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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Weekly Update Sun 12th Dec 2010 7:02pm

Category: Weekly Updates

I think a lot of people don't know the difference between 'testing' a game and 'playing' it.

A lot of people volunteer to be beta testers probably because they want to play the game early, before it's released, and because the position, the sliver of 'power', makes them feel special...
At least one person honestly mentioned that they'd want to be a tester for 'bragging rights', but I get the impression that many - most? - people are similarly motivated but keep it to themselves, maybe even deny it to themselves.

Every time I ask for testers, loads and loads of people volunteer, but often it seems that they're not doing so for the right reasons.
I've chosen testers before only to find out that once they had the special position that they wanted, they didn't actually want to do the *work* involved. Being a beta tester made them feel nice, but that wasn't enough to motivate them to spend hours and hours playing the game over and over again while enduring bugs and missing features.

Whether or not you'd make a good tester is based on how you'd react to a situation in which you'd been playing for several hours, and then a bug caused you to lose your save data, or for you to lose items or something like that which would make further progression impossible.
Someone who merely wanted to *play* the game would get frustrated here and lose their attention span, probably quitting.
A good beta tester, however, would *record the bug in detail*, see if they could find out *why* it's happening - not just *what* is happening - and then they'd start again from the very beginning and play to that point once more.

A good beta tester would also provide regular feedback, rather than being off in their own little world while playing the game. They're not there to play it, but to analyse it.

In fact, being a tester generally takes the fun out of a game, or at least some of it, since you're supposed to approach it in a completely different state of mind...

I have chosen beta testers before who I didn't know very well, who didn't post often at all except to show interest in being a tester.
Generally those people provided poor or no feedback, or they quit after some minor frustration, or when their attention span ran out, or they just kept giving 'I don't have time to play it right now' excuses and never actually helped much at all.
Often it seems that half the beta testers I choose of any given group are almost no help at all... (I'm not sure on exact statistics here; it's just what I seem to remember.)
Note that these were all people who were eager to say what good testers they'd be in comments, which is why I chose them. They could 'sell themselves' but had nothing to back it up.
I think they honestly believed they would be good testers, but came to realise when the work was given to them that they were not.

Anyway, I've yet to choose testers, since the game's not at the stage where it can be tested yet (it'll probably take two or three more days), but it makes it annoying choosing when I've got hundreds of comments to go through, some from complete strangers who've never posted except to volunteer (why do they think I'd choose them? Would they choose a stranger in my position?), some from children far too young for such a duty, and many from people who probably wouldn't be very good testers at all...

So I'm not looking forward to trying to pick people. Hmm.
49 comments

 

49 Commentson 33 roots

MasterSwordsman`s Avatar
Rating Orb MasterSwordsman 13 United States MelancholicSanguine 121C 65F
7 years ago | (1)
Well after reading your post, I don't post, and I am a kid. So, I won't get picked. But I hope you find better testers. Hopefully ones that won't crap out on you O.o .
Wolfflow500`s Avatar
Rating Orb Wolfflow500 15 United States PhlegmaticSanguine 1C 0F
7 years ago | (3)
Usually, people don't understand the hardships of beta testing. I wanted to have the job so I could get free game, but I came to realize that it requires much or your time, concentration, and patience (such as trying to see if a scene triggers at the right moment or not). I could only test during an empty time in my calendar because of the college level of work I am receiving (I go to a very odd high school that focuses on preparing you for college). I honestly have the patience to play a game again and again since many a time my computer or power would shut off at the middle of a game (without autosave) and I would have to start all over or from a point. I also love to help other people in their goals even without a reward; I've been this way since I was young. I also notice the little things and keep video or hand written notes of them, but tops I could only keep playing if I knew how much time the game consisted of (time). I don't really think I could do this job unless I had a long hoiliday week though I would try my very best.
firecrow91`s Avatar
Rating Orb firecrow91 17 Canada MelancholicSanguine 9C 23F
7 years ago | (2)
The very fact that you posted this subject may in fact have a beneficial effect on the quality of the beta testers. I know that I for one, after reading this, was filled with a strong desire to "prove" that I could be a good beta tester (not that there is any chance whatsoever of my being picked) and I'm sure that there's also others who feel the same way, and who will try harder than they otherwise would at beta testing. Also, I'm not certain about half of all beta testers being useless, but it seems that most of your previously released games were either quite long (MARDEK) or quite difficult (Raider), which could quite easily seem daunting to a new beta tester who hadn't really thought about what they were getting into. A bug that occurs eight hours in or after fifty tries to get across a difficult jump and forces you to restart can be quite easily discouraging. From what you've said, it seems that CBC is neither as long or as difficult as these other games, which might help more beta testers keep beta testing and maybe get you some better results than previously.
Natter91`s Avatar
Rating Orb Natter91 19 United States Melancholic 13C 1F
7 years ago | (4)
I once said, at a presentation when I was younger, that I wanted to be a video game tester. All the other kids thought that was great. And a lot of older people think that too. But our conception of video game testers just sitting around playing games all day could not be more wrong. You wouldn't play the game; instead, it would be something like opening a door a hundred times to make sure the sound works every single time. It's not fun. It's beyond tedious. Most of you who say you want to really wouldn't if you knew what you'd be doing.
hardband`s Avatar
Rating Orb hardband 15 United Kingdom 25C 0F
7 years ago | (5)
Whoops, sorry for the double post as well. God, i make alot of mistakes :(
hardband`s Avatar
Rating Orb hardband 15 United Kingdom 25C 0F
7 years ago | (5)
I have this odd feeling the "stranger" comment was directed towards me. I do post on the site, but not regularly enough to be noticed. I am sorry if this has caused any inconvenience in the beta tester picking.
hardband`s Avatar
Rating Orb hardband 15 United Kingdom 25C 0F
7 years ago | (5)
I have this odd feeling the "stranger" comment was directed towards me. I do post on the site, but not regularly enough to be noticed. I am sorry if this has caused any inconvenience in the beta tester picking.
yancho1`s Avatar
Rating Orb yancho1 15 United States 14C 10F
7 years ago | (3)
Testing a game involves lots of methodical work. I'm not sure that many people have the right mindset to go through every single feature, test every room, every tile, to see if there is a bug. Also, one must test things that weren't meant to be done in certain places to try and see if there will be an error.
Also, Sturgeon's Law states: "Nothing is always absolutely so", while Sturgeon's Revelation says "Ninety percent of everything is crap". These two lines sum up testing. The first explains the game, the second, the testers.

Well, I hope that those chosen can actually test.....
DeNovo`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β DeNovo 24 United States MelancholicSanguine 244C 201F
7 years ago | (5)
I think if I recall correctly, your last invitation to beta test was a very intimidating (and rightfully so, says I) list of requirements, backed by a threat of blacklisting from future beta testing. It seems to have achieved the desired effect, so it might be a good idea to let all the unwitting hopefuls know the responsibilities (see also: risks) that come with beta testing. If nothing else, it'll turn a lot of the "pikc me!!" comments back into the "don't pikc mee D8" comments. :D
raventhefree`s Avatar
Rating Orb raventhefree 16 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 59C 8F
7 years ago | (2)
I very much agree with DeNovo's proposal. I, for one, would feel more comfortable if I knew the rules and restrictions of beta testing before fully committing to the test. Another thing before the beta test is making sure that people obey "The Mighty Rules" of the site; if they don't follow those, they're not going to follow Psuedo's rules either. All in all I feel bad for Pseudo--the stress of picking people isn't good for him!
8008man2`s Avatar
Rating Orb 8008man2 16 United States MelancholicSanguine 43C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
the only problem with people trying to sell themselves is you probably think you would be could because you say your an excessive gamer or your ocd about completing games. that might help with beta testing but i have a friend who beta tested for halo reach and he said it was a massive pain in the ass. you are not supposed to play the game for fun, but an intense and thourough "investigation of the game". he was told he had to play through the game and die in numerous possible ways with certain skulls on and at certain difficulty in order to try to find bugs. he also had to play on multiplayer on certain maps. he said there was practically no fun at all in playing the game. just keep this in mind when your trying to brag about how good of a beta tester you would make. also i have no interest in testing, as i would have no time with school.
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