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Technical Debt is Inexcusable Reason to Delay Games


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Junior Supervisor

Junior Supervisor

  • [7] FLAG OFFICER

First to start this post, lets define what Technical Debt is:

In software development, technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt) is the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

Analogous with monetary debt, if technical debt is not repaid, it can accumulate "interest", making it harder to implement changes. Unaddressed technical debt increases software entropy and cost of further rework. Similarly to monetary debt, technical debt is not necessarily a bad thing, and sometimes (e.g. as a proof-of-concept) is required to move projects forward. On the other hand, some experts claim that the "technical debt" metaphor tends to minimize the ramifications, which results in insufficient prioritization of the necessary work to correct it.

As a change is started on a codebase, there is often the need to make other coordinated changes in other parts of the codebase or documentation. Changes required that are not completed are considered debt, and until paid, will incur interest on top of interest, making it cumbersome to build a project. Although the term is used in software development primarily, it can also be applied to other professions.

Now Technical Debt has been around since the beginning of Halo, as far back as Halo CE

Around the release of Halo 5: Guardians, the Slipspace engine was secretly being worked on, and took several years to develop. The Slipspace Engine demo unveiled at E3 2018 was the culmination of years of work, and was created to showcase the level of graphical fidelity the engine could achieve. This demo was highly criticized, especially from its iteration and now. While the engine itself is largely new, remnants of the old Blam engine remain.

700px-HP_Diagram_BlamHistory-Simple.pngm

You can see here, courtesy of Halopedia how the engine has progressed and where we are now.

In an a constant uphill battle with arrows from fans raining down 343 Industries has been going through "Technical Debt" as a problem for them in now 7 years of working with this engine. Obviously no advanced tools especially one created internally every single person apart of the studios become a master of. Even in the community, tools like Assembly that modify the game engines of BLAM are only masterfully used by less than .01% of the Halo community. We are now in year 7 of the slipspace engine and identified the problems that plague it, desync, physics issues and more but at what point is it not going to be a problem anymore? How much longer are we going to hear this response.

 

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Field Agent

Field Agent

  • [7] FLAG OFFICER

I think another unpopular opinion, or position in this grandiose barrage of comments everywhere around Halo Infinite is that developers and the studios itself does not owe anyone an answer. 

While technical debt sucks,  this opinion is really something of a thought piece only developers can discuss internally on ways to make better. It isn't really unpopular or popular, the entire connotation of. technical debt is negative and will probably always be in any industry. 

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Junior Supervisor

Junior Supervisor

  • [7] FLAG OFFICER

I chose technical debt as a first because it seems straight forward enough of a conversation, but I can definitely also come back and read this as a neither popular/unpopular but simply a opinion on how 343 can be accountable and really ask for an answer from them. 

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