[Rant] Fixing bugs should be the priority!

The other day I embarked on my yearly Zwift challenge; this year it was going to be “Watopia All Roads”: ride all roads in Watopia without doing too many u-turns or riding the same road too many times. I knew I had a long session in front of me (I estimated ~150km) so I started early and took a day off just for the occasion. In previous years I did a vEveresting or 500km on Fuego Flats.

Anyway, after one hour, my plan was to ride Repack Ridge. It went OK until I exited the route: my avatar entered noclipping mode and I went flying and underground. No way to reset it. Even ending my ride didn’t work, I had to fully exit Zwift. Browsing the forum I learned that this is yet another bug that Zwift is aware of but has failed to fix. Needless to say I was pissed since I had to restart from scratch.

But this made me realize how many bugs have been well documented for years without any fix on the horizon, just empty promises. I’ve been in contact with Zwift support several times and every time their answer was “This is a known bug, we are working on it”. Years later, still nothing.

At the top of my head, I can mention those bugs:

  1. Repack Ridge noclipping mode when exiting
  2. No audible countdown before the next block in workout mode
  3. Power curve not matching workout blocks in Training Plan screen
  4. White screen or garbled layout on the Login screen. No way to remember passwords when frequently switching accounts. The new login screen based on Edge is even worse than IE11, who knew that was possible !
  5. Atrocious UI. We’ve been promised a new UI for how many years now ? How many years did we have to wait to be able to start a new ride without exiting the game ?
  6. Graphics quality and lack of optimization: Zwift graphics looks like a game from 20 years ago, and even a very powerful system is incapable of sustaining 60fps because of a lack of optimization. And don’t get me started on mass start events !
  7. Elevation profile in London: I think it has finally been fixed, after years of enduring it.

Generally speaking, it seems Zwift is focusing on adding new features (which bring more bugs!) instead of fixing what’s broken. How about using part of that VC money to hire engineers who will fix all those bugs? Why does it take so long to fix small issues ? Is the code that bad ?

I’ve been using (and paying) Zwift for 5 years and I have to say that my patience has its limits ! I don’t want new routes, I want a smooth bug-free game with a decent UI !

What new features?

There is not an issue of new features over bugs, there is an issue of misdirection over a number of years on an outdated and unsuitable engine that has created spaghetti code so complex it is impossible to change anything (bug fix or new feature) without it impacting many other things. The evidence is everywhere, check out this post:

(Zwift, if you care about the load time performance, I've got some free speed for you)

There’s no point looking backwards though - what we need is open and honest comms and a long term vision and roadmap. Unfortunately it feels more like they they will keep the veil firmly over everything until an IPO, and in the meantime will focus on marketing the ‘platform’ with the TdF, the Zwift bike, etc.

Considering the state of the software, the decision to focus so much resource on the expansion in to hardware is absolutely ludicrous - unless you view it solely from the perspective of a cash-out plan.

Sad but true.