In the Service of Mrs. Claus -- BETA TESTERS NEEDED

You will change Christmas forever! Hunt down Mrs. Claus’s stolen power and unveil the dark secrets of the Fae. Blast cults, armies and gods with your winter elf magic, or join them and betray your master. Save Christmas from ruin—or destroy it yourself!

Directions for beta-testing:

Email me, jason AT choiceofgames for access.

  • Do not send me DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or anything 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 me multiple times about joining a beta. If you don’t email me as soon as I post a beta, you go into a queue. As we post new drafts, I admit more people from the queue. Eventually, I will get to you.

When you have been admitted to the beta, I 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 me, 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 MY 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.

6 Likes

New draft posted! v. 18009

Changes:

Made numerous small fixes (thanks testers!).

Added much more detail to the dates with Candid in Ch. 6, and more interaction in Ch. 9 when you’re dating.

Added extra knowledge-gathering activities in Chapter 3.

Added more interaction with Donner in Chapters 3 and 4.

Added more reaction options to important events like Mrs. Claus’s big news and meeting Flickering Flame.

Clarified your ability to transcend gender.

Made it harder to lose against Flame/Claus in Ch. 11. May need to adjust this even more.

New draft posted! v. 18035

Changes:

  • Numerous typos fixed
  • A bug with Flickering Flame’s gender pronouns has been fixed
  • Correct ending text for the situation where you betray Mrs. Claus, lose to her, and escape.
  • Fixed a bug that displayed victory and failure information simultaneously for a certain challenge
  • Fixed a disappearing scene when you are a mall Santa
  • Fixed a bug where Gray helped you despite promising not to
  • Fixed a bug where Flame gave you a present right after Claus, when he is not present
  • Removed a problematic choice (cancelling Christmas after saving it) that led to a significantly shortened ending. Christmas can still be cancelled by betraying Claus.
  • Now the player only has to defeat the enemy army decisively OR defeat their enemy in personal combat to beat Ch. 11, instead of having to do both.
1 Like

New draft posted! v. 18057

  • Added a segment to the ending where you can spend time with Claus in a relationship if you professed your love but didn’t get married.

  • Several small fixes.

  • Made the elves address you correctly.

  • Made more obvious hints at what actions could lead to a romance with Claus.

New draft posted! v 18074

Change notes:

  • Fixed numerous typos and small continuity errors. Adjusted many testing difficulties, including some choices that were never being seen.

  • In Ch. 12, players that restored their companion to life can correctly leave them and join Krinkle Corp.

  • Made the giant in Ch. 2 yell at you before you yell at him.

  • In Ch. 7, made it more obvious that you succeeded or failed at learning the Nightmare King’s true nature.

  • In Ch. 3, clarified that Fractured Quartz only wants humans and Fae to be friends again, and described his romantic history in more detail.

  • Added a transition in the climactic battle of Ch. 11 if you lose a small battle but win the overall fight.

  • Ch. 12 now correctly awards the It’s Alive! Achievement for resurrecting a friend in a marginal case.

  • Players no longer have to choose between helping Crank or catching the enemy in Ch. 4.

  • Added more explanations to stats screen and removed extraneous stats.

  • Added tender moments in Chs. 2 and 7 and a ‘date’ activity in Ch. 4 with Claus to give the player a chance to explore their feelings for her. Now a romance with Claus depends on these initial opportunities.

  • Fixed a bug that erased all romance options with Claus and Flame in Ch. 11, and another bug that prevented just Claus from ever getting to the marrying state. Marrying Claus is possible now, that’s an area that needs to be tested!

1 Like

New draft posted! v. 18079

  • Adjusted difficulty levels significantly.

  • Restored a large chunk of text in Ch. 12 that was consistently missing after resurrecting a companion

  • Added more text to Simmering Stew in Ch 2

  • Several small typos fixed

New draft posted! v. 18085

  • Many typos and errors fixed, especially in the Flames branch

  • Removed instances of British English

  • Removed instances of ableist language

New draft posted! v. 18090

  • Added names to the different Elf Ranks

  • Gave many more hints in opening chapters that Claus is an RO as long as you’ve indicated your interest in romance in general

  • Added an extra scene with Candid in Ch. 4

  • Several typos and continuity errors fixed

1 Like

New draft posted! v. 18106

  • Gave a baby dragon an egg tooth instead of a milk tooth
  • Clarified the personhood of Mrs. Claus
  • Made sure Glass Ghost can’t sneak out of jail
  • Claus stays dead now if you kill her (hopefully)
  • Replaced the word ‘marshmallow’ with ‘rats’ in a key instance
  • Fixed several other typos and continuity errors