users. Active and sustained contribution to one or the other area of Descent will be enough to raise your "status", if you're looking for that - and it doesn't even need to be D2X-XL. Wolfie e.g. doesn't primarily build levels for D2X-XL, but she's a great contributor to Descent, and that means she will automatically have priority when in need of lets say bug fixes or features. Maybe "valued community member" would be the proper expression.
Last edited by karx11erx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Weyrman » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:46 pm

I really can't see a need for everyone having to compile the windows versions.

I will be testing the x64 versions and in fact I can't compile it. VSE doesn't do x64, it seems you have to pay money for that option. :D
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Postby pokeman7452 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:12 pm

The problem is that we will be testing versions before Diedel compiles them. If you can't compile the x64, how are you going to test it?
The only way for someone who can't compile to be on the team is if someone gives them the debug executable every time. I was trying to avoid posting the debug versions on the forums, and I'd need a good place to host it if I did.
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Postby karx11erx » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:18 pm

You cannot test versions before I compile them, because you will inevitably use intermediate code versions then.

You need to build test versions when I finish a release, then every tester can test with these. Those who can use VS can look into problems the testers report.

I have 25 years of coding and testing experience and intimate knowledge of the D2X-XL code, and it often takes me hours or even days to fix certain bugs. We'll see how you're gonna fare. :wink:

VSE also doesn't support OpenMP.
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Postby Weyrman » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:12 am

Surely the basic concept of this area is that a group of us check builds that Diedel releases in various ways with the object of arriving at a consensus that a version is of a standard that we would be happy to recommend to a total newbie and be quite confident that it will work.

ie

Stable Releases and Beta Releases
I expect both releases to be available to the general public. The recommended latest "stable" release as well as the latest RC version with a note on it that it may have issues.

We don't have to be programmers, I personally will be checking for general look and stability of gameplay on the levels I know best in x64 mode. Others obviously will check specific areas that they are knowledgeable on.

We can't guarantee perfect stability, but we're trying to give a "best bet" :D

We just need to make sure that between us, the major areas are covered.
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Postby pokeman7452 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:26 am

Alright, I'll explain it differently.

Diedel finishes the next version. Diedel does not build the release version, and does not put it on descent2.de, he instead creates a thread here with the title "Revision ####: In Progress". We, as fast (but thoroughly) as we can, run through the checklist, testing various specific parts of that revision (see here) and post in that thread what tests work with no serious bugs. If there are no bugs, the last person PMs Diedel, and he then compiles everything and updates descent2.de and the "In Progress" is changed to "Passed". If not, the "In Progress" is changed to "Failed" and the bugs found are reported on sourceforge. We then wait for Diedel to finish the next version or fix the bugs.

I must have communicated this well enough on the other thread, as Sirius got it. He even said his work uses this method.
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Postby Sirius » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:44 am

The two projects are substantially different, though, and there are good reasons not to run them the same way. More than likely Diedel develops his fixes/features by making changes, recompiling and testing to see whether they work as he wanted, then rinse and repeat if it doesn't turn out quite like he wanted. If he didn't build the code, he wouldn't be able to test it or even be 100% sure it'd compile without painstaking work. That would make it virtually impossible for him to be sure that the fix/feature was working, much less catch the easy bugs so the testers can focus on finding things that actually justify their being there.

In fact, the people in my (work) software team do more or less the same thing, but the difference is that there are dozens of them (and that's just one team), working on numerous little projects/binaries. They most often only recompile their own immediate neighbourhood (the full source tree takes literally hours to build, and I think that's on fairly impressive blade servers with dozens of gigabytes of RAM), so it's necessary to delegate the big builds out to someone else to make sure they didn't break something they've never heard of. By contrast, D2X-XL is basically self-contained - when Diedel rebuilds anything he's probably rebuilding the whole project anyway. It's not really an issue.

I actually have to recommend Diedel not change his practices - significantly at least - because if he doesn't produce the binaries himself, we're cutting most of our potential testers, including some pretty dedicated guys, out of the picture simply because they don't have the time or expertise to set up D2X-XL to build in Visual Studio. Since he (realistically) has to build binaries for every single testable snapshot anyway, there's very little reason not to make them available.

The only thing that wouldn't amount to shooting ourselves in the foot would be to withhold those builds from the general public until they're "approved", but even that might not be a good idea. I'm not convinced that releasing them all, just with certain releases marked as "stable" after they are found to be as such, isn't just as effective for giving the general population stuff that works well. They're not too stupid to figure out the difference. :) The other thing is, if the testing team is having a slow week, they will effectively be dragging back releases.

What would make the most sense to me is:
* Diedel carries on business-as-usual
* Testing team uses their lists to test builds as they're released
** The primary focus is to find, triage and report bugs
** The secondary focus is to figure out the general quality of a build.
I think that would be enough to fulfil the aims of increasing quality, without negatively affecting anyone's ability to do their work.

P.S. Missed something - if Diedel does find bug reports more useful when the testers are using debug builds, that's probably something worth doing (at least uploading the debug binaries somewhere maybe). Just as long as people without VS can still use them.

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