Let's start this a-bit-different-devlog with some shout-outs:
Firstly huge props to you, our community! For the last three-ish months, I've been pouring over every single bug report, feature and asset request submitted to our ticket platform since, well, ever! It's been incredible to see the passion and ideas you all have for TaleSpire (and in how many ways you manage to break it).
Secondly, please do go to https://feedback.talespire.com if you have suggestions, encounter bugs or want to upvote requests from others. The only way we know that you want something or if there's a bug to be fixed is if we hear about it - and while Discord is great for chatting, it's not great for ticket submissions.
With that out of the way, let's dive right into what I've been up to!
For those who don't know, Hellonext is the platform we use for tickets - be it bug reports, feature or asset requests. It has been in use for roughly 1.5 years and we've moved the entire backlog of our GitHub ticket trackers over to it back then. Unsurprisingly, this is a lot of tickets. 1511 total tickets (of all kinds) at the time of writing this to be exact, about 1200 of which were still open in the backlog when I started working for Bouncyrock in November. Now we have arrived at 878 open tickets. But enough of the numbers; let's hear progress.
My first and top priority task was getting through the backlog of bug reports. Some of them have remained unanswered and unfixed for far too long, which is simply terrible. No software ever will be completely free of bugs, but supporting users who are experiencing them and troubleshooting is still a big priority for us - and the more data there is about bugs, the easier a fix tends to be. Apart from those, there was also a surprising amount of reported bugs that were already fixed but simply left forgotten and unanswered.
But the really interesting reports were the ones where we needed more info to go off of and the well-documented but unfixed ones. So there have been tons of reports where I asked for clarification, extra information and tried to replicate them - and I'd say we made significant headway: Thanks to you folks, some very annoying and longstanding bugs have finally bitten the dust.
Feature requests are great: They not only tell us what is missing from the game but also provide invaluable feedback on what in the game currently works well and what doesn't. Even though many of them will likely not see the light of day, at least not in the way things are suggested, they provide fresh ideas and a lot of context on how TaleSpire is actually used. My biggest task here was getting clarifications on some of the more vaguely written ones and then categorizing them. I've created a bunch of tags for common areas of suggestions (e.g.: "Dice-related requests") and taken a bunch of notes. This should help us in the future whenever a specific "feature set" gets tackled; To return to the example, whenever the dice system gets worked on, we won't just work on what we can think of at the time (or implement individual requests), but we can keep in mind all related requests and as such will hopefully be able to get features out of the door more aligned with what you all actually need and want!
Here I was a bit more hands-off: I mainly just updated tickets that have been completed and merged duplicates - there isn't really an Asset Request that can be "closed" unless it is just not understandable.
Worth noting is that I marked some very broad requests complete, even if not every single suggestion inside was implemented. Asset requests tend to become "all-encompassing" and open-ended, which is tricky to turn into actionable tasks - the more specific a request is, the easier we can act on it.
Of course, even if we set a request to complete, you are more than welcome to create a new one for the same (or similar) topic if it has some other specifics that still need to be covered. As with everything else, I'll be monitoring how this approach works out and we'll adapt accordingly.
There is still a large number of tickets open and this is unlikely to change soon - what has changed however is that now the vast majority of still open tickets are actually relevant to the current state of TaleSpire. Moving forward, I'll be working hard to keep this status up, so that with upcoming feature releases and bug patches we actually update the ticket statuses accordingly.
Even though I'm writing this "Oh, I've completed the cleanup of Hellonext" log, this is not quite true: There's still a decent number of tickets I intend to look at, but at least now there is no "unknown" backlog anymore. Everything that still remains to be done sits (more or less) neatly on a ToDo list.
Apart from that, I'm also keeping an eye on the general feedback on the web - think YouTube videos, Reddit posts, or conversations on Discord. We can't see everything, but we want to do our best to keep track. It's very helpful to see patterns of feedback that appear all over the internet and keep them in mind.
The one takeaway from all this is that from now on, we should have much better communication and response times on Hellonext. This should also make tackling bugs significantly easier for the dev team. Of course, this doesn't mean we suddenly get 50% more tickets completed as compared to before, but the ones we do complete should be more relevant and the efficiency of going through them should be better now.
That's all from me, I hope you found this insight interesting!
Disclaimer: This DevLog is from the perspective of one developer. So it doesn't reflect everything going on with the team.
: I'll refer to "Open Tickets" (or "Open Posts/Requests/Suggestions/...") often in this dev log. To be sure we're all on the same page, open tickets are neither closed nor completed. So anything that has been submitted is planned or in progress.
: Especially early in development, when many core components change, it's not uncommon for entire systems to be replaced - taking many of their bugs with them without ever needing a "dedicated fix". Of course, this also introduces new bugs, because otherwise it would be too easy, right?
: A great example of this is the plethora of requests we've received with suggestions and ideas on how to work around the hide plane (the green slider) being wonky at times. Some of the suggestions are pretty decent and well thought out - but the actual fix for this is to make the hide plane less wonky. That doesn't mean these requests were "useless"! They show us that there are problems with the hide plane that we have to address and give us hints on what exactly about it doesn't work based on what the requests are talking about.
And, of course, we're also regularly getting requests that are just great ideas - we're definitely capable of not seeing the wood for the trees at times.