There’s a been a lot of criticism towards 343 Industries surrounding how long Reach on MCC and MCC on PC is taking. The second flight dubbed, “Fireflight,” was originally scheduled to be out in July, but due to unforeseen circumstances it was not. Over on Waypoint, Postums has written a post going into more detail about what goes into getting a flight ready to be pushed out to Halo Insiders and what is causing the second flight’s delay.
The short answer is that we chose to hold back FireFlight due to severe blocking bugs.
Blocking bugs are bugs found that are too significant to allow the build to go through to the next round of testing. Each round of testing is called a “Ring.” There are four rings that each build must pass in order to be made available.
Ring 0 is made up of internal studio folks. This is a combination of the 343 Publishing Team, 343 pro team and developers within the studio who participate in playtests we hold regularly on the content we are aiming to flight. If serious bugs are found in Ring 0, it does not progress to the next ring and will not make it outside of the studio. The team goes back to the drawing board to address any issues that are identified. If no serious issues arise, however, we move to Ring 1.
Ring 1 is made up of external partners that work closely with the studio (many of which have for quite some time). This allows us to work with players who know Halo content and are spread around the globe testing our various pipelines and supporting services to ensure the experience is fully functional. If any major issues are found here, it can cause a reset all the way back to ring 0 if severe enough and warrants the build to be properly vetted and tested again. If all is well, this moves on to our next group of external partners.
Ring 2 is made up of even more partners of various skill sets that help test our builds in unique and interesting ways to ensure that we are providing the best experience for all varieties of users who are invited to test flighted content. If nothing show stopping is found here, it then will make the jump to our final Insider’s ring, Ring 3. As with all previous rings, if any major issues are found here, it can cause a reset all the way back to ring 0 if severe enough.
Ring 3 is the Halo Insider user group that is determined based on KPIs the team sets for wanting to test in any given flight. This audience could be hardware based, experience based, locale, or any specific metric the team is looking to validate or stress at any given point as these flights are not BETAs, but indeed are at-scale tests to validate the state of the build to assess functionality and release readiness.
He goes onto explaining where Flight #2 is at now, stating that there are five blocking bugs preventing the build from passing the second Ring:
- Security solution does not auto-install once game is installed
- Long delays in menus accompanied by matchmaking errors can happen
- Opening the settings menu during gameplay can cause the roster to stay stuck on screen
- Frame loss can be experienced in various menus when played in higher resolutions.
- Crash is present sometimes when a matchmade Firefight game starts
There is still no date for Flight #2, and he reiterates what 343 has been saying this whole time, “it’s ready when it’s ready.”