Author Topic: Please read if you are interested in the alpha! Sort yourselves, please. :)  (Read 17839 times)

Offline x4000

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Hey folks!  As mentioned in another thread, we're going to be doing multiple rounds (as usual) for the alpha.  Here is a brief description of each round.

Round 0 - Least Polished
Starting: Either the week of January 20th or the week of January 27th.

This round is going to have a GUI that is functional, but not fully prettied-up yet.  Some subscreens won't be in yet, a number of planetary background graphics and ship animations won't be in place yet, and so forth.  Mostly these are cosmetic things, and we will be asking people in this round not to give us feedback on those yet since they are still in progress and you'll likely be telling us things we already know.  The focus here will instead be on gameplay mechanics -- figuring out if there is anything broken/exploitable there, where things are confusing, how the learning curve is, etc, etc.  Since this round of people are first to play the game outside of the company, they're going to have the highest rate of confusion and broken stuff, simply by nature.  So if you're looking for a smooth first experience, this is not the round for you.

Round 1 - GUI More In Place
Starting: Either the week of January 27th or the week of February 3rd.

This round is going to have the bulk of the GUI fully in place and as polished as we think it needs to be.  There will still be a variety of visual details that are yet to come on here, but nothing that is a major deal or that would affect functionality.  There will likely still be subscreens missing that are of very secondary importance, but it shouldn't be anything that should affect you in a major way at all.  The new user experience should be substantially better than round 0 in all respects, as we'll have the feedback from the first round, and a week's worth of refinement in design and coding and art based on our own plans and based on that feedback.  This is still going to be comparably rough in terms of balance and details compared to later rounds, though.

Round 2 - Getting More Polished
Starting: Either the week of February 3rd or the week of February 10th.

This round is going to be substantially more polished, and it should give players a very good idea of what the game is really going to be like at launch.  There will still be nits and bits and bobs all over the place that we'll be dealing with, but it's little details much moreso than major stuff.

Round 3 - Final Polish
Starting: Either the week of February 10th or the week of February 17th.

This round is going to be very close to final.  We'll basically be pulling in a last round of testers to do checks on how all the other feedback prior to this point has culminated, and to get an idea of how new people will react to the game on launch (in terms of ease of learning, etc).  This will also be a chance for us to get yet more eyes on the game and thus have yet more clever people finding exploits or whatever else that we and the other testers might have missed prior to this point.

Other/Intermediate Rounds
Depending on timing and other factors, we might do "multiple round 2s" on a shorter time schedule, or have a round 4 that is basically yet even more final polish, or some things like that.  The above 4 rounds are basically an estimate of what we are going to do, and either way they definitely map to the general life stages of the process of getting from alpha to 1.0, regardless of how many batches of players are actually let in at a given time.  Just as an FYI, if we wind up letting in 3 groups of people and you were in round 2 and wonder why you aren't in yet -- we might be doing two groups in round 1, still.

So -- Please Tell Us Where You Want To Be
We have gotten a lot of PMs from folks who are interested in the alpha, and that is awesome.  We have them all, don't worry!  What were going to have to do from here, however, is to sort people into which rounds we want to have them testing in.  We need both expert and comparably-casual players in each round, ideally.  Just having all of our most-expert players in the first two rounds would not be very smart, if you see what I mean.

So!  We've had folks in past alphas who were a little bit offended that they didn't get into whatever round, because they have been such fixtures in the Arcen alphas for so many years, etc.  To avoid that this time around, we ask that folks please give us your first, second, and third choices of what rounds you would like to enter the alpha at.  Or if you only have one or two rounds that you want to be entered at, then let us know that as well (for instance, maybe you really don't want to be in prior to round 2 -- that's actually awesome, because too many people tend to want to get in as soon as possible, and so having some people hang back is good).

We will then try to balance out everyone's desires as much as possible, while at the same time having a good mix of people in every round.  Feel free to comment in this thread or PM Chris (x4000), either way.  If you previously expressed interest in the alpha and he doesn't hear from you, he'll be PMing you back.  If he still doesn't hear from you, then he'll be assigning you to whichever rounds are most in need of people.

Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 08:44:15 PM by x4000 »
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Offline Endless Rain

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I would prefer to start testing on February 3rd, and I'm a moderately skilled player. I'll be busy most of the time in January, but I'll be able to start testing in any round in February.

Offline Mick

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I'm fine with my first experience being not smooth. I'm the not smoothest guy around.

Offline windgen

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So!  We've had folks in past alphas who were a little bit offended that they didn't get into whatever round, because they have been such fixtures in the Arcen alphas for so many years, etc.

People seriously need to chill out.  Participation in an invitation-only event is a privilege, not a right.  If you've been an alpha / beta tester in the past, you should count yourself lucky that (1) you got into an alpha/beta at all, and (2) you were testing for a company that usually gives its testers a free copy of the full game when it's finished.

Offline tigersfan

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So!  We've had folks in past alphas who were a little bit offended that they didn't get into whatever round, because they have been such fixtures in the Arcen alphas for so many years, etc.

People seriously need to chill out.  Participation in an invitation-only event is a privilege, not a right.  If you've been an alpha / beta tester in the past, you should count yourself lucky that (1) you got into an alpha/beta at all, and (2) you were testing for a company that usually gives its testers a free copy of the full game when it's finished.

They were never jerks about it or anything.

That said, I should point out that if the current trend continues, I'm simply not going to be able to get everyone in the round of their first choice (mostly because round 0 is so popular :) ). If that happens, I apologize. I hope you understand that it really doesn't do us any good to have 30 folks be the fist to see it, then have only 10 others (or whatever number) be split with the other rounds.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
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So!  We've had folks in past alphas who were a little bit offended that they didn't get into whatever round, because they have been such fixtures in the Arcen alphas for so many years, etc.

People seriously need to chill out.  Participation in an invitation-only event is a privilege, not a right.  If you've been an alpha / beta tester in the past, you should count yourself lucky that (1) you got into an alpha/beta at all, and (2) you were testing for a company that usually gives its testers a free copy of the full game when it's finished.

Honestly I don't feel like anyone has been out of line at all.  These are folks who have devoted incredible amounts of time and energy to helping us make our games better, far in excess of the value of the games we've given them in exchange.  These are often folks that then turned around and bought the games anyway and evangelized to friends and other forums because they believe in the games they've helped with.  They didn't flip out or anything, or get all huffy or mad, but they were definitely a bit miffed that we didn't think of them earlier in the process.  I feel like that feeling is extremely understandable and in some ways actually justified -- but from our end, our rationale is that we actually want to save some of those sorts of people for at least round 2 and 3, because having those sorts of eyes on the game fresh in those states is really useful to us.
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Offline YoukaiCountry

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I've been involved in plenty of software development, roughness won't phase me. I'd be very interested in helping out with the game from the earliest point possible!
And no hard feelings if I don't get in the early round ;)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 01:07:05 PM by YoukaiCountry »

Offline Zalrus9

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Hello! I would love to be a part of the Alpha, but I do not need it to be so early. Phase 3 would work best for me.

Thanks so much for extending this oppurtunity! I hope everything goes well!

Offline nas1m

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That said, I should point out that if the current trend continues, I'm simply not going to be able to get everyone in the round of their first choice (mostly because round 0 is so popular :) ). If that happens, I apologize. I hope you understand that it really doesn't do us any good to have 30 folks be the fist to see it, then have only 10 others (or whatever number) be split with the other rounds.
Let me do you a favor then:
1. Round 2
2. Round 3
3. Round 0

It will be interesting to see what I can contribute if I'm so late to the party... ;D
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 01:46:02 PM by nas1m »
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Offline nas1m

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So!  We've had folks in past alphas who were a little bit offended that they didn't get into whatever round, because they have been such fixtures in the Arcen alphas for so many years, etc.

People seriously need to chill out.  Participation in an invitation-only event is a privilege, not a right.  If you've been an alpha / beta tester in the past, you should count yourself lucky that (1) you got into an alpha/beta at all, and (2) you were testing for a company that usually gives its testers a free copy of the full game when it's finished.

Honestly I don't feel like anyone has been out of line at all.  These are folks who have devoted incredible amounts of time and energy to helping us make our games better, far in excess of the value of the games we've given them in exchange.  These are often folks that then turned around and bought the games anyway and evangelized to friends and other forums because they believe in the games they've helped with.  They didn't flip out or anything, or get all huffy or mad, but they were definitely a bit miffed that we didn't think of them earlier in the process.  I feel like that feeling is extremely understandable and in some ways actually justified -- but from our end, our rationale is that we actually want to save some of those sorts of people for at least round 2 and 3, because having those sorts of eyes on the game fresh in those states is really useful to us.
I seem remember a certain patience card being involved ;D...
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Offline Mick

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ROUND ZERO OR BUST!!!

Well seriously, my preference would probably be something more like:

Round 2/1
Round 0
Round 3 ( I feel like it's difficult to give feedback when it's that close to release )

Offline Metalfusion

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I would like to participate, and happen have some software/game development experience so I can take an early round.

Preference in order:
Rounds 1, 2, 3.

Offline Tridus

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Hi, done this a couple of times before. :)

Rounds: 2, 1, 3.

Offline topper

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Never participated in an alpha before, but very interested in this game. If you need more testers, then I would be happy to try it out.
(I really enjoy the other Arcen strategy titles and have a technical background)

Preference:
1. Round 2
2. Round 3
3. Round 1

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Put me in whatever round you need more people in. I am at your service!
The beatings shall continue
until morale improves!