First, let’s talk about how to capture your thoughts, ideas, and observations so that you can reference them later and use them to submit feedback in some form or another. Personally, I’m a huge fan of keeping a pen and a notepad next to the keyboard when I’m playing, that way I can take notes about a bug I’ve encountered or write down ideas without having to Alt+Tab out of the game and without risking the possibility of forgetting it all later. Some may see this as old school, but it’s important to have a quick and ready method of recording these things. Alternatively you could use a note-taking app on your phone or tablet, have a second monitor or computer available, etc.
Now that you’ve got some way of getting your thoughts down on paper so to speak, you can begin training yourself to take notes as you play. By all means go crazy with your comments, draw doodles, whatever, just remember to be coherent and thorough so that you’re not asking yourself, “What did I mean by that?” later on when you go to share the information. Also remember that bad or incomplete information can be worse than nothing at all because it can be misleading or confusing, so be as detailed as possible if you’re recording information to report a bug.
Feedback can be submitted in many forms, but the most helpful commentary is filing a ticket on the Feedback Tracker. Before you go and create a ticket however, let’s discuss what kind of information to gather in addition to what else you may want to include with your submission.
The goal of a feedback ticket (or really any constructive feedback) is to provide information that will hopefully result in a problem being fixed. In order to fix anything, the developers need to know how to reproduce that bug so that they can observe it for themselves and determine the cause. If you do not provide them with adequate information to reproduce the bug, then your feedback isn’t nearly as useful because it’s essentially just a statistic. If you want to be helpful, be detailed in your note-taking so that you can then be thorough in your explanation.
When documenting an issue, try and be as scientific as possible. Eliminate variables as much as you can while still reproducing the bug, because the fewer outside factors there are, the easier it will be to determine the cause of the problem. If possible, recreate the bug a few times to be sure that it is both repeatable and consistent.
Information you should record and include for submission:
1. Where does the bug occur? If it is specific to a location, like the roof of City Hall in Chernogorsk, say so and include map coordinates if at all possible. When it is not bound to a particular location but instead only when walking on a hill, or only when climbing a ladder, etc. then that is what you should be indicating.
2. When does the bug occur? Some bugs are triggered by being in a specific spot or by completing a certain action. Is it only at night, only when holding a weapon, only when riding in a V3S, etc.? If you are unable to reproduce it, you would want to indicate that instead.
3. How frequently does the bug occur? This is important because not only does it help gauge how severe the bug is, but also tells the person trying to reproduce it how many attempts might be necessary to encounter it.
4. Give a short, simple explanation of the bug — a summary, basically.
5. Basic information about your computer such as what operating system it is running and what version of the game you were playing when you encountered the bug (i.e. 0.58.129488).
Compiling information for feedback doesn’t have to be exclusively text either — sometimes a picture or video is just as helpful if not better. If you are so inclined, I recommend checking out the the various methods of in-game video capture such as Fraps, Bandicam, Dxtory, ShadowPlay, etc. Many of these same programs will allow you to snap screenshots as well, but if you just want to create one quickly and don’t want to install video software, the Steam in-game overlay is more than sufficient for providing evidence to include with your report. That overlay can be enable under your “In-Game” options on Steam.