Riot Games developer Riot Nu has explained to Valorant players why the team is skipping update 2.10, with updating the games engine providing a series of challenges to the dev team.
Updates are a crucial part of Valorant evolving, staying fresh, and remaining balanced. They provide a dialogue between players and developers and an opportunity to add new features like maps and Agents, as well as providing often crucial tweaks to weapons and abilities.
However, on May 17 Riot announced the dev team will be skipping update 2.10 due to a necessary “engine update change”.
But with players in the dark as to what an engine update entails, Riot developer Nu explained what it means and how it affects the patch schedule.
In a Twitter thread, Nu explained how Valorant is essentially built on a “heavily modified version” of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. This engine is updated independently of Riot, meaning when Epic role an update out, Riot devs have to fit the new version into Valorant flawlessly.
“We take the latest version of Epic’s engine source code and merge it with the VALORANT engine source code,” Nu explained.
The game then goes through several stages of testing and fixing, where Riot first sorts out the most ‘gamebreaking’ bugs, that stop the game from even loading, before taking care of the details – like glitches where the crosshair and bullet direction aren’t properly lined up.
There will be defects; they are often quite strange. Our top priority is making sure the bugs don't reach players — ideally they also don't reach the broader development team. Isolating the engine upgrade work is critical. (4/14)https://t.co/0Edp1bgizg
— Riot Nu (@RiotNu) May 21, 2021
A lot of this bug fixing and file sorting has to be done manually, meaning it takes quite a while to complete. “Since so much changes on an engine update, we skip a patch to allow plenty of stabilization time,” Nu added.
“We’ll spend about a month with all of our developers on it before it ships out to players. If we do our jobs well, you won’t notice the engine changed.”
While Valorant players won’t get anything new to play with in the short term, these changes are vital to maintaining the game’s state in the long run.
We could realize some of the value from any given update by cherry picking changes, but that doesn’t scale well if we’re going to be servicing the game for a decade or more. Might make a different decision for a traditional boxed product with less live game requirements.
— Riot Nu (@RiotNu) May 22, 2021
“We could realize some of the value from any given update by cherry-picking changes, but that doesn’t scale well if we’re going to be servicing the game for a decade or more,” Nu later explained.
Either way, while we might not be getting access to new stuff in the short term, these engine updates seem to be vital if Valorant is to continue to be successful in the future.