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Halo 5 Maintenance Update

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Attention Spartans! Halo 5 will receive a small update today that’s strictly under-the-hood code designed to help the 343 team gather data as part of ongoing investigations into reports of various server-related issues.

Now let’s get this out of the way first: this is not the next big content update you’ve been waiting for. Rest assured though, that work is underway and it’s coming into focus on the horizon. The good news is that today’s small update will be hugely beneficial in helping to better understand these issues and develop appropriate fixes as the team focuses on improving the Halo 5 online experience.

Halo 5 Senior Engineering Lead Sean Walsh answered a few of my questions to help shed some light on today’s update:

Q: What’s included in this latest update?

Sean Walsh: The latest update to Halo 5: Guardians contains significant amounts of extra telemetry to help the developers at 343 diagnose potential problems with our online services and dedicated servers, as well as telemetry to help track down bugs with our melee registration.

Ske7ch’s Note: If you’re a non-engineer like myself, you may also be wondering what exactly “telemetry” refers to. A quick internet search describes it as an “automated communications process by which measurements are made and other data is collected from one point (in this case the game/servers) and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring (i.e. to an online database for the 343 engineering team).” Sean explained to me that this telemetry is “effectively a collection of game logs stored in an online database that can be used to diagnose problems after the fact without requiring an in-house repro of the issue.”

Q: What is this update trying to address?  

Sean: Since launch, we’ve been carefully monitoring reports from our players on Waypoint and various online forums with regards to the overall quality of the Halo 5 online experience. With the help of the community we’ve been able to identify several bugs, such as “random disconnects” from the dedicated server that are being erroneously reported as explicit quits to our services, as well as the general perception that games are often ridden with “lag”, which can manifest in a number of different ways. There are also a number of reports of users appearing to successfully land melee attacks, but without the attack registering on the server and damaging the opponent.

Q: Can you briefly explain the process the team is working through to help identify and ultimately address some of these online issues being reported by the community?  

Sean: Issues like these are extremely difficult for the team to reproduce back in the studio in an uncontrived manner, so in order to fix these issues we need to first gather as much information as possible from players experiencing these problems in the live game. In this update, we’ve both added new telemetry events, as well as raised the priority of existing events in order to help track down and hopefully fix these issues.

 

Thanks Sean! And thanks to you, players, for reporting these issues and helping us gather critical datamining intel by playing Halo 5. I’ll be sure to stay in touch with the team and provide updates as they continue their investigation.

In the meantime, please mark your calendars and plan to join us online for a fun-filled day celebrating the 15th anniversary of Halo on Tuesday, Nov. 15.  Stay tuned to Halo Waypoint and @Halo for the latest details and plans for this momentous occasion.

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