View Full Version : Help with indie game.
09-26-2004, 09:54 PM
Howdy! I'm new to this forum (obviously), and haven't really read around much beyond this section, but it seems the right place to ask some questions...
I'm currently making a game I plan to release as shareware, a "try the demo, buy the full game" type deal. I intend to go through this site and others for ideas and advice, but for now, if I post a few basic questions, I'm hoping I can get a few basic answers from another's experiences, or at least a pointer on where to find some info.
Basically, my game is still a few months out from completion, and I have come to the point where I need some serious play/bug testing, and I am afraid I may not be up to the task all by my lonesome... so does anybody know where there is a legion of willing testers, and what are the possible ethical considerations of asking complete strangers to volunteer time to a project you plan to make (understandably minimal) money on?
Then, when the game is actually done, what are good places to let the word be known?
Anyway, greetings to all, and thanks ahead for any help.
09-26-2004, 11:19 PM
You might offer some form of compensation for starters. Since cash is not in plentiful supply you could offer free copies of your game to the testers.
Better yes, devise a reward scheme proportional to the number of bugs discovered by your testers.. that will improve your chances of getting more rigorous testing! :)
09-27-2004, 08:45 AM
Working in the retail game industry, I learned that only a fraction of the unpaid beta-testers actually provided us with useful test reports. The majority just wanted to play an early release of the game for free.
Another thing I've noticed is that free testing help can get 'used up.' People trying out your game for the first time are happy to provide feedback, note bugs, etc. But after they've played through a half-dozen revisions, their motivation is low, and they don't give it the kind of detail they once did.
One thing I did that worked really well was to bribe people with pizza. I joined forces with a local gaming studio that was also working on an indie game, and we tried to recruit help for a day of beta-testing. We basically turned it into a LAN party. Watching over someone's shoulder as the play the game, noting where they are having trouble, etc. is WAY more valuable than test reports, IMO.
Here's a little report on what we did:
09-27-2004, 09:23 AM
It is only fair to give a free copy to playtesters... provided they are actually giving a fair number of good reports.
I put out a link on a fairly obscure board two months ago for my 0.90 version, and the two people who tried it out are still sending me in ideas and reports, so they will get the full version for free. I hope to gain some good feedback here, too, and will certainly do the same for playtesters here.
As for "bribing" with pizza- I'll get with my friends....
And I'll check out your link, thanks!
09-27-2004, 09:32 AM
So, Coyote, I assume you just put out a call for friends of friends and family members who were willing?
How was your feedback? Are friends willing to grill you on your game, as much as complete strangers?
09-27-2004, 11:06 AM
Actually, the guys LEAST likely to grill me about the game were fellow game developers. They were too polite.
But yes - I went through a list of 'friends who game,' 'coworkers who game,' and we even had some guys at a local LAN gaming center provide us with some feedback. We just kept broadening out list of contacts, but we tried in ach case we got people that at least one other person could vouch for.
Some of the best responses we got were from the son of one of the modelers. He is about ten years old, and while some of his comments were way out of left field, he did give us some suggestions and comments that we immediately kicked ourselves for not having recognized earlier. Sometimes you need a kid to say that the Emperor is naked.
09-28-2004, 03:54 PM
I suggest that you get some people in their 40's, 50's and 60's to play it. I learned much from watching friends of my parents attempt to learn to play my game. Writing instructions that anyone can easily understand is not an easy task.
09-28-2004, 06:05 PM
I suggest that you get some people in their 40's, 50's and 60's to play it.
Actually, I am lucky enough to have friends that age, and (months ago) they tried it out, following the tutorial (with me standing over shoulder, but otherwise just watching), and had no problems.
However, 2 people is not a very big sampling of the public, so I definitely need to expose it to more help...
09-29-2004, 09:24 PM
:) Welcome to the board. :)
09-30-2004, 06:03 AM
Why thank you!
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