Ok, looking for beta testers, What do I do?

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Dec 8, 2006, 5:05:50 PM12/8/06

-- Subject says it all, It's my first game (i6) and I think it's ready. It's
not very big, a kind of fantasy I guess.
What do I do?

Visit: JennyK.DMusic.com
or JennyK.net
Music for restless Dreams and sleepless nights.

Jim Aikin

Dec 8, 2006, 10:30:41 PM12/8/06
> What do I do?

Mmm ... mentioning your email address is good, but most people can figure
out how to get that from your posted message.

Here are a few tips you might find helpful, based on my own recent
experience testing Last Resort:

1) Be sure to thank them for each and every bug report they send in. Not
only is it polite, it also shows that you're paying attention, which will
spur them to greater heights.

2) If they comment unfavorably on certain aspects of the game, try hard not
to argue. Maybe they're right, or maybe they're wrong, but either way you've
learned something about how people will react to the game. That doesn't mean
you need to slavishly follow all suggestions.

3) Encourage them to send complete transcripts (by typing 'transcript on'
before each play session). Ask them to begin each comment that they insert
in the game transcript while playing with an asterisk. That way, you can
search the transcript for the '*' character and find their comments quickly.
If they save a game and start the next play session in the middle, you might
also want to ask for the saved game file. This will enable you to track down
troublesome issues that might otherwise be difficult to catch.

4) To whatever extent is possible, actually read the whole transcript. Don't
just search for the asterisks. I spotted numerous minor bugs that the
testers breezed right past, apparently without noticing them. Mostly just
typos, but some other stuff as well.

5) There's some debate in my own beady little brain about whether or not
it's a good idea to send testers a debug version of the game. I did this
with one tester, which allowed him to leapfrog around in the story with
abandon. By doing this, he found numerous things that other testers
missed -- but it also made certain intermittent problems really hard to

6) Just because I'm a paranoid fool, all of the versions that I sent to
testers had the tester's own name displayed at the very top, in a line
reading, "This version supplied to John Doe for testing purposes only.
Public distribution strictly prohibited." That way, if a beta version ever
shows up anywhere -- very unlikely, but not impossible in a community as
non-organized as this one -- at least I'll know who was responsible.

7) Don't expect every volunteer to be an ace tester. Some people only try
out a game for an hour or two, send you an email with some bugs, and then
get on with their lives. That's okay -- they may find something else that
nobody else spotted!

8) Number your beta releases. Send the first group of volunteers a file that
ends _b1 (for instance, MyGame_b1.z5). After fixing a bunch of bugs, send
them _b2, and so on.

9) I kept a folder of the versions I sent out, so that I could test anything
weird in the exact version of the game that the tester was using, rather
than in my more recent version. I also kept the reports in two folders,
called Culled and Not Culled. Much easier to keep track of what you've
already gone through that way.

10) Try not to get discouraged. It's all but certain that your code contains
many more bugs than you think it does. Mine sure did!

Hope this helps.

--Jim Aikin


Dec 9, 2006, 5:49:23 AM12/9/06
Many good points there. Thank you !
I'm happy for all the replies, If I haven't replied when reading this, I'll
emailing you guys shortly" :D

"Jim Aikin" <rai...@musicwords.net> wrote in message

Richard Bos

Dec 10, 2006, 8:11:11 PM12/10/06
"Jim Aikin" <rai...@musicwords.net> wrote:

> > What do I do?
> Mmm ... mentioning your email address is good, but most people can figure
> out how to get that from your posted message.

If they can't, their newsreaders can; AFAICT Jenny does The Right Thing
with her headers.


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