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Bugs and The Sims 101 - Everything you need to know

EA_ArcadiaEA_Arcadia Posts: 11 EA Community Manager
edited July 19 in Forum Ideas & Feedback
Bugs, no Simmer likes to see them crawling around their kitchens, and players definitely don’t like it when bugs impact their enjoyment of the game. It’s no surprise that games have bugs, and Sims 4 is no exception to that rule; with the large number of DLC/Game Packs, naturally eradicating bugs for good is no small order.

It has come to our attention that while we’ve made improvements in bringing visibility to some of the bugs we’re working on (make sure you check out the latest Laundry List), there is still some confusion and concern about how the bug reporting system works and the speed at which we’re addressing bugs. We’d like to share some more details and insight on how we collect your bug reports and process them!

Make sure you grab a snack from the fridge and keep an eye on your video gaming skill increase, as this thread will be quite long!

If you’re interested in discussing the contents of this thread, please join us on this dedicated thread.



First off, let’s talk about what a bug is:
A bug, or software bug, is an error in a computer program (like a video game) that causes the program to produce an incorrect or unexpected result or to react in an unintended way.
Sometimes it is hard to determine if an error in the game is a bug, an intended function that is misunderstood or goes against the player's preference, or an issue caused by problems on the player's computer/console.

The following, however, are not bugs:
Issues with Mods/Custom Content (CC): The Mod or custom content creator is responsible for the function of their content. Maxis does not consider the functionality of mods or CC when making in-game adjustments. Reach out to the creator if you are having issues.
Lagging or crashing issues: It is rare that these issues are caused by a bug; given this, these threads are commonly moved to one of the tech sections for individual troubleshooting. Occasionally, there may be an identified in-game issue which is causing the problem, in these cases the threads may remain in the bug section and be merged.
Opinions on how things work in-game: While you may not agree with the specifics of an in-game feature, this is not a bug. If you don’t like how specific things in the game work, you can leave feedback in the general discussion and feedback section either in Answers HQ or the Game Forum.

So what should I do now?
If you are looking for troubleshooting help, use the Tech (PC / Mac / Console) or General Discussion forums; if you want to report a problem, use Bugs. If you’re not sure, make a thread and the staff and helpers can always point you in the right direction.



So it’s definitely a bug, what’s next?

Once you’ve confirmed that the situation is a bug (based on the criteria above), it’s time to head to the bug report board on Answers HQ.

Understanding the board:
First stop will be the guide and introduction to the board that Hero Crinrict has put together with staff guidance. This will give you some insight into how the staff designed the boards to work, and how to make your bug report as useful as possible.

This post also details the tagging system that is used on posts to better catalog and document the status of each bug report.

Compiled list of bugs:
Once you understand how the board works, it’s time to check whether the bug you’ve found has already been reported. The volunteers have a maintained list that details all reported bugs and what their current status is from a community perspective. While the list is quite long, you can quickly search by using your browser's search function (CTRL+F) and using key words associated with your problem

If you find an existing report for your bug, click through to it, hit “me too” and add a reply detailing your experiences.

If you don’t find anything relevant to your bug, it's time to create your own bug report.



Making your bug report, what’s next:
Once checking through the known issues list, if you do not see your issue listed, it's time to make your own thread.

While we know there are some issues with the current bug form (we’re working on it) it’s important you provide as much information as possible, the more information we have the easier it is for our teams to assess the bug and determine what may be causing it.

Before submitting your thread, please ensure you give it an appropriate title that briefly summarizes the issue. Threads given generic names like “Sims 4 issue” make it harder for other community members to quickly determine if an issue is already reported.


If you think of or remember any extra details after posting, don’t hesitate to edit or reply to your thread and add those details on. The staff and volunteers will ensure this extra information is placed in the best spot.



Posted my bug thread, what's now?

Once you’ve posted your thread, the hard work is done and this is where Staff and Volunteers will take over and keep an eye on your thread to ensure your report is in the best state to be reviewed by the QA Team. Please keep an eye out for replies: someone may ask you for more details or clarification, and providing it can help with troubleshooting or reproducing the bug. You may also notice other players join the discussion saying they also have the same issue, and sharing more details. There are several actions that may be taken with your thread.

Me Too:
A feature on our forums is the ability to say “me too” on a thread, if you’ve seen the same bug that the thread details you can hit this button to indicate you’re having the same issue. Doing this allows us to quickly determine how many people are being impacted by the reported bug.

Merging:
It’s common for multiple players to have the same bug at one time, and consequently there may be several threads on the same issue. In these situations we strive to merge these into one central thread. Staff and volunteers attempt to merge threads promptly as unfortunately “Me Too” numbers do not carry over; this is a limitation of the AHQ site. If the merged thread had a lot of me toos (relative to the me toos of the main post), this is usually noted in the first post.

When the QA team assesses the bug forum, they go through each thread individually, without merging threads on the same bugs together, so this bug list can become extremely long. The longer the list, the longer it takes the team to assess each bug. Since we want this team to focus on working on fixes, merging is a small thing the Staff and Volunteers can do to help reduce time-intensive unrelated work.

Every now and again, a thread may be merged or moved where maybe it shouldn’t have been. This can become evident as users subsequently provide greater clarity on the issue being reported, in these situations please either contact the user that merged (usually mentioned in the thread) or a Community Manager via PM and explain nicely why you think your thread was wrongly merged, or post in the thread, explaining that there was a misunderstanding.

Solution Marked:
Even when a bug hasn’t been completely fixed, we may mark a reply as a solution for a variety of reasons:
  • A post needs to be made visible to everyone (either workaround or request from QA)
  • The original poster may mark a solution when they are satisfied with the answer given.

Unless a thread is locked as fixed, the bug is not considered fixed.
Unfortunately, marking a solution is the only way AHQ currently allows you to pin a post.



Let’s get the bug reports to the Staff:

On regular and frequent intervals, the Sims QA team “scrapes” the bug forum and pulls the info from each thread into their catalog so they can begin assessing each reported bug. It’s important to note here that every thread gets pulled during the “scraping” process, neither Staff or Volunteers can prevent or restrict any threads from being taken.

From this catalog view, the QA team starts going through the information and determines a course of action for each bug. During this process, the QA team notes a considerable amount of complex and detailed information regarding each and every bug thread.

Compiled list of bugs
From information within the threads, our volunteers generate the compiled list of bugs which helps the community keep up with known bugs. Its main goal is to help users check if a bug was already reported and if so, use the existing thread for their own report. It’s not an official list on how QA handles bugs or what is considered important by Maxis.

The Tag system
Tags are an instrument to show at first glance what the status is from a community point of view. Using the information from the QA team, staff and volunteers have developed this system to help quickly identify the status of bugs and critical information. These tags are not used by the QA team.

Please see this on what tags mean.




If the staff know about my bug, why does it take so long to get fixed?

So this is the question we get asked the most and there's no quick answer, as a lot of factors come into fixing bugs, that being said, our goal is to work on the bugs that impact the game the most, or impact the most people, first and foremost.

Help us help you:
The number one thing you can do to help get your bug processed quicker is to be detailed, specific, and supply supporting assets.

Staff and volunteers often request additional information such as save files, or instructions on how the bug occurred. We ask this information not for fun, but so QA gets as much concise info as they can to get to the root cause quicker.

While it may take the QA Team some time to work on a resolution, this extra information may also lead to another player coming up with a workaround based on the info provided or their own experience, which is great! That’s working as a community and players helping each other.

The Patch Cycle:
When any fix is ready, it needs to be patched into the game. That is why typically while a bug may only require 2-3 days to design the fix, that fix won't be "released" until a patch is developed and deployed.

Since we do not want to be pushing out patches every other day, as each build for the game has to be checked over multiple platforms and configurations, we typically wait until a considerable number of fixes are ready and then develop and release the patch.

A Chain Reaction:
While a bug on the surface may look like something that is simple to fix, sometimes that can be the furthest from the truth. Just like a tree, you don’t see the root system below and how it can be interlaced with other systems.

Sometimes when we design a fix, it may cause knock-on problems in other areas of the game, which end up being worse than the original bug. This can cause delay in the deployment of a fix.

Last thing we want to do is create a bigger mess while trying to clean up the first one!



You have Volunteers helping staff, can you explain what they do?

On both EA forums and Answers HQ we have programs that invite standout players to form a closer relationship with EA so that we can help support their contributions to communities even more. These users are identified and invited based on their history, technological know-how, and quality of answers provided on the forums.

As part of these programs, users gain additional privileges and abilities on the platform so that they can assist keeping the boards organized and usable for all players. For example, they can change thread titles to better reflect the topic contained within. This prevents us having a board full of threads called "sims 4 problem" for example. They also have the ability to move threads into more relevant sections as required.

Currently on Answers HQ, we have around 150 users with these privileges who can be identified by their "Hero" and "Champion" tags, we have these users for pretty much every game and language that you can find on Answers HQ. Volunteers act under their sole discretion, at no point are they forced or told they have to use these privileges or complete any specified work. These users follow the same rules as all other users on the forums.

A core goal of Volunteers helping in bug boards is to help ensure information is in the best format and complete so the QA teams can read, understand, and quickly get to work on fixing bugs. Which for the community, ultimately, means that bugs are getting tested and worked on quicker. EA forum staff and volunteers work hand in hand to do this task.

If you're interested in any more information about the Hero and Champion part of the Community Connections Program, please check out the information section which you can find here.
Post edited by EA_Arcadia on
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