Battlefield 5

How games are made at EA (By a former Blackbox Studio Employee)

Battlefield 4 - How games are made at EA (By a former Blackbox Studio Employee)
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I see a lot of misinformation float around this sub about dice, and ea – and who does this and who's responsible for that.

I write this post in an attempt to clear up once and for all , the process in which how games are created – and updated.

  • I am happy to provide proof of my said employment to any moderators
  • I did not work for DICE – I worked for Blackbox (Also known as EA Canada). The process between all studios was the same.
  • I cannot speak to how things are NOW – but I very much doubt they would change the basic aspects of what I am laying out

First things first. Lets Identify the groups involved.

EA – Electronic Arts.

They are at the top. I will refer to them as EA , or PROD. Prod meaning producers, much like you'd have in a movie.

They PUBLISH – aka release the game to the public.

They do NOT write the actual code for the games in most cases (On their much older titles EA was also a development studio – but you can do your own history searching on that)

BlackBox / Dice / Maxis / Whatever Studio

They are the DEVELOPERS of the games in question – Don't matter which , what I'm going to say applies to everything made under EA when I was working there – This includes NHL, Madden, Need For Speed, Medal of Honor – and Yes, even battlefield.

This means they write the physical code for the game, design the art, draw the pictures, create the levels, create the models do the motion capture etc etc etc

Stage 1

( I will use the example game Facebreaker – which was known as Project Pummel.)
Production Meeting
High up people at EA assign not so high up people at EA to develop a new game idea. In this case, EA wanted a fighting game which they didn't have yet – so they set out to explorer creating a new IP (Intellectual Property , like a brand name – Battlefield, Medal of Honor , etc) They eventually went with Facebreaker. This was because the game had a brand new feature where you could scan your face in using the camera, then put it onto your character. You could also scan pictures of people, so you could put your boss ( We used Peter Moore A LOT)

Development Meeting
Ea comes to Maxis/Dice/whatever and says "HEY YOU GUYS !"
– We at the studio all die a little more inside, and answer our corporate overlords "YES, YOU COMMAND AND WE OBEY"
EA tp us at Blackbox – "MAKE US A FIGHTING GAME, KIDS LIKE FIGHTING GAMES"

Our response "How about a nice need for speed ? We got this great new eng.."
EA to us "WE NEED IT SO YOU CAN PUT YOUR FACE IN IT AND THEN PUNCH IT"
Us thinking internaly (Maybe they think we are the Fight Night guys ?) * Our studio had done the first fight night years earlier but we hadn't touched in two iterations
EA continuing "IT NEEDS TO BE TOTALLY OVER THE TOP , KIDS LIKE TOTALLY OVER THE TOP"

From there we start on the game.

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

  • I did not write code. However I was up in dev every single solitary day as a QA lead /tester (depending on project – you didn't just test one game at a time)

All games are written on a PC. Not a mac. Not some weird hybrid whatever. Just a PC. Every single solitary line of code – is written on a PC.

Stages of Dev

Milestone

This is where we just get the basic of the idea of the game going, in my case it was okay here is some backgrounds, here is what the format of the menus will be , this is maybe what the character select screen will look like
* Everything at this stage of development is considered a placeholder. Absolutely NOTHING is set in stone , and EVERYTHING can be changed. In terms of Battlefield V – Think of the launch trailer.

Read:  PSA: Tips for Support Players

There can be infinite milestone stages. So you could have Milestone 1, 2, 7, 6742, whatever. You stayed in milestone until EA made up their damn mind ( a little)

Beta
Beta means we have completed Milestone. That's about it. It's "Supposed" to mean that all desired assets are INCLUDED in the build. This does not mean they are COMPLETED , but that they are there.
– What this means in practice is that we have a shit metric fuck ton of placeholder stuff – and some real stuff. So in terms of Facebreaker, we had all the characters names in there , and how many we wanted to have, and how many stages etc – but those stages weren't done , or even 1% done, but they were technically in the build of the game.

You went through as many Beta builds as needed for EA to make up their damn minds ( a little)
Beta is where EA is supposed to stop asking for new shit so we can actually make the fucking game, but that's never the case.

Alpha
Alpha means all assets are complete. Complete does NOT MEAN WORKING – Just that they are in the build. So all the textures should be there, no icons should be missing, everything needs to be there that we said was going to be there in the last Beta build before it was agreed to move to Alpha.

Final
Means that everything that was in alpha that we didn't cut is working within our reproducibility rates in qa.

Загрузка...

Builds

Everytime dev makes a change to the game(Or create something new), they open up notepad and write it in a little blurb describing what they did – "Bill jones face no longer distorts when punched" "Bill jones now a playable character" etc
They then save all these changes to a changelog – and save that as a BUILD

Builds are numbered based off the phase of the game M1, B1, A1 and Final , the number goes up as the code gets updated

Every build, no matter how small a change gets sent by secure channels to a place called MASTERING

Mastering

– It's a little alcove located inside the QA department, typically 3 guys in there.

– They burn CD"s / dvd / whatever media you need

How mastering works
– You, the lowly QA slave approach the mighty mastering desk with head bowed and shame in your eyes. Ever so humbly you raise your employee pass (slowly.. oh so slowly I swear boy ! slow) Praying with gritted teeth you mumbled under your breath.. "Madden A3.34 please" Shooting back at you with the stare of a million dead builds and a million wasted discs a surly man says to you "Sign here" and thrusts at you a weathered and beaten clipboard, clearly used since the studios birth – stained with the blood and NOS energy sweat of so many QA pleebs before you – Your hands weak from your 20 hour shift stumble to write what you once thought was your name.. A disjointed smear of ink runs across the box – You know not what you have signed, or to what dark power you have just given your name

In what seems like an eternity later ( There are no windows, and thus no light – in QA) the surly man hands you a disc so warm it scalds your hand. You proceed towards your station.. towards the most hated and misunderstood of all jobs anywhere.. QA at EA.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

  • Yes. We exist.
  • Yes. We care.
  • Yes. We care , more than you could ever possibly know or imagine.
  • Yes. We do "actually test this shit"

You sit down at your station.

Your station is this , or a slight varation therof

A dev xbox console

A dev playstation

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A PC of varying quality (Some people have super beast ones, some people had your grandmas pc) – We did have one.. ultra rig if you will, 3 screens, sli or crossfire, intel or amd – but this thing saw very little testing as we mostly played other finished titles on it (I'll talk about that later)

A crappy little 10-15 inch TV – with MAYBE a vcr built in , but prob not

There was typically 4-5 stations in a line.

Okay – You are at your station. Now what.

Boot UP PC – wait 30 mins.

Load up program called DEVTRACK (This is where we tracked all the issues)

Load up program called DEVTEST (This is where all current issues were assigned to testers by leads )

Look in DEVTEST to see what your job is today.

You could be working in any of the following areas depending on the game stage and build.

SPO – Screens , Pop ups, and Overlays – Just like it sounds.

AUD- Anything audio related
GFX – Anything graphics related
COM – Compliance – Legal stuff like logos, trademarks etc
DB – Database – Making sure anything that is numbers based in the game is correct vs what we want. Example – Is Michael Jordan Number 23 in game ? What number is Michael Jordan ? Factual type information
GP – Gameplay Logic
ONL – Online related things
(I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting)

You look at your task and carry it out

Here is an example bug trail, with all the names omitted

This is an automated messge generated by DevTrack, please do NOT reply

THIS ISSUE REQUIRES YOUR ATTENTION

Current Owner:

Progress Status = Closed – Fix Verified (Closed)

Project Name = EAC – Project Pummel
Issue ID = 8761

Environment = PS3
Severity = C – Minor

Summary = PRES – Art – The poison aura will persist through the entire round when Tiki is hit by Voodoo's special attack during his rolling attack

Work Description =


It is an effects problem. The start event for the poison was never sent. I suspect the effect is tied to the collision of the projectile and not to the start of the poison. I suggest the trigger for the effect be changed to the start of the poison.


can you check this out


I think XX suggestion should work, sounds like an RVI only change

Note we still want to have the object disappear/splash effect on the contact we just want the stun stuff (skulls etc) on t! he stun trigger

rt_061208


-Issue is fixed

—————————————————————-

Didn't realize I was going to get that into it, tired for now. Maybe add more later if mods approve and what not.

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