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#120116 - 01/19/06 01:39 AM Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Skye Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 294
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Given that my game will be going to beta very shortly I was wondering if any of you could fill me in on how a beta tester deals with puzzles in the game . . . .

Do they struggle to figure the puzzles out?
- or -
Do they give it a few attempts then contact the developer for hints or a solution?

I assume part of the beta process is making sure that the puzzle can't be 'broken'; that is, the puzzle is constructed so that an unsuspecting player can't accidently do something that will deadend the game or get the puzzle to work without going through the necessary steps.

Thanks

Skye
_________________________
Indie Developer of Scavenger Hunter
The Replayable Adventure Game!
Released Dec 16/06! Order Now at:
http://www.Sagewood-Software.ca

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#120117 - 01/19/06 02:53 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Ivinia Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 404
Loc: Cleveland, OH
We usually fumble around with it, then ask the developer if its broken...

The developer will then give us assurances that it truly is not broken and can be solved...

We fumble around with it some more and ask the developer if they really are certain it isn't broken...

The developer will then give us assurances that it truly is not broken and can be solved...

We fumble around with it some more and then ask for a slight nudge in the right direction...

The developer will then give us an exceedingly cryptic nudge that they think is far too easy to figure out since they already know the answer...

We fumble around with it some more wondering why we are so stupid for not being able to get through this particular challenge, then it happens - the paranoia. Feeling as though we have bothered the developer too much already about it and don't want them to think we are complete idiots, we stop playing and watch a movie or go out to eat.

Now feeling a bit guilty about not fulfilling our duties, we grudgingly go back to the offending puzzle. Hours pass...frustrations build and in a complete act of desperation (and no longer caring how dumb the developer thinks we are) we ask again for a hint.

The developer reveals that others have also had problems with that part and it is a bug... rotfl

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#120118 - 01/19/06 03:16 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Skye Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 294
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
That's good Ivinia and I promise I won't feel like you are bothering me if you have a problem figuring out any of my puzzles wink

BTW none of them are broken and they can all be solved . . . .
_________________________
Indie Developer of Scavenger Hunter
The Replayable Adventure Game!
Released Dec 16/06! Order Now at:
http://www.Sagewood-Software.ca

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#120119 - 01/19/06 03:45 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
That is a good one, Ivinia. lol

Skye, I think a good beta tester should exhaust every possible idea and work on the puzzle diligently several times and on different days trying to figure it out before asking for a hint. When at the point of maximum frustration smile a hint is in order. He/She should be looking at all the possible problems you mentioned, but the possibility of some puzzles that might be just too obscure for most people to solve should also be important feedback for you if several testers find the puzzle impossible to do without help.

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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#120120 - 01/19/06 08:12 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
looney4labs Online   content
GB Reviewer Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 41474
Loc: Alabama
Ivinia described what happened to me the first time I beta tested. I thought I needed to finish the game before I contacted him---
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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

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#120121 - 01/20/06 10:26 PM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Jenny Offline
Grande Olde Dame
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 12/04/99
Posts: 31223
Loc: Northwestern New Mexico, USA
I beta tested one of our member's games a year or two ago, and was furnished a printed walkthrough that I could use if I got too frustrated. I'm sure it saved the developer a lot of e-mails, and on the report at the end of the test, I just indicated which puzzles (there were a couple of them) that I had to consult the walkthrough for. That sort of left it up to the developer--if a bunch of people said the same thing, the puzzle might take some more work; if I was the only one who had trouble, then we all know what that meant... blush
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"Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy." Anonymous

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#120122 - 01/21/06 05:52 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Skye Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 294
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Jenny:
I beta tested one of our member's games a year or two ago, and was furnished a printed walkthrough that I could use if I got too frustrated.
That sounds like a good idea, mind you a walk through for my game is next to impossible, but a set of puzzle solutions might be a handy thing to include with the Beta version or at least something I could provide on request.

Skye
_________________________
Indie Developer of Scavenger Hunter
The Replayable Adventure Game!
Released Dec 16/06! Order Now at:
http://www.Sagewood-Software.ca

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#120123 - 01/21/06 08:40 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Diamond Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 534
Loc: Yorkshire
The solvability and dificulty of the puzzles should be completely worked out and set at the Alpha stage. Beta testing should really be about finding bugs and have the developer fix them. Most publishers define Beta as a completely playable game that could be released at a push.

If you think that a puzzle isn't solvable at a Beta stage (and you're pretty sure you've done everything right), then it's going to be a bug and should be reported as such.
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Steve

Steve Ince, Writer-Designer
Steve on Twitter

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#120124 - 02/09/06 05:55 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
Skye Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 294
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Ivinia:
We usually fumble around with it, then ask the developer if its broken...

The developer will then give us assurances that it truly is not broken and can be solved...

Yep, It happened. lol

Actually I was quite pleased that the bug was found, imagine if it had gotten released with this problem scared Yikes!!

Anyhow, I look forward to working with you Ivinia . . .

Skye
_________________________
Indie Developer of Scavenger Hunter
The Replayable Adventure Game!
Released Dec 16/06! Order Now at:
http://www.Sagewood-Software.ca

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#120125 - 02/09/06 08:40 AM Re: Beta Testing and Game Puzzles
looney4labs Online   content
GB Reviewer Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 41474
Loc: Alabama
Someone I have beta tested for usually provides a set of questions on the disk that can be refered to--"How do get this item?" or W"hat do i do after I do do that?", or "I can't solve this. Help me"--that works quite well for me--

luck
_________________________
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

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