Closed Beta testing vs Open when you're struggling for feedback

So my game An Alien's Life (Updated - 15th August) is maybe half way complete but I’m not getting very much feedback or criticism about the story and gameplay. I’ve thought about putting the game into closed beta for the next few chapters, and whether it’d give me an increased chance of getting more feedback from a few dedicated testers. Or would that be unwise since my game isn’t the most popular and I don’t think I’d get many sign ups?


You might consider starting with a closed test at this point in the cycle, and then moving to an open one when the game is even closer to completion–you’ll get the benefits of both the tight, dedicated testers as well as the larger scope of the open later on.


I will try the game and give you a review with suggestions.
What is the email I can post the review at and what type of review would you like? High level low level? Or something specific then do specify.


I can’t say how other people feel, but these are my thoughts (it’s a bit more general, than answering your question):

I don’t like responding in open WIP threads. I do it a bit, but I don’t feel comfortable giving critisism in a public forum like that, and feel pressured to just say nice things instead… :zipper_mouth_face:
I don’t know the author, I don’t know how professional they are, or how much of their ego and feelings are tied up in their works. I’m a very candid person, who naturally focuses on which things I think could be made better or more effecient, and having to pad these things in subtleties and reassurances to avoid bruising anyone’s ego, requires a lot more of me than I am currently able to give. :pensive:

I like closed beta threads because most people are more open to such things in private, than displayed for everyone to see.
But, as I don’t participate in the open threads a lot, and don’t give a lot of public feedback, I don’t really have the oppurtunities to be part of the closed ones, so well, I don’t really do that. I think most people here choose to invite the people who are active in their threads?
Recently, I’ve betaed a few of the official releases, and that’s nice, though I do worry that I’m too harsh on the authors, and I miss the back and forth with the author, which is a part of betaing I really enjoy.

So, yeah, from my perspective, closed beta is the way to go if you want feedback that isn’t just “I liked your game” and bugs and spelling errors.

Any authors who want private beta feedback, and understand that I’ll be brutally honest about it, is welcome to send me a PM and ask…


Thank you! You can email me at A high-level review would be great, though I wouldn’t mind feedback on my descriptions and writing style too.

@Gower: I’m starting to think that’s for the best, though would it be wise to open the game to everyone near the end? I’ve heard that’s bad from a selling standpoint.


I see, I was starting to think this was the case since nearly all comments were positive; the nice comments are great but I’m fully aware that my writing is far from perfect. Funny thing is that I love when people honestly critique my work since it’s what motivates me to improve and add to it. Closed beta definitely seems like the way to go and I’ll be sure to send you a PM to see if you’re interested when I do enter that stage!

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You could have an open beta minus the last chapter–that’s one workaround.


I have a personal rule to not post feedback in threads i don’t know the author to avoid controversy. But If you really want SINCERE feedback i would glad to give you. But it will be sincere, so if you don’t want that tell me.


I would love some sincere feedback, please do post in the thread or pm me if you have any.

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This thread should be of help:

While it mainly focuses on the official process, alternatives and thoughts are provided by experienced testers and authors. I’d give it a careful read (ignore the heated feelings - there was controversy or drama about a particular game at the time).

Here is an older thread that should add value to your understanding as well.

I have a lot of testing experience, so if there are specific questions, concerns or you just want my view on a thought - just let me know.

I personally have not read your WiP yet; I was under the impression you were not very far along in it yet and I did not want to read it until you got further along.


I’ve been thinking about doing this for my own project. Small closed beta for new sections added before I release it into the open. There’ve been a few times where there’s been an enormous obvious bug that just … wasn’t ever mentioned or discussed!

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I have a lot of experience with playtesting on both sides. The most important part is a good rapport and a mutual respect between parties. The more both sides understand and respect each other the more feedback is freely given and the less chance there is of hurt feelings.

Also when you have a good rapport playtesters understand what you are grappling with and can give you more constructive feedback.

Start a conversation with playtesters. If they aren’t giving you feedback put up a poll. Ask questions. This gets conversation going and keep things positive and fun.

If anyone needs playtesting for anything that isnt YA oriented DM me and I will have a go as I am not currently playtesting anything.