Battlefield 4 dev turns to fans for help testing new improvements

The Community Test Environment will let DICE "test new ideas and solutions" before rolling them out to the public.

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Battlefield series developer DICE plans to launch a new "Community Test Environment" that will enable it to test new improvements and changes with the help of PC players, it announced today.

Battlefield 4 has had a rough stretch dating back to its launch--countless technical problems, some of them extremely serious, have plagued the game on all platforms. Improvements have been made since the shooter first debuted, but even six months later, it's still far from perfect. The new Community Test Environment looks to be seeking the large number of testers that only the player base can provide.

In a post on the Battlefield blog, DICE explains that the CTE will be used to "test new ideas and solutions to current issues before we roll them out to all Battlefield players." First on the list? The dreaded netcode.

"Among the first things we will work on is the 'Netcode,' which is what the player experiences with the game world including player-to-player interactions like damage registration," the blog states. "This involves tweaking to the 'tickrate' servers and networking in general."

While DICE's goal is to use the CTE to improve Battlefield 4 on all platforms, only PC players will be able to participate. More specifically, only Battlefield 4 Premium members--Premium being the game's season pass which entitles owners to DLC and other perks--will be able to enroll in the program. Instructions for doing so are available in the blog post, but only a limited number of players will be allowed in initially. DICE says it "plans to expand to a larger player base in the future after we test this new program."

Battlefield 4 was released last October on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and arrived on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at their respective launches in November. Updates have been delivered in the following months seeking to deal with lag, crashes, sound issues, matchmaking problems, a one-hit kill bug, and a variety of other issues. These updates have also introduced new features, such as the ability to rent servers on consoles or join a match and immediately enter a squad with a group of friends.

As a result of its many serious issues--crashes and lag, in particular, have made the game unplayable at times, as I can personally attest--criticism has been leveled at DICE and publisher Electronic Arts by more than just fans. Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning has expressed his disdain for the way the game's release was handled, saying it "shipped with dirt all over it."

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