Hell Let Loose will soon start its penultimate Closed Beta, if you didn’t know, its this weekend, starting tomorrow 26th April at 11 AM BST, until Monday 29th April.
Developers are pleased to share that for this weekend closed beta, servers in the following locations will be online:
- US East
- US West
- South America
And to go through what’s happening in this beta test and the next, Max, Lead Developer on Hell Let Loose agreed to share some behind the scenes information.
What’s the Focus of this Beta?
Each Beta we have a series of large goals we hope to achieve (alongside collating all bugs and smaller issues that we expect to encounter). Last Beta was very much focused on profiling the netload and servers used to host Hell Let Loose. We wanted to know the exact specification of the servers and how many 100/100 player games could be hosted on a server of that spec. As a result of that testing, we noticed some interesting desync and other latency related issues on the lower end machines. We applied some hot-fixes during the last Beta that fixed the issue, but also noticed areas where we needed to push the netload optimisation even further.
The purpose of the Beta this weekend is to collect a clean set of data around the nature of each role, weapon, vehicle and general player behaviour. We’ve applied fixes to the two most critical issues we saw last Beta (desync and flying tanks) as these were really important for quality of life and will continue to watch them during the course of this weekend. We’re aware particularly of what was causing tanks to bounce/fly and are keen to make sure that the issue is solved.
We wanted to make sure that this weekend was stable and lower-risk, and that it would best resemble the test environment from our last Beta weekend. If you had a particular issue or bug in the last Beta and experience it again in this one – don’t worry, we’ve most likely fixed it if it’s a bug or have continued to improve it and you’ll experience that in the next Beta.
People may wonder why it’s necessary for us to collect this data. Fundamentally, Hell Let Loose is an enormous game with lots of tiny pieces all working together at all times. There isn’t a moment where a single feature isn’t expected to perform bug-free. By using these telemetry hooks, we can assemble a great set of data that will help us make gameplay design decisions with an extra dimension. While relying on self-reporting feedback from the community is fundamental, it’s tempting to fall into the trap of only acting on that feedback – which can often be a loud but potentially niche complaint (or entirely preferential).
By having a good knowledge of the game at a data level, we’ll be able to determine if things are performing as we’d expect, and also be able to begin conversations about particular topics. If Hurtgen has a very low play time, we’d immediately seek to chat to the community to understand why it’s less popular. The goal – as you can imagine – is not to balance absolutely everything. Some objects or weapons will always be less popular, however, we’ll be able to see absolutely drastic differences in performance across the two teams. If the German artillery is achieving double the kills that the US artillery is performing, that will obviously raise immediate questions. In all, we’re establishing what we feel are key pillars to assist us on the long journey of making Hell Let Loose as good as we possibly can!
Below are just a few examples of the questions we’re asking and data we’re collecting:
- Player kills per weapon – eg. MP40, M1 Garand etc.
- Deaths by role – how many times a player dies in a specific role.
- Binocular usage – how often and for how long are Officers using this tool.
- Times played per role per player – How many times a player picks a specific role, such as Rifleman, Medic etc.
- Officer role picks – how often a player chooses to be an Officer.
- Role switching – does a player stick with a specific role or switch often.
- Deployment screen time – how long does a player spend in the deployment screen before respawning.
- Number of times an Officer uses voice chat – which channels, proximity, unit or leadership.
- Number of times an Officer uses text chat – unit, team.
- Equipment usage by role – how often medics use Morphine or Anti-Tank builds an AT gun.
- Suppression frequency – how often players are utilising the suppression effect in a firefight.
- Kills by bombing run – Commander role skill.
- Player time in map – from joining to leaving a match.
While we’ve applied fixes for two of the major issues for this Beta, our final Beta will contain a much larger bulk of continued work we’ve been doing, including:
- Foy (Snow map)
- Large continuation of SFX overhaul
- Map Rotation implementation
- Continued animation polish in both TPP and FPP
- Small functionality changes to increase smoothness of different actions
- Adjustments to Supply counts
- Adjustments to rules about placing down Garrisons and OPs
- Many more character models – including testing some cool coat physics
- Enlarged tank models
- Applied correct German supply canister and parachute to supply drops
- Beginning of total UI/HUD/2D overhaul
Early Access Roadmap
The benefits of working with our friends at Team17 is that we’ve been able to put together a large roadmap for both our Early Access period and then beyond. We have a good idea of what we feel would make Hell Let Loose ready for version 1.0, and then all the content we want to add to expand the battlefield far beyond anything you’ve seen so far.
We’ll be releasing our roadmap as we launch Early Access. We’re very, very excited for the patches to come – which will contain a mixture of features, maps and polish across every aspect of the title. Just as we have with every Beta wave, we’re always making notes, playing the game with you and constantly pushing for a higher level of quality in every aspect of development.