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PS4 Porting Knowledge – Submission

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Estimated reading time: 15 min

by Luiz Aguilar and Rodrigo Martins

Submission

Submission Guide

This part of the document is an overview of the submissions process for CertOps, from the initial process of booking a slot to the final step of signing liability.

 

Book a Slot 

In order to submit a title to CertOps you will need to book a testing slot for each submission. For further details please refer to the Slot Booking guidelines.

Find more information here: Slot Booking

 

Complete MDT form 

Once a slot is booked, enter and submit the MDT form comprising master data specifications. For details on the MDT form please refer to the MDT Submissions guidelines.

Find more information here: MDT Submissions

 

Upload Master Submission Materials 

Use the high-speed file transfer software, SkeedSilverBullet™, to upload the code that you wish to be tested. For details about this process please refer to the “Basic Operation” chapter of the Server Management Tools Game and Patch Encryption and Management System (GEMS) User’s Guide document.

 

Check Results of QA and Sign Liability 

At the end of the test cycle, unless a Must Fix (MF) bug is reported, the product status will be changed to “CONDITIONAL”. Once a product is CONDITIONAL you will then be able to sign the liability form. For further details about this process please refer to the “Sign Liability” chapter of the “Guidelines” on Certification Center.

If MF bugs are found during the test cycle the status of the submission will be changed to FAILED, rather than CONDITIONAL, unless CertOps is notified of any waivers via the communications tracker.

FAILED products can be resubmitted by repeating the process of booking a slot, completing the MDT form and uploading master submission materials. Note; the master version number of the build needs to be incremented for each resubmission.

 

Submission Workflow

This topic covers an in depth guide of the workflow before, during and after your submission.

Before Submission

We are ready to submit our code for certification, what do we need to do?

The first thing you need to do is select a date in which you would like your product to be tested by CertOps; this is known as ‘booking a slot’. To book a slot, select your product in the Submission Manager and select the “Slot Booking” tab. The slot system shows the availability of CertOps on any given date. The date which you select is your ‘slot start date’; this will determine your ‘slot window’; which is the days that your product will be with CertOps. Please note the submission deadline will be 12pm (noon) on the day prior to your slot start.

The time it takes CertOps to test your product can vary depending on product type. A full list of slot lengths can be found on our Slot Lengths page.

Detailed information on all things slot related can be found on our Slot Booking page.

 

We’ve booked our testing slot, what next?

After booking your testing slot, and before submitting your code, you will be required to fill out the MDT form. (For those curious; MDT stands for Master Disc Testing).

It is essential that the MDT form is populated accurately as the form has several purposes within SIE. Firstly, the MDT form is used by CertOps to collect all vital information about your submission. This gives CertOps the information needed to accurately test your title. Secondly, the MDT form is used by the PlayStation™Store team to populate some information about your product on the store.

On PS4, you can import certain information to the MDT form by Importing the Spec.xml. On PS5, you will need to upload your code to PS5 GEMS, and this will then be selectable on the MDT under Gems > Package. If you are submitting a PS5 product that utilises Shared Binary, specific information related to this submission type and details relating to the completion of the MDT form can be found within the Shared Binary Submissions page. (We would highly recommend using Shared Binary if this is possible for your submission)

Your MDT must be saved as final – your product will not enter test if the MDT is incomplete or in Draft form. Inconsistencies between the MDT and code submitted will result in MF issues being reported and this could possibly delay testing. An opportunity to fix these will come at the end of the test cycle, but please ensure your MDT is accurate at submission to avoid delays.

It is also worth noting at this stage that CertOps certification testing can only begin if the PlayStation™Network Services utilized by your product are set to ‘Production’ in DevNet and have been correctly listed on the MDT form. In order for these PlayStation™Network service settings to be reflected onto the QA environment, the service request must be completed at least 5 business days before the start of QA. To reflect PlayStation™Network service settings onto the QA environment, it is necessary to make a request to reflect settings for each PlayStation™Network service. More information on this subject can be found in the “PlayStation™Network Service Setup Guide” on PS4 and PS5 DevNet.

Detailed information regarding the MDT form can be found on our MDT Form pages.

 

Why has my slot been canceled?

The Submission Deadline can be found on the Summary tab in the Submission Manager. You can move or rebook your slot in the Slot Booking tab. You would not need to increment the Master Version of your code if the slot has been missed.

 Examples of issues that may lead to missing your slot include, but may not be limited to:

  • Not QA Raising your code in GEMS (PS4)
  • Not finalizing the MDT Form (PS4/PS5)
  • Incorrect Master Version uploaded (PS4/PS5)
  • Submission Materials not uploaded to GEMS (PS4).
  • Import Tag mismatch, when the one on the MDT form is pointing to the incorrect tag in GEMS (PS5)

 

Does my application need to be allowlisted?

If your submission requires access to the ‘prod-qa’ network environment it will need to be allowlisted.

Ensuring that allowlisting has been completed for your submission is essential to prevent connectivity issues during the test cycle, which would lead to the submission being placed on hold until this is resolved. It also ensures that it is possible to reproduce network or commerce issues found by CertOps, as these may not be reproducible within the SP-INT environment.

Details on the IP ranges used by CertOps, and information detailing how to request allowlisting, can be found on the allowlisting page.

 

What version should my submission be set to?

When submitting an application to CertOps there are three version numbers that you will need to take into consideration, these are the Master version (VERSION/masterVersion), Application Version (APP_VER/contentVersion), and the Trophy Set Version. In some instances, there is also a separate Disc Version (For example, Advanced Iso submission on PS4).

For Master Version and Disc Version, please always match this to the MDT Form Version (which is always correct and used for version control). For further information see ‘About Each Version’, within the ‘About the TRC’ section of the latest PS4/PS5 TRC document.

 

During Submission

When will my title be tested?

The day prior to the submission start date, as soon as the MDT has been completed and everything is in place and matches within GEMS (including a QA Request with regards to PS4), the submission will begin to be processed. This is when the code is prepared for the test and the status in Certification Center and GEMS will change to “In Test” at this point.

CertOps Compliance testing will begin on the ‘slot start date’.

 

My submission is not showing as ‘in test’ but it should be?

This will mean that you may have missed a vital part of the submission process. If you have checked your MDT is saved and your submission is ready in GEMS, please contact CertOps via the Communications Tracker to see why your product has not entered the test.

 

Can I check the status of my code during submission?

Yes, you can. All confirmed bugs can be reviewed from ‘submission manager’. Simply select the product that is in test and then select the ‘bug report’ tab. All bugs reported by CertOps will be detailed on this page.

 

Are there different types of bugs?

Yes, there are three bug classifications; they are:

  • Must Fix (MF for short) – Every MF bug must be fixed for a product to be approved. You may require a number of resubmissions to fix all MF issues. You can apply for a waiver with Developer Support to have a product approved with MF issues.
  • A – SIE highly recommends that all A class bugs are fixed before a title is published. However, the final decision rests with the publisher. A Class issues will not hold up a title from passing CertOps.
  • U – U class bugs will be used if SIE are unsure of certain features or feel the end user experience may be improved with this fix. U Class issues will not hold up a title from passing CertOps.

As well as a bug classification, each bug also has a ‘Status’, these are:

  • Open – When a bug is open in the report, this means that it is present in the submitted build and if it is an MF, it will require attention or the submission will fail.
  • Fixed – If a bug has been given a ‘Fixed’ status, this means the issue originally bugged has now been confirmed as fixed by the CertOps test team.
  • Partial Fix – If you have made a resubmission, a Partial Fix bug may appear in your report. This status applies to bugs that have not been fully fixed and may still require attention.
  • Not Seen – Not Seen bug status is issued to bugs that CertOps have been unable to fully confirm. This status is most often given to bugs that are low in frequency or random in nature. They will be checked in resubmissions, but will not hold up a title from passing CertOps.

 

Can we submit new builds during the test?

Once the status of your submission has changed to ‘In Test’, the current submission is locked to that build. If you have fixed issues that were raised during the test and wish to submit an amended build, you can stop testing before the submission end date by submitting a Withdrawal Request. You can do this by selecting your product in the submission manager and selecting “Withdraw”. Note, testing may not have completed on your product when withdrawing, and therefore additional issues may be found during the complete test of a resubmission. Once your product has been withdrawn from the test, you would need to book a new slot , complete a new MDT form and prepare a new build with an incremented Master Version (matching the MDT version).

 

What does the QA Status in PS4 GEMS mean?

Your submission’s QA Status will update at several points during the submission process. See below for further details of what each QA Status means:

 

What does the Certification Center status mean?

There are many possible statuses within the Certification Center. See below for further details on each of these unique statuses:

 

My submission has an ‘On Hold’ status, what should I do?

Depending on the reason your product has been put on hold, there are various possible solutions, such as:

  • Making required amendments to your MDT form.
  • Submitting necessary waivers for ‘Open’ MF bug issues.
  • Correcting issues that are preventing CertOps from performing testing on your product e.g. server issues.
  • Awaiting CertOps internal investigations.
  • In instances where the ‘On Hold’ reason cannot be addressed without a resubmission, you may need to request the product is withdrawn and resubmit a new version.

 

After Submission

My submission has FAILED, what should I do now?

When a submission fails it will usually be down to the presence of MF bugs found during your submission. All MF bugs must be fixed prior to resubmission unless a valid waiver has been granted on DevNet. Once these issues have been fixed, you must respond to the Bug Report in Certification Center. After this, the product can be resubmitted by repeating the process of booking a slot, completing the MDT form, and uploading your revised build. When resubmitting, be sure to increment the Master Version for each resubmission (matching the MDT version).

If waivers are granted for MF issues, please ensure these are resolved in DevNet (status set to “Waived”) and the thread is included on the MDT Form.

 

How do I request a waiver?

CertOps themselves are unable to waive issues or grant waivers, instead this must be done via DevNet or directly via the Bug Report tab of the Submission Manager in Certification Center. For GAME submissions, although you may raise directly on DevNet by opening a support thread, you may find that the Certification Center route is more convenient and streamlined; details of this can be found on the Waiver Request page. As detailed, waivers can be requested before submission or directly through the bug report once bugs have been entered by CertOps.

 It is not currently possible to create waiver requests through Certification Center for PATCH or DLC bugs, so these must continue to be raised through DevNet directly.

 

Can I raise a waiver for a non-TRC related issue?

Yes, it’s possible to raise a waiver for non-TRC related issues such as functionality bugs or other non-TRC related issues. To do this, select ‘Other’, instead of ‘TRC’, when raising the waiver request.

 

My Submission has gone CONDITIONAL, what happens now?

Once an application has been given a CONDITIONAL status the ‘Sign Liability’ tab will be available in the ‘Submissions Manager’. Once the green check button has been selected and liability has been signed, the application will be approved in GEMS by the CertOps Mastering team. Please note this will not be instantaneous, but once the status is updated to QA Completed in GEMS, it can be scheduled for publishing. If liability is declined, the submission will be FAILED and a resubmission must be submitted. After this step, the CertOps process has been completed on this product. Any questions related to publishing or release should be raised on the Partners Help Center.

See the Sign Liability page for further information.

 

How do I request a patch in Certification Center?

After the status of your product is either Conditionally Verified, Sent to DADC, or Published on Certification Center you can request a patch against the submission. To request your patch via Certification Center you must navigate to the ‘Patching’ menu and select the ‘Request Patch’ sub menu option. Complete the ‘Request Patch’ form by selecting a product and filling in all other areas of the form with the appropriate information, including ‘Patch Type’ (see ‘What Does Patch Type Mean?’ below for more information on the different patch types).

The ‘Create Against Related Products’ section will populate with products related to the product selected at the top of the form; this allows for the same patch to be created across multiple Skus. It is worth noting that each of these patches will still require separate Certification Center submissions.

Once submitted, you are presented with a confirmation screen. From here you can choose to create another patch or to navigate directly to your patch in Submission Manager – no manual touch points are required so you can submit to CertOps right away. Email notifications are also triggered along with this confirmation.

For further information and details on how to edit your patch request see the Patching page.

 

What does patch type mean?

There are various patch types that can be selected from; it is essential that this information is correct to ensure that your patch undergoes appropriate testing by CertOps. See the table below for information on the various patch types available:

In addition to the above patch types, there are additional options that can be selected within the form to further detail what is included in your patch.

  • Full App to Upgradeable App – If “Testable (5 Day)” is selected as a patch type then an additional option is displayed to specify whether the app is a “Full App to Upgradeable App”. This should only be selected if the patch itself is actually changing the application from a full app to an upgradeable app type. If the patch is not initiating this change, “Full App to Upgradeable App” should NOT be selected.
  • Remaster Patch – This option will only be visible after a Remaster Request is made on Certification Center and approved by TPR. Once approved, an additional option is displayed for “Remaster Patch”. Submitting the first instance of a Remaster Patch without this option will result in a failure. To query the status of a Remaster Request, please open a Partners Help Center ticket. Please note that the patch package in GEMS must be a Remaster Package for this option!
  • PlayStation®VR and PlayStation®Move – These are displayed for all PlayStation®4 patch requests. If your patch is introducing VR then you are required to submit this patch for Virtual Reality Consultation prior to the Patch V01.00. You must also apply for another VRC if you are adding a new game mode, the opening of the game is drastically changed, a drastic UI change is applied, the rendering system is drastically changed, or a new control scheme is added.

To work out which patch type your patch would require, and for details on the additional patch type options, see the Patching and Patch Types pages.

 

So, what is a rapid patch?

A rapid patch allows partners to release a Patch for a PlayStation®4 or PlayStation®5 game without the need for testing by CertOps. Rapid patching removes the need for submitting to CertOps, meaning there is also no need to book a slot. The testing for Rapid Patch is automated and will inform you of the result as soon as a Tech Check is completed in GEMS. If approved, the patch is then ready to be published in GEMS.

 

Does my patch qualify for the rapid patch service?

In order to use the rapid patch service you must first decide whether or not your patch qualifies for this service. The ‘What does patch type mean?’ section, above, has some information explaining what qualifies for this service but more detailed information can be found on the Patch Types page. Please note, though all partners are eligible to use the Rapid Patch service, if the service is misused or abused we have the right to remove access to the service. If you are in any doubt over whether your patch qualifies for Rapid or not, then please contact CertOps via the Communication Tracker in Certification Center.

 

My patch does qualify, how do I use the service?

To request your rapid patch via Certification Center you must navigate to the ‘Patching’ menu and select the ‘Request Patch’ sub menu option. When completing the Request Patch form, ensure you set the ‘Patch Type’ as ‘Rapid’.

A confirmation message will be displayed stating, “You have successfully created your patch, please navigate to the submission manager to submit to CertOps.”. The patch will now be available in Certification Center, and you should navigate to “Submission Manager” to submit your patch.

Once in “Submission Manager” your patch will be displayed; it will be clearly marked as a rapid patch and will have a status of ‘IN DEVELOPMENT’. For PS4, submit the simplified MDT form by importing the spec.xml (from the submission materials linked to the patch tag in GEMS), to automatically populate the two required fields, “NP Title ID” and “GEMS Package Digest”, and then selecting “Save MDT”. For PS5, select the tag uploaded to GEMS to import to the MDT Form.

Now the MDT form has been saved, the status of the patch will change and will now state ‘CONDITIONAL’. To proceed with the submission you must now sign the liability. Go to the “Sign Liability” screen, accept liability and complete the mandatory fields before selecting “Submit”. The rapid patch process will only start once this has been completed.

If a WARNING is returned in GEMS, your patch will be sent to the CertOps Mastering team for manual verification. This should take no longer than 24 hours to complete.

Note: To ensure that the rapid patch process can progress, please ensure that the upload to GEMS has completed before signing the liability. See the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section, at the bottom of the Rapid Patch page, for further details.

In Summary, the steps in order are:

  1. Upload the patch package, and submission materials .zip to PS4 GEMS and ensure the upload is completed. Once uploaded, create a Patch Tag and add the patch package and link the submission materials. For PS5, Submission materials are not required, only the build is needed for upload.
  2. Complete the MDT form, ensuring the spec.xml (from the submission materials) matches the patch via the package digest for PS4, and the correct tag is selected for PS5.
  3. Sign the liability.
  4. Certification Center API will QA request the patch in GEMS.
  5. Certification Center API performs automated check.
  6. Conditional Verified status will be returned once your patch is completed either by Certification Center API or manual verification.

 

What is the next step?

When a response from GEMS is received you will be notified of the result via email. Please note, depending on the patch size this can take some time, the larger the patch the longer the response time. There are several possible results that can be returned:

  • Success – If the result of the tech check is ‘Success’, an email notification will be sent out, the sign liability screen will be updated, and the status of the patch will change to ‘CONDITIONALLY VERIFIED’. The patch is now ready to publish in GEMS.
  • Failure – If the result of the tech check is ‘Error’, an email notification will be sent out and the patch status will change to ‘FAILED’. Please check the error in GEMS and resubmit once the patch has been amended and GEMS error fixed (be sure to increment the master version for the resubmission).
  • Warning – If the result of the tech check is ‘WARNING’, an email notification will be sent out and a message will now be displayed in the “Sign Liability” screen to inform you a warning has been returned. At this point the patch status will not change, instead remaining as ‘CONDITIONAL’ until CertOps have investigated the warning.
  • RESOURCE_NOT_FOUND – This is returned when there is no package with a tag in GEMS with the same QA Digest as the one in the uploaded Spec.xml. The status in Certification Center will return to In Development for you to start the process over.
  • INVALID_PACKAGE_STATUS – This is returned when the QA Digest is found in GEMS, but the patch is not In Development or QA Raised. This is commonly caused by a partner importing the spec.xml of an already QA Completed patch.

Based on the results of CertOps’ investigation, the patch will either pass (CONDITIONALLY VERIFIED), fail (as a rapid), or fail (along with a change in patch type). If CertOps fail the patch, reasons will be provided in a failure email notification. If the patch type is changed by CertOps to a standard 5 day patch type, this will be due to criteria being identified as requiring testing by CertOps. This change in patch type will be reflected in Certification Center, a slot date will need to be booked and a full MDT form submitted. Note that the master version would be V01.01 for the next submission.

Please note, CertOps endeavour to complete these investigations as soon as possible and guarantee a response within 24 hours (SIEE & SIEA), within 1 business day (SIEJ & SIEAsia).

 

How do I request a Remaster in Certification Center?

A remaster request is only available for PS4 and PS5 products. Once the status of your product is Published within the Certification Center you can request a remaster of the submission. To request a remaster via Certification Center navigate to the ‘Remaster’ menu. From here select your platform and product. Complete the ‘Request Remaster’ form by filling in all areas of the form with the appropriate information, including ‘Type of Request’ and ‘Reason for Request’.

Remaster types vary depending on the platform and media type of the selected product.

If the remaster request is for a PlayStation®5 product an additional option is available on the form: ‘New Media Type’ This should be completed as part of the request.

Once submitted, your request will be sent for review by SIE, your Global Partner Operations contact, who will be notified via email notification and you will be presented with a confirmation screen. If you need to discuss your remaster request please open a PlayStation™Partners Help Center ticket.

Once your remaster request is approved by your Global Partner Operations contact then you can access Certification Center Submission Manager as this will open up to allow submission of your remaster. After ‘New ISO’ and ‘Digital to Disc Conversion’ requests are approved then a Slot can be booked and an MDT form can be completed at version 02.00 against the corresponding ‘Game’ product. Additionally, Print Submissions will also be unlocked in TPRnet which follows the same process as standard disc products.

For any PS4 ‘Digital Remaster’ approvals these require a ‘Testable (5 Day)’ Patch submission. Please see Patch Types.

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