PLAYTESTERS-GOOD OR BAD?

Posts

Pages: first 12 next last
this is a debate/discussion forumn.
if, like me, you suck so badly at game design that you need to run your project over 1,000,000 times to make sure it doesn't make you hang your head in shame displaying it, you should probably use a classic element of game denelopment- playtesters.
KNOWN PROS OF PLAYTESTERS:
-better game
-get feedback before you launch a game
-see how much people like it before you launch it
KNOWN CONS OF PLAYTESTERS:
-file sharing to get them the game can be backbreaking, and it might spread a computer virus/spyware
-some (or most) people don't have WinRar (me one of them) to unzip tiresome .zip files that people hate that you send games to them (we're looking at you, enterbrain.)
-most playtesters whant money (yeah. money) to test your game that will be free when you launch (WTF???)


get ready.... DISCUS!!!!!
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
You need playtesters. There is no choice, and all of your cons suck.

1) RMN has lockerspace
2) You're silly if you don't have WinRAR or 7zip
3) I have never seen a playtester want money, ever. I've been in the community for ~seven years
Yeah... basically, there are no CONS, only PROS. And having to playtest your game 10000 times to make sure there are no bugs makes you a good designer, not a bad one.
KNOWN CONS OF PLAYTESTERS:
-file sharing to get them the game can be backbreaking, and it might spread a computer virus/spyware
-some (or most) people don't have WinRar (me one of them) to unzip tiresome .zip files that people hate that you send games to them (we're looking at you, enterbrain.)
-most playtesters whant money (yeah. money) to test your game that will be free when you launch (WTF???)


These are all cons of Playtesters.. In Bizarro world!

1) Um.. I just upload the game once and give the link to many people?
2) I tell everyone to use .zip all the time since your computer has it built in. And why is this Enterbrain's fault?
3) I've never found someone who asked for money to playtest my game before. Even commercial game companies do open beta testing with little if any reimbursement to the players.
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
20836
I depend on the kindness of strangers (hey Craze!) to do my playtesting. So far it's worked out pretty okay for me.

It's super helpful to have an itemized list of GOOD/BAD/NOTABLE things about your game.

Some REAL cons:
- Must be willing to carefully weigh any advice or suggestions given, and be prepared to: A) reject their advice (with justification) or B) Throw away "your precious" game component and rebuild that section
- Development time increases
- Scope Creep issues
- Potential for wholesale rejection of your project by players
- Finding willing playtesters

And, kind of related, you can wear out your audience with repeated demo releases.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
author=kentona
And, kind of related, you can wear out your audience with repeated demo releases.


I'd say that this is because we have a small and fairly insular community more than repeated demo releases - the same people would play them each time, instead of a rotation.
I've gotten some playtesters for Intrepid Inspector, and so far it's turned up a lot of issues, big and small, and will really help get the game into shape. So I'm all for them.
As a one-time playtester (for Deckiller's Carlsev Saga), I'd have to agree with current majority. The pro arguments you list are valid, the con aren't.

1)There are currently several sites where a file could be uploaded to transmit - or, alternately, some IM systems have a file transfer mechanism in them.

2)WinRAR is a free download, and although the in-system pop-up adds after the trial expires can be annoying, they don't prevent the program from running. Alternately, WinXP has a built-in ZIP function - check out the 'create new compressed folder' option. (Don't know about Vista or Win7.)

3) If you've run into people who are requiring financial compensation, you're running into the wrong type of tester. If it's someone you deal with in the real world, then that's your call - having a financial stake in the job can enhance their performance, but it's something that needs to be covered face-to-face. For an online tester, uh, no.

As you yourself pointed out in your pro section ('get feedback before you launch a game '), the beta testers are seeing the game before it goes live. For me, at least, that's recompense enough in itself - if I'm offering to beta your game, it's because I'm interested in the game. (I'm not going to spend my time playing a game I'm fairly sure I won't like...or worse, won't care about at all.) If I'm accepted as a beta tester, it means I got a free preview of the game, for all intents and purposes. Couple that with actual beta testing (trying everything to break the game, with detailed notes on when and how you succeeded), and it seems to me an agreeable mutual exchange, with nothing else required.
KNOWN CONS OF PLAYTESTERS:
-file sharing to get them the game can be backbreaking, and it might spread a computer virus/spyware
-some (or most) people don't have WinRar (me one of them) to unzip tiresome .zip files that people hate that you send games to them (we're looking at you, enterbrain.)
-most playtesters whant money (yeah. money) to test your game that will be free when you launch (WTF???)
Do we hang around the same internet?
playtesters bad bugs good
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
author=EnderX
Couple that with actual beta testing (trying everything to break the game, with detailed notes on when and how you succeeded), and it seems to me an agreeable mutual exchange, with nothing else required.


This is not playing a game. It is not very fun. Let's Playing and/or taking notes is exhausting.
YDS
member of the bull moose party
2441
As someone who makes a bajillion bugs, I'd say play testers are important. There are drawbacks, yes, but for me, I absolutely need people to test my game .

pss I don't really understand your cons. They can easily be averted as someone stated above.
KingArthur
( ̄▽ ̄)ノ De-facto operator of the unofficial RMN IRC channel.
1217
-file sharing to get them the game can be backbreaking, and it might spread a computer virus/spyware

AV software + good computer habits + archives + good computer habits.

Did I mention good computer habits?

-some (or most) people don't have WinRar (me one of them) to unzip tiresome .zip files that people hate that you send games to them (we're looking at you, enterbrain.)

1. Get WinRAR or 7-Zip.
2. Use self-extracting archives. They are self-extracting for a reason.
3. What has Enterbrain got to do with this?
4. Windows XP (and I believe Windows 2000?) as well as subsequent versions have native ZIP extraction support.

-most playtesters whant money (yeah. money) to test your game that will be free when you launch (WTF???)

They probably won't make good playtesters anyway given the context of this community.
author=Craze
This is not playing a game. It is not very fun. Let's Playing and/or taking notes is exhausting.


Your point?

I admit I may be coming at it from a bizarre angle. I program for a living - I'm simply applying what I consider appropriate QA tactics to the game. It may be less fun than a free-flow playthrough for others, but it's what I do anyway. I think I've trained myself to be stuck in QA mode. I haven't noticed any change in fun levels on my own part, anyway. The only difference is my notepad jots when I'm actively trying to Beta tend to be larger than the ones I make when I'm not. (Yes, I still mark things when I'm just trying to play through the game for myself.)
Ocean
Resident foodmonster
11243
if, like me, you suck so badly at game design that you need to run your project over 1,000,000 times to make sure it doesn't make you hang your head in shame displaying it, you should probably use a classic element of game denelopment- playtesters.

I wish people would do this more anyway! It's pretty frequent to just play through a game normally and then have some game breaking bug or very noticeable bug that could have been easily caught by the developer had they only played their game! Yes, play your whole game from the beginning again before releasing, don't assume it works!

It will be hard for the developer themselves to catch all the bugs by themselves because they will play it a certain way because they know how it works. Playtesting is important. Now the main thing is to try to get playtesters who aren't in it only to play your game first. I hate playtesters like that. It's fine to want to try to play a game first, but they should be testing stuff, not just casually playing!
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
EnderX: I write things down, too; I hope that most devs do. Anyway, you said that it's an "agreeable mutual exchange" for a person interested in a game to test it, and I was saying "hahahahahahahha no it is not fun at all; the dev is exchanging your time for PAIN."
I don't know, I have fun writing a ton of stuff down and disassembling a game as I play it.
@Craze:
I may be unfairly generalizing, but it is an agreeable exchange in my case. There's no 'pain' involved.

And as to your comments about writing things down, your mention of 'dev' implies that you're thinking in terms of your own work. Do you do that for every RM game you play? If not, then it's not the same as where I'm coming from.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
I have no idea what you are saying.
Pages: first 12 next last