The Play's the Thing - BETA TESTERS NEEDED

(Add it to your Wishlist on Steam! It really helps)

A new game from Jo Graham and Amy Griswold, authors of The Eagle’s Heir and Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate!

Defeat the forces of evil with the power of your pen in this theatrical fantasy! Can you win fame as a playwright and stop a deadly curse before it brings the curtain down for good?

Directions for beta-testing:

Email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access. (This changed several months ago, so take note if you haven’t beta tested in a while.)

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

19 Likes

New draft up, version 23505! Changelog:

  • Assorted typo and bug fixes. (Fixes for some continuity issues in Chapter 9 involving Falathar’s imprisonment when Cenone and Liathar are still alive are still in progress.)
  • Reworked the epilogue to address if you started but didn’t complete romances with multiple characters.
2 Likes

New draft up, version 23727! Changelog:

  • Assorted typo and minor bug fixes

  • Updated stats screen to make it clearer which characters are romance options

  • Continuity fixes for Chapter 9 if Falathar was imprisoned and has escaped or is still in prison

  • Fixed a bug causing the Chapter 9 romance scene to potentially be skipped or treat the wrong NPC as your romantic partner

  • If you’re romancing Falathar and have helped them escape from prison, you can now potentially persuade Falathar to flee the city with the Odeon’s company

  • Reconciling Liathar and Falathar is now slightly easier (although still hard!), with a second chance in Chapter 8 to arrange for them to meet with Salar if one of them has already talked to Salar at the party in Chapter 7

  • Making friends with Cinnamon is now slightly harder, but there’s another opportunity to pet the dog

2 Likes

New draft up, version 23731!

More changes in progress, but this should fix several continuity issues in the last few chapters related to Ezren coming back from the dead.

1 Like

New draft up, version 23736!

  • Many minor bug/typo/continuity fixes

  • Added some hints early in the game to make it clearer when your chosen outfit will boost your chance of success

  • New transition into hour 4 of the chapter 7 party to avoid characters suddenly being in different locations than they were in hour 3

  • Fixed bug in the chapter 9 romance scene in which some physical descriptions for male vs. female NPCs were switched

2 Likes

New draft, version 23742! Changelog:

  • Fixed assorted typos and minor bugs and continuity issues

  • Added more variant text for characters who are interested in sex but not romance, including the option in the epilogue to choose whether your sexual relationship with an NPC has continued

  • Fixed a bug that was allowing some players to repeat hour 3 of the party scene twice (resulting in Ezren’s murder being discovered twice)

  • Changed the title “Professor” to “Doctor” for characters wearing scholar’s robes, and included an explanation that this is a courtesy title for any scholar

  • Chapter 10 now reveals what’s happened to Cenone if Cenone is alive but Liathar and/or Falathar have seized power

2 Likes

New draft, version 23743!

  • Fixed one more bug allowing Ezren to remain alive when he should be dead.
2 Likes

New draft, version 23762! Changelog:

  • Appearance customization options are now available in Chapter 2.
  • The stats screen now includes a reminder of what type of outfit you are wearing.
  • It’s now more explicit that choosing a simple wardrobe means opting out of further clothing choices.
  • It should now be clearer when *selectable_if options require high Confidence.
  • Fixed a bug causing you to always know who killed (or tried to kill) Ezren.
  • If your play in Chapter 5 was flattering to Cenone, Cenone will remember this in later conversations.
  • If you supported Salar at the party in Chapter 7, he’ll no longer complain later that you ignored him.
  • If Salar becomes suspicious of you in Chapter 9, he won’t conveniently forget his suspicions.

We’re getting very close to the end of this beta, so now is a good time to play or replay, and please get any remaining feedback in before the weekend if you can - we may not be able to accept it afterward.

3 Likes

The game has gone to copyedit and the beta is now closed! Thanks to everyone who sent in feedback!

4 Likes