Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[TRENCHES] Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - Aegis

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Super Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited May 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Aegis


Aegis
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/untitled69

Promises and Respect

Anonymous

I entered the beta test world at a point where a lot of it was starting to be done by people found online. At this point, beta testers were still expected to submit bug reports on a daily basis. After all, we were there to improve the game, not just demo it so we could tell our friends.

Two experiences stand out.

The first: I became a beta tester for a small company’s third title - an RTS. Early on in the testing cycle, I posted a suggestion on the beta forum that one of the units in the game ran counter to the stated purpose of the game. In short, it was too powerful for a game promoting mobility over traditional RTS turtle tactics. A number of other testers weighed in on the subject, everyone made their arguments in a respectful manner, and we moved on. After the next patch came through, the devs had in fact lessened the strength of that unit, and over the course of several patches raised and lowered the strength until they got it just right and it matched the intended flow of the game. This was the standard way in which bugs and features were dealt with. Our opinions mattered and we knew it.

It was a small company, and they could not provide us with copies of the game. I happily paid the money for the game and every expansion they released for it.

The second: A major game company sought beta testers for the sequel to a very popular PC racing title. Like the first example, the devs were insistent on beta testers submitting regular bug reports. Instead of setting up a forum, we were provided with an email address. On the very first day of the beta I discovered three crippling bugs which either led to game crashes, or graphics so utterly corrupted that I had to ALT-F4 just to regain control of my computer. I reproduced the bugs several times each, took screenshots, and documented everything. I then submitted all of this to the proper email address.

The email bounced back at me as “address unknown”. and continued to do so all week, to which point I was submitting a week’s worth of bug reports. At the end of the week a mass email was sent out to all of the beta testers, thanking us for our efforts.

Ten days later the game ships, and we all got free copies of the game couriered to our doors… bugs and all. Most of the subsequent fixes came from players modding the game. It was never patched.

The first company gave me nothing, but listened to my input. The second company didn’t even bother to pretend to listen, and gave me a $50 game. Guess which game I am happier having tested?


Posts

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Not the Equines of Gallop 7! D:

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    First game sounds like total annihilation? Only RTS I can think of of that scale, but never played it so I dont know about "mobility over turtle".

    edit: If this is moving towards an occupy movement in the mmo, I think I am done.

    DiannaoChong on
    steam_sig.png
  • thegreenmonkeythegreenmonkey Registered User regular
    Under those conditions I believe I would support the former game as well. I like to see that my input has some meaning, and as a past beta-tester myself bugs I've reported have not always been dealt with after launch let alone before. That's just a sign of poor management in my opinion.

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    First game sounds like total annihilation? Only RTS I can think of of that scale, but never played it so I dont know about "mobility over turtle".

    edit: If this is moving towards an occupy movement in the mmo, I think I am done.

    Eh, could you show me how you came to think that they may be "moving towards an occupy movement" from that comic?

    Yeah, I'd feel better about the former rather than latter project.

    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    First game sounds like total annihilation? Only RTS I can think of of that scale, but never played it so I dont know about "mobility over turtle".

    edit: If this is moving towards an occupy movement in the mmo, I think I am done.

    Eh, could you show me how you came to think that they may be "moving towards an occupy movement" from that comic?

    Yeah, I'd feel better about the former rather than latter project.

    Haves and the have nots, a new currency screws everyone who hasn't gotten anything yet, while the "rich stay rich" becuase they have everything they need already.

    steam_sig.png
  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    First game sounds like total annihilation? Only RTS I can think of of that scale, but never played it so I dont know about "mobility over turtle".

    edit: If this is moving towards an occupy movement in the mmo, I think I am done.

    Eh, could you show me how you came to think that they may be "moving towards an occupy movement" from that comic?

    Yeah, I'd feel better about the former rather than latter project.

    Haves and the have nots, a new currency screws everyone who hasn't gotten anything yet, while the "rich stay rich" becuase they have everything they need already.

    Hmm... I guess the setup for a situation like that is kind of there... but in this case the majority would be rich in that they have all that they need but the minority who didn't go to the node wouldn't, since the crowds were big enough to crash the servers, but idk.

    guess we'll see if it develops the wy you're feeling next ep?

    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X When you speak I hear muffinsRegistered User regular
    Introduce a new tier of equipment, devalues all the legendary stuff everyone already got. ;D

    camo_sig2.png
  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    Green is the new Purple.


    Could also be the Kohan series? TimeGate is a fairly small, friendly (and poor) studio.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Ori Klein wrote: »
    Green is the new Purple.


    Could also be the Kohan series? TimeGate is a fairly small, friendly (and poor) studio.

    Kohan's design wouldn't really support anything that could be described as a "turtle" unit. Also, the original Kohan was TimeGate's first release.

    twitter, github, resume/portfolio, if you like to play or host boardgames online, check out handtracker
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    First game sounds like total annihilation? Only RTS I can think of of that scale, but never played it so I dont know about "mobility over turtle".

    edit: If this is moving towards an occupy movement in the mmo, I think I am done.
    In short, it was too powerful for a game promoting mobility over traditional RTS turtle tactics.
    Eh, doesn't really sound like TA to me. TA definitely had a strong defense component.

    Patch 5.4 wrote:
    First win of the day now awards 150 Conquest Points (up from 100).
    Subsequent wins now awards 75 Conquest Points (up from 50).
    YES! I AM INVINCIBLE!
  • ApolloinApolloin Registered User regular
    Under those conditions I believe I would support the former game as well. I like to see that my input has some meaning, and as a past beta-tester myself bugs I've reported have not always been dealt with after launch let alone before. That's just a sign of poor management in my opinion.

    It's always hard for QA and Beta Testers to understand but often the decision on whether or not to address a bug is not a technical one but an economic one. If a texture is flagged wrong or an object is poorly located in the world (floating a foot off the ground) or some quest text is mispelled then these issues are likely to be fixed. If the resource handler is causing a memory leak that proves a show stopper to systems with 4Gb of RAM or less within 2-3 hours of constant play? That's not going to be fixed in crunch time, since the fix could conceivably create show-stopper bugs on ALL systems 100% of the time. A bug in the fundamental infrastructure of the engine might never be addressed until the next version of the game since the amount of time to rework other modules to work with the re-worked infrastructure modules could snowball out of all compass untill it requires hundreds of man-hours to address.

    Yes, finding bugs is a skill and making them 100% reproducable is an even better skill - but finding the bug and how to reproduce it is not necessarily even a big part of actually fixing it.

  • skim172skim172 Registered User regular
    Not a big RTS guy, but "mobility over turtle tactics" made me think of my favorite RTS, Homeworld. That was Relic Entertainment's first game, but, while their third game was a little known bust, their fourth one was Warhammer 40,000, which was wildly successful and has had multiple sequels and expansion packs. Maybe the writer, like many other people, didn't know Relic had that embarrassing third title? Dunno enough about the studio to know if it counts as "small," though. My $0.02.

  • NyreafNyreaf Registered User
    Skim172,

    You're exactly correct! I did forget about Relic's third game, Impossible Creatures. The game from example 1 was Dawn of War. The second example was Midtown Madness 2.

  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Huh. I was about to say that the Dawn of War I played was fairly turtle-able, even before the Imperial Guard got up ins. In fact my fondest memory of the game was on that long narrow 3v3 where myself and my allies were Space Marines, and our enemies were all Eldar. It was the hugest, explodiest, bloodiest, glorious turtle hell shitstorm I've ever seen.

    Aurich on
  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    skim172 wrote: »
    Not a big RTS guy, but "mobility over turtle tactics" made me think of my favorite RTS, Homeworld. That was Relic Entertainment's first game, but, while their third game was a little known bust, their fourth one was Warhammer 40,000, which was wildly successful and has had multiple sequels and expansion packs. Maybe the writer, like many other people, didn't know Relic had that embarrassing third title? Dunno enough about the studio to know if it counts as "small," though. My $0.02.

    That guy Beta-tested Homeworld? He's my hero!

    Serious if you just update the graphics and the skins on the ships... Homeworld will still be a Hit and competitive vs today's RTS.

    714353-1.png
Sign In or Register to comment.