Hello, everyone, Dan here. I’m one of the Core QA guys and you’ve probably seen my name on Mantis once or twice. Today, I’m announcing some changes to our workflow regarding bugs and the way we communicate information about issues with GameMaker with all of you.
As of May the 14th (14/05/2013) we will switch from allowing full access to our bugs database (“Mantis”) to a system where we will initially handle reports on the Helpdesk. Creating new Mantis accounts and filing reports directly yourself will be disabled. In this way we aim to improve the speed of response and the quality of information you receive, and give us a cleaner, more accurate bug database so we can concentrate on proactive investigation rather than reactive.
Why are you doing this?
Whilst for many reporters there has been a recent increase in the quality of reporting, we've identified a growing trend where coding support questions and general discussions are being reported as bugs. Our bug database was never intended for customer support, but is seemingly being increasingly seen as such. We've also long seen that searching the database before submitting a new report is often overlooked (so is providing a sample project and/or meaningful reproduction steps), but at times when we have released a version of GameMaker with issues the flood of "me too" reports is far more of a hindrance than a help. This clogs the database up and slows down the developers. Similarly, bug-reporting tickets into the Helpdesk tend to be more informal in tone, not structured for a bug report, and lack a lot of information at the first attempt.
Those reporters who have shown consistently good reporting or give good feedback/support will get to keep their current access level - indeed, we encourage them to keep doing the same. Similarly, those of you who show consistently good reporting in the future can get full reporter status also.
So how will I submit a bug?
You will supply bugs via the contact form (found in Support > Bugs of the menu bar at the top of this site). You can see that this page gives you some recently reported bugs and the top known issues, plus links to the full helpdesk and bugs database so you can search more thoroughly before submitting. Hopefully, you'll immediately see your issue is already being dealt with or you get an answer to your question.
Further down, you'll see the form for submitting a ticket. This form ensures you provide accurate information, plus emphasises what we require from a report - you will need to fill in all of the fields and provide us with a summary of the issue before the form will allow you to submit the report.
This is forwarded as a ticket to our Helpdesk team, who will process it and get back to you via e-mail if we require further information or a sample in order to create a bug report - and if we're already aware of your issue you'll get a quick response with the information you require or a link to monitor the bug on Mantis. If you have submitted a problem with your project or a code function, please ensure you have a suitable sample project ready, as it is very likely one will be asked of you.
If your issue needs to be investigated by a developer your ticket will be converted and added to Mantis automatically with the bug reported as you. If you don't have a Mantis account one will be created automatically for you using the name you supply on your Helpdesk ticket (where possible). From then on we'll discuss the issue and send you update e-mails via Mantis as before. You will be able to add notes onto your tickets, etc. Once your issue is resolved you'll get your final confirmation e-mail and the report will be confirmed fixed for the following GameMaker release and then closed.
So, what are you doing on your end to replace all of our reports? (Although we still want you to get in touch!)
You'll have already seen new team members on Mantis and a general cleaning up of the backlog via the Suggestions List and closing old bugs. We'll of course keep up with this, but the move to using the Helpdesk will really improve future reports, meaning our Core Tech QA can spend more time QA-ing and less time doing database admin.
The Helpdesk has of course been in place for a little while and we have a range of FAQs and support resources there already, but we're now going to start adding in more community elements to encourage discussion and peer-support. Your suggestions for GameMaker will in future be added as discussions on the forum, rather than as new "bug" tickets, allowing everyone to discuss a suggestion and fine-tune it publicly before it is adopted.
Hopefully, you'll agree this new system is beneficial to everyone - you get more information up-front or with a quicker turn-around, and we get a more accurate reporting process so we can fix issues more quickly and easily - and you can see how we're always focussed on improving the quality of GameMaker: Studio.
The web form is now live, so feel free to make the switch today!