Hello! I’m looking for alpha testers and readers for my fantasy WIP, Shepherds of Haven. (I use “alpha” to refer to a game that’s still in development and which will be updated frequently with new content, whereas a “beta” build is a game that’s already complete and is in need of final beta testing before publication.)
Shepherds of Haven is projected to be a very long game (500k-600k) so it could potentially be in development for a year or more. It is not yet complete by any means!
What the game is about
What I'm looking for
While general positivity, enthusiasm, and support are infinitely welcome, I would also really appreciate:
People who are okay with replaying/speed-running through the same thing several times. There is a save system in place, but updating files in dashingdon will cause progress to reset to certain points, so there will potentially be a lot of repetition. I will do my best to mitigate this, but it’s definitely a part of the alpha process!
People who have a good memory and eye for detail. I don’t need anyone to actively hunt for bugs or typos until the beta phase–though they should obviously be reported if they’re stumbled upon–but spotting errors in continuity and little world/character details would be super helpful. I have a lot of material to keep track of and sometimes it’s hard to keep it all straight! (Example: if one scene in Chapter 2 mentions that a character is allergic to cheese, but having lunch with them in Chapter 8 involves eating cheese sandwiches, that would be something to catch. Or if one scene refers to a priest of a One-God as an augur and then another scene says they’re an uror, that might be an error.)
People who are able to answer specific questions or concerns I might pose. (Examples: Is this conversation with Trouble confusing? Is there something that seems off about the pacing of this scene? Is there a better name for this made-up thing? Which is your favorite/least favorite NPC at the moment and why?) With each update, I will usually specify the things I need feedback on or what I would like testers to look at in particular. (Of course, any and all additional feedback is also welcome.)
People who know how to keep their suggestions realistic and focused to the existing story, and who have some idea of how branching works. Some not-so-helpful things I’ve seen are things like “why can’t we play as the villain of the story?” or “why aren’t we given the option to cheat on our RO at any time?” (I’ve even seen a story called Soldiers receive the question, “Why can’t we be something else other than a soldier?”) If the answer is “Because that’s not the story we’re trying to tell,” it’s probably not a helpful suggestion.
More elaboration on realistic suggestions here
- “I would like the MC to have a sarcastic response here”
- “I imagine the MC being able to do x at this juncture”
- “Why can’t the MC go into this locked door?”
- “I thought this choice would affect this stat”
- “I feel like the RO would do y because they did z earlier”
Not so great:
- The MC should be able to run away from the Shepherds and live on their own
- The MC should be able to assassinate the Autarch immediately and become a dictator and take over the world
- The MC should be able to murder and loot the shopkeeper instead of having to buy things from his store
While these can be interesting ideas, they diverge the story greatly, and it can be overwhelming to receive questions or suggestions that would involve telling a completely different story or writing a massively-divergent branch.
People who give good feedback (especially “high-level”). By no means do I expect paragraphs and paragraphs of comments/feedback every time I update (though that’d be amazing!), but it’s nice to have a more detailed comment than “this is good!” Even if that’s how you feel, just a simple touch like “I like this because x and y” can be really helpful.
People who are good with reading lengthy text. This game is going to be a long one, and I’m also a long-winded writer in my replies (as you can tell from this post…)
People who won’t share any spoilers, links, hints, or ideas about the alpha version of the game outside of the alpha discussion thread.
Bonus: people who have a strong grasp of the English language/punctuation/grammar. Not mandatory but definitely helpful!
That’s about it! I hope this doesn’t seem intimidating: I do also hope for a fun, relaxed setting that’s there for my accountability as much as anything. I’m pretty easygoing and laidback! (But also very organized: I have a lot of experience leading creative writing circles and fiction workshops, so if you are the type of tester who craves direction, I can provide that!)
Alpha-testing will take place in a private group thread here on the forums. (However, if you feel more comfortable interacting with me one-on-one instead of in a group setting, we can always set up an individual thread or do it by email.) If you’re interested in this story and alpha-testing at all, please let me know here or by PM! There will be limited spaces, so please only request if you feel you will participate regularly and are interested in the story. I will post again when the roster has been filled up. Thanks and have a great day!