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niteenhatle

What is a beta version of a game?

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Hi, I have completed programming my first game. I have been playing and testing and debugging it since a month now. The game looks okay. But I want other gamers / developers to play and get their feedback. I want to know how should I make my game available them? What is a beta version? How is different from a demo version? Is beta testing necessary for a game? Are there professional beta testers out there? What are my chances that the demo/beta version will not be misused? How should I go ahead from here? Please give me some advice about this. Thanks. Niteen Hatle

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but i believe that a Beta Test is when you have not completed the game, but you want to release what you have done so far so that people can see what the game will be like, and suggest new features, report bugs, etc., while a Demo is released after you have completed a game, so taht people can test out the game to see if they like it before they buy the full version. Demos are usually used for games that cost money.

Beta testing is not necesarry, but it can be very useful to get some input on the game, and have other people help you find bugs, instead of testing it all yourself.

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To answer some other questions and bring some further suggestions to the table, first I want to ask, is this a commercial game?

If it is, I would advice against a "public" beta. I'd suggest that you gather up a handful of people (depending on the size of the game), send them a legally binding NDA and have them sign it, then send them the beta version of the game. (You could do this inhouse as well, to simplify things). I'd reccomend getting people who are experienced testers. "Testing" open betas is not something that you should count as any significant experience, since these "open betas" are more often than not just an excuse for the players to play the game for free.

There are professional "beta testers" (What is known as Quality Assurance (QA) in the business).

If you have your testers sign an NDA, and keep them happy, I doubt that it would be misused. If there's any issues about that, you could add a little "signature" to each tester's version of the game, to make redistribution harder, and enable you to take legal action should one of the testers break the NDA.

Well, that's my thoughts, I'm probably wrong on some points, so get more opinions on the matter before you decide. :)

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Beta usually means the software is complete but not fully tested (which sounds like where you are now), therefore it's expected to have bugs. This is when you get as many people to test it as possible and try to fix everything that's broken. For a small-time indie developer it may be enough to have your friends and family members play the game, preferably while you observe but don't interfere (so you'll find out what parts are hard to figure out etc).

After the beta testing and bug fixing, you have a release candidate which is not expected to have bugs (that you couldn't ship with) but usually does. At this point you have a shorter period of intense testing to catch a few more last-minute bugs, possibly going through a number of release candidates before you declare it good enough for release.

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Take out all the extras in the beta, like extra maps and everything extra. Make a map or something in your game would test out the features in tons of ways. This allows for everything you made to be tested the most giving a higher chance that if there is a bug it will be found. For instance, when BF 2142 did their closed beta they only had 1 map and it was a map that had everything on it so that it could be tested a lot.

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Hi,

Thanks all of you for the insight about the topic.

I should have posted it initially but I am an indie developer and the game will be a shareware.

Eddy999:-
Thanks for your reply. Now I know the difference between a beta and a demo.
Also I am taking from the reply that "beta testing not necessary but could be
useful".

Rulzern:-
Thanks for your reply. I think I have answered your question. I don't think
I need pro beta testers. I am going to ask some my friends and family to
play this game and give me some feed back and report any bugs.

Fingers:-
I am taking the above advice from you. I am indeed a small indie developer
and my game is just a Java board game. I don't know about RC's but I'll try
and see if it possible.(I can't wait to release my game!)

Sirisian:-
Yours is a great advice. I will use it when and if I make bigger games.


I'll think about the replies and get back with some questions.

Thanks again all of you.

Niteen Hatle

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<sarcasm type="pointless"> Why waste time and resources beta testing when you can release the game now and patch it later? That's how most PC games are done anyway. </sarcasm>

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