In the patch notes for 2.2.2 it is stated that Bioware has made ”Multiple environmental art changes have been made across the galaxy”. Some users expressed concern and questions over this and it was brought up on the official forums by user tumpai in order to find out more about this change and how significant it would be.
Amber Green, Live Services Specialist responded with a very detailed post explaining this part of the patch notes as follows:
Hi there tumpai,
This is actually a great question, and I’m a bit surprised it’s not come up before. The direct answer is that the note is a conglomeration of several small art fixes, and we often add a note like this to give people in the studio their props for fixing the whole darn galaxy almost every patch. These small things are not always visual, and sometimes they include things like sound effects, text (such as spelling or punctuation errors), etc.
To be far more detailed though, when we do a query for patch notes, one of two things can happen:
The first thing that can happen is that the query has only a few small fixes. In that case, we’ll generally leave them out all together. Why? Because they’re exceptionally minor and go completely unnoticed by most players. (There are examples below to illustrate what I mean by “minor” here). That’s not to say we’ll not go ahead and add them when the bug is minor but amusing. For example, we fixed a bug in 2.2.1 where the ground sounded like dirt where it shouldn’t:
The Ziost Shadow Mission Deck has been cleaned and footsteps no longer sound as though players are moving through dirt.
The other thing that can happen when we pull notes is that we’ll see several (or many) small fixes of this nature, and that’s where we’ll consolidate. It can be on a particular planet (“Made many art corrections on Makeb, fixing issues like floating rocks and trees, map holes, and incorrect textures.”), in an instance (“Made several art corrections throughout the Operation to fix issues such as map holes and incorrect textures.”), or scattered everywhere (“Multiple environmental art changes have been made across the galaxy.”).
To illustrate a bit further, I’ll provide a few of the exact fixes that were made in the last two patches alone to spur the three quoted notes above:
- Ilum: Western Ice Shelf: A seam can be encountered on planet Ilum at the given coordinates.
- Makeb: Telemur Mesa: Floating antenna present in the Telemur Mesa Heroic – Regulator Foothold area.
- Operations: Oasis City Spaceport: A texture is missing from the top side of the elevator, allowing the player to view outside the game world.
- Ilum: Western Ice Shelf: A texture is missing, allowing players to enter the rock and see through it. (It’s interesting to note that when drilling down into this bug, one has to move the camera around to just the right angle to get this to happen.)
- Makeb: Imperial: Descent into the Core: Object from the indicated location in the “Maintenance Shaft” area has an improper collision with a metal object placed on the wall.
If we were to list out every fix of this nature, it would make the overall Patch Notes exceptionally long and unwieldy (both to write and read!). Game Update 2.2.1, for example, had almost 100 fixes of this nature, and when they’re made en masse we want to be sure that we call it out. You can find examples of these types of notes for visual, sound, and text fixes going back to before launch.
Now, not every art, sound effect, or text fix falls into what I’ve listed above. Things that are very visible will generally get their own note. Anyone who has encountered the headless, floating-eyeballed NPCs since 2.2.2 should expect that to be noted, for example.
I hope this answers your questions and provides a bit of insight into the Patch Note process.
I’m really glad this question was asked publicly and that Bioware staff took the time to properly and accurately answer it. So now with the additional information, what do you think of the changes?