Introduction

Being part of an Early Access community as thriving and vibrant as that of DayZ Standalone is a privilege. Few online societies based around a game can compare in terms of sheer voraciousness and passion. Fans of the game may be a bit intense at times, but with a little guidance that intensity can be channeled into useful feedback that can be utilized by the development team for the benefit of everyone. Follow along, and I’ll explain how you can earn the sweet feeling of satisfaction knowing you’ve helped your fellow players by taking the time to organize and properly share your thoughts about the game.

Taking Notes

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.

Submitting a Feedback Ticket

When in doubt, submit a ticket. Don’t assume that the development team is already aware of an issue that you’ve encountered. Others before you may have encountered the same issue and made the same assumption — “they probably already know.” You can’t be sure until you check out the Feedback Tracker.

If you’ve taken good notes and you’re satisfied with the information and materials you would like to submit, then it’s time to visit the Tracker. Before you go creating a new ticket however, do a search: find out if there is an existing ticket for the same issue. If a ticket has already been started for that issue, contribute additional relevant information or pictures/video as a comment to that original ticket rather than creating your own. This reduces clutter within the Tracker and aids the bug fixing process by making it as easy as possible to reproduce the issue thanks to all of the data being available to reference in one place. You can also vote an existing ticket up or down to help determine its importance relative to other issues.

After you have searched and are certain a prior ticket for the same issue does not exist, you can create a new one by clicking the “Report Issue” link at the top. The form you are given will ask you for all of the information I outlined in the previous section. Provide everything that you are asked for and anything else you feel may be helpful in identifying and fixing the bug, including pictures and video which can be uploaded as part of the ticket. You aren’t asked for too many things, but it’s better to provide too much information than not enough, so detail as much as you know about the issue because you never know what may help track it down.

Before hitting submit, ask yourself one last time if what you’re submitting is helpful and informative; if not, consider going back and elaborating further or compiling more evidence. Be sure to keep the View Status of your ticket “public” to make sure it’s able to be seen.

Submitting a report for a bug that crashes the game requires a few extra steps in order to sufficiently inform the development team. In the future, the hope is that it will be possible to send the necessary data automatically, but for now it is a manual process. You will need to do the following things:

1. Add the -dologs command to your Steam launch parameters. Right click the game’s name, select Properties, and under the General tab select “Set Launch Options…” In the text box that pops up, add the text “-dologs” (without the quotes). This will allow the game to generate a report about the crash when it happens.
2. Gather those crash dump reports. They can be found here on your computer: C:UsersAppDataLocalDayZ. You will need to copy all of the files from this folder and create a RAR archive from them. Include several for the same crash if at all possible.
3. Get your DirectX Diagnostic (DxDiag) report. This program will generate a text file about your PC’s hardware for you to include with your submission. Information about it can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DxDiag

Both of these reports can then be uploaded as part of your ticket. If you exceed the 5000kb file limit, please upload the file(s) elsewhere and provide a link to them.

Submitting General Feedback

The Feedback Tracker is where you want to file bug reports, but what if you want to speak your mind about an issue or share an idea that you have? Practical conversation can be informative for anyone involved, and may help lead to a solution for the problem at hand. There is only one sanctioned place for such dialogue and that is the official game forums, but it would be silly to ignore other outlets for discussion such as the r/DayZ subreddit and Twitter. Each site has its own format you’ll have to work with, and as such you may choose one place over another based on what kind of conversation you want to have.

Before offering up your two cents about anything related to the game, make sure to do your homework. Start with a simple Google search about the topic and see where it leads you. You may also want to browse recent posts by the development team, including but not limited to: Status Reports, Trello posts, official forum threads in the Developer Discussion area, and Twitter posts (many of which are rounded up by the DevTracker on the official forums).

With any kind of general feedback, you’ll still want to follow the same ethos as submitting a ticket in that you’ll want to give some thought to what you’re saying first and make sure that not only is it worth saying, but that you’ve been clear in the point you’re trying to convey. It very much helps to remain positive when engaging in talks about a bug or something you disagree with; don’t view it as a problem that needs solving, see it as an opportunity to make the game better and do your part to ensure that it happens.

Shared by Tatanko on November 4, 2015

A simple walkthrough of how to report bugs and provide constructive feedback.

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