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#119869 - 01/11/06 11:17 PM Have you done any beta testing?
ssgamer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 1071
Loc: Colorado
Hi All,
I have been asked to do a beta test on a new game, and as I haven't ever done any of this I would like to know what you all think.
What? How? When? Problems?
Thanks, all ideas welcome.
If this post isn't okay let me know.
Thanks,
Charllotte

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#119870 - 01/12/06 06:33 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
BrownEyedTigre Online   happy
The Sassy Administrator PR Liaison
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 01/04/04
Posts: 75830
Loc: In the Naughty Corner
Hi Charlotte, I'm going to move this to game Discussions. Just follow the link in the upper left corner to find your thread. Have fun beta testing.

Ana wave
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#119871 - 01/12/06 08:49 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
looney4labs Offline
Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 47709
Loc: Alabama
Charlotte, I have beta tested a few times--it is lots of fun--Usually the game maker wants to know about your system details and any all problems you had in the game--Daily reports lets the developer know your progress and your problems so they can be addressed. Have fun! luck
_________________________
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

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#119872 - 01/12/06 12:09 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Hi Charlotte wave

Long time no see. smile Hope you're doing well.

I've done a few beta-tests also. Like L4L, I thought it was fun. The problems you find will be either very few or many depending upon how the alpha testing went - good feedback, good response from the game maker, etc. Usually, most of the problems have been solved by the time it gets to beta testing but your feedback on any you find is valuable as it will allow them to be fixed before release.

Keep careful notes of all your observations to pass on to the developer and be honest about any improvements you think would benefit the game with him/her.

Melanie
_________________________
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

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#119873 - 01/12/06 05:07 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
dale3mike Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/09/04
Posts: 1242
Loc: Philadelphia
Not to mention the fact that I got to play the games before their release. happydance

Mike
_________________________
currently:
Playing: SecondLife and Mystonline
Reading: The Mote in God's Eye
Listening to: Something (Peter Greenstone)

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#119874 - 01/12/06 07:31 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 39037
Loc: southeast USA
I beta tested one game in its early stages.
Beta testing was no fun at all. The person who made the game made it very clear what was expected of a beta tester. You can't just play the game like you would play a finished game. You have to explore every nook and cranny, try every dumb thing you can think of, do whatever you can to "break" the game and cause it to crash by doing something unexpected or doing things in the "wrong" order or going in some direction that the game designer didn't expect you to want to move. You have to be very thorough and methodical. Otherwise you're not doing a good job. Although there is some value in trying the game out on different systems, what is really needed is a thorough test of all possible things that might cause the game to glitch. Even playing a very small part of the game I tested was very time consuming.

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#119875 - 01/12/06 08:15 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
LenG Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/20/00
Posts: 1657
Loc: Haifa; ISRAEL
~~ Jenny100 ~~

Couldn't be explained more accurately!! praise

P.S.
Just a belated **addition** to all the above which is 200% correct !

~~~ Many games are developed by people whose 1st language (Mother Tongue) is not English.
~~~ It can take very many EXTRA hours just correcting the texts (subtitles).
~~~ Errors in English can range from just a dozen or two to a hundred or two !! eek cry

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#119876 - 01/12/06 09:58 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
BeaSong Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/30/04
Posts: 2962
Loc: rural Oregon, USA
I got to Beta test Remedy, made in Sweden. It was a delightful experience and I'd do it again, in a heartbeat!
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"Come Watson, the Game is afoot!"
www.tiotucan.com

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#119877 - 01/13/06 04:03 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Skye Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 294
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Jenny100:
You can't just play the game like you would play a finished game. You have to explore every nook and cranny, try every dumb thing you can think of, do whatever you can to "break" the game and cause it to crash by doing something unexpected or doing things in the "wrong" order or going in some direction that the game designer didn't expect you to want to move.
Like Len said, that is exactly right. Alpha testing is just as boring and tedious not to mention brain racking as you (who know exactly how a puzzle is supposed to work) try and come up with as many possible implementations of a puzzle or interaction with the game as you can. When it comes down to it, the Beta testers are the most valuable asset a developer can have. They may interpret a puzzle in a completely different way from what the developer did and if the proper 'safety checks' aren't in place well, you never know what might happen. There is always the chance that 1 might slip through but the Beta testers are the best defence against that.

*** my favourite blooper (and the only one I have ever found) was from the original Zork I. I was in the cyclops's den and it had the chalice I wanted. I couldn't pick it up but the game did allow me to examine the engraving on it. Lo and behold, in order to examine the engraving, the game put it into my inventory! ***

Skye
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Indie Developer of Scavenger Hunter
The Replayable Adventure Game!
Released Dec 16/06! Order Now at:
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#119878 - 01/13/06 01:16 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I think it depends on how you normally play. I always play without a walkthrough and try everything. Since I play according to what i think is next rather than the developer's thoughts on what comes next, I do things out of turn and always explore every nook and cranny and try everything.

The only time I don't do that is when I don't like a game and that's the only time that it becomes tedious other than running into a lot of errors or poor English translations. I still think it is both fun and an honor to beta-test and like Mike said, you get to play them first. lol I certainly agree that beta-testers are valuable fo the developers too.
_________________________
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

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#119879 - 01/14/06 08:15 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
dadguy Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 2240
Loc: Wilmington, DE
I beta tested "Uru - Ages Beyond Myst". This was unlike any other beta experience because it included testing the online multiplayer functionality. In the game you could stop and talk (live voice or typing) with the other players, whom created a player-avatar that presumably looked like them. So, I managed to make a load of new friends from all over the world. It was an enriching experience.

Dadguy

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#119880 - 01/14/06 01:38 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
That sounds really interesting, Dadguy. It must have been pretty cool.

Melanie
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"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

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#119881 - 01/14/06 09:46 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
mszv Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 1565
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA (left my bel...
I also beta tested Uru, when it was an online game. I was in the entire 2003 beta - January - October 2003. I still have no idea why I got in so early. I enjoyed the beta experience, for the most part, quite a lot. It was an interesting experience. I've also beta tested a Palm OS game - got to go back and check to see if there is more to do on that.

Volunteer beta testing is generally unpaid, so it should be a rewarding volunteer experience, else why do it? I feel that you should follow the developer guidelines on what they want you to test, but you also should observe and comment on whatever you want. That's how I do it. I talk about bugs, game anomolies, and what's working and not working for me. If I can't understand something, or the gameplay isn't working for me, then I talk about that too. I do look for and report bugs, but I also talk about whatever else I want to talk about. Aside from the fact that I like to comment on stuff, I feel that I would be doing the developers a disservice if they didn't get to hear all my comments on the game. Whether they want to do anything about it - of course it's up to them, but, sometimes people can be too close to something and so they aren't aware of what's not working.

Sometimes the developers listens to you and sometimes they don't. I didn't get big stuff changed in Uru (nor did I expect too) but I got some little stuff changed. I'm still not sure how much anyone listened to me, but they evidently appreciated me enough that I was asked to mod, over at the Ubisoft Uru/Myst IV/Myst V forums! Sometimes events can surprise you.

So, my recommendation, go for it and have a great time. Follow their guidelines for testing, but don't feel intimidated by them. If they aren't nice to you, don't do it. The company has a glorious opportunity for your feedback, so I think anything you tell them is valuable. Also, if it is a free/volunteer position, do as much or as little as what works for you. If you just can't stand testing some piece of the game, don't feel that you have to force yourself to do it. It's supposed to be fun.

Oh - my testing the Palm PDA (personal digital assistant) game was also fun, though I didn't do as much. The developers valued all our input and were very supportive of us.
_________________________
mszv, amarez in Myst Online (KI 89257)and my online worlds.

blog - http://www.amarez.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amareze

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#119882 - 01/14/06 10:32 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
tinagoss Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 675
Loc: Chehalis, Washington
How does one become a beta-tester?
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"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Lao Tzu

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#119883 - 01/14/06 11:15 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
which2 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 167
Loc: Chelmsford, MA USA
I, too, beta tested Uru (Hi, dadguy and mszv ) .

I have never done anything like that before....my computer experience being that of a touch-tone telephone at the time. laugh Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

I think Uru was an exception to the rule, though....yes, we got to see the game before anyone else, try things that the developer/publisher wanted us to, do things we knew we probably shouldn't have rotfl and meet a whole lot of absolutely wonderful people. Uru was different, though, in that it was such a massive undertaking, compared to any other betas I've heard about. There was pretty much 24/7 support for any issues that did arise. I've tried a couple of other betas, (I think they were both Indy's), but I wasn't too involved due to the fact that I couldn't get the kind of direction and feedback that I was used to with Uru. I understand that these developers can't be there 24/7, but it just never worked out timewise for me. frown

I'm about to do a major upgrade to my system ( from 98SE to XP Pro, new Video card, prossesor, hard drive, more memory...yeeha!) Once that happens, I expect to try more betas when available. I think it was an invaluable learning experience.

I tried beta for the learning aspect, but found I really loved it due to the people I met. The bugs, glitches, etc., were expected so they never really bothered me. I think I was picked for Uru because I had one of the lower end systems , but I never really had a lot of the priblems that folks with more powerful systems had...go figure!

Bottom line is, I would suggest you try it. It's a great learning experience, and since it's usually volunteer anyway, you are under no obligation to continue if you find it to be something you really can't, or don't want to deal with afterall. I feel there is nothing to lose and so much to gain by trying it.

Good Luck and Enjoy!

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#119884 - 01/15/06 12:00 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
mszv Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 1565
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA (left my bel...
On how does one become a beta tester - I think, but I could be wrong, that there is not too much of a need for external (to the company) volunteer beta testers for most single player games, with the exception of small independently produced games. The company will do their own testing with internal testers. I suspect that there are exceptions to this.

For small indie games, I've seen people asking for beta testers on game forums, such as, perhaps, this one.

For Uru (online) you had to apply. I can't remember how I found out it - aging moment here!

MMO games (massively multiplayer online) tend to have a need for a lot of testers. Sometimes there are both closed (you have to apply and get in) and open betas. I think that, for MMO games, it helps if you already play MMO games - they look on that kindly. I've seen requests for beta testers on the various MMO sites, and I think there is a site which coordinates some requests for MMO testers - I'd have to look that up.

Uru (online) was an online game, but the publisher wasn't looking just for people who had already played MMO games.

For my Palm game, I'm a member of several Palm dicussion groups, and it was posted in the group discussion.
_________________________
mszv, amarez in Myst Online (KI 89257)and my online worlds.

blog - http://www.amarez.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amareze

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#119885 - 01/15/06 12:17 AM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
ssgamer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 1071
Loc: Colorado
Thanks all,
Maybe now I can make an informed decision. I would suspect that I was asked because like others in this forum I am more than ten doggie years and they don't expect us to play games. I don't do well on shoot-em-ups or short timed, give me enough time and I can work my way through, or maybe they dicovered the baby boomer market.
Hi Melanie, How are you doing? I'm still hanging in there like Jenny. Just takes longer to do things,even at work.
Take Care Charllotte

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#119886 - 01/15/06 12:05 PM Re: Have you done any beta testing?
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Glad to hear you're hanging in there, Charlotte. About the same for me. smile
_________________________
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

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