Available for PC  – Win / Linux / Mac

You’ll receive a Steam key for Rail Route directly from the developers of the game.

❤️ Thanks for your great support!

RailLog #11: Behind the Scenes of Development and Testing

Hello Dispatchers!

It’s been an exciting week for the Rail Route development team as we’ve been putting the finishing touches on the upcoming Update 11 for our train dispatcher simulator game. This Update is packed with new features and improvements that we can’t wait for you to experience. We spent a considerable amount of time last week perfecting the new features and tirelessly bug-fixing, and we’re eager to share more insights with you about how we structure our work on the game that we all love. The series will be a little different this week, as I’ll give you a deeper look into our development process.

Staging Branch

One critical part of our development process is the Staging Branch, where we release a version of the game to a small, closed group of active members in our Discord community. This version includes all of the significant features planned for the upcoming Update. We only release it once we’re confident no critical issues will hinder your gameplay experience. From here, we start gathering early feedback from our community and actively work on fixing every reported problem.

This feedback process takes about a week or two to ensure we address every reported issue before we proceed to the next stage. Once we’re confident that there are no critical or regression issues, we begin preparing the Update for release onto the Unstable Branch, bringing it one step closer to its official launch.

Automated Tests

Before I dive into our next stage of an Update lifecycle, the Unstable Branch, let’s jump onto a different topic. Although we have a small development team, we are committed to ensuring that our developers don’t have to rely on external QA teams to catch issues with the game. So, how do we test the game? We write our automated tests as a part of the development process!

Our tests include both unit and integration tests. Unit tests allow us to test small, internal code fragments to ensure their correctness. They are primarily used on the core game logic – train movement, sensor activations, modification to the rail network, etc. Here’s an example of a test that tests whether an arrival sensor is correctly activated for a simple scenario. The most significant benefit of these tests is they run blazingly fast in a split of seconds for more than two hundred of these tests.

Integration tests, on the other hand, cover real player scenarios and the issues we’ve encountered in the past. They try to simulate actual player behavior and run in full graphical mode. That means they are slower but cover many more possible issues. We aim to cover most problems reported with automated tests so the issue doesn’t resurface. We understand that it’s not always possible to catch every single bug, but we make every effort to minimize the possibility of issues occurring.

Developing a comprehensive automated testing framework requires time, effort, and resources. However, it’s worth it, as it ensures that our game is of the highest quality possible and minimizes the possibility of issues slipping through the cracks. By investing in our automated testing, we’re confident that we’re providing our players with the best experience possible.

Unstable Branch

Our Unstable Branch is available for all members of our Discord community. After the Staging Branch has been thoroughly tested and all critical and regression issues have been addressed, we release the latest version to the Unstable Branch. This allows us to gather even more feedback and insights from our dedicated player base before we prepare the release for the Main Branch. Typically, the version sits on the Unstable Branch for a week or two while we monitor any reported issues and make necessary adjustments. We highly encourage players to join our beta test by becoming a part of our Discord community. Your feedback is extremely valuable in helping us ensure that Rail Route is the best train dispatcher game it can be.

Joining our Discord community is critical for players who wish to report any issues they encounter while playtesting Rail Route. This is because we need direct chat contact with players who report issues. It lets us obtain all the necessary details to diagnose and resolve the problem effectively. By having a direct line of communication with our players, we can work together to ensure that the game runs as smoothly as possible and that any issues are addressed quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, our small dev team doesn’t have the resources to monitor more locations where bugs could be reported. So if you want to help us improve Rail Route and be a part of the development process, joining our Discord is the best way!

Issue Management

We internally use YouTrack as a ticketing tool. It helps us keep track of reported issues and work on them organizationally and efficiently. With a ticketing tool, we can easily assign issues to specific team members, prioritize them, and track their progress. This allows us to ensure that every issue is addressed and resolved and that nothing is left behind.

Additionally, it provides transparency and accountability, as we can easily see who is working on what and when. Overall, using a ticketing tool is a key component of our development process and helps us ensure that Rail Route is the best it can be.

Update 11 release date

We are confident that Update 11 will be ready on April 24th.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little different blog post this time. I am still unsure whether I should keep weekly or bi-weekly blog posts, so let me know :). Give me your comment or thumbs up; thanks! See you then.

Happy Dispatching!

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Available for PC  – Win / Linux / Mac

You’ll receive a Steam key for Rail Route directly from the developers of the game.

❤️ Thanks for your great support!

By Published On: April 10th, 20230 Comments

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