This afternoon I was happily playing Banished, testing some changes I made to the balance and difficulty of the game. An hour and a half into playing, a non-ignorable debug assert went off, causing me to stop playing and to have to start my test over. Of course I was playing an optimized version of the game. No chance of debugging, and I hadn’t saved my progress in a long while. So that bug might just rear its head in another hour.
This has happened to me a few times over the last month. In my experience making video games, there tend to be bugs like this that occur very rarely and have very difficult reproduction steps.
To combat this, I’ve added an auto-save feature to the game. While in development I can have this go off several times a minute, so if major errors occur, I just have to switch to debug mode and reload the latest save. Then I wait for the error to occur again and fix it.
I’ll be keeping the auto-save feature in the final game, but increase the time to ever few minutes. While I hope to release a bug free game, there’s no reason to upset players by losing their progress due to a rare crash. Saves for all!