NCAA 13 Community Event #1: Transfer Fail Errors Explained and Addressed
Our very own admins Drifterbub and Shaun Mason are EA Gamechangers and are currently participating in the first NCAA13 Community event with the EA Sports development team and have some interesting news to share on the NCAA Transfer Fail Errors:
It is no secret that EA Sports NCAA Football 12 Online Dynasty mode registered as a love-hate relationship with a lot of hardcore OD goers here at TSO and beyond. “Transfer Fail” errors (TFE) plagued every league and often pitted users with performing complex solutions to get their individual dynasty back up and running. The sports gaming community has not been pleased with the onslaught of TFEs since the games release in July nor with the sequential patches starting only a couple weeks after launch. The community was vocal and the message the EA Sports Game Changer team received from the Engineering team at EA Sports was simple – ‘we have learned from our mistakes.’
If you participated in an Online Dynasty in NCAA Football 12, you likely encountered at least one TFE. On the surface, they seem generic and random. A user could experience them in multiple game modes at any time. The reality is that the TFE prompt commonly seen by most users could be literally any number of errors. The prompt is widely generic and simply means that there was a server-to-console miscommunication. Since the prompt was ambiguous, it was often very difficult for the Engineers at EA to decipher, recreate and troubleshoot errors. They relied on the user base to report details surrounding the error (I’m sure you can point to a number of threads in your respective community forums filled with reports from the users). To compound the problem, the logs and error messages were scattered among several different servers. This provided days worth of sifting through data logs for EA’s Engineering team. Ultimately, it meant mixed results in solving problems due to the difficulty of recreating errors received in the field.
Admitting mistakes can be tough for anyone. Figuring out how you can do better is the critical piece of improving a process. The Server Engineers at EA are creating several tools to allow them to better handle errors that come from the field. These tools allow engineers to collect error reports, debug and analyze at a much more successful and rapid clip. This new focus shifts the culture from reactive to proactive maintenance and changes the way engineers even think about error-handling. This means better QA testing during the development cycle and ultimately a better product for us end-users.
An example of such will surface sometime in the very near future as a server side update for the game. Engineers uncovered an error in which the combination of an Online Dynasty’s ID number (not the name that you give your OD, but the index number automatically assigned by EA’s server) can be too long for some applications to process. This leads to a truncated file name and the inevitable TFE. EA was able to gather the appropriate information and finally recreate the error.
Undoubtedly people will interpret this news differently – some possibly even considering doubting the validity of EA Sports even more. Personally, I know from professional experience that culture shifts are not easy and often can be impossible. Adaptation to solve problems is an obvious business approach however and EA Sports seems to have taken measures beyond simple adaptation in an effort to assure it’s hardcore end-user base that they have learned from their short comings and have taken appropriate measures to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. In other words – they have learned.
from Drifterbub by following him on Twitter: @Drifterbub