My game – ΔV: Rings of Saturn (shameless plug) – is out in Early Access for two years now, and as you can expect, there are bugs. But I did find that a disproportionally big amount of these bugs was reported by players using Linux to play. I started to investigate, and my findings did surprise me.

Percentages are easy to talk about, but when I read just them, I always wonder – what is the sample size? Is it small enough for the percentage to be just noise? As of today, I sold a little over 12,000 units of ΔV in total. 700 of these units were bought by Linux players. That’s 5.8%. I got 1040 bug reports in total, out of which roughly 400 are made by Linux players. That’s one report per 11.5 users on average, and one report per 1.75 Linux players. That’s right, an average Linux player will get you 650% more bug reports.

A lot of extra work for just 5.8% of extra units, right?

Do you know how many of these 400 bug reports were actually platform-specific? 3. Literally only 3 things were problems that came out just on Linux. The rest of them were affecting everyone – the thing is, the Linux community is exceptionally well trained in reporting bugs. That is just the open-source way. This 5.8% of players found 38% of all the bugs that affected everyone. Just like having your own 700-person strong QA team. That was not 38% extra work for me, that was just free QA!

I mean we have all seen bug reports like: “it crashes for me after a few hours”. Do you know what a developer can do with such a report? Feel sorry at best. You can’t really fix any bug unless you can replicate it, see it with your own eyes, peek inside and finally see that it’s fixed.

And with bug reports from Linux players is just something else. You get all the software/os versions, all the logs, you get core dumps and you get replication steps. Sometimes I got with the player over discord and we quickly iterated a few versions with progressive fixes to isolate the problem. You just don’t get that kind of engagement from anyone else.

Oh, yes – at least for me. Not for the extra sales – although it’s nice. It’s worth it to get the massive feedback boost and free, hundred-people strong QA team on your side. An invaluable asset for an independent game studio.

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