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Viewing dev posts for topic: meet-the-team-singlebear-qa-lead
Ultemecia wrote: »
Well I'm gonna save you a bit from the technical questions. Did you aspire to be where you are or did you see yourself going in a different direction and if so where would you have ended up?

I went in all directions.

I grew up in a family owned construction business in Midland Texas. I never once wanted to make that my life. The work was mind numbering and the weather was way too hot.

I got a BA in English at UTA, but that was less about career goals and more about loving what a great author can do with their characters. I am still amazed by great story telling, but never found that talent in myself.

Spent some time managing a restaurant in Austin Texas after college. Mostly there just to keep the partying going with my friends. But it was in Austin that I first considered a career in this industry. A buddy that worked at NCSoft set me up with an interview. I blew it. Worst interview of my life.

At some point after that I thought Psychology sounded fun so I went back to college. I ended up studying at UNT and working on two amazing research teams; Family Attachment using Mary Ainsworth's Strange Situation and a team that was looking for ways of applying Feffer's Decentering.

And then my buddy came calling again. This time it was the opportunity here at EME. I was having so much fun at UNT, but I was still sacrificing study/research time to raid in WoW. At the time the choice was easy.

So as you can see my aspirations are really just to chase what seems the most fun at the time.
Hello, Bear.
With the Ninja patch "Secrets and Shadows" coming out on the 17th, what will come of current Crusade for PvE? If we anticpipated it correctly, that patch would be removing brhm, schm, fihm, and ds2. [Bythmisral rise, Sky Cruiser, Forsaken Island Hard, and Dreadspire 2] completely to make room for the new dungeons [correct me if i'm wrong or missed one or two]. How wil lthis affect the current crusade? Will you keep the dungeons in until the May 23rd.

What will come of it all? It's a very tricky situation if players are trying to keep their #1 spot.

Thanks tons.

We are aware of the issue and are working toward the best resolution we can, but no final plan yet. Sorry, I can't say more right now.

This is one of the harder elements of the build process. A lot of things change from build to build, but all the different regional builds deploy at different times. Trying to manage this process is very difficult for Bluehole and as a result, we here at EME find ourselves scrambling a bit to make things work out the best they can. Sometimes there are simple solutions. Sometimes we think we have a simple solution, but we create a bigger issue. And sometimes we have to go with the best bad solution available.
Kiraboshi wrote: »
This is probably beating a dead horse that has been rotting for a long time, but since QA lead is the one to be answering questions this week...

I know you feel like this needed a big explanation, but you're bordering on soapboxing here so please keep questions short and to the point. We all know what desync is.

On top of that, one of the reasons I want to keep this series going isn't for Q&A purposes, but so people get to know the EME staff, how they go about doing their jobs, and how their work affects you as TERA players. Questions that consist entirely of "why hasn't this been fixed yet?" aren't really what we're going for. Our guests for the week will answer what they can, but if there's a recurring issue you have with the game that's been posted multiple times in the forums, you probably won't get an answer just because it's a different person answering the questions.

Aetona wrote: »
This?

YUP!
Ultemecia wrote: »
SingleBear wrote: »
I see you mentioned 37 and 42, But what those that means ? the Build Version ?

Yes. So we are currently live with 39.07.07.EN4. 39.07.07 is the game version and EN4 is the localization version. The dev is responsible for versioning the game and EME versions the localization since we are in full control of that file. You can find your client version by looking at the end of the copyright line at the bottom of the server select screen.

So what does the 07.07 stand for? When you mentioned "versions" you only specified the first of the three section version number.

Should just be sub-builds. Like they got 39, then made some changes, so it became 39.0.1. etc etc

Nailed it.
kedros wrote: »
so then... is there a date when the release date will be revealed :3

http://www.pcgamer.com/hands-on-with-teras-new-kickass-ninja-class/
msoltyspl wrote: »
Bug reports forum section ? Or is support the only way now to beg you [to ping BHS] to fix months - years old bugs ?

Spacecats is going to add a Bug thread once the old forums are disabled. It is QA's goal to have a presence in that thread once it is live on these forums.
Zoknahal wrote: »
Hey SingleBear!

I wanna ask what is the aprox time you and your team is able to work on quick fixes that need to be addressed in game in timely manner. Some bugs or other stuff your team works on sometimes take a very long amount of time for us players to see em fixed, which is annoying most of the time if the bug or whatever is constant.

And also, You mentioned Tool! Favorite song of Tool? I like "46&2" and "The Pot"

For hotfixes, we are pretty quick. It takes Operations a couple hours to create the build from the files Bluehole sends. We then patch our QA environment and test which generally is just sanity testing and spot checking the fix since Bluehole has already tested it. Testing takes about 1-3 hours depending on the system. Then we push the build to our staging environment and make sure we have all the pieces in place for our next deploy window.

But that's not the question you asked. Some things we can fix without Bluehole. These are generally just datasheet edits or localization. Sometimes we need something in the game code changed and that does require Bluehole. They can generally get us a build in a day or two when the issue is considered a critical blocker. A critical blocker is something that prevents gameplay. For example, if the server crashes every time someone takes a flight from Velika to Cresentia.

Then there are the bugs that you are talking about that don't get fixed quickly. There are too many unique reasons for this so I can't give you a simple answer.

One of the biggest is probably because the bug is already fixed in an upcoming version of the game. The dev will often de-prioritize these bugs and focus on bugs in the build they are working on internally. This is a mult-region game and the version you see in NA is not the latest version the Dev is working on. Going back to make a hotfix for an older build for something that doesn't exist in their current build has to have a good reason behind it.

And sometimes the cause is hard to figure out or has a large effect to other systems. We may need to run a script to fix issues caused by the broken game system. It can get very complicated very quick.

Favorite Tool song is hard to narrow down. It changes. Which is why they are my favorite band. Different songs will fit different moods or situations, but there is always one that fits. For work, I often need to go to The Patient.
Espena wrote: »
Nice to see someone who actually is more technical.

Q: is there any bug tracker, for game developers (bhs)?
Q: is BHS fixing every bug did you report them, or there are some issues that bhs wont fix?
Q: what do you think could help the most with the optimization of the game?

What did you said about alliances and other stuff is what i like and dislike at same time. Cause of how some players could exploit it and basically broke. But the idea behind this is great!

Geletron read your post and gave me a dirty look.

A: Yes. EME has a bug tracker and Bluehole has a different bug tracker. Neither have access to the others main database of bugs. Bluehole created a project in their tracker just for us so that we can clone bugs from our tracker into theirs.
A: EME sets a priority and severity for every issue we send Bluehole, but as the Dev they have their own priorities. So no, they don't fix every bug we send. Generally EME QA will request EME PD escalate bugs we believe are important, which basically means we want PD to email Bluehole and request a fix asap. So it all depends on the bug; there is no simple answer to this question.
A: This is out of my realm of expertise. I think Treeshark or Geletron would be the appropriate audience since optimization is mostly in the code and server design.
TownA wrote: »
Hello, Singlebear! My question is: After each patch, are there any adjustments to the game that are not shown on patch notes? For example, certain item drop rate is changed after patch, but patch notes says nothing about it.
Thanks!

I am very disappointed in our quality of patch notes and I believe the blame falls directly on me. One of the members of my team is bilingual (Korean/English) and has the impossible task of turning all the Korean build documentation into a comprehensible testing doc. There is no way he can translate all the documentation in the time he has so he needs to find all the important stuff and toss it onto a document that gets shared out to our team. it is also not something we can easily outsource to a translation team. The documentation is heavy with TERA terminology/names and most of the work is in organizing the content into a testing doc. This testing doc is then used to make our patch notes.

The reason you don't see all the changes is because we are scrambling to get it all figured out ourselves. Hitting the main points is doable and I feel we are doing it. Getting all the granular stuff in the patch notes as well is not doable, I know a lot of the granular stuff is just as important, but it falls outside our capabilities.

I constantly bring the QA buildnote process up as my greatest failure at EME. But it is also one I would do again. It has provided us with much more information than we ever had, but it is just simply too much. I need to figure out a better process and I am working toward that goal. Hopefully before my team-member burns out.
JasonLucas wrote: »
My question is: Since TERA NA launch until now, what was the game change that you didn't like, and what was the one that you liked?

Oh, if possible can you poke Denom about these cat hats changes? It's been a while since he talked about this and I guess we still didn't get these changes, would be great if they can come with next build.

The Denominator has been poked.

The current state of the Alliance system is the one I don't like the most. I think this could be so much more than it currently is. It's too exclusive and its impact is too limited. I talked about this earlier, but I really want content that forces players to take responsibility for the state of the game. Content that requires guilds to work together to manage areas of the game world.

The one I like the most remains the action combat. I was a hardcore wow raider before TERA. My 6 weeks as a playtester 5 years ago changed the way I felt about wow. TERA blew my mind. I have a hard time playing MMOs that still use tab target.
So, I am curious if by what was said on the Twitch stream the other day about everything needing to go past QA. Does that mean news posts also go through you? If so, why are the posted dates wrong on some of them? Ninja Loading Screen Contest was not posted on May 6th, but rather it appeared on May 9th, and thus should be labeled as such.

We do have some cowboys in the office that will publish stuff without a QA pass. Sometimes it's laziness and sometimes it's due to timing.

One of the aspects of EME I really love is we are all given a lot of responsibility. I don't work thru a middleman. The other two guys I manage on the QA team are fully responsible for tasking themselves. We hardly micromanage here; it's not part of our culture.

BUT, it also leads to people publishing stuff without following a QA process. It's something we have recently realized has to improve and we are actively working toward improvements.
Hello! I have a question in regards to Rootstock and the Sun Festival to come in the near future! In the last stream, Attack on Ascension Valley.
I'm not looking for a date, but it would be great to hear about any updates to the "new" Rootstock!
Thanks tons!

I would, but I honestly haven't looked at it yet. It is disabled in our test environment and I probably won't dig into it for a couple more weeks.
Blueflam3s wrote: »
Hi, Singlebear! My question is: What's the story behind your username? When and why did you choose it?

I've heard some good stories from that question so I'm sure yours won't disappoint!

I didn't choose it, you all did. I wish I knew where the picture was, but hopefully one of you can find it and post it. We were doing an EME vs players Fraywind Canyon promo and we shard a pic to twitter I believe were I was wearing a green shirt that had "Single" and "Taken" on it with check boxes. Single was checked. Someone commented something about me looking like a "Single Bear" and that swept thru the office. I've gone by Singlebear ever since.
Cat or Dog Person? (I'm going to ask this every Q&A :D)

Hard one.

I am a stubborn troll so I feel cats fit my personality really well. I've had had a few over the years and have enjoyed their personalities. Also, I've mostly lived in small apartments with no back yard so there is that.

But I also grew up with dogs and there is nothing like rolling around with a slobbery rottweiler. Since I only like big dogs I haven't had one in years because I would have to give it a big yard to play in.

Final answer: Cat. Love their trolly, turn on you in a second attitude.
Aulon wrote: »
Seems to be a push for Nexon to bring changes to TERA, will there be a day where NA is as big of an influence in the game?

I can't answer your question due to my own ignorance of the subject. My day to day is all about grinding away in game and documentation. Treeshark and others on the TERA Production team would be the appropriate audience for your question. Sorry.

I can however tell you a little story about EME's influence.

When I started here at EME I was hired as a playtester. I sat in a room 40 hours a week for 6 weeks and played TERA with 4 other people. BUT, this isn't the TERA you know today and that's in part due to us here at EME. One of the changes is how zones were meant to be played. For example, you will see a lot of the provinces are broken into 3-5 smaller zones that flow together (Arcadia = Fey Forest, Oblivian Wood...). Originally, these smaller zones were divided by party size. There were zones for solo, zones for 2-3 player groups, and one zone would be for 5 player parties. I loved that design, but our group had a hard time sticking together due to it. Our warrior and healer could solo the 5 man content and quickly run thru the 2-3 man stuff while I was on a sorcerer and had a hard time managing my mana thru longer fights. I could easily clear the solo zone, but just lost too much time in the 2-3 man areas. Our tank and healer started out leveling everyone else so they started alts.

We wrote a lot of feedback, when made a lot of excel documents to track a number of variables, and we sent it all back to Bluehole. And then their devs would come to our office and interview our playtest group. Bluehole was and still is very interested in finding ways to make TERA work for an NA audience as much as they want it to work for their Korean audience.
I see you mentioned 37 and 42, But what those that means ? the Build Version ?

Yes. So we are currently live with 39.07.07.EN4. 39.07.07 is the game version and EN4 is the localization version. The dev is responsible for versioning the game and EME versions the localization since we are in full control of that file. You can find your client version by looking at the end of the copyright line at the bottom of the server select screen.
Spacecats is cool with some "Technical TERA-related questions" but please remember this thread is not designed to be a Bug Report thread.
Banim wrote: »
There's a bug in particular with the Trade Broker not showing the Arcannon and Power Fists categories.

This and the issue with broker crystal categories is fixed in 42.

The issue here is a very interesting one...well, to a QA nerd like me it is interesting. Warning, some of you may fall asleep.

As I mentioned earlier, EME creates the file that controls our text localization. The developer Bluehole sends us a tool with every build that lets us accomplish this by turning all of the localization xmls into the DataCenter_Final_USA.dat file you can find in your TERA\Client\S1Game\S1Data folder. This is awesome for us because we can test localized text more often and without going thru the developer.

However, this isn't without risk. The tool is created by Bluehole with datasheets that are not completely localized. EME is very committed to making TERA as enjoyable as possible. That means we make a lot of changes all the way up until the day before the build deploys. Every change we make, also makes the game a little different than it was when the tool was created.

That's what happened with these broker issues as well as with the square text you all saw in 37 when you talked to some NPCs like Jodoc in Crescentia. Our writers checked their files and found nothing wrong. We reported the issue to the developer which turned into a very long email thread that lasted weeks. We couldn't figure it out. Those issues only appeared when we used the tool with our localization files. Bluehole could never reproduce the issue. All we could say was that the issue "resolved itself" in the next build.

longdong wrote: »
There was a really really old bug report on the old forums that had a person talking about the still very prevalent slayer ICB "bug". You replied to this post and said that there was no bug and that the damage increase was consistant. In fact, to this day, it is definitely NOT consistent. And almost every dedicated slayer player knows this. https://tera-forums.enmasse.com/forums/bug-report/topics/Game-Bug-Skill-Overhand-Strike-in-cold-blood-random-bug This was the thread.

Is your position at EME still relevant in answering questions regarding this type of thing? And if so, can you look at this glitch again and clarify if the randomness of the damage increase is intended and inform us about the % chances and details?

I just checked out the original thread and I do remember working it. That bug revealed to us that we had failed to localize the skill and abnormality (read buff). That's the part I best remember.

As far as the skill damage, I know we tested it, but I can't remember the details. EME QA will take another poke at it.

This is one of the areas EME QA is limited. We do not have any tools to help us test these issues or any build documentation to refer to. And it's an area I wish we would learn to work with you all better. You all collectively see more and know more about TERA than we do. It's a weakness I want us to turn into a strength.
Nanahira wrote: »
I saw on twitch,the last stream of Spacecat
Someone from enmasse in the chat saying : " I have an ETA for Ninja Patch " "but not telling"
Why you hide this ETA ..?

I was the one that typed it. QA hires trolls.

I am aware of our deploy dates, but I am not at liberty to say. So if I remember right, someone was asking us if we knew the date. Spacecats and I do so I admitted as much. I could not however actually give the date.
What additions to tera would you like to see added? i.e. optimization, content, etc.

I remember when the Vanarch system hit our QA build. I felt the system was a great idea that didn't get enough time to turn into something great in game. Obviously TERA players didn't like it too much either so Bluehole adapted it into the Exarch, Alliance, and Crusade systems.

I want Bluehole to take another crack at the political systems so that players can have a much bigger impact. It shouldn't just be leaderboards and vanity mounts.

Putting my dev hat on: How cool would it be if player guilds could actually be given responsibility for in game events. And then the in game community had a way of checks and balances to make sure those player guilds were doing their job. So, let's say a guild is in charge of Arcadia, and there are some level 60s ganking people at the Lumbertown bridge. That guild should have to dispatch members to stop the gankers so that players could enjoy the content. I want that. Player driven content that gives players a reason to care about the game world.

And of course we all agree that we would like to see optimization. I bugged Teleport Jaunt in 2011 when I was a QA noob. That bug is still there. We haven't figured out how to automagically compensate for player latency and make that skill 100% stable. We're working on it.
Notises wrote: »
My question is about time allocation. Do you play on the public servers as well as the test servers to see if the changes produce unforeseen effects? If so, are you incognito?

I do have characters on the public servers (zerker main) and some of them are in the EME guild. Though it seems like a lot of you aren't aware EME has a guild since I get accused of impersonating EME staff when I run dungeons.

But, most of my time is spent in our QA servers. One of the advantages we have over other regions is we can locally generate our localization files and drop them into our build. We are constantly bugging the game and all those bugs need regressed. And then there is PD coming up with new ideas or community asking QA to check some spawnable mobs, or CS telling us about a player reported exploit, yada yada yada (more excuses not to be on live).
Ultemecia wrote: »
Well my question is one that you'll probably see a bit over the life of this thread. As you're aware many many recent patches came to us live with game breaking bugs. What is your response to that and what have you implemented to prevent these large issues from continuing to occur.

(ps. I get yall will get bugs, [filtered] happens. I still love the game, bugs and all :chuffed: )

I have to disappoint you with my first answer.

As a publisher, the EME QA team does not focus on testing builds for the same purpose Bluehole does as the developer. Here is a breakdown of the things EME QA focuses on.
1. Verify the build Bluehole sends will patch appropriately from our currently live build and a handful of outdated client versions.
2. Verify EME Writer localization is appropriate for the new content.
3. Verifying EME Production designed events and changes work the way EME Production expects.
4. Translate and verify Bluehole build documentation for patch note creation.

EME QA relies on Bluehole to fully test TERA and to make sure the regional build they send EME is stable for deploy. EME QA runs Sanity tests and as I stated in line 4, we verify the build documentation. But we aren't trying to break the game.

Here is an example:
Currently, the live build has The Abscess returned as an event. This is a re-balanced version of the dungeon that is getting re-balanced again for release in 42. EME QA is responsible for making sure the localization is appropriate and that players can enter and complete the instance. This was accomplished by one QA team member visually inspecting the content in game with one character using a lot of QA commands.
EME QA did not verify the balance changes or attempt to exploit/break the encounters. I did check to see if Bluehole fixed the mini boss encounter exploit to despawn the adds (I am sure many of you know it), but that was just so I could update the bug.

The time our QA team has with a build is not enough to validate build mechanics. I wish it was, but our priorities as a publishes have to be different and we have to expect the developer to send us stable builds.

All that being said, when we happen upon major issues we quickly report them to the developer and notify our PD staff so that we can work with Bluehole to get a resolution before deploy.
Welcome to the first of this series to take place in the new forums! See previous threads here:

EME Senior Producer Lawllipops
Technical Producer GELETRON

As you can see, I'm changing this series title from "Weekly Q&A" to "Meet the Team," which I feel better embodies the feeling we're all shooting for with these discussions. Technical TERA-related questions are still fine, but the point of the series is to get to know the various personalities at En Masse Entertainment. We have an awesome and passionate crew, and that fact sort of gets lost/overlooked when a lot of the work they do takes place behind the scenes. Every patch, game update, news post, advertisement, item sale, gameplay video, etc... that goes out requires work by multiple people in the building. People whose names you probably don't even know... yet!

This week, we have En Masse Entertainment QA Lead Singlebear! I'll leave this thread pinned until end of the day Friday. Until then, Singlebear will answer all the questions he can.

Prime Directive: Be polite to Singlebear!

One question per post. It keeps things tidy and significantly increases the chances you'll get a response from our guest.

Be succinct. No rants. This kind of goes along with the "be polite" Prime Directive. This isn't the place to post long rants or giant lists that hijack the thread. Please make your own threads for such things.


Here are some questions I asked Singlebear to get the conversation rolling:
  • What is your full title at En Masse Entertainment?
    - Let’s go with QA Lead. It’s been a couple years since anyone has cared about my title. I think I got business cards 3 years ago with Senior QA Tester, but a lot has changed since then.
  • Please describe the kind of work you do.
    - I manage the QA team and spend a very large chunk of my time making sure our TERA deploys are ready to go live.
  • How does your work specifically affect TERA?
    - There is the simple answer: QA tells people if what they did actually works.
    - There is the professional answer: QA verifies TERA products for Live deploy.
    - But it gets tricky when we try to describe it further. We work with everyone on whatever product they need us to. So we may be looking at our new TERA forums to make sure all the features work the way we want them to. Or we may be looking at the text localization for the Ninja class to make sure our Writers wrote the skill localization correctly. Or we may be troubleshooting an in game issue reported thru Customer Service so that we can write a bug to send to the people that can resolve it.

  • Best two movies you’ve seen in the last two years
    - Birdman and John Wick
  • If you could pick any superpower to have, what would it be?
    - I want Kilgrave’s power to control people. Or maybe it’s just because David Tennant killed it and made me want to be a villain.
  • If you were randomly born with a superpower, what do you think you’d wind up with?
    - Teleportation. BUT, I could only do it when I sneeze. And since it’s hard to concentrate when you sneeze, I would always end up in random places. And of course I would have allergies.
  • What’s better, the moon or tacos?
    - Tacos. I mean without tacos, what would Tuesdays be for?
  • Who is your favorite visual artist?
    - I have never had a favorite visual artist.
  • Who is your favorite musician?
    - Maynard James Keenan if I am picking one musician, Tool if I can pick the band.
  • What is clipping and why is it important in real life?
    - Clipping is when the visual doesn’t exactly match collision. Tells us life isn’t a computer simulation cause even the best games have clipping issues.
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