Each flighting build must successfully complete a series of tests before it’s made available to Insiders. These tests require that a build progresses through what we refer to as “Rings.” There are four rings in total with the final, “Ring 3” being Halo Insiders. For a flight to go out to the Insiders, it must make its way through each of the rings without bugs that are deemed blocking issues. Let’s go in and see what each ring is made of and the process that is followed to move from one to the next.
Ring 0 is made up of internal studio folks. This is a combination of the 343 Publishing Team, 343 Pro Team and developers within the studio who participate in playtests we hold regularly on the content we are aiming to flight. If serious bugs are found in Ring 0, it does not progress to the next ring and will not make it outside of the studio. The team goes back to the drawing board to address any issues that are identified. If no serious issues arise, however, we move to Ring 1.
Ring 1 is made up of external partners that work closely with the studio (many of which have for quite some time). This allows us to work with players who know Halo content and are spread around the globe testing our various pipelines and supporting services to ensure the experience is fully functional. If any major issues are found here, it can cause a reset all the way back to Ring 0 if severe enough and warrants the build to be properly vetted and tested again. If all is well, this moves on to our next group of external partners.
Ring 2 is made up of even more partners of various skill sets that help test our builds in unique and interesting ways to ensure that we are providing the best experience for all varieties of users who are invited to test flighted content. If nothing show stopping is found here, it then will make the jump to our final Insider’s ring, Ring 3. As with all previous rings, if any major issues are found here, it can cause a reset all the way back to Ring 0 if severe enough.
Ring 3 is the Halo Insider user group that is determined based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) the team sets for wanting to test in any given flight. This audience could be hardware based, experience based, locale, or any specific metric the team is looking to validate or stress at any given point as these flights are not BETAs, but indeed are at-scale tests to validate the state of the build to assess functionality and release readiness.