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 General Guidelines: versioning, releases and submissions 
 

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 05 Feb 2007 12:47 Profile Brazil


I decided to post this topic because I think there is a lot of interpretation mistakes about the release stage of custom maps, specially those submitted to Missions Depot.

You feel that your map is ready for submission? Please consider reading the following guidelines before submitting to Missions Depot.

Release Stages (see original/complete article at Wikipedia)

Pre-alpha

Sometimes a build known as pre-alpha is issued, before the release of an alpha or beta. In contrast to alpha and beta versions, the pre-alpha is usually not "feature complete". At this stage designers are still determining exactly what functionalities the product should and should not have.

Alpha

The alpha version of a product still awaits full debugging or full implementation of all its functionality but satisfies a majority of the software requirements. It often lacks features promised in the final release but demonstrates the feasibility and basic structure of the software. As the first major stage in the release lifecycle, it is named after the Greek letter alpha, the first letter in the Greek alphabet.

The alpha build of the software is usually the first build delivered to the software testers.

Beta

A beta version or beta release usually represents the first version of a computer program that implements all features in the initial requirements analysis. It is likely to be useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but unstable and not yet ready for release. Some developers refer to this stage as a preview, as a technical preview (TP) or as an early access. As the second major stage in the release lifecycle, following the alpha stage, it is named after the Greek letter beta, the second letter in the Greek alphabet.

Often this stage begins when the developers announce a feature freeze on the product, indicating that no more feature requirements will be accepted for this version of the product. Only software issues, or bugs and unimplemented features will be addressed.

Beta versions stand at an intermediate step in the full development cycle. Developers release either a closed beta or an open beta; closed beta versions are released to a select group of individuals for a user test, while open betas are to a larger community group, usually the general public. The testers report any bugs that they found and sometimes minor features they would like to see in the final version.


Release candidate

The term release candidate refers to a final product, ready to release unless fatal bugs emerge. In this stage, the product features all designed functionalities and no known showstopper class bugs. At this phase the product is usually code complete.


Gold/general availability release

The gold or general availability release version is the final version of a particular product. It is typically almost identical to the final release candidate, with only last-minute bugs fixed. A gold release is considered to be very stable and relatively bug-free with a quality suitable for wide distribution and use by end users. In commercial software releases, this version may also be signed (used to allow end-users to verify that code has not been modified since the release). The expression that a software product "has gone gold" means that the code has been completed and "is being mass-produced and will be for sale soon." Other terms for the version include gold master, gold release, or gold build.

Box Copy

A box copy is the final product, printed on a disc that is included in the actual release, complete with disc graphic art. This term is used mostly by reviewers to differentiate from gold master discs. A box copy does not necessarily come enclosed in the actual boxed product - it refers to the disc itself.

Stable/unstable

In open source programming, version numbers or the terms stable and unstable commonly distinguish the stage of development. The term stable refers to a version of software that is substantially identical to a version that has been through enough real-world testing to reasonably assume there are no showstopper problems, or at least that any problems are known and documented. On the other hand, the term unstable does not necessarily mean that there are problems - rather, that enhancements or changes have been made to the software that have not undergone rigorous testing and that more changes are expected to be imminent. Users of such software are advised to use the stable version if it meets their needs, and to only use the unstable version if the new functionality is of interest that exceeds the risk that something might simply not work right.

Mission Ready:

How do I know that my map is mission ready? First you should ask yourself in which of the above categories your map fits in.

You should start to consider submitting it to Missions Depot only if your map has been already tested, debugged, optimized and you are pretty sure that you will not add more features to it.

Basically a Mission Ready map has already been extensively tested by the community in real game situation with a considerable amount of players for several days and you don't receive any additional feedback about bugs or any suggestion about game play modifications.

If this is the case and you feel that the map is running perfectly, with good FPS, without glitches or bugs you should publish a Release Candidate and ask for final comments and additional feeback, just to make sure that no other bug correction or map modification will be needed.

Additionaly, you should run this checklist to make sure that nothing essential is missing on your map:

- Skybox and terrain (outdoor maps only)
- All necessary PlayerBlockingVolumes
- All necessary Anti-Portals if applicable
- CommVolumes in the entire map
- ZonePortals
- Viewpoints for both teams and for winners
- StartPoints/Playerstarts with correct weapons, ammunitions, teams and leaders
- Correct score points, not to high or low
- Objectives in the correct order and working properly
- SAI (see this thread)
- Briefing (see this thread)
- Level Properties ( see this thread )
- make sure the map its balanced, with equal chance to win for both teams

If you didn't started your map yet, take a look at excelent tips from the thread below:

http://forum.americasarmy.com/...=247641


Conclusions:

IMO, Missions Depot submissions should be only Release Candidates versions. Unfortunatly, there are many Pre-Alpha and Alpha releases populating the Missions & Maps gallery. The consequence is that many additional features and bug corrections are added to the map while it is under approval process. Then the author start to release updated versions that are completely different from the one submitted to Missions Depot and eventually submit a new version loosing all his votes.

This forum is the ideal place to publish Pre-Alpha, Alpha and Beta releases. You can have a lot of feedback that will allow you to add new cool features and bug corrections before you submit the final version to Missions Depot. There are also several clans and players who will host your map on a server for testing:

Map Community with server - www.aamappers.com

The MOD fever:

Several players are following the easy path and releasing virtually any type of MOD versions, from disco lights addons to just more fire power. Ok, modifying an existent map is easier for starting with the editor and sometimes you think that a Dev's map could be a little bit different. The editor gives you the flexibility to alter any map, so you can do it for fun and play with your clanmates or on a LAN server. But you have to ask yourself if your MOD map should be submitted to Missions Depot?

Is not just because you have added a truck to the Bridge that you have a Mission Ready map. If you have plans to submit a MOD map you have to make sure that the modifications completely changes the game play, offereing the community new opportunities of tactical approach and enjoyment. If you just add some lights to the map you will receive bad feedback, because the community is expecting new breathtaking maps and not 30 different versions of Bridge with all kind of weird stuff.

You should also use the common sense and ask yourself if your MOD makes the map worse or less beautiful. If your your map is not better or at least the same quality of the original with different game play there is no point about submitting it. Also, stick to reality! Don't make the player feel like on an Austin Powers movie.

If after reading this you still not agree with me, please keep in mind that many players would like to see original+high-quality maps at Missions Depot and you still can share your map through this forum and find someone who wants to host it on a non-honor server just for fun. You can have all the fun and visibility you want, without delaying the process of submission approval of high-quality maps at Missions Depot.

You should realize that Missions Depot is a place for maps that eventually will be selected to be official maps. So if your map is just a MOD, the probability of being approved as an official map is lower than if you design a simple original map.


Good luck with your map!

Contribution Credits:

Doug.C



Last edited by {FRJ}ZarO!O on 09 Feb 2007 15:00; edited 4 times in total
=FoxHunter=

Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3972
Joined: 17 May 2003

      Posted: 05 Feb 2007 13:10 Profile Netherlands


I am moving this to the General Mission Editing forum as we want to keep the Community Missions forum for mission releases and finding mappers, testers, etc. only.

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{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 05 Feb 2007 13:27 Profile Brazil


=FoxHunter= wrote:

I am moving this to the General Mission Editing forum as we want to keep the Community Missions forum for mission releases and finding mappers, testers, etc. only.



Thank you. I wasn't sure about the best forum to post it.

[halo_jones]

Private
Posts: 29
Joined: 08 May 2005

      Posted: 05 Feb 2007 18:59 Profile


Nice post {FRJ}ZarO!O thanks hopefully people will start to use thsi as a guide to map production Very Happy

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SGT_KAMAI_[USMC]

Private First Class
Posts: 67
Joined: 30 Nov 2003

      Posted: 06 Feb 2007 03:29 Profile


PIN THIS!

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 06 Feb 2007 07:15 Profile Brazil


I have added more info about Mission Ready stage. Contributions will be appreciated and included in the original post (with credit).

[halo_jones]

Private
Posts: 29
Joined: 08 May 2005

      Posted: 06 Feb 2007 10:15 Profile


Totaly ....... PIN this ..... Mods Please

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 06 Feb 2007 19:20 Profile Brazil


I have added a few more suggestions by request of Doug.C

=FoxHunter=

Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3972
Joined: 17 May 2003

      Posted: 07 Feb 2007 03:46 Profile Netherlands


Stickied.

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 07 Feb 2007 13:09 Profile Brazil


=FoxHunter= wrote:

Stickied.



Thanks Johan!

[CHG]LongStone.on

Private First Class
Posts: 55
Joined: 26 Jan 2007

      Posted: 08 Feb 2007 21:48 Profile


Awesome post dude, Great job!

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 08 Feb 2007 23:25 Profile Brazil


[CHG]LongStone.on wrote:

Awesome post dude, Great job!



Thanks dude. Hope this help the community.

WellsR

Private First Class
Posts: 89
Joined: 15 Feb 2007

      Posted: 03 Mar 2007 10:02 Profile United States


it dont make sense to me at all

_____________________
[DEV]MindRiot wrote:


I think I am just gonna read page 1 and page 185.


longjon76 wrote:

People that think that C Mags and MP5s are a good idea also have a hard time talking to girls

{FRJ}ZarO!O

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 987
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

      Posted: 03 Mar 2007 14:07 Profile Brazil


WellsR wrote:

it dont make sense to me at all



Why?


 General Guidelines: versioning, releases and submissions 
 

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