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Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 5:17:43 PM   
stormbringer3

 

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I have seen requests for beta testers lately, but I have never done anything like this before. I have been boardgaming and PC gaming for about 50 years so I feel that I have the needed gaming experience. If I was to volunteer as a beta tester what would I be getting myself into?
Any opinions are welcome.
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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 5:32:48 PM   
JudgeDredd


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A fair bit of work. You don't need to be hard at it 24/7 - but a fair bit of dedicated time is required.

A couple of points that might put you off
1. You don't "play" the game - you are looking for bugs. So playing isn't really top of the agenda...of course you play - but with an eye to catching things that aren't right or don't look right - not with an eye to enjoying yourself
2. You get to know the intricacies of the game - and that can be off putting as the game mechanics become transparent and that sometimes takes away from the illusion of gaming
3. As much as you want to, you can't tell anyone anything about the game as you have signed an NDA (non disclosure agreement)

It's very rewarding catching things that don't seem to work right. It's nice when the game gets released and you've helped have a hand in what it has become (albeit late in the day) - and it can be fun.

If you have a remote interest in helping then sign up and give it a go. You are not normally under any obligation to continue (I've signed up for one or two and didn't actually get on with the game and dropped out - and another time a family matter caused me to leave)...so you can sign up and try - if it isn't you're bag, then you don't need to continue...though you will have to keep quiet about the game...


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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 5:38:10 PM   
Barthheart


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JD covered it pretty well.

I've tested 5 or 6 games for Matrix and overall it's a rewarding experience.

Plus you usually get a copy of the game when it's release.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 6:26:20 PM   
JudgeDredd


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Oh - I forgot about that bit
 
However - I do have to reiterate (because I'm thinking I actually won't beta test anymore because of this) - you do get to know pretty intricately the workings of the engine...and I've slowly been noticing that it really does affect my enjoyment of a game....which is made all the worse if it's a game I was really looking forward to.
 
But - as I said, if you are interested, then give it a go...

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 7:20:43 PM   
Hertston


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stormbringer3
I have seen requests for beta testers lately, but I have never done anything like this before. I have been boardgaming and PC gaming for about 50 years so I feel that I have the needed gaming experience. If I was to volunteer as a beta tester what would I be getting myself into?
Any opinions are welcome.


Make sure you have the time. I had to effectively drop out of a couple of Matrix betas because I really didn't and and still feel vaguely bad about it; this isn't EA, there are usually only a few testers not hundreds and every man (or woman) counts, as they say. If you have the time, you'll have great fun.. beta games are well enough developed that testing isn't a chore, yet there's still still plenty to find and your input and suggestions can still make their way into the game.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 10:22:21 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Barthheart
JD covered it pretty well.


Yup - might I add that I think it's something that every wargamer should have tried at least once. You might or might not like it, but it's an experience which makes you appreciate games and game developers a lot more.

It's a very rewarding experience, but watch out for beta bunny burn-out - been there, done that

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx




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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 11:13:19 PM   
Fred98


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I too have been a tester.

As a tester you can influence. You find something that is not a bug - but surely the other way is better!

-


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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/19/2011 11:14:07 PM   
berto


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One caveat: If you are too observant, too critical, too anal retentive -- your fellow testers and the devs might find you annoying. In a way, I don't get it. Isn't it the job of a beta tester to find fault? Be that as it may, be prepared to hold back, to mute your criticisms, if you want to get along and you don't want others to think you're a PITA.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 7:17:02 AM   
JudgeDredd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

One caveat: If you are too observant, too critical, too anal retentive -- your fellow testers and the devs might find you annoying. In a way, I don't get it. Isn't it the job of a beta tester to find fault? Be that as it may, be prepared to hold back, to mute your criticisms, if you want to get along and you don't want others to think you're a PITA.

^^ Definitely not - and if that has been your experience then you have had a (several?) bad experience(s).

As a beta tester, you are required to mention any and all bugs you find. Even if it may not be a bug - you must mention it - let them tell you it's working as designed (wad) or if it is really a bug. Also, you seldom (I've never) receive a manual - so you are playing it through fresh eyes with no rule book - so if something doesn't appear right, you should mention it - because you aren't really to know whether it's right or not - you are actually looking at it from a players perspective at that point...and you've noticed something that doesn't seem right.

There is one instance that comes to mind where I think you should bite your tongue - and even then - you should've mentioned it (forecefully if you wish) at least once anyway...

As a beta tester, a lot of the core design decisions have been made. These could well be deeply rooted into the core code. It may be impossible to change that feature (and in my experience often is) - BUT - it is your job to mention what you have spotted. You need to let the dev know that you think they may have made a mistake in this particular area. But you should bite your tongue if the developer gives his response. If he's not willing to change it (because it's too hard, or he's made his decision or whatever it is) then that's when you bite your tongue. They've done their job and programmed it - you've done your job and told them it shouldn't be done that way - whatever comes of it, you've done what you need to do as a tester - brought it to their attention. Walk away. It tends to turn the forum into a very unhappy place and demoralises the team if an individual will not let go of something, regardless of what the developer has come back with.

So you do your job - you mention things that look like design flaws and bugs and move on - you've done what's been asked of you.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 10:16:06 AM   
warspite1


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+1 totally agree with the above comments.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 12:55:01 PM   
berto


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

One caveat: If you are too observant, too critical, too anal retentive -- your fellow testers and the devs might find you annoying. In a way, I don't get it. Isn't it the job of a beta tester to find fault? Be that as it may, be prepared to hold back, to mute your criticisms, if you want to get along and you don't want others to think you're a PITA.

^^ Definitely not - and if that has been your experience then you have had a (several?) bad experience(s).

Well, I guess I had a bad experience!

To be fair, the flak I got was from a fellow beta tester, not from the devs.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 3:42:06 PM   
Scott_WAR

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

One caveat: If you are too observant, too critical, too anal retentive -- your fellow testers and the devs might find you annoying. In a way, I don't get it. Isn't it the job of a beta tester to find fault? Be that as it may, be prepared to hold back, to mute your criticisms, if you want to get along and you don't want others to think you're a PITA.

^^ Definitely not - and if that has been your experience then you have had a (several?) bad experience(s).

Well, I guess I had a bad experience!

To be fair, the flak I got was from a fellow beta tester, not from the devs.



You should have notified the developers that this particular beta tester was encouraging people NOT to do their jobs. They probably would have removed him,...and for good reason. You NEVER ignore a bug or problem if you are a beta tester. That defeats the purpose of beta testing.
Even if you are sure a bug has been reported you stil report it. For several reasons-- the devs need to know how often the bug is popping up,...they need to have an idea if its hardware or software related,...they may think they have it fixed, and if people dont report it because its obvious,..it may just make it into the game.

< Message edited by Scott_WAR -- 7/20/2011 3:45:13 PM >

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 4:15:50 PM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stormbringer3

I have seen requests for beta testers lately, but I have never done anything like this before. I have been boardgaming and PC gaming for about 50 years so I feel that I have the needed gaming experience. If I was to volunteer as a beta tester what would I be getting myself into?
Any opinions are welcome.

Screen the developer before joining.

Examine their relations with community - if they are abusive towards the community and/or have poor reputation, keep away from them as it's easy to get drawn into various weird conflicts and situations.

Make sure that you're working for someone with talent, skills and funds - someone who is capable of making changes to game and releasing it in good condition. Otherwise beta-testing may be a very frustrating experience and you may be one of those who are blamed by the public for what is released.

Make sure that they have good security. Generally, at least have some way of identifying what goes to who and keeping stuff separate. If they don't have ways of let's say identifying someone who leaked a beta, keep away from them - if someone will leak it, most of beta testing team, including you will be treated as suspects.

< Message edited by Perturabo -- 7/20/2011 4:18:19 PM >


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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/20/2011 5:53:05 PM   
sullafelix

 

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I will add that please make sure you are testing the programmers/developers game and not what you want or feel it should be. I have seen more than a few long fights about parts of a game that were WAD and not errors or problems.

" 1. You don't "play" the game - you are looking for bugs. So playing isn't really top of the agenda...of course you play - but with an eye to catching things that aren't right or don't look right - not with an eye to enjoying yourself "

I don't think I completely agree. At sometime every tester has to " play " the game. Just because a game is working correctly and there are no bugs you still might have to tell the developer that his game at that moment is really not enjoyable etc..



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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/21/2011 9:08:41 PM   
stormbringer3

 

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Thanks for all the imput!! It'll be very helpful in making my decision.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/21/2011 11:24:18 PM   
wodin


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Time dedicated to a game is what puts me off...I also agree with JD you can end up being burnt out on a game you where looking forward to and you've burnt out on it even before it's finished.

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RE: Beta tester question. - 7/22/2011 3:06:28 AM   
Jeffrey H.


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I didn't enjoy it. By the time we got rolling I realized there was really only one aspect I was truly interested in and we weren't going to through that part.

I ended up spending loads of time on something that didn't interest me and I eventually backed out.


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