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Improving bug submissions

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I'm looking at improving my bug submission to SESI. Some of the bugs submitted are a ninja combination of twister-like keyboard and mouse sequences.  Screen recordings help with HUD displays of keys pressed and mouses clicked but  a macro playback system would be another step up.  Any recommendations?


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I try to keep mine simple, and extremely extracted. Make sure you are working in a stock version of Houdini and are able to reproduced in that environment, otherwise it's probably not a bug, but an RFE (Request for Feature Enhancement). RFE are cool, but unless it's an RFE to a stock item will generally have less curb appeal to be implemented unless it can be used by everyone. Another thing I do is I describe the problem, explain why i had the problem, and how it will help. I can also include one of my older bugs I submitted if that helps. Plus don't worry if your bugs/rfe don't get fixed. They have an internal database with them all recorded, and lot of bugs come in through a year. The more clear, precise and the more it will help people(as defined by SideFX not the submitter) is a general rule of thumb of if they will fix it or the priority to fix it. Here is an old write up I did for bug submissions, for way too much info. 


If you are paying customer of support you can go through your usual channel and submit Bugs, RFEs and Questions, or if you are not paying support but come across a bug and your are submitting Bugs or RFEs via the https://www.sidefx.com/bugs/submit/ they all go to the same place. There are real cool people on the other end, so be courteous, and say Hi and Thank You, don't let your frustrations out on them. 

One important thing to note is SideFX produces its software everyday, so your bug can sometimes even be fixed by next day, or your issue could have already been fixed. So make sure you are up to date with the latest daily version at least as far as production builds if you decide to submit. With a login to the SideFX you can download it here: https://www.sidefx.com/download/daily-builds/#category-devel Otherwise you can browse the Change Logs if you submit often https://www.sidefx.com/changelog/ and see if they already fixed something. They can only update future builds, as silly as this is, it must be stated to keep up to date to have the latest version. They only maintain previous major version change for a short time.

If you have questions on what is a Bug, RFE, or Question, it often comes down to a history of functionality with the software. Unless you have a simple reproducible bug, generally you should ask a question. But if something feels wrong just ask your teammates, or ping the forums, or rant on the wishlist, and start a conversation. There are a hundred ways to do something in Houdini, so it's possible you may need to just bend around an issue, or the logic is not intuitive. Don't worry everyone has these issues.

On top of the clean Houdini Environment when you make your example file, make sure you reproduce the bug with only side fx node. Screen grabs and video recording can help if a it's a complex series. However, make sure you explain each button press you do, in a linear way. If you need record your button presses as well as your screen, sometimes the sequence is an issue. I will make a big condition, while you can send stuff from your projects, it is generally not going to solve your problem. Just going through the motion of submitting a clean reproducible scene you'll often figure out what you are doing wrong. It may be a weird issue, but if you can easily get around it, it's generally not a high priority issue. Also if you do submit with your scene files, remove everything they ashould not be looking at, that could be deleting every attribute group and node you don't want them too look at, and lock a node so you can delete everything upstream. I really warn against sending in bugs directly from your project files.

Common Terms
- Are provable problems with software, that can be reproduced with internal nodes, so it's not an internal studio issue. Sometimes this can be a common issues that is not easy to reproduce to notify SideFX there is a problem and hopefully another company has isolated or they have solved this already.
 RFES - Are feature request agreed upon by the "team" that an enhancement to the software would help the studio out or sometimes the Houdini community at large. Often it is best to wrap these into question to see if the feature already exist and you do not know about it.
 QUESTIONS - These are questions that you can not ask your team mates, or on the web through SideFX forums or Odforce Forums with a thorough google search, and reading through the help docs. These questions arise when you at the outskirts of documented software. Often this question might be helpful if it was added to the SideFX help documentation, that is an acceptable RFE for documents.
 Journals - The journals is a public listing of documented bug fixes to the software that they make in their every day build. These are extremely short and to the point https://www.sidefx.com/changelog/
 Version - This is the current build of your Houdini your using, with Houdini open you can go to Help > About Houdini, or use python, hscript, or view the file path in the directory.
 Category - This is the general concern of the issue, the best way to distribute it internally to SideFX. Animation, Compositing, Documentation, Modeling, Rendering, Rigging, Shading, User Interface, Licensing, Dynamics, Particles, Channel Operators, Digital Assets, Unity Plug-in, Maya Plug-in, Other This can be included in a simple sentence.
 Platform - What operating system you are using, especially if you are not using a more common OS like windows or linux
 Severity - This is the level of concern on the issue. It goes from 1 to 5, 1 being highest priority to 5 being lowest priority. Generally you can tell support this is a low level issue, or if shits hitting the fan and a hundred server just seized up.
 Sev 1 (Urgent) - This is project/studio work stopping BUG that cripples the studio and needs direct SideFX programmer support to fix A.S.A.P. usually means lots of money is on the line. Please co-ordinate with the whole houdini "management" team on these issues.
 Sev 2 (High) - This is a high level of concern BUG, but it can be done during normal 9 to 5 hours. Usually there are only one or two of these levels of severity from the studio at a time to SideFX. Usually there is no other way to solve to this issue except for direct SideFX support.
 Sev 3 (Medium) - This is a normal severity BUG, there may be a solution to get around it, but it would be best if the solution was fixed on SideFX end. You may have questions to ask sidefx at this level.
 Sev 4 (Low) - This is where you have large load of bugs, in the works and you need to adjust for level of importance of the bugs. RFE usually enter into the equation here and Questions are more common.
 Sev 5 (Very Low) - This is a background burner like documentation fixes, or bugs with easy work arounds. Or maybe a RFE request for the next major version. Or a curiosity question of best workflow.
Project Names - Please scrub all project, environment variables and related names from your scenes, this is another way fresh scenes from scratch are best. Even with a NDA with sideFX you don't want an internal team to come check with you about bug you submitted since they scrubbed your e-mails. This also allows you to ask a question of the forums sometimes, 
Example names are:
SIDEFXBUG_ThisTextureDoesntWork.tif - never to forums, only to SideFX
Additional Info - Sometimes you may need to send graphics card, CPU, ram info depending on the issue.
Large Files
If you have large files to send to support, that hit the e-mail threshold something under 10mb you will need to use SideFX ftp, just ask. Generally a .sim file will pass this threshold. If you think you need to send a large file, make sure you think thrice before submitting it to them. They aren't there to do your work for you. 

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