DICE to Launch Community Test Platform for Battlefield 4 - Update

DICE to Launch Community Test Platform for Battlefield 4 - Update

Battlefield 4 Community Test Environment 310x

The CTE will be open to BF4 Premium players, and will use a game client and Battlelog separate from the retail game.

Update: The Community Test Environment is officially official. Check out DICE's blog post on the CTE, where there's instructions on how to sign up.

Original Story: EA and DICE are launching a "Community Test Environment" for Battlefield 4, in an effort to get more direct feedback from as many players as possible.

The CTE is launching tomorrow, May 8th, and it will initially be available to BF4 Premium members only. It will only be available to PC players, and it's not clear if it will be expanded to console versions of the game as well.

Once signed up, participants will download a second, separate game client -- different from the retail game client -- which will serve as a beta test platform of sorts. The first priority for the CTE, according to the email I was shown by a source to remain anonymous, is Battlefield 4's netcode.

From the aforementioned email: "Among the first things we will work on is the 'Netcode,' which is what the player experiences with the game world including player-to-player interactions like damage registration. This involves tweaking to the 'tickrate' servers and networking in general."

Given the rocky state of Battlefield 4 since its launch (although the playing experience over the last few months has been markedly improved), it's not surprising to see DICE launching such an initiative. If DICE can gather player feedback early and often, it should make for a smoother update rollout process in the coming months.

I was able to log into the Community Test Environment Battlelog page -- I'll stop short of posting the link since it's not properly live -- and grabbed a screenshot of what you should expect (seen below). The CTE page looks like the Battlelog you're used to, but with content tiles showing CTE-specific information.

Talk of a beta/test version of BF4 has been happening since late last year, as seen on Reddit.

We reached out to EA for comment, and we will update accordingly if we hear anything back.

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I...

I have to say that it is good they are taking this step to fix their broken game. I have never heard of another developer going to the length of creating a beta environment for a game that has already been sold as a full price single purchase.
Many, many other developers have released games with equally crappy optimisation and just left them to rot after the initial purchase frenzy, although I suppose few games are as multiplayer dependent as BF4.

On the other hand it just goes to show what an utter mess the game was released in.
To have the DICE team during the last Beta claim the players were 'objectively wrong' about bugs, and have the CCo of EA claim the game release wasn't "bad".

EA have been forcing devs to release games early since Tiberium Sun in 1999. They clearly haven't cared about the negative impact for gamers yet, I wonder if that will change with this most recent disaster.

Hero in a half shell:
I...

I have to say that it is good they are taking this step to fix their broken game. I have never heard of another developer going to the length of creating a beta environment for a game that has already been sold as a full price single purchase.
Many, many other developers have released games with equally crappy optimisation and just left them to rot after the initial purchase frenzy, although I suppose few games are as multiplayer dependent as BF4.

On the other hand it just goes to show what an utter mess the game was released in.
To have the DICE team during the last Beta claim the players were 'objectively wrong' about bugs, and have the CCo of EA claim the game release wasn't "bad".

EA have been forcing devs to release games early since Tiberium Sun in 1999. They clearly haven't cared about the negative impact for gamers yet, I wonder if that will change with this most recent disaster.

I agree, what the fuck was the BETA for then? Was it, as we all expected, just a euphemism for a Demo of a game EA had already told them to stop working on? The shock of players at the state was in during the demo seemed to cause DICE and EA to panic about the stare of the game. It looks like things were finalized before testing could really take place. All that DLC was proabaly already in development months before the game actually came out. It is a stunning failure of a 'AAA' retail game. Doesn't BF4 just use hit-scan? I spent this week playing some STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl online games (yes the game is also multiplayer) and that has fully projective based ballistics and was coded and re-coded in an engine dating from 2001 by a small bunch of Ukrainians and that game has FAR fewer issues than I've seen in BF4, a flagship 2014 AAA release from one of the worlds biggest publishers.

It seems the 'BETA' was too close to release to make meaningful changes to the basic broken systems that a beta is supposed to address. We've all seen the death invincibility hit detection error. This isn't net-code, this is basic game systems.

I'm also still mad about Westwood studios. They did the exact same thing with CnC:3. They did something even worse with CnC4 but that's a whole other story.

Hero in a half shell:
I have to say that it is good they are taking this step to fix their broken game. I have never heard of another developer going to the length of creating a beta environment for a game that has already been sold as a full price single purchase.

Valve!

At various points all the Valve shooters have had public access beta testing, the Source ones gained them shortly after TF2's release to test the addition of features from TF2 like the kill cams and social integration into the other games (amongst other things).

As for BF4, it works on the PC now, but they still haven't addressed the problems with the hit detection, lag, sound and streaming errors, if this is a meaningful step to fixing that then great, they might get BF4 to a truly functional state within twelve months of release. It still won't make me interested in BF5 or Battlefront, but it would be nice for the game I already bought to work as well as it's predecessor.

Scrumpmonkey:
Doesn't BF4 just use hit-scan?

No, that's Call of Duty.

All the Battlefield games since Bad Company use projectile physics, all shots (from every weapon) have a designated mass and velocity, they are affected by gravity according to their 'weight' and fly in arcs. It's something that seems to catch a lot of new players out that you have to compensate for drop and flight time.

Quite how they broke it so badly for BF4 is a mystery though, it does seem that the game didn't get any testing at all before release. Chalk it up to EA being EA.

I was a massive Battlefield fan, I logged over 1500 hours in BF3 alone but I'm afraid BF4 is so utterly broken it's beyond repair, being a massive fanboi I gave it over 300 hours playing time and it eventually turned me from battlefield with feelings of absolute frustration every time I played. Even if you ignored all the technical problems in the game which are countless they pretty much gave up on map design and stuck two fingers up to close quarters players with the awful domination maps which were just cut down conquest maps with no thought of what's needed to balance and make a small map play well, it just felt they had a chance to kick Call Of Duty in the nuts with better close ranged infantry fighting and thought.. "Nah forget that that's not what people want us to beat CoD at they want Camo and Badges cause that's what matters!!!"

GG EA.

lol, what? So is the new "hip" thing with publishers to hold official beta tests months after the game hit retail?

EDIT: AND its only open to people who paid for the special edition?

Look EA. I have some experience in actual manufacturing and how management there works there. Somewhere is your fiscal charts and focus tests someone, somewhere has to be able to speak up and say "We are making a bad product". To not have that kind of honesty in place seems to be out of arrogance on EA's part. Their business higher ups, like those at Activision, seem to act like petulant children towards what is essentially their entire technical and creative departments.

I'm an engineer for example. I expect to be able to go to someone above me and say "What we are making is going to turn out not to function as our customer requires. If we carry on like this we won't meet basic standards" and i would expect something to get done about it because when a customer throws a shit-fit I refuse to take that blame. This leads to shouting matches sometimes but it also leads to things getting done. Those in the business side of it are meant to merely serve the production and technical sides. They shouldn't tell people they are 'wrong' then problems get flagged up or they push unfinished products out of the door. That's how companies close. If i supplier kept sending me shit parts i would switch supplier.

Gaming is a creative industry. You're not making parts for industrial lathes you are attempting to create some level of art or entertainment, a less tangible quality than mere manufacturing. Yet even by those standards their strategies seem fundamentally flawed and incompetent. Their first thought should be "How can we ensure a products are consistent and functional?". This is basic Quality management, this is 1st year business school stuff they should have this down. EA's first thought should be. These guys act like a box factory but they probably couldn't even run one. EA would make a lousy box.

So far all the work they did on the netcode was attempting to mask how bad it is, not actually improving it.

It would be such a great game with a good netcode and a couple small balance tweaks, such a shame.

I'm not holding my breath though.

Hero in a half shell:
(Snip).

Yep, pretty much agreed on that one; glad that they finally decided to take this big step, but the mere fact that they were eventually forced to speaks volumes about the shameful state of their game. They are still fixing the first and worst problems. I can only imagine the stress of the countless backbreaking hours put into this game during crunch time, only for that experience to be repeated again the infuriated players of the game to lash out at anyone who looked like they might be responsible.

I pity the poor developers; they're always the ones who lose the most in these situations. To work under such a publisher...*shudders*...you couldn't pay me enough.

I can only imagine the dire straits EA must be in if they felt that even after all the mistakes of the past, they still had to stay the low course to make enough money from this one game to keep their heads above water. So many years of mismanagement, exploitation, waste and ineptitude. What an absolute blight of a company.

Well it's a tad bit late (about six months now) for them to finally come up with one of the game's most infamous, flow-breaking problems. I actually like this idea, it's a lot like the TF2 Beta before that got the ax, and experimenting with better gameplay settings instead of DICE just sort of... making reference to it then implimenting it the next day is good. Communication between the player and the developer is better.

I'm a bit optimistic, but if it has taken this long for part one of a solution to come out...

Let me repeat, a bit optimistic, not much.

Are people really happy that EA wants them to do QA for them, without receiving compensation?
In fact you are paying for the privilege, you have to not only buy the game, but also premium to be able to participate.

It remind me the last Jimquisition episode.
And customers will thank EA for this !

It just show how the failed launch and the whole mess named Battlefield 4 hurt them way more they're ready to admit and again: too little, too late but this time you've to pay for it ^^.

the damage is done for me. i dont think this will work. i have deleted this game months ago and havent touched it since then. every now and then i go on the battlelog to see if things might have gotten better but of course it hasnt. this sounds like a good thing they are doing but this should have been done since day 1 or even after the beta version that actually worked better then the final product.

well maybe i might consider reinstalling this crap and see if its actually playable. but no rush. titanfall is heaps more fun.

Should EADICE (yes they are one entity now) be commended for this? Absolutely fucking NOT, because they dug themselves into this shithole to begin...they made their entire playerbase suffer through several months of hell and endless frustration. Fixing something that was utterly broken is clawing their way from a negative reputation back to a neutral reputation. The positive is yet to come, if it ever does.

But still, this is incredible...EADICE spending time & money on something like this over 6 months after release?! Absolutely unheard of! I didn't even remotely see this coming.

It's times like these that I long for a world where we could line up to kick people like that "you're objectively wrong" guy in the balls. Every time a Major Nelson type guy touts some "you can't just flip a switch" nonsense from their ivory tower, on to turn around and have said switch flipped, and we're all supposed to just shut up and move on, I wish someone in their presence could just nut shot them, and when the nearby police officer asks "what's going on here?" You can answer "this guy is part of a system that's trying to bullshit me out of my money," and the officer will simply say "carry on."

Beta test. Months after release. But only if you've bought the game. Ladies and gentlemen, it has finally happened. We are officially being asked to pay for betas. I remember joking about this with friends during the Gears or War 3 beta when preordering the game got you in, or having a copy of bullet storm got you in even earlier. I joked "we're paying to be able to participate in a beta." Of course you could always cancel you preorder later, so that wasn't completely the case. But leave it to EA to be the ones to make it a reality: "Buy the premium version and then play test it for us."

tdylan:
It's times like these that I long for a world where we could line up to kick people like that "you're objectively wrong" guy in the balls. Every time a Major Nelson type guy touts some "you can't just flip a switch" nonsense from their ivory tower, on to turn around and have said switch flipped, and we're all supposed to just shut up and move on, I wish someone in their presence could just nut shot them, and when the nearby police officer asks "what's going on here?" You can answer "this guy is part of a system that's trying to bullshit me out of my money," and the officer will simply say "carry on."

you and i share the same mind how poorly our system is and what should really happen :D

Aren't Betas normally BEFORE a game is released? i can't help but laugh.

pha kin su pah:
Aren't Betas normally BEFORE a game is released? i can't help but laugh.

Normally, yes. But you see the thing is this: "beta" has become industry slang for "demo that we get to eventually take offline as a means of keeping people from satiating themselves on it instead of buying the retail game."

For example, I will probably never buy a copy of Madden. One of the reasons being that while I do enjoy the sport, game, and gameplay, my enjoyment is not enough to warrant a purchase. Even at discount. Not when I can simply download the latest demo every year and play it to soothe the itch. I fire up the Battlefield 2 demo from time to time and can still find people playing it. Companies see this as lost revenue, but for some reason don't go so far as to put up a demo, only to take it down after the game is released. So instead they release a "beta." No one gets pissed when a beta is discontinued because hey! It's not like it was a "demo," right? It was just a "beta" for "stress testing the servers," or whatever.

I was shocked when a friend of mine, who plays on the XBox 360, told me they actually paid for maps and updates on Battlefield 3. My jaw hit the ground because he forked over a ton of cash for the game itself only to have to shell out more for maps. The worst part is that if he didn't do so, he would be "left behind" as more players migrated to the new maps with the new updates. EA found a way to keep milking the game even after people paid for it. He looked at me as though I was mad when I said games like Counterstrike have provided support like additional maps for free and it had a HUGE number of competitive players and clans.

This is indicative of the games becoming "plastic". They have no soul anymore. There's nothing but a shell of a game, which is just there to make money first and entertain second. The gamers may still play it, but every year when a new Battlefield game is released, it loses more of what little soul it has left. It's almost like the developers don't care anymore. You can see it in the end product. Why, oh why did they release the game THEN decide to do testing on it? This and Call of Booty, uh, I mean DUTY Ghosts are exactly why gamers are cynical about AAA releases and/or about trends like day one DLC and micro transactions.

I would make a joke about how Battlefield 4 has already been in community beta testing for months now, but at this point it's just sad.

Is anyone else wondering "what on earth prompted EA to greenlight such efforts?" They're clearly not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, or "concern for the gamers and their experience." They're a business, so I'm wondering what the catalyst was for them to go through with this as opposed to shrugging their shoulders, saying "oh well," and cracking the whip telling DICE to not mess up Star Wars Battlefront.

Perhaps to cover their asses with the share holders? Wasn't there an article on here about their share holders being pissed about Battlefield 4, and EA putting all DLC on hold in order to "address" the core game as a result of the backlash from the shareholders?

 

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