Author Topic: Alpha and Beta testing?  (Read 3262 times)

Offline Zebeast46

  • Full Member Mark III
  • ***
  • Posts: 219
Alpha and Beta testing?
« on: November 25, 2014, 05:44:56 PM »
I was introduced to Arcen after TotalBiscuit's TLF video, after seeing that video I bought the game. Recently I bought Betrayed:Hope, Ai war and Bionic Dues {so far i'm loving them}. Because I am new I am wondering how Beta's and Alpha's work at Arcen, because I am very interested in Stars Beyond Reach.
AI 1 = Chris.

AI 2 = Keith.

Taken from Bognor

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 08:27:29 AM »
Haha, love your sig, first of all. ;)

Quote
AI 1 = Chris.

AI 2 = Keith.

Taken from Bognor

Regarding the alpha/beta, it varies a bit from game to game honestly.

With TLF we pulled a handful of people we knew the best to take a look at it before anyone else, and we'll definitely be doing the same here.  That helps clean up some of the most obvious stuff that we otherwise don't see.  With TLF we then did an invite-only beta where everyone who was a part of it got the game for free.  That worked well for that game, because it was still evolving in the combat area in particular, and we were really trying to capture first impressions and be assured of getting waves of feedback.

With Valley 1 and 2, and with all but the last 2 AI War expansions, we put them on sale in their beta state, and people could buy into those at any time at a discount and also get the full game when it came out (of course).

And we've done some mix of those approaches for the other games.

For SBR... I have not fully decided yet, except that I know we'll be inviting a select few folks in January to be alpha testers to give us feedback before we invite in a wider audience.  With SBR, a LOT more of my own time is reserved for personal testing of the game and then tuning based on my own observations rather than just those given by other people.  That was something that was key to AI War really being what it was, we believe.  Additionally, we'll be running what is for us a very length "true beta" (where things of importance are feature-complete and not flip-flopping around design-wise), of around 3 months.  In the past we did that for a month with Bionic Dues, and it served that game very well, but that was a much smaller game.

My thoughts based on all that is that probably we'll wind up doing a "free demo of the beta at any time, or buy to get the full beta and the finished product" process starting in February.  Most likely just through our site, because doing that on other stores at the same time can really dilute the effectiveness of the actual launch.

None of that is set in stone yet, but that's where my head is at right now, anyway. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 12:22:41 PM »
I'm pretty excited to see this game develop from it's infancy in alpha/beta, given how interesting the concept is.

Hopefully a bit smoother than my time testing TLF. I know that feedback was really useful to you, but man. I had a rough time with "getting it" on that game.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 12:31:27 PM »
I don't want to jinx anything, but this time around we're actually aiming for something closer to "feature complete" when it comes to the start of beta, this time.  That doesn't mean content-complete, but feature complete is the goal.  Then the rest of that time would be for last bits of content, for AI work, general optimization, balance, testing, UI improvements as needed, art additions, and so on.  For about 3 months, 2.5 at the minimum.

The idea is that this will be a VERY different experience from TLF, at any rate.  The design process for this game has been extremely divorced from the TLF one, for sure.

Hopefully the inherent nature of "things start small in 4xes" will help a lot with "getting it" in this game, too.  Rather than having like 100 options immediately like in TLF, it's instead building out more slowly on the first turns, and going from there.  As with Civ or similar, etc.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Shrugging Khan

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,216
  • Neinzul Y PzKpfw Tiger!
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2014, 04:31:28 AM »
Sooo...around when can we expect to see the beta demo and the buy-in beta to appear on the page, if things go that way?
The beatings shall continue
until morale improves!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2014, 09:55:17 AM »
Right now the plan is probably the second week of February. :)

There will be videos and more information leading up to that, too, and afterwards.  This game is The Big One, I think, for me.  We shall see, but I get that feeling increasingly.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Shrugging Khan

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,216
  • Neinzul Y PzKpfw Tiger!
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 11:02:00 AM »
This game is The Big One, I think, for me.
Now, don't you tell me you're going to quit after that one!
The beatings shall continue
until morale improves!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2014, 03:30:09 PM »
Pah!  I have no plans to quit, even if I made a gazillion dollars.  If money were no object I'd work somewhat fewer hours, but that's about it.

No, if I get my way, I'll be making games for another 30+ years.  This has already been a 20+ year hobby for me, long before it ever crossed my mind that there might even be the possibility of a job in this industry.  That all happened remarkably fast: I had a realization about it, and a year and a half later I was doing it full time.  It's awesome that my hobby pays the bills, but if I had no bills of consequence I wouldn't stop my hobby.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline SugeBearX

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2014, 05:56:01 AM »
I will gladly pony up my cash as soon as you give the go-ahead.  :) I love that a developer exists that is willing to push the envelope and create unique games. Not that my admiration amounts to a hill of beans, but Arcen Games has earned mine...and believe me you are one of the few in this current age of serialized AAA nonsense. That being said...hurry up and take my money!!! I haven't been this stoked for a game in ages...as a matter of fact I think my monitor may have been amber vision at the time...Gods but I'm gettin' old...

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2014, 08:22:23 AM »
Hahaha -- amber vision, that's great.  I never had that, I had green (XT here).

I'm super stoked for this one also, and can't wait for you guys to be able to get in and see it.  We'll have it out as soon as we can!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline mllange

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2014, 03:41:13 PM »
I think you should invite me to the Alpha/Beta so I can completely rewrite the history of gaming success with my unique and most excellent feedback and suggestions. Always remember, "on the shoulders of giants..."
 >D

Offline ElOhTeeBee

  • Jr. Member Mark II
  • **
  • Posts: 69
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2014, 12:58:57 PM »
Hopefully, I can manage to get in one way or another - I finally realized that I can poke at the .xml files in the language folder to see the text for AI War and offer feedback without needing to go through the game to do it, and I assume something similar will be possible with SBR. Should mean I can get at any typos much more quickly.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2014, 08:03:44 PM »
Oh, yeah -- that's the case in all our games actually!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Misery

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,107
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2015, 10:39:35 AM »
Hm, any word on the alpha date for this one?  I dont mean to be a total pest, but I coulda sworn you had said January, and.... okay, yeah, it's only the 2nd, but impatience requires that I ask the question anyway.


Looking forward to this one.  I love the idea of 4X games, but.... ahhh.  The AI is always so *dumb*.  It can really ruin the effect with some of them. It's like, "okay, I think I've got my defenses carefully set up, got my archers HERE, and my support guys HERE, and... hoboy, here comes the enemy assault, I hope I can hold the... oh, they're walking into chainsaws again.  Right.  Why do I have archers, now?  I forget."  And you guys typically do very good AI that probably wont do that. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 10:42:08 AM by Misery »

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2015, 02:08:57 PM »
No word yet, it's still early and we're not back in the office until Monday.  We still have some dev work to do on things like the military combat in particular, and it's unclear how much coding time that's going to eat up.  It will probably be late January when we hit alpha, but I'll definitely be posting about-weekly in terms of status updates, along with just generally chatting like I have been. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!