Feedback about the Beta Process

NADA NOTHING you receive game link and the password for it Nothing else. Maybe you win the lottery and an author somehow asked you something or give you the thanks… But is rare as win the lotto. They even don’t tell you if beta has ending …NIENTE. .
and that’s all. I have seen my feedback used in some so is not an entitled You are that why because author don’t used your info. They use it BUT THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION

I beta tested Mid summer not the last one Empyrean. If I would had beta that believed me I would say loud and clear how broken it is and how bad stats work. You could have used the feedback or not. That’s not my issue at all. But games gain from people looking for problems and continuity issues . That’s for sure.

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That is quite bad, with no feedback at all you don’t even know if the email has been received. It must be very frustrating to spend hours working through other people errors to not even get a “your email is in a queue it will be answered shortly” I can understand why people are not interested in beta testing.

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I’m not asking anything. (Sorry, I think I’ve lost the thread of discussion.) I mean, I think we’re agreed that the suggestion from beta testers right now seems to be: run the betas on the forum, not over email. No one is dismissing that. We’re listening. We have this thread, and we’re reading it! I was explaining that (in the past) we have had a difficult time even getting people to you know, send their request to join the beta to the email address it’s supposed to go to. I guess you were saying “you should let people who do that join anyway.” If we just run them on the forum in the future that problem (people not following directions) may be obviated.

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Yeah, you get it that’s main issue people has. Why bother with it if they totally don’t care to even say hey it’s over thanks.

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It’s very difficult sending feedback into the void as I used to call it.

Spending hours upon hours of playing a game thoroughly, sometimes time after time, poring over the code, writing down extremely detailed feedback, and offering suggestions, only to not even receive a response. That makes me feel unappreciated. Even more-so if once the game is released it contains issues that I specifically pointed out during my own testing of the game. I wonder what’s the point.

Now, not all testing’s like that. Personally I’m not that interested in a back and forth with the author anymore. My feedback is my gift to them and they can do with it what they want. I don’t want to have them defend their game to me or explain their reasons. I’d just like an acknowledgement, and a thank you, and if they want any further clarification on any points I’ve made that’s fine too.

I’m not good at the providing feedback in a group setting. I don’t like other forum members questioning my feedback either. I guess I don’t mind the silence.

I do think some better communication would be appreciated though. If it’s marked on the beta test threads when a beta test is closed. I’d like to see some change logs of what gets changed because otherwise we’re going in completely blind and I might just be repeating work I’ve already done. It’s also valuable to know whether I should run through the game again or not.

The lack of change logs is really, really frustrating, and limits me in whether I can test a game multiple times or not.

I do understand the frustration of people not following instructions. We’d frequently have people in the beta test threads posting things that showed they’d not read them. But hey, that’s sometimes how it goes. They see one person do something and everyone else assumes that’s the correct way and they jump onboard. But sending to the wrong email address could be the result of an email auto-completing the wrong email.

That leads me to believe that beta-testers are important. So an acknowledgement and a thank you would be nice.

I’ve been doing online beta-testing for various games for over 15 years now. The ones that win my loyalty, where I’m actually extremely passionate about the games, are those who actually respond to my feedback. Even if it’s just a personal note and a thank you. When they don’t answer with so much as an acknowledgement of the time I’ve spent trying to help them that leaves me disappointed.

Not that I’ve had the focus to test anything as of late, which is extremely frustrating.

I’d suggest give the forum testing a trial run. We could probably create private locked forum categories for every single separate beta-test game. That way people can still be limited to one test at a time if that’s expected. And it doesn’t have the same limitations as a group PM would.

I’d say if testing is done on the forum then please also continue to allow for email feedback. For the people like me who sometimes can’t provide public feedback. I can’t count the games I’ve actually paid for beta access to and then not actually taken advantage of it because they wanted the discussions on a forum instead of via email. :frowning:

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A little note on emails, in Jason’s request for runt of the litter the email address was Jason at choiceofgames . It might be just me but should there not be something at the end like .com ?

Me being from the UK would naturally add .co.uk

Or am I missing something?

Yes. It’s jason at choiceofgames dot com.

Note I have to spell the period and the at sign because we don’t want spam crawlers picking up that address.

I did wonder, thank you.

When I did my closed beta last summer, I got emails from the CoG editors full of comments. I don’t remember if they had the beta tester’s name and email attached–they may well have been, but I’m not sure. At any rate–and this was my failing–I understood the beta test information as an information flow from the CoG editors to me, and then me back to them with the fixes. I didn’t know whether trying to contact a beta tester was frowned upon, or desired.

I wonder, if, for example, someone sent feedback that said “this love interest is annoying, not at all attractive” and I wrote back, “I totally see what you mean, but it’s too much to fix so close to release” if that would be good, or even more annoying. I think thanks and appreciation are the key issues. I know this for sure: I am not going to think about the closed beta the same way next time around. Of course, now I internet-know you, and I have for months! So if I know something is coming from you, it’s different from an email coming out of the void.

I think your point about not wanting to provide feedback in a group setting is a really important one. I am the same way. I think a group setting for beta could run the risk of groupthink, and you wouldn’t be able to stop conversation at any specific point. I guess the danger for me as a writer is that I wouldn’t like to feel like my game was in constant beta. Then again, that seems to work really well for lots of Hosted Games, as far as I can tell.

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@Mary_Duffy,

Do you think CoG would consider involving testers in an earlier stage of the process, perhaps at the end of the first draft stage or perhaps even as the first draft is devloped? Perhaps it would be more conducive to incorporating more “high level” feedback at that earlier stage?

I realize CoG doesn’t want to overwhelm its official writers with tons of feedback from tons of people, but there are only what, six folks on staff? It seems to me as the company scales with more and more releases, you might need more volunteer help?

Perhaps a dozen or so testers with strong track records could be recruited to help test a story as its developed, thus giving the testers a stronger attachment to the story?

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I don’t really use beta testers (as I test my games in the forum through WIP, which is a very rewarding experience to myself, and I hope I haven’t attracted the “not listen badge yet”… I hope I explain all my decisions, and try always as best as possible to incorporate suggestions, even though in some instances it might be impossible due to “structural” elements), so my suggestion/proposal might be out of place:

Maybe it would be possible for CoG to recruit a small number of “reliable beta testers” at the start or half way through the writing of the game, who provide feedback to the author as he/she is writing it (similar to how the WIPs work on the forum, though privately). In this way the author might be able to realize any major structural problems/issues with stats, etc. This can be complementary to having a full beta test at the end. Having a small number of committed beta testers from the start could help improve communication/satisfaction, though I can also appreciate that not all authors like to work this way (I’ve come to think that for my style its better writing about half the game before showing it to others, but I know many authors feel that showing something before its finished affects their writing).

Anyway, just something to consider, that could be offered by CoG to “external” authors who are not so familiar with the philosophy around CoG and Hosted Games.

DAMN, @Eric_Moser, you beat me by a few seconds to post this!!! :wink:

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Damn, @adrao, great minds!! (I suppose that’s subjective). :slight_smile:

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Not really, no. The complaint is that no one is communicating with them. Not the author, not other testers. Their efforts exist in a vacuum and it feels unfun and pointless. And if they’re not getting anything out of the experience except free access to a game they’re going to buy anyway, then why bother?

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I was worried my last post was too negative.

I absolutely love beta-testing and I’m so sad that my concentration and anxiety do not allow me to do it anymore. I miss it.

I loved being part of the creative process and getting a glimpse at how games are made. I loved being able to help others, to provide feedback that others might find useful.

I loved being able to discuss how to make games more inclusive and offer suggestions.

I love what Choice of Games stand for and I really enjoyed being able to help, even if it was in such a small way.

And it was always nice to hear back from an author, if just to say thanks for the feedback.

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That’s why all us are here @FairyGodfeather If not we just move on and go elsewhere. there are many similar companies out there with forums and asking for beta testers. But Cog is special, or at least it was. I think sometimes Cog staff forget with the pressure of projects and survive being a small fish in a big pond How special and important there are for many people, hom important are for me. That is why I am so passionate about all and try hard helping and say what is wrong, I do it to helping fix stuff, to try to return something for the place I love. Sadly, normally people misunderstanding me and think I am just a troll.

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A multi-phase testing period with different goals during each phase is important. Choosing a testing team is hard as well. That is why developing relationship with testers is a very important but very underappreciated task that authors and developers need to do.

I’ve tested games for a very long time. I’ve known, as friends, developers for years. When a developer starts a project they know me, know what I am good at testing and what I’m not very good at testing. So, when someone I know says: “Hey, I have this project I’m working on,” both of us know what the other is bringing to the table.

This may not be viable at this time, but the WiP forum is a very valuable screening tool -if it is utilized by the author. You’re absolutely correct, time, effort and energy is going to be expended by everyone to get that done - but if you want a product tested right - it is going to need to be done.

I know some people are gun-shy about public or group feedback and if you provide an email or PM source where they can give the private feedback then you can have them in your group testing as well.

As far as wanting the same people - maybe. It depends on everyone’s strengths. Someone might be very good at picking up continuity errors and logical break-downs and so you want them in on the testing early. Another may be really good at misspellings and grammar and so bringing them in later might be a good idea.

Also, if your story is a historical setting and deep in politics or military jumk, then observe the forum users in @Cataphrak or @Goshman’s threads. Both of those authors have a hard-core following that would be wonderful for your project… if you want more fanciful, bright 18th century type of story telling, look at @jeantown or @Fiogan’s threads… their fans love the good story set in mystery and mystic.

Sending blind feedback to an email addy not knowing anything about the entire process - schedule, testing needs, goals and wants is not a very productive way of conducting testing. I’m sorry, it is not.

I’d be happy to share my views and experience but I don’t need to be lectured or preached at either.

@H2O’s post put me on the defensive (hence why I did not respond to it) - because they seem to believe I want a golden lollypop and the keys to the Chocolate Factory in order to participate in testing.

Not at all.

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Your posting is rarely negative and if it is, that is because a negative needs to be discussed.

I am sorry your not able to give feedback as you once were because [quote=“FairyGodfeather, post:30, topic:22357”]
I loved being part of the creative process and getting a glimpse at how games are made. I loved being able to help others, to provide feedback that others might find useful.

I loved being able to discuss how to make games more inclusive and offer suggestions.
[/quote]

All of that comes through in everything you do. One of the best gifts I got on my Helvetti project was your feedback and I will never forget the kind words and the feedback you gave which helped me a lot.

Anyone getting feedback from @FairyGodfeather will understand - it is on point, positive and encouraging. Even the “negative stuff”.

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@Mary_Duffy

What are CoGs offical requirements for authors incorporating beta testing feedback?