Rising Storm 2: VIETNAM is the sequel to PC Gamer's 'Multiplayer Game of the Year' and brings the authenticity of the Red Orchestra series to the Vietnam War.
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Release Date: 2017

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April 21

The Life (And Death) Of A Bug

Hello everyone!

First and foremost we would like to highlight that we believe we have found and fixed the cause of many (if not all) the prone related jitter/movement issues. While the team is continuing on to work towards our other target goals (of performance, balance and bugs) before we start the next beta wave we want to once again look at some of the specifics of this work, today focusing on bugs.

Helping Us Help You - Discover and Reproduction
The first two steps in getting a bug fixed are to discover the bug and, critically, find a way to reproduce it. When it comes to software development this happens both internally with the QA (Quality Assurance) team as well as reports from the users (thats you!).

You may ask “why do we rely on user reports?”, and that is a good question. While we wish we knew about every bug, it can take 100s of thousands of hours in the game to actual identify obscure bugs, that may happen only in specific combinations of actions or of hardware/software configs. That is where you have all come into the equation, around the closed beta sessions - even if we had the whole dev team playing full time, it would still take us actual years to clock up that many hours of play.

But knowing a bug exists is only the start of the journey. To get it fixed, we have to be able to (reliably) reproduce it, both so we can home in on the root cause, as well as prove that we’ve actually fixed it. The root cause of a bug in a game can be almost anything. A few examples of this (that we’ve seen) includes but is not limited to:

  • Another system providing bad data to the system where the bug is happening
    • This can be both direct and indirect as data travels between systems in the game making it very complex to track down!

  • Timing specific errors
    • Button or event sequences carried out in just the right order at sometimes split second timing requirements causing a system to be left without information it needs or in a bad state

  • Client and Server sync
    • The players local game is running a simulation of the server state and updating as needed when it is sent commands and information by the server. But sometimes events can fire out of sequence between the two and if not properly captured and corrected (by the server) can lead to even worse problems

  • And Third party software (not the game itself) including:
    • Operating System and Prerequisite software updates and corruption
    • Security software (firewalls)
    • And many others (including some streaming software, something that only becomes more and more popular among users!)


Having a reliable reproduction case allows our QA team and developers to use additional tools that can’t be run during normal gameplay (a debugger tool can often make a game run at 30 seconds per frame) to take a very detailed look at code execution and can help pinpoint those root causes.

Estimation and Bug Triage
Once a reliable reproduction case has been found, the programming team puts an estimate on time it would take to fix the bug. These estimates are then used during Bug Triage. For us here at Tripwire and Antimatter, triage is usually a weekly event (but closer to a launch it becomes a daily event) where the production team, QA team, community team and project lead decide how to best make use of the time left before a project launch or update. Each person in the studio has a known amount of time and they use the Bug Triage to fill that time and decide which bugs won’t make it and push them to a later update. The roles of each of the teams/people involved looks something like this:

  • QA - Provides further information about bugs if needed or take requests to get more information or better reproduction steps
  • Community - Makes the case for top community issues
  • Production - Ensures that people have a decent chance of actually get the work done in the time available
  • Project Lead - Makes the final call on prioritisation


Fix Attempt and Test
Once a programmer has been assigned to work on a bug during triage they will make an attempt to fix it. After this fix attempt is made the bug goes back to the QA team to verify that the fix works and to check the system (and surrounding systems) to see if additional issues have been introduced in the fix attempt.

In the days leading into a release or update the QA team does a full game pass trying to make sure no new bugs have been introduced and that all tested fixes have made it into the release candidate build.

Thank you for your interest in the game (and the game development process if you made it this far!)

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April 13

Performance - The Franchise Challenges and What We Are Doing (right now!)

Hello everyone!

While we’ve talked about “what’s next” a few times now, we want to share a bit more detail with you on some of the specifics. Today, we are going to focus on game performance.

Our development teams are hard at work reviewing how best to optimize performance. But what does that really mean? Performance can be broken down several ways, each way being broken down further and further. Today, we'll break it down into a few basics.

Bottlenecks: Any program (games included) will have a bottleneck. This is where one resource is holding back the ability of other resources to work to their fullest extent. Where these bottlenecks occur, throwing resources of other types at the problem will not improve your framerate - it is a waste of machine resource and developer effort. A good example here is that, historically, the Red Orchestra/Rising Storm franchise is CPU heavy, due to the amount of calculations we are doing for gameplay as well as all the detail we are trying to draw on screen at once (these are done in something called a “draw call” on the CPU before it is passed to your GPU to render). All those detailed (and accurate) calcs for ballistics, bullet penetration, damage chew up the CPU - accentuated by the volume of projectiles in the air, with so many automatic weapons.

Spikes: Often times games are not making use of resources in exactly the same way moment to moment or even frame to frame in a game or rendering thread. Sometimes something comes along that requires more resources than was available and can often cause a new temporary bottleneck. An example of this is when a commander has called in an artillery strike and the CPU suddenly has a lot more work to do - the checks and physics being calculated by those impacts can cause a sudden drop in frames.

Performance Goals: When making a game you set out some performance goals which also inform your minimum and recommended specs. In our case, here at Tripwire and Antimatter, we target a minimum setting that can be run on low at a stable 30 frames per second on the minimum spec machine and a high that can be run at 60 frames per second on our recommended spec machine.

Now with our performance goals in mind, what are we doing to hit those? It all starts with our QA team working to document overall map scenes that don’t meet our performance goals as well as discover and profile spikes that can occur in gameplay.

Level designers and 3d artists: Looking for and fixing collision issues and scenes with too many draw calls. This can mean redoing the collision model (complex collision on objects that don’t need it can result in slower calculations on the game thread) on the item, more aggressive culling (having the game not draw items such as small objects in a house at distance, reducing the overall draw calls) in a scene while minimizing the overall impact to the look, and more. This is very labor-intensive. It requires tools to help highlight the issues, a lot of work from QA to help home in one each individual issue, then the legwork from the designers/artists to correct/improve each individual asset.

Effects Artists: Working to reduce instruction count and complexity which makes effects easier and faster for the CPU to calculate and have rendered, as well as other related optimizations to further reduce the spikes they can cause on the rendering thread. Again, labor-intensive.

Engine Programmers: The final team focusing on performance. They are looking at the overall performance and making recommendations for the other teams based on engine best practices as well as looking at ways to improve the systems in place to make them better. They are also the ones doing the very complex work on how the engine actually goes about chewing through the millions of calculations per second required, worrying about details of “wavefronts” of data moving from CPU to GPU, ideally looking for spare milliseconds and figuring out ways to make use of them.

In summary, all of the above will help performance gains across all maps, Hue City being a good example.

And as previously highlighted, we have already addressed balance issues on a couple of maps and will continue to do so on a ‘need to basis’, based on community feedback. Additionally, bug fixing will always be an ongoing effort, pre and post launch. We'll continue to keep everyone updated on a weekly basis, and asking for additional feedback where needed.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tripwire Interactive & Antimatter Games

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About This Game

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is the sequel to PC Gamer’s 2013 ‘Multiplayer Game of the Year’, published by Tripwire Interactive and developed by Antimatter Games, the same team that created the award-winning innovative asymmetric gameplay of the original Rising Storm. For the first time, the authentic gunplay and visceral first-person action of the Red Orchestra series is coming to an era of automatic rifles, man-portable grenade launchers and more modern weapons systems. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam casts players into a brutal, authentic recreation of the Vietnam War.

KEY FEATURES


MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER BATTLES

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam offers intense tactical action for up to 64 players in battles between the US forces and the Vietnamese, with each force having their own unique abilities and tactical advantages such as Napalm Strikes, Artillery Barrages, surface-to-air missile strikes, traps, ambushes and more.

RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES

Players on the US team will be able to pilot 3 different helicopters - the UH-1H "Huey" transport, the OH-6 "Loach" light recon and the powerful AH-1G "Cobra" attack helicopter.

CONVENTIONAL ARMY VS. GUERILLA FORCES

Play as both the United States Military and Vietnamese resistance fighters. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam allows players to control either the U.S. Army and Marines Corps or the militarized and guerrilla forces of North Vietnam - the NVA and the Viet Cong.

2 NEW GAME MODES

Game types include Red Orchestra's classic territory control mode, the new Supremacy mode, for large-scale combat including helicopters, VC tunnels and more, as well as the new smaller Skirmish mode and maps designed for 16 or less players. These new smaller maps are designed to be a more competitive, squad based experience that reflect the low-level; conflicts that Vietnam is famous for.

HISTORICAL WORLD

Each map faithfully recreates the conflict of the Vietnam experience and aims to pull players directly into the war with its extreme authenticity to real life. Maps will include the famous jungles of Vietnam, but will also cover battles that occurred in cities, on rolling hills, in US Firebases, Rice Fields, Plantations and many more authentic locations. In keeping with the Vietnam setting, they will provide plenty of opportunity for jungle ambushes and flanking attacks.

30+ AUTHENTIC WEAPONS

A variety of authentic period weapons available including the M16, M14, M60, M79 and M3 Grease Gun for the Americans; and the Type 56 Assault Rifle (a Chinese copy of the famous AK-47), RPG-7, MAT-49, SKS Carbine and many, many more for the Vietcong. Weapons also have a wide range of functionality with in-game implications, including adjustable stocks, attachable bayonets, and a new and advanced recoil system which builds on the already phenomenal weapon handling that the Red Orchestra series is famous for.

COMMAND YOUR TEAM TO VICTORY

Enhanced squad system that allows players to set up squads as they want them - name them, add their friends, set the squad tag color in game. Once in game, easy identification of your squad in the world and on maps - and dedicated VOIP channels for the squad, as well as bonuses for working together.

FAIR PLAY & COSMETIC UPGRADES

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam's focus will be player skill and balance. We won't be locking content like weapon upgrades, improved player characteristics or new armaments behind a rank or experience system. We want to put the tools to succeed in the hands of every player.

PERSONALIZE YOUR UNIFORM

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam will allow players to customize their player characters with additional uniform and equipment variants earned as they play. These will include new headgear, clothing, tattoos, glasses and more.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: TBA
    • Processor: TBA
    • Graphics: TBA
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Additional Notes: TBA
    Recommended:
    • OS: TBA
    • Processor: TBA
    • Graphics: TBA
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Additional Notes: TBA
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