Blackstone Academy for the Magical Arts - BETA TESTERS NEEDED

Welcome to the Blackstone Academy for the Magical Arts, a boarding school for arcane studies hidden away on a secret island in New England. In your first year, you’ll learn about your particular magical gifts, debate the ethics of spellcasting, soar through the air as a member of the skysailing team, make friends (or enemies!) and maybe find romance with one of your fellow students, or even a townie! You’re supposed to maintain the secrecy of the magical world, but do you really want to? Plus, there are deeper magical secrets to discover: conspiracies and mysteries that might shake the world…

Directions for beta-testing:
Email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access. (THIS HAS CHANGED.)

  • Do not send me DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or any other method than email.
  • When you send your EMAIL, include: – the game you want to test in the Subject line of the email. – your forum-name – your real name (first and last) — if your family/surname comes first, please indicate that. I will assume that your given name is listed first unless you tell me otherwise.
  • Do not email us multiple times about joining a beta. If you don’t email us as soon as we post a beta, you go into a queue. As we post new drafts, we admit more people from the queue. Eventually, we will get to you.

When you have been admitted to the beta, we will send you a link, a username, and a password as a reply to your email.

When you have feedback to submit:

  • Return feedback to beta@choiceofgames, preferably part of the same email thread/chain, rather than a new one.
  • Please send screenshots or copy/pasted quotes as often as you can; it helps us track down whatever observation you’re making. In particular, the author may see things that you don’t, and/or the screenshot may contain more information than you realize.
  • If you’re submitting feedback using the Bug/Submit button in the game, make sure you include your handle/name in the body of the email. The Submit button obscures your email address, and I can’t give you credit for feedback if I don’t know who you are.

DO NOT POST ASKING WHAT THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS IS. The first test to becoming a beta tester is inferring what it is based on the above paragraph.

Lastly, you cannot be testing two games at once. Send feedback on one and you can apply to another.

Tips on How to Give Feedback
I’m looking for “high level” and “low level” feedback. Not mid-level feedback.

Low-level = typos and continuity errors. A continuity error is when a character’s gender flips, or someone comes back from the dead, or you run into a plotline that just doesn’t make sense (because it’s probably a coding error).

For these low-level issues, screenshots are very helpful. If you see a problem, take a screenshot, or copy and paste the text that is in error, and email that.

“High level” feedback has to do with things like plot, pacing, and characters. “Scene A didn’t work for me because x, y, and z,” is useful feedback. “B character was entirely unsympathetic, because u, w, and v,” is also useful feedback.

“Mid-level” feedback describes things like grammar, style, word choice, or the use of commas. As I said above, I do not want mid-level feedback. In particular, DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT COMMAS.

“I had a great time and saw only a few spelling errors,” is not useful feedback. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that results in you not being given access to future betas.

Some examples of useful feedback
In Choice of the Dragon, you get to choose what type of wings you have: leather or scaled. Someone wrote in and asked about having feathered wings. Great suggestion! Done!

In “The Eagle’s Heir,” someone asked about Eugenie. They said that the romance moved too quickly–because she only appeared in the last third of the game–and wished they could have had an opportunity to meet her earlier. So the authors added an opportunity to meet her and start the romance earlier in the game (in a scene that already existed).

In “Demon Mark: A Russian Saga” several people commented on how the PC’s parents were unsympathetic, so the authors added a choice or two to deepen the relationship with the parents in the first chapter, to help better establish their characters.

Similarly, pointing out a specific choice and saying, “this is who I imagined my character was at this particular moment, and none of these options seemed right for me. I would have liked an option to do X instead,” is also really helpful feedback.

Another useful piece of feedback: if you choose an #option and then the results of that #option don’t make sense. Like, if you thought an #option might test one stat, but it seems to have tested a different one.

22 Likes

Wow, what a great response! We’ve admitted the first batch of beta testers.

If you sent an email but haven’t gotten a response yet, please don’t worry - we did get your email! There were just so many people that we couldn’t get them all in at once. Please DO NOT write again. You will be admitted in the next round, after a new draft has been posted.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm!

6 Likes

New draft is up! Changes include:

  • Stat tests made easier in Ch 1 and Ch 2
  • Lots of typos fixed
  • Exposed code in Ch 5 un-exposed

Again, if you have not yet been admitted to the beta test, it’s because we’ve had such a high volume of requests that we can’t accommodate them all at once. We did receive your request! You will be admitted to a later round.

This is version 19172

Thanks!

2 Likes

Am not on the beta test so I guess I don’t have first hand information but was it really necessary to lower the checks? Were they impossible to go through? Why I say this is because I remember playing the initial draft of *Sword of the Slayer" and going through it once without any hassles yet a lot of the beta testers kept asking for the difficulty and stat checks to be reduced which resulted in the final game being a stroll in the park that was literally impossible to fail and it was one of the major complaints on the review. Too easy, no sense of accomplishment, no need to replay and beat a previous failed challenge.
Just decided to put this out there

1 Like

Every game is different, and every game’s mechanics are different. If you would like to discuss game difficulty in general, please do it on another thread. If you would like to join the beta for this game, please follow the procedures above. Thank you.

1 Like

New draft!

Lots of edits to the first part of the game, including:

  • Many typos fixed
  • Person with the hot chocolate no longer teleports into the middle of the snowball fight
  • More info on the nature of magic early in the game
  • Some more recalibration of stat tests
  • New options for how to react to noticing that Jules is cheating in Mr. Delgado’s class
  • More clues about how Jae feels about magical creatures

This is version 19189.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted feedback so far!

If you have sent in a request and have not received a response, PLEASE BE PATIENT and please DO NOT EMAIL A SECOND TIME, and please ONLY EMAIL THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS and not any other address or person.

There is a very very very long waiting list for this beta (which is awesome! We’re really happy to see so much enthusiasm!) but that means that it may take a while before you receive a response, as we only admit new testers when we have a new draft of the game.

Thank you!

5 Likes

One more very quick edit! Fixed a bug that made some text in Ch 3 show up twice.

This is version 19196

2 Likes

NEW DRAFT! Lots and lots of changes in this one. Highlights include:

  • lots of adjustments in calibration of stat tests. It should now be easier to get good grades, and not as easy to end up in the Otherworld at the end
  • Lots of new scenes where the PC can hang out with friends, mainly in Ch 5 and Ch 6. There are major new one-on-one scenes with both Coach Rogers and Perry, and a group scene with Rosalind, Jules, and Esme.
  • New material in the romance scenes in Ch 6.
  • The romance with Perry can now start in Ch 5

This is version 19296.

2 Likes

One more quick fix! In Ch 2, it should now be clearer about what you can do if you don’t want to help Danny the werewolf.

This is version 19298.

2 Likes