I was reading about the failure of Elemental at release over at rockpapershotgun http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/03/blindness-caused-elemental-release-fail/ It made me think of something I hadnt really considered much yet. That is, the release testing! It scares me silly that I'd release something that literally couldnt be played by anyone but me. Although I like to think I've got a fairly pragmatic design sense at least. I've got some fair resources (in the form of my students) when it comes to basic testing, but as anyone whose released a major game will tell you, complex games have a LOT of bugs. Hell we used to have a pretty big test departnment and still shipped with bugs. Now its just me I reckon I'll have kittens when trying to release my game. How do you guys handle testing cycles? Do you have alpha/beta tests? Do you have a significant number of testers? Do you find you have lots of bugs on release? If so, how do you handle the fallout of those bugs? I've always thought that having a "soft launch" would be the way to go, but I've heard plenty of people now saying that isnt such a great idea. So maybe instead it should just go into a long beta with a fairly limited set of testers instead? Thoughts please?