Monday, October 3, 2011

Testing... testing! One two three.

Today, we will take a look at process of implementing patches before actually having them on the live (Tranquility) server. This process is important to understand because it may be used for DUST 514 as well, and therefore you may like to know this ahead of time!

Test servers are places where both players and developers tryout new patches before they actually deploy them on the main one. Purpose of it is of course bug fixing, feedback, and often a lot of fun since you can afford to lose everything since it is not in any way connected to the "real world" or Tranquility. Often, CCP is using their non-public test servers to test out events, features that can only be tested on actual servers etc. Great example of new feature that came out recently to our attention in EVE Online dev blog was Time Dilation Video that showed upcoming change to the game when there are just way too many people on one node, and how CCP decided to slow down time on that specific place so players have more enjoyable "epic battle" experience.

Now, we will take a look at various servers and how they work and what they are for, taken from evelopedia:

Public test server: Singularity
The public test server, Singularity (or Sisi), is open to all players. It's purpose is to try out new features, normally the next major patch for Tranquility will be tested on this server. Character information is replicated (=mirrored) to the Singularity server every few months, but keep in mind that if your account got created after the last replication, you will not be able to access the server.

Gameplay mechanics and playing environments may be quite different from what you're used to on Tranquility. Here, the world is constantly changing.

Details and instructions for accessing Singularity can be found on the Singularity page.

Semi-public test server: Duality

Duality is a semi-public test server for EVE Online that is used by both CCP developers and EVE players to test changes and new features before they are released to the Tranquility server. Duality differs from Singularity in that it is an event server, meaning that it is focused on organized events like mass tests and playtests coordinated by CCP. Only during this events is Duality available to players, the rest of the time it will be in VIP mode and only CCP developers and ISD BH volunteers will be able to access it. In some cases Duality will be very close to Tranquility (maybe running even the same client), for example when testing server code changes in a mass test, in other cases it might be used to test features, which are still months from being published to Tranquility.

Details and instructions for accessing Duality can be found on the Duality page.

Test server rules

Please read the test server rules before logging to any (semi-)public test server.
GM support is not available on any test server. Enter at your own risk!

Non-public test servers

CCP operates several other test server beside Singularity and Duality, but these additional test server are not accessible by the public. Most of them are for developing and testing new features, while several other servers run older versions of EVE and are used for reference (for example to verify when specific bug was introduced).

Well-known non-public test servers:
  • Multiplicity is normally used for hotfix testing and usually runs the TQ code. In the past it was sometimes used for public tests, but this is no longer needed since Duality was added. It's DB is also normally quite outdated and slow, which made public tests difficult.
  • Chaos is the primary development test-server and nearly all new features are tested first on this server. Chaos was a public test-server ages ago.
For those that check eve-offline (server status page), they will also notice "Serenity" server, which is Chinese EVE Online server. Serenity was always planned to be a separate server. To run an MMO in China requires an operator's license and also requires the servers to be located in China, hence the split.

I hope you now have bit clearer image on how upcoming features are being tested and through which hoops it has to go before it hits TQ (Tranquility)! If you have any question regarding the test servers, comment below!

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