Before any release a 'Final Dev Build' or so called "Release Candidate" is designated and communicated as such.
Phase 0 - Dev QA
While developers are working on additional features and fixes, testers keep track of the changes and test them out at different stages. This ensures there's at least one QA check before it progresses to the next phase.
From this state on, no changes are made to this build as it walks through the following phases:
Phase 1 - Internal QA
The build is deployed in the development branch and installed on the testserver under play.star-made.org:4242 and tested if basic connection, startup and migration look successful.
Logs are examined for unusual errors.
In parallel the news post for the release is being written and error checked by the whole team.
Phase 2 - Tester & Voluntary QA
All recurring pre-release check tasks that are available will be opened and become public available on the #workflow_recurring_qa board.
In this phase the #tester and voluntary helpers will be able to do basic checks and play testing.
Once all the scripted basic checks have passed the next phase will start.
Phase 3 - Release Candidate
After phase one completed, the news will be posted, and thus the community gets the signal this will be the official release candidate to test.
The build is deployed in the pre branch and installed on the testserver under play.star-made.org:4242
In this phase everyone is invited to update his local client while creating a backup with the launcher.
And also every server owner or operator is encouraged to create a backup copy of the server and update it.
Ideally this backup copy is made available to the regular players to allow them checking if their creations still work as they did last release.
New issues introduced with this release candidate will be reported in a separate bug-reporting form here,
to handle them with priority and partially skipping the regular issue navigation/validation process.
Phase 4 - Hotfix the Release Candidate
All issues that impact gameplay will be fixed in this Release Candidate.
Depending on the amount of coding needed and detailed risk analysis the build will be sent back to Phase 2.
If the build stays in Phase 4 for at least 3 days without receiving a bug report with reasonable impact on gameplay, the release will be pushed to the release branch and steam.