July 9, 2012

Epic Fail In Peer Review

So Face-Plant Adventures failed in Peer Review Sunday last week. Actually, there was nothing epic about it at all, but I thought it would make for a more catchy headline if I called it that. So what was the reason for the fail? I have to admit that it was an issue that caught us by surprise as it is not mentioned on the evil checklist developers have to abide by. We should have known better because the checklist doesn't comprise all potential fail issues and is also rather unclear about many things.

In many multiplayer games it's possible for players to log into so-called guest profiles. If you have a friend visiting and don't want to go through the hassle of creating a new profile for him/her just to play a few rounds, guest profiles are an easy and convenient way to get the session started. Guest profiles don't have any of the usual gamer profile's functionality such as the music player and can't unlock achievements. They are named after the full profile that started the game just with a number as a suffix (ascending in case of multiple guests). Note, that players can only sign into guest profiles in games that support them (e.g. PGR4). Outside of such games, there is no way you could sign into guest profiles as a regular user as this option can't be found on the dashboard or in the Xbox Guide. But once you're signed into such a profile, you can leave the game that enabled you to sign in and start playing other games with the guest profile.

And now guess what happened when you started Face-Plant Adventures with a guest profile? Yup, the game didn't handle the exception properly and simply crashed. Obviously, any crash is an immediate fail reason in Review. The reviewer who found this bug was so kind to provide a link to a page in the XNA Wiki, detailing a program that enables developers to sign into a guest profile from the dashboard without having to start a game that supports guests first. This way, Peter was able to quickly fix the bug, but unfortunately, we would have to wait the usual 7-day-period before we were allowed to resubmit the game on App Hub. Another delay, but we have resubmitted the game yesterday and hope to get an approval this time around within the next weeks.