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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#18
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:23 am
Black--Snow wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:39 am
"frak all you beta backers these guys get the game first for free".
This is always such a difficult perspective to address for any game whose developers have been friendly to regular gamers.

A lot of gamers look at alpha access or some similar friends-and-family testing phase as a special reward for a favored few. The thing is, though, the developer perspective Alpha is more like "OK, I think this is finally playable, but I'm too close to it and I need some friendly/professional folks to give me their unvarnished opinions before I let the high-expectation general audience see it."

In other words, the Alpha testing phase IMO is best understood not as just one more perk purely for PR purposes (even if that's how some developers of conventional AAA games treat Alpha) but as the last opportunity to get serious private feedback that helps an indie developer deliver the game he really wants to make. Gamers who are only thinking about "what's fun for me?" can't help with this -- what's needed in the Alpha phase are objective testers who have the developer's interests in mind even if they don't personally share those interests.

Beta testing, by contrast, is about opening up the game to a limited but representative subset of the full range of gamer types who'll play the game. These testers emphasize the player's perception of the game. This is also an extremely valuable perspective prior to the full release of a game... but it's not the same thing as what Alpha testing delivers.
That is exactly how it will be seen.
People are not very good at giving the benefit of the doubt and I honestly think people will take it to heart.
It's seen as getting the game earlier when you haven't even paid for it.

I'm sort of in agreement with Naed here. I wasn't even really thinking there was going to be an beta alpha of any real substance.
Last edited by Black--Snow on Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#20
I think the "closed Alpha", if it happens, probably ought to only be people that Josh is close friends with - that he could trust not to leak anything, and that would give him honest criticism. More importantly, they shouldn't already be fans of LT: anyone that's a fan of LT is already biased by definition. Adding to that, there's the whole ordeal of explaining to the Kickstarter backers that backed at Beta (or, especially, higher) why someone else is getting access to the game first without having paid anything. "Close friends" could get away with it, from a PR perspective, but most other people couldn't. These points would exclude backers and everyone on the forum... including myself. :P I would expect the closed alpha to be rather short, though; mostly a question of "Is this okay to send out to the intended audience for testing, or are there critical problems I need to fix first?" This is actually standard procedure for many (if not most) games, although usually it's neither advertised nor talked about... as it should be. Keeping it quiet and private solves all PR issues and ensures that all the major issues get fixed without outside interference.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#21
Dinosawer wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:23 am
Black--Snow wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:21 am
I wasn't even really thinking there was going to be a beta of any real substance.
It was a Kickstarter reward, so I'm not sure why you would think that.
Err Alpha. Brain fart.
Talvieno wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:13 am
anyone that's a fan of LT is already biased by definition.
I agree with you, except for this part.
I mean, technically we are biased but we've seen time and time again from people just how willing they are to be critical of LT to ensure it lives up to the standards. I think a fan of LT would be rather unforgiving as far as issues go and would actually be better as a tester.
That said, that mostly applies to gameplay anyway. As I *Meant* to say earlier, I don't think the alpha will be substantial, I certainly had no reason to in the past.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#22
By that, I mean that we already have expectations or knowledge of the game that the "average buyer" (or, to a good extent, even the beta backers) wouldn't have. Something that might be obvious to us might be obtuse, impractical, or even impossible to someone that hadn't followed the game closely. It's best to get that sort of thing out of the way prior to an actual Beta period.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#23
Talvieno I disagree. Limit Theories UI and base game-play hasn't even been put together from where we last saw it. I think if you handed any of us the game we would navigate it the same way any new player would. The difference being that we know that certain features should be in the game, but navigating to them could be unintuitive. However, the point of the game might not be clear to those who start playing since LT is very much a sandbox game. There should certainly be tool tips and situational hits which can be toggled on and off to help guide new players and assist them in fully discovering the depth within Limit Theory.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#24
I don't think I'm at all getting my point across.

As a human, you intuitively understand what a door is. You know that it opens and closes. You could recognize different styles of doors quite easily. Even if it doesn't have the same shape as a door, you know that because it has a doorknob and a hinge, it opens and you can go through. However, an alien (if alien enough) wouldn't have a clue what the heck he's looking at because human doors are meant for human hands, and a human range of motion. If they had no understanding of our culture, they might think it's simply a bump on the wall. Maybe we hang our clothing there. How would they know?

Similarly, people that have not been used to playing space games can pick out unusual things better than we can, because we are used to space games. We intuitively know how to move with the mouse and keyboard, and we know what keys to try to figure out how to get it to work. We know that left-clicking with the mouse is probably the fire button. Someone that doesn't play space games (or, indeed, games in general) wouldn't be exposed to that. This makes them better candidates for this sort of thing. Because they don't have expectations of how it should work, they're more prone to being confused, and breaking it by accident.

More importantly, I think any one of us would almost certainly look at some things and just assume, "it's odd, but usable. It'll be better in the beta" when one of these non-fans would say "Your game is weird, fix it fast".

But it's possible I'm still not getting my point across. That's fine. My other reason was the main reason for saying that forumites absolutely should not be allowed to touch alpha: PR, naturally. After all, I'm the one that would have to explain to everyone why they couldn't play it early, and I expect a lot of them would be unhappy and/or angry. "I waited five years, and I don't get in on the alpha just because some people with too much time on their hands hung around the forums long enough to leech the game off the developers?!?" is something I'd expect to hear.

There's also the fact that it's easier to keep things quiet and private if you're close friends with them - and I don't think any of us can say we're "close friends" with Josh.

But, on the other hand, it's important to note that this is all just my opinion. I have absolutely no idea what Josh's plans are, nor can I say I'm undeniably right or wrong in any of my assertions. :P
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#25
Talvieno wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:18 pm
As a human, you intuitively understand what a door is.
I'm still finding the door stuff a bit tricky, Nathan. :?
Talvieno wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:18 pm
There's also the fact that it's easier to keep things quiet and private if you're close friends with them - and I don't think any of us can say we're "close friends" with Josh.
:? I've had difficulty with that one since very early on in this project. I'm not even sure of the concept of "close friends" when it comes to Josh. That's had me scratching my head on more than one occasion during what seems to be a lifetime of being here, Nathan. :shifty: I'm sure he could trust me though. :angel:
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#26
Victor, you are certainly one person, and perhaps one of the very few orange coats, who should certainly have access to the alpha if Josh were to do that. I for one could not tell you what does and doesn't feel like freelancer, and I'm sure, after reading your comments over the years that you know what items Limit Theory must check off the list to be a proper successor.
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#27
BFett wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:00 am
Victor, you are certainly one person, and perhaps one of the very few orange coats, who should certainly have access to the alpha if Josh were to do that. I for one could not tell you what does and doesn't feel like freelancer, and I'm sure, after reading your comments over the years that you know what items Limit Theory must check off the list to be a proper successor.
Thank you, BFett! :D I have in the past given indications of what I consider to be a Freelancer experience. In fact, I've been asked directly by Josh to confirm if he was "getting it right". It's a while ago now but I still feel confident that the coding warrior understands what I'm looking for. There is likely to be quite a lot of additional gameplay which I'm not particularly interested in but can understand why it has been added. I'm not the only backer here who would like to see a game which fulfills his or her needs. :)

I'm more than capable of fulfilling the task of identifying a true successor to my beloved Freelancer original. ;) :angel:
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Re: General Outline of Alpha and Beta Testing

#28
In the spirit of outlining things, I'd like to see an updated, non-technobabble roadmap towards completion. The development leaps showcased in the PAX demo show that progress has been made, and the screenshots give me the warm fuzzy Freelancer feeling, but I'm still no closer to the game I, and many others, backed over five years ago. :(

Sorry to be that guy (and apologies if I've missed the sort of thing I'm asking about).
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