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By Hugh and 1 collaborators
During Early Access, you will no doubt run into problems, have ideas, or see something that could be done better. The Subnautica development team wants to hear what you have to say. This guide runs through some of the ways in which you can give feedback to the development team.
Subnautica is an Early Access game. That means it's constantly changing and evolving. Often, those changes will improve the game. Sometimes, the won't. Making mistakes and breaking things is an important part of the creative process. In both cases, the Subnautica development team wants to hear from you.
You can tell us what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong, and what you think should happen to Subnautica as it is developed. This guide explains some of the ways in which you can get in contact with us.
In-Game Feedback System
The easiest way to tell the development team what you're thinking is to use the in-game feedback system. To use it, press F8. Subnautica will pause and a feedback panel will appear.
The feedback panel gives you a bunch of options for sending information to the development team. Marking feedback as a bug, a performance problem, a gameplay problem or some other category helps the team sort and prioritise reports. All reports you send are anonymised.
A screenshot is automatically taken when you press F8. You can choose to send it with the report by checking the screenshot option. Screenshots are very helpful for us, especially when dealing with bugs. If you are on a slow internet connection, screenshots can take a few moments to upload.
All feedback reports are publicly available. You can look at other player's reports through the same interface that the development team uses. It is available at http://subnautica.unknownworlds.com. Note that all feedback reports are anonymised.
Forums. That old mainstay of game discussion. The Subnautica development team uses forums regularly, and the're a good way to give longer, more in-depth feedback that the feedback system can handle.
The Subnautica development team most freqently visits the Subnautica forums on the Unknown Worlds website[forums.unknownworlds.com]. These forums are often the home of long, in-depth discussions about Subnautica's design, with visits from developers. You need an Unknown Worlds forum account to post, but it only takes a moment to create one.[forums.unknownworlds.com]
Of course, the development team understands that many of you won't want to sign up at UnknownWorlds.com, and would still like to give feedback on the Subnautica Steam forums. While the team does not visit the Steam forums as much as the Unknown Worlds forums, many of us still pop our heads into the Steam forums occasionally. If you have a really great thread going on Steam, it's likely that the team will see it.
When you have some really quick feedback, Twitter is a great way to get in direct contact with the development team. Almost the entire team is on Twitter, and pay attention to notifications. You can see all of them in this Twitter list.
You can send general feedback to Subnautica itself. If you're really keen on Subnautica, you might notice that different members of the team focus on different things. For example, Simon spends a lot of time working on sounds. If you have specific sound feedback, you can send it to him directly.
How Feedback Gets Used
The Subnautica development team is very de-centralised, self-motivating and self-directing. There is very little formal 'production' structure, and almost zero 'management.' It's important to understand this when thinking about how the team uses your feedback.
Members of the team will generally work on what they've been convinced is the most important thing for them to work on. That means you have the capacity and power to influence the direction of the game, by convincing a member of the team that your feedback is really important and valuable.
It also means that the team won't always act on all feedback. When you submit feedback reports, or make forum threads, tasks aren't automatically created. Some bugs will be left untouched for long periods of time. Don't let this dissuade you from giving feedback - The team generally sees all of it, one way or another. Your voice is heard and added to the giant, indeterminate, fuzzy equation that determines what the Subnautica team works on every day.
Generally, if you want your feedback to be influential, it's a good idea to do the following:
Tell the cold, hard truth. Don't hold back on telling the team when things are broken (and perhaps when they are good, too!)
Include screenshots and videos to explain your point. People are visual and more easily convinced using visual hints, rather than 'walls of text.'
Be polite and friendly. Anger causes developer's eyes to glaze over. If you're friendly while you tell the team they've broken everything, they are more likely to hear you. And act!
Most importantly of all, please know that the Subnautica team really appreciates you being interested in the game. You taking the time to tell us what you think is very generous, and will help the game through Early Access in profound ways.
Discord Dev Chat & Playtests
We use Discord[forums.unknownworlds.com] to talk in real-time to our community. It's a text and voice chat program. If you've ever sent text messages or talked on Skype, you will find it easy to use. UWE Developers are often hanging out in the chat rooms, as well as many other fans of Subnautica.
Sometimes we hold public Subnautica playtest sessions, and all are welcome. These sessions happen in Discord, and are a great opportunity to tell the development team what you think. We also recruit from these rooms for our Volunteer Playtest Team. Sometimes even Subnautica's designer, Charlie (Flayra) will join in. Each session involves in-depth discussion of bugs, features, and gameplay mechanics. They are announced in Discord.
To participate in the chatroom you simply need to follow our guide here: New Discord Chatroom[forums.unknownworlds.com]. For the public playtests when they happen, you will need to own Subnautica, have a microphone, have the ability to speak effective English and be generally polite and friendly.
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