Chasing Problems

A small number of players have lost their saved games. If this happened to you, please do not uninstall the game. The file that has your game’s saved information is still there, but a fairly unusual set of circumstances is causing the game to create a new, separate save file.

We are very sorry if you’ve encountered this problem. If you have, please contact our player specialists by returning to the game’s main “bookshelf” page and tapping the gear icon to open up the Settings menu. Then tap Help and Contact Us to send a message to our player specialists. They’ll help you fix the problem.

For those of you interested in better understanding how we find and solve problems, the first sign of trouble usually comes from messages that players send on our in-game help system. We have a team of player specialists who read and respond to these messages every day. In this case, we had about ten reports come in within a few days of a new update. Henry, who leads both our player specialist and QA (Quality Assurance, testing) teams, brought the issue up at a daily Choices meeting we hold every weekday at 10:15am.

Our dilemma: To fix the bug, we'd have to pause working on new features, like an easy way to share screenshots from the game. I came in pretty strongly on trying to solve the problem as quickly as possible. As a team we agreed that even though the problem was only affecting a small number of people, it was something important for us to fix.

Once we all agreed to make this a high priority to solve, our Player Specialists tried to get more details from players with the problem, QA testers tried to replicate the problem, and our Developers tried to hunt for the problem in the code. Our QA team had never seen the issue before in their pre-release testing and they were having a really hard time trying to duplicate the problem. Eventually our developers were able to isolate an issue the operating system had with saving things when a player was almost out of memory on their device and the device ran out of batteries in the middle of a save.

The fix to make sure this very specific problem never happens again actually will take two updates to implement. The first is a change to how our game saves files which is happening in an October update. The second is a change to how our game reads the new save files for new updates which will take place in a planned November or December update.

Now that the root of this problem has been solved, our developers are back to working on new features and solving other smaller problems. In fact, they were able to squeeze in the aforementioned, screenshot sharing feature, so you’ll see that roll out next week (hopefully).

As you can probably tell, we hate introducing unexpected bugs and problems into the game and we take reports of problems seriously. We’re never going to be perfect, but we try to get as close to it as we can.

If you do encounter a problem in our game, please let us know, try to be patient with us, and know that we are listening and working hard to fix it!

Oliver

Pixelberry’s blogger-in-chief