Fifth Open Beta
Happy Holidays, everyone! Thank you for your patience as we've been wrapping up a new build for you to try. We have a ton of fixes in this next test, from performance improvements to car visuals, but we are still chasing down the latency some players are experiencing. Accordingly, we will be splitting the beta into two parts like we did last time. To test with as many people on at the same time as we can get, we will be running a 3-hour stress test on Sunday followed by a longer Beta window that will run from Monday until we go down for maintenance on Wednesday..
Before we dive into the specifics of each test, we thought it would be helpful to go over some of the problems we have been able to discover and fix with your help. First, we found that some of the performance issues you guys were reporting could be traced back to an issue with how options are applied and saved. In several instances, there were graphics and performance options that either required reloading the district or restarting the client to apply properly, but the game did not force said restart or reload on players. We found in many cases that players would continue playing without restarting, forcing a partial initialization of the change and worse performance results for the player. We have overhauled our options to prevent players from getting into any of these half states, which should improve things for those users significantly. We also turned off Ambient Occlusion for now, which was shown to cause performance problems for some users.
Second, we were able to look at cars based on your feedback. We changed how vehicles are rendered to avoid the pop-in issue for the vast majority of cases and we investigated the chrome bug (cars appearing in chrome unintentionally). It should now be fixed. We also addressed instances of screen tearing in some of our UI, and clan invites and other features should now work properly without requiring chat commands.
Finally third, we adjusted how we do positional audio to avoid audio sounding like it is coming from the wrong location. It should now always play correctly. These fixes come along side some backend modifications which should reduce lag spiking and other connectivity issues experienced by some of our users.
As you can see, your help has been invaluable for chasing down issues we can't easily reproduce in-house. We hope you will join us once again so we can keep squashing these bugs. With that in mind, here are the details for our latest test:
The 3-hour stress test on Sunday 20th will run from 11-2pm PT. The goal of this test is to get as many players as possible on at the same time and in the same place. To that end, during this test there will only be a single financial district available. We invite you to join us during this window if at all possible. We realize it isn’t quite as exciting as running around during an unrestricted beta test (like we will have early next week), but joining us at this time will give us critical data that we can’t easily replicate on our own. It would be a big help! We hope to see you there.
After the 3-hour test, we will have a longer Beta window from Monday 21st starting at 9am UTC and running until we go down for maintenance on Wednesday 23rd. This longer test will be unrestricted, so all districts will be available. Note that as this is a longer test, we may take the beta down earlier if we run into any major issues, so jump on earlier in the week if you can.
As mentioned above, this test is focusing on stat collection and gathering some critical data for the engine upgrade. We are continuing to use our new data collection tool. When you exit the client, it runs and uploads dxdiag so we can get a better profile on each machine’s hardware setup. This is still anonymized, but please be aware that we will be grabbing hardware specs and latency logs, so if you experience unusual latency, please be sure to run /latencytest so we can get a detailed snapshot of your issue.
To respect each player’s privacy, we are making this an opt-in process. Upon closing APB, you will see the following popup:
You will be able to review what information is being sent and provide additional comments regarding your experience. We would appreciate it immensely if the APB community could rally together to send us as much information as possible as this data is a critical piece towards solving our intermittent performance issues.
Finally, please be aware that to get as clean a data profile as possible, we have disabled our auto importing process for characters on live. Everyone can still use their normal account info to log in to the Beta, but if you haven’t joined us previously you will have to create a new character to help out with this test. Players who have joined us previously will still have their imported characters, though they may not be updated to reflect any changes on live since they were last scraped.
You can download the Beta client here. (Use right-click and "save link as" if the download does not start automatically). Please be aware that you will be unable to download the Beta client while our servers are down for maintenance on the 17th. You can find details on that maintenance here.
Once you've had a chance to try things out, we'd love to hear from you. We've made a dedicated section on the forums where you can go to let us know what you think, check out our known issues, and leave any bugs you might find. You can check that out here. Please be sure to leave your feedback in this new section and not in the forum's Social District section. There's a lot of stuff to unpack with the Beta, and we want to make sure we hear from every one of you. Posting in the right place will ensure your voice is heard.
Finally, please remember that these Beta tests are part of the process leading to a Full Release. Participating in these tests and letting us know when things work well and when they don't is a critical step towards a fully updated client. Thank you for your patience on this journey, and we hope you will join us for this latest Open Beta window.