What Titanfall 2's Dev Learned From Beta 1 and When Beta 2 Starts
"At least a dozen" issues cropped up, though you may not have noticed them.
The first of two planned betas for Titanfall 2 ran this past weekend. Now, developer Respawn Entertainment has published an in-depth blog post that covers what it learned from the pre-release testing period and what fans can expect from the upcoming second beta this weekend.
Lead engineer Jon Shiring starting off by saying Respawn's overall goal with the beta tests is to ensure that the studio's server setup can support the influx of players come October. Respawn could perform "massive simulations" to get an idea for what to expect, but a live multiplayer test is better, he said.
"We are doing these two weekends of the tech test because we knew we would hit problems that we'd never seen before," Shiring explained.
There were "at least a dozen" issues that cropped up during the first Titanfall 2 beta this past weekend, many of which were things that players never noticed, Shiring said. Fixing problems that players were not aware even existed is one of Respawn's goals. Another thing to note is that the Titanfall 2 beta content is from a version of the game dating back to June. As a result, some of the issues people pointed out had already been fixed for weeks or months.
Diving into the nitty gritty of what Respawn learned from the first beta test weekend, Shiring said Respawn now has a better idea about how fast people join matches. "We're using that knowledge to verify that we can spin up servers really quickly so players aren't left waiting," he said. He added that Titanfall 2 makes use of a "new server infrastructure" built with the company Multiplay. There are "many thousands" of Titanfall 2 servers spread around the world, Shiring said.
During the beta, Respawn simulated datacenters going offline completely in an effort to find out how fast it could move all of its players from one datacenter to another. There was also a test against network attacks.
"After having done it a few times, it gives us a process to follow so that we can move players around even faster in the future. And for launch, we'll have even more datacenters available," Shiring said.
Also in the blog post, Shiring boasted that Titanfall 2's matchmaking service is very fast, capable of reliably building up to around 24,000 matches every two seconds. This is far more than Titanfall 2, or any other game, would need, Shiring said. There were still some issues, however, like matches not being full when they began. In the wake of this, Respawn adjusted the join-in-progress system and "dug deeper to find the root cause of the non-full match starts."
"Our matchmaker had a trial by fire this weekend, and we're really happy with the results," Shiring said.
The developer also dedicated some space to talking about Titanfall 2's new Networks feature, which is a guild system of sorts that players can create with other users with similar interests. This being a new feature, it was a "big unknown" in terms of how many people would use them and what impact they would have on the backend. As it turns out, they were pretty popular, as players made 200,000 Networks by the end of the beta.
"We were amazed by the creativity and fun that gamers brought to the game through their own Networks," Shiring added. "Networks were created for real humans to use, and no simulation can prove that it would be successful like real people can."
The next Titanfall 2 beta runs August 26-28. The goal for the second weekend is to "really spike the number of players playing online at the same time," Shiring said. To do this, Respawn will try to launch an event that gets as many people online at the same time as possible, though he didn't say how they'll do that.
Titanfall 2's second beta test goes live on August 26, starting at 9 AM PT / 12 noon ET. As announced previously, new for the second beta will be the 6v6 mode, Amped Hardpoint, as well as the Base Koda map. The betas are only on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, not PC.
The full game launches on October 28 for all three platforms.
Did you play the first Titanfall 2 beta? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!