December 17, 2014

Preview Builds: Getting the Community Involved Earlier

By Ray Davis

Back in July, we introduced a Preview release prior to each new engine version with the goal of working with early adopters in the community to catch any last minute issues.  This process has been incredibly helpful as we continue to move quickly in building the next major update for UE4, and we’ve been talking about how we can improve the process further.  One of the first steps we’re going to take is to introduce multiple Preview releases with each major engine release.  

Starting much earlier in the process, we’re going to make new builds available through the launcher so that everyone can more easily verify that their project functions as expected with the latest upcoming release.  We’ll also be actively tracking and posting progress of all reported issues in new versions, starting with a forum post here for 4.7, so that everyone will see exactly what’s left to address before we reach a final release.  As we make progress addressing the issues we’ll release additional Preview builds for the community to verify and we expect that with each engine version we could create 2-5 builds before reaching our “gold” version for final release.

I want to strongly caution everyone that the Preview releases aren’t meant to be a marketing gimmick, so please don’t look at them as the new way to get early access to new features.  Instead, the best way to utilize them is to upgrade a copy of your project(s), run through to validate everything is working, and then actively use the tools for a while to ensure your existing workflows are 100% functional. If you run into any issues whatsoever please report them to the bug reports section of citing which version you are using, as we'll be periodically updating the known issues list based on the reports we receive.

We realize that stability in new engine releases are as equally important as introducing new features, especially as more and more developers get further along in building projects with their own complexities.  We’ve reached the point now where the community at large is using the engine in ways we haven’t anticipated and we want to continue to find new ways to work closely with the community to build more stability into all future releases.  We’ll be making additional improvements over the course of next year, such as making our internal issue tracking system public for everyone to see, and we’d love to hear more suggestions from you as to what else we should be looking at. Thanks!


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