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How to report a bug

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Summary

Welcome! This is an official tutorial on how to write and send the most effective bug reports, put together with Frozenbyte developers.

Why are good bug reports important?

Everything written in the bug report is helpful and important to us. Still, being concise enough helps us read through the report faster, leaving more time to fix the bug instead. So be as brief possible while not leaving anything out that might be helpful to us. If you are unsure how much and what you should write in the report or if you are thinking of not even writing because of the uncertainty of it’s helpfulness, please do report! It is always better for us to get feedback that includes a chance of giving us even the tiniest bit of information that we would otherwise miss if you did not report.

F1 Feedback Tool

The easiest way to make sure that your report gets through to us, you can send bug reports in game by pressing F1 (default keybind) and choosing Bug Report:

Tutorial 001 20201021171512 1.png

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Discord: for emergencies

Try to avoid sending bug reports on Discord: it's much faster for us to read your reports and fix them when sent via the Feedback Tool. If you are unable to use the Feedback Tool for some reason, such as the game crashing, then please send the report on Starbase Discord to the #alpha-tech-problems channel.

Screenshot discord report channel 211020 002.png

We still recommend following this guide even when reporting via Discord to make sure we have enough information about the problem.

Screenshot discord report channel 211020 003.png

How to write a report effectively

Don't worry, we'll show you how to send the best possible bug report! It’s not mandatory to use it for every feedback report, but it is the most optimized way for us to gain all the information we need in one compact package. Please test the bug thoroughly before sending the report to avoid scattering information to multiple bug reports. Updates in case you find more information are always welcome, though!

Title

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This should be straight-forward and related to the issue - something that explains the bug with as few words as possible. The report is tasked forward to our QA team. We do not ignore any feedback, but QA might not prioritize reports with a title such as "hello".

Message field

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The message should say what the feedback is about and should only contain necessary information - stay concise and on-topic. Think about what happened before, during and after the bug occurred and describe it. You can certainly add extra information that you think that might be relevant to the problem.

If your bug report is about a specific ship, remember to mention the name of the ship.

Reproduction rate

Reproduction rate means the amount of times the bug can be reproduced. It's not a big deal if you can't reproduce the bug, but this is one of the main interests for us as it helps us review how much time is needed for testing the bug. Try to reproduce the bug by mimicking your actions that initially caused the problem, and count how many times you were able to repeat it.

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Reproduction steps

What are the steps needed to reproduce the bug? Write the steps in a numbered list (1, 2, 3...) and be as specific as possible. Leaving out information can greatly impact how we perceive the problem and might even mean that we cannot reproduce the problem at all.

Tutorial 009 20201021171512 1.png

Result/Expected

Result = the shortest possible description of what happens when the bug occurs.
Expected = what you expected that would happen instead of what actually happened.

These are the points that we often look at first, so the information should be included here.

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After writing the report

Please read your bug report through 1-2 times. Is there anything else you could include that would help us process your report? Try to see your report from the recipient's point of view: is it easy to understand? Is it concise? Do you have questions that the report doesn't answer?

Examples

Here are some example reports to help you out!

Example 1:
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Title:

Soft crash when opening Social menu at Proia

Description:

The game crashes with a soft crash when opening Inventory with I and clicking the Social tab when I'm at the Command Center in Proia station. There is a short delay, 1-5 seconds, after clicking the Social tab during which the game is frozen, and then the crash report pops up.

Repro rate:

Tried 3 times without logging out, crashed each time.

Repro steps:

1. Spawn at the Command Center insurance terminal at Proia
2. Open Inventory with I
3. Click the Social tab
4. Game freezes for 1-5 seconds and game gives an error report when the Social tab loads

Result: game crashes with a soft crash that does not require a restart

Expected: game opens the Social menu normally, without freezing or crashing

Example 2:
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Title:

Chat window does not disappear

Description:

Chat window stays open, despite chat window hide delay being set to 5 seconds. Hide inactive chat window is selected from settings. This happens even if the chat is inactive. Changing chat settings doesn't help. Logging out and restarting the game makes the chat window disappear.

Repro rate:

Tried 5 times, bug reproduced 3 times.

Repro steps:

1. Open game
2. Press Enter to bring up chat
3. Type and send a message in chat with Enter
4. Chat window remains visible

Result: chat window stays visible and doesn't disappear even if chat is inactive, unless player logs out
Expected: chat window disappears after the delay

Screenshots in reporting

One picture is worth a thousand words, which is why you can attach an image to your reports sent via the Feedback Tool. However, a good, fancy screenshot isn't necessarily a good screenshot for bug reporting or game feedback. Try to take a screenshot that shows the problem clearly. If possible, adjust your field of vision so that only the essentials are in the picture. Below are some general tips for better feedback screenshots:

  • The screenshot should be related to what you're reporting
  • Take the screenshot in good lighting, unless the report is specifically about bad lighting or light effects
  • Crop out unrelated objects and other players
  • Stay still and don't move while taking a screenshot
  • Ask yourself: is the image clear enough? Can you see at first glance what's in the image and what it's about? If not, try to think if you could take it from a different angle or from a longer/shorter distance to better highlight what the issue is.

Examples

Example of an imaginary report, with less-than-perfect and ideal screenshot examples.

Bad example 20200924173805 1.jpg

The space between individual refuelling stops is too narrow at Origin. There should be more space between them to accommodate bigger ships.

Why this is not a good shot for this report:

  • It's a close-up on the refuelling station
  • Doesn't show where the refuelling station is located on the station - the bigger the station, the more the exact location matters!
  • Doesn't show the actual gap between individual refuelling platforms and screens
  • The angle and cropping makes it look like the report is about the screen or the character's pointing animation

Good example 20210114171327 1.jpg

The space between individual refuelling stops is too narrow at Origin. There should be more space between them to accommodate bigger ships.

Why this is better:

  • Good lighting
  • Unrelated objects, ships, and players are cropped out
  • Shows the refuelling station and its exact location clearly
  • There are visible landmarks in the shot

How to take better screenshots

This section is meant to give you pointers for what the purpose of screenshots in a bug/feedback report is, and how to think when taking screenshots for reporting purposes. There are no bad screenshots, but some screenshots work better for certain situations, and other screenshots work better for others.

Bad example 20200522150649 1.jpg
Why this is not ideal:

  • Unclear what this is about - Station Editor? Station Lot Designer? Manually repairing objects?
  • Dim lighting
  • Taken too close

What this could also be useful for:

  • Feedback on Building Tool cosmetics and outlook
  • Feedback on how the character is holding the Building Tool in first-person view
  • Reporting poor visibility when building inside an enclosed space


Bad example 20200909145249 1.jpg
Why this is not ideal:

  • If it's about the ship, doesn't show the whole ship
  • If it's about the location, it's taken too close and doesn't show the environment clearly

What this could also be useful for:

  • Feedback on the crouching animation


Bad example 20200924173805 1.jpg
Why this is not ideal:

  • The angle makes it hard to see anything
  • If it's about the location or environment, it's taken too close to the location

What this could also be useful for:

  • Feedback on the lighting, reflections, colours
  • Feedback on the screen UI, buttons, and texts