We want to involve the Hunt community before any features hit a live environment—and our next step to up that involvement will be a test server.
There are a lot of good reasons for a test server, and the most obvious reason, of course, is that we want to make sure everything is solid and working before we release to the wider public.
When we decided to release Hunt Early Access it was clear that we would want the community to be involved at every step of development. A test server will allow us to share features with players before they are finished, both to see how well everything is working and whether there are still bugs and to find out what you think about features and how you think they would improve your gaming experience. If we want to make a game we all enjoy playing—and that has been our goal from the beginning—we need to know what is working for you and what isn't.
And of course, it is a lot easier to try out new things on a test server than to take them directly to live—that can result in a lot of unhappy players if it leads to crashes or bugs. This extra testing step will allow us to make sure that the new version is stable—no big bugs, no crashes, no FPS drops—before we go live.
We will use the test server for everything that isn't a hot fix. For example, we would like to use it to test early versions of new maps, new weapons, new game modes, and major but risky improvements on things like matchmaking and performance where tweaks might cause crashes and freezes due to their complexity.
Whenever we have something coming up on the test server we will make an announcement on Steam, the official Discord, and our other social media channels. We will then test the feature in question, collect feedback, and then implement the changes.
Hope to see you there.