One thing we had always done was to give our builds version numbers so we'd know where we were in our development process as also when something might be out of date. This was often the case with test characters we created. You make a character, test them some, make some tweaks that affect a number of characters and suddenly you have characters whose builds are no longer valid. We quickly found putting a version number on the document proved very helpful in letting us know what and who needed to be reviewed before testing after making a change. But one painfully obvious omission we made was that we never documented exactly what these version numbers meant. That is to say when we made a big game changing update, we'd simply give that a new version number without specifically writing down what it was we had changed and more importantly why. When you're constantly working on something constantly it stays pretty fresh and the developers never really paid it much attention. We did a good enough job of remember what was recently changed and whenever we took breaks from developing any big changes had been fully implemented so even if we didn't remember what we changed recently we could plainly see what the new rules were.
It wasn't until this most recent round of changes that we ran into the problem of, "wait what version did this change belong it?" With a lot of changes flying around going back and forth and length of the development cycle we started becoming slowly aware that we couldn't keep all this crap together. Some documents had notes in the documents some didn't, some had documentation about a version number with no mention of what that number actually represented. Needless to say it started to get pretty messy. Luckily the fix was simple. We were able to create a central record keep for all the changes that went in under each version and what those changes were and why. It's really kind of sad cause we've overhauled the game essentially 3 times now, and have had numerious tiny and sizeable changes in between those and all this time we never had anything to clearly state what these changes were. Sure we had them written down.... somewhere. But the central record keep is really what we've been needing for quite some time. Welcome to what programmers refer to the changelog. The concept is simple. It's a log of everything that changed since the last released version. Being programmers ourselves we had to laugh at the fact that we'd hadn't thought of putting this together sooner.
Another interesting aspect of having a changelog, even though it's still pretty immature, it's neat to be able to see what we actually have been working on for the past... well year now. Shit I really need to update this blog more. Well anyway I figured I'd give a short list of the most recent set of changes we've made to give a glimpse into some of the stuff we've been tweaking as of late.
Makes absolutely no sense? Yeah well I guess you'd either need to know the game some first before decoding what all of that slang means. What you can take away from it though is that we're hard at work progressing CORPS towards general release and look forward to when we can start playing the game with regular people rather than those in our tight knit beta groups. Until then... keep on gaming