The Warframe Lexicon for Updates
The purpose of this post is to explain the terminology you've often seen us use when describing Warframe updates.
CODE describes the kind of changes we make directly to (in simple terms) the game's engine. Depending on the nature of an issue, feature, or change, it may involve us making adjustments to Code for it to be fully resolved.
When we make changes to Code, it must go through a Certification (Cert) process required by each Console platform. In order to launch an update, we must successfully pass each of their checks. This involves things like ensuring it won’t crash the machine or cause any other issues to core functionality. Anything that is not "Code" (scripts, assets, etc.) can be Hotfixed.
Additionally, we need to ensure all platforms are aligned to maintain Cross Platform Play parity so that all Tenno can continue to play together.
HOTFIX describes a small batch of non-Code changes/fixes that are released outside of regular update intervals. Typically, you will see Hotfixes occur after major updates have gone live to address prevalent issues. Anything that cannot be fixed in a Hotfix (due to it being Code) is slated for release with the next Cert Build.
There are times when Hotfixing will be paused (also known as "going dark") to prepare for the next major update. In most cases, this is so the dev team can focus all of their efforts on the next update and because it is required to prepare a Cert Build for submission properly.
CERT BUILD describes the packaged Code fixes/changes we submit to the Certification process as explained above.
MAINLINE UPDATE describes an update that consists of absolutely everything we've been working on that's accumulated over a certain time period. Typically, the kinds of things comprising a mainline update are related to the main content features and heaps of more minor additions, changes, and fixes. These updates are also required to go through Cert before release.
Often when we talk about mainline updates, we mention that there is a chance things "slip through the cracks." Given the nature of releasing a large backlog of changes and fixes, it may cause issues that need to be addressed in follow-up Hotfixes once the update is live.
INTERIM UPDATE describes a typically smaller update that is released between major content updates. It consists of Code changes/fixes and is therefore required to go through Cert. Interim updates don’t happen frequently as the turnaround time eats up our Hotfixing opportunities.