Open vs closed betas. Thoughts?

Just curious from people who have run either or both or have participated as a beta tester in them, did you find any advantages or disadvantages to taking an open beta into a closed one towards the end of the project? Did you find one worked better or was more enjoyable to be part of over the other or not really? Just curious :slight_smile:


I don’t do betas anymore! Alas, no concentration. When I started out I really liked participating in the open betas. Then the huge threads got to be too intimidating for me and I grew to prefer closed betas, preferably where I was just mailing the author with my feedback, instead of posting it where everyone can see.

I think @JimD said that doing Safe Haven as an open beta actually resulted in him getting some bad reviews, by people complaining the released game didn’t have much extra content.


Thanks @FairyGodfeather, JimD’s comment is actually one of the reasons I’m asking.

I wondered if threads getting long would be intimidating, but I was also wondering if having to ask for beta access might also be, especially if you’re unsure if you are up for giving much feedback depending on how the beta plays out and how long it takes.


Closed betas are better for the Author. 99% of people in open betas NEVER give any form of feedback useful or not. Then many won’t buy your final game saying or I have already played all or even worse give you bad reviews because I played almost all for free this is a scam.

A small group of core beta testers I think is the better. Always you can have someone who wants beta testing for you. It is not easy I could tell you. I have to beg just for someone wanted to look my own game. And That they reply with actually something is like winning the super bowl.


I think best way is to have open beta first and then move it into private, you can use open beta to give people basic idea as well as pick up your testers based on people who were most helpfull in open beta.


I saw your post @poison_mara, I’m sorry that happened it’s awful when you put a lot of work into something and that happens. I think your game is quite niche and unusual though from the sounds of it. You’re taking on quite a difficult topic. I would hope if you were to write it, you would end up with at the very least a small but dedicated group of people who would like it and work with you on it.


The funny part is the game is commercial if people take the time to lead two pages. Is a high fantasy magic academy dating sim. It’s the most commercial I have written in all my live. The puberty fase and all that is just a lore thing and a way to introduce everyone gender identity in the game and be more than just pronouns. Is just few moments in a big game.

Anyway, I really think a closed beta is the best for most part of people. A closed with like not more of ten dedicated people with different backgrounds.


There are good points and bad to both open and closed betas. Don’t forget you can also have multiple phases of testing.

Here is one of the strongest proponents speaking of how much open betas help them:

Now I will state what I once said as well:

There are also special circumstances - as with Mara’s current WiP - the end-result is I’d prefer a closed controlled beta process if I were her.

Another special circumstance might be the contest offered here. Do you really want everyone seeing your entry before you submit it?

So, in conclusion there is no hard-and-fast rule on “better” or “worse” only what fits your needs as a developer and author.


Well I like open beta’s but I get the commitment, one of the reasons why I like open beta’s is that they’re not a firm commitment on my time, but I can see how that might be less than satisfactory for the author.
That said for games I really, really like I have no problem making the commitment, even if I feel less useful than some of the other folks around here, as English will always be my third language, and I think it shows sometimes. :sweat_smile:


Dutch, Flemish, Legalese … then English?

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Dutch, German then English, good one on the legalese, but that’s just Dutch 1.5, German 2.5 and so on.
Point is, legalese is most akin to a dialect to communicate with an insular tribe of fellow jurists in any language. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Just like say, Scottish or Danish, right Fairygodfeather and @Studwick?

Wish I was a lot better at that one, though wouldn’t a lot of that be non-verbal communication and pheromones and shit? :thinking:

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And you forget eye candy sweet boys lol.

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Body language is a language, just ask Ursula.


Body language is about reading the room and everyone in it at the same time :slight_smile:

Very context heavy.

Back to topic
I’ve been mulling over this very same issue. Was thinking on getting half way into the story and then going to closed beta and narrowing the field of testers little by little as I progress to the end to prevent giving too much away but am not entirely sold on it.


Very true, I enjoyed that whole process immensely myself. Vendetta had a smaller, but not too small, pool of testers beyond the demo stage and was my first encounter with that “hybrid” model, but I definitely loved the fact that my other all time favourite, “the Myrmidon” was so totally open again.
In the end I probably have a slight preference for open beta, but it is probably up to each and every author to make that decision themselves.

For instance I like your game a lot. But my problem with open betas is fans boys girls nb. They believe their favorite wip are sacred temples where only Orthodox feedback is allowed and any near as critical thinking about a detail is crush with a hostile wave and pm random trolls. So I just don’t post in your game If you made a closed beta or something I would send you my opinions to you.

New wips nowadays are a toxic pit when even authors could say to you I don’t post my demo to receive criticism. No shit Then why you ask for feedback to be appraised only? I then decided not posting in new wips even if I played some and noticed several big problems bugs or continuity issues. I don’t have to suffering a public hanging by new forum members that come and go and calling me troll or worse . Funny thing is when that happens in games I am private testing for the author.


Same. This has become a place where you get publicly attacked by the author for a joke they don’t have context for but assume to know the meaning is negative based on presumptions surrounding posts you made ages ago.

I’ll follow your lead, Mara. You go ahead and set an example for us.

I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m on the verge of death here. I’m sorry if I don’t have very positive things to say at the moment, and when I do they’re memes or jokes. I’m trying to make light of my very shitty situation in the only way I know how: with stupid obscure references and the like.

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I actually think that nowadays there’s a contingent on the forum that’s being overly critical and not at all encouraging. I don’t want to scare new game makers away and kill their love for the idea of making games. I don’t want to see them ganged up on and pushed off the forum. So, if they want to request a specific type of feedback, I think it’s important to respect that.

The WIPs are for the authors first and foremost. If that’s what they need, that’s what they need. It’s not like we shut down all conversation, people had already said their piece, the author listened and then wanted to move on.

And I’ve already said if people call you a troll flag it. If you have problems flag them. Otherwise we, the moderators don’t know, and can’t do anything about it.

Yeah flag that too.

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So you are calling me troll? That’s really encouraging fairy seriously. It is better have new authors that put in first post I want critical feedback. I don’t posted again there or anywhere where I don’t know for fact high feedback means high feedback. But seriously accused people of scared authors is censure. You can’t say your opinion you has to lie down and tell faking opinions to appeal their ego.

Flag doesn’t work nothing happens there are even post defending pederasty porn I flagged and get totally ignored

Folks tend to forget ‘other people’ unfortunately. Not everyone sees things objectively or can look at their own work from another angle. So they get offended by the meagre input of people trying to be helpful.

I can admit to having an ego as an author and thinking myself as very intelligent BUT I’ve learned a truly smart person is willing to accept the possibility that they might be wrong or don’t see the whole picture. That’s where you should rely on your fans, they don’t know the thoughts in your head so it’s a completely fresh perspective which is invaluable to the process of creating these games.

That said an author should defend their ideas but not to the point of ignorance.

I try to value every opinion offered and measure it against my own as objectively as I can BUT I’m human so I’m bound to fail in that once in a while. That’s said don’t give up trying to help us authors, you have one that’s willing to listen right here!
Group hug!