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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:54 am 
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Hi all,

I have advertised in this forum a couple of times for beta-testers for my adventure "The Axe of Kolt", but I have not had one single reply.

It is the game itself which puts potential testers off? Is the game too big? Does that fact that I have written it using ADRIFT 5 put people off? Is it that there are simply very few people these days who are prepared to commit their spare time to testing an adventure?

So far just one person has playtested "The Axe of Kolt" from start to finish. That person has done an excellent job but one person cannot be expected to find ALL the bugs in a game as big as AoK and I am very reluctant to release it until at least two more people have playtested it. Another person has just started, who replied to my post on game-testing.org, but I really need at least one more.

Is there NOBODY out there who would like to playtest my game?????

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WIP: Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest & Revenge of the Space Pirates
Also Available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire and The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:57 am 
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Lazzah wrote:
Hi all,

I have advertised in this forum a couple of times for beta-testers for my adventure "The Axe of Kolt", but I have not had one single reply.

It is the game itself which puts potential testers off? Is the game too big? Does that fact that I have written it using ADRIFT 5 put people off? Is it that there are simply very few people these days who are prepared to commit their spare time to testing an adventure?

So far just one person has playtested "The Axe of Kolt" from start to finish. That person has done an excellent job but one person cannot be expected to find ALL the bugs in a game as big as AoK and I am very reluctant to release it until at least two more people have playtested it. Another person has just started, who replied to my post on game-testing.org, but I really need at least one more.

Is there NOBODY out there who would like to playtest my game?????


I would say to check out http://if.game-testing.org/ but I've seen your game listed there already. Have you not had any luck there either?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:15 am 
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Didn't you have the same issue with your last game? And then found that very few people played it once it was released?

As for why people haven't offered to test it? Well:

a) It's an old school game and most people here aren't that interested in that kind of game, at least not to the extent of offering to test it.

b) It's a massive game and massive games are a pain to test.

c) It's written with ADRIFT 5, which isn't popular on its own forum let alone here. If you'd written the same game with Inform 7, I bet a lot more people would have offered to test it for you.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:55 am 
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David Whyld wrote:
Didn't you have the same issue with your last game? And then found that very few people played it once it was released?

Three people playtested "Fortress of Fear" and they all enjoyed playing it. So far, over 370 people have downloaded it but I have only had feedback from ONE person who I know finished the game and he told me that he ENJOYED playing it. The lack of feedback has astonished me.

David Whyld wrote:
As for why people haven't offered to test it? Well:

a) It's an old school game and most people here aren't that interested in that kind of game, at least not to the extent of offering to test it.

So can you explain to me what people look for these days in an adventure game? Is there anywhere I can find people who like "old school" type games?

David Whyld wrote:
b) It's a massive game and massive games are a pain to test.

So games these days seem to be smaller? Yes? A big game didn't seem to trouble people in the "old days". Have player's attention spans got shorter over the years? Maybe I should consider splitting "The Axe of Kolt" into four parts like the original. Of course the danger there would be that someone might volunteer to play it, then just playtest one part and not the others.

David Whyld wrote:
c) It's written with ADRIFT 5, which isn't popular on its own forum let alone here. If you'd written the same game with Inform 7, I bet a lot more people would have offered to test it for you.

I use ADRIFT 5 because it is so much easier to use than Inform 7 and it is much better than QUEST. I have no desire to get into a debate about the pros and cons of either system, but having learnt to use ADRIFT 5 I have neither the time, patience or desire to learn another system, especially Inform7.

What difference does it make what system was used to write a game? Surely it is the game itself which matters?

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WIP: Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest & Revenge of the Space Pirates
Also Available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire and The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:00 am 
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MTW wrote:
I would say to check out http://if.game-testing.org/ but I've seen your game listed there already. Have you not had any luck there either?


Yes, the other person who has just started playtesting saw my post on there. What has shocked me about game-testing.org was the sheer number of complete time-wasters who sent me an email saying "I would like to playtest your game", but once I replied to them I never heard another word from them. It was worse with "Fortress of Fear", there must've been getting on for 100 people who emailed me and turned out to be time-wasters. it hasn't been so bad with AoK.

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WIP: Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest & Revenge of the Space Pirates
Also Available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire and The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run!


Last edited by Lazzah on Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:59 am 
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What difference does it make what system was used to write a game? Surely it is the game itself which matters?


This at least I can answer... A ZCode game is playable even on the go. If you haven't much time to sit down in front of your computer (let's face it, few people do nowadays, and when they do, they'd rather invest on their own projects or have some fun) then you can get your iOS device, or your Android phone, or maybe even your J2ME compliant regular phone, and play the game.

Whereas ADRIFT is, AFAIK, Windows only.

As for the rest, one wonders whether it might not be best for you to release the game, and add a very lively, enthusiastic and encouraging "Send me bug reports so I can make the game better!" section, and then keep your game updated. Yeah, that's not as good as beta testers, but if you're finding it hard to get testers...

EDIT - The odd quoting of your post made me miss some bits.

Quote:
So can you explain to me what people look for these days in an adventure game? Is there anywhere I can find people who like "old school" type games?


We're here... mostly, speaking for myself, I'm still busy playing the actual old-school old games. Personally, I don't think there's anything to dislike in an old-school game, as long as it doesn't commit old-school sins.

Quote:
So games these days seem to be smaller? Yes? A big game didn't seem to trouble people in the "old days". Have player's attention spans got shorter over the years?


Well, David was talking about *testing*, and you're talking about *playing*. Beta-testing is hard work, man. I did it once, for a short game, and I swore never again. If Andy Phillips came to me and said, would you like to beta-test my new game since you seem to like them so much?, I'd be honored but answer NO flat-out. I'd love to play it, but not to beta-test it.

And don't start talking about big games in the old days... things have changed. If you're going REALLY old days, you have to remember people paid for the games and expected to be lost in them for days, to get their money's worth. Attention span? Possibly. More likely, though, is: we have TONS of games to play today. A frightening amount of them are free. Some are bigger than others, some are more complex, but all in all, we're not starving for new content, so we veer towards what we like... as opposed to veering towards the only thing that's available. And different people like different things... the present IF community includes a lot of people who were not, and never would have been, into the IF of Zork.

EDIT 2 - Having said all that, I do have to add I'm saddened to hear you can't find a betatester. I would have thought you could always get them.

Still not volunteering, though, sorry. ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:20 am 
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I'd like to add to Peter's post that some beta-testers prefer to test for competition games. I know of some personally who've offered their testing services but, again, only for comp games. Just a matter of preference or whatever. I'm sure if you said your game was going to be in an upcoming comp, you'll have more luck. But I've been wrong before. Like when I tried to build a cat. I couldn't build a cat. Who was I kidding?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:33 am 
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Hi Peter,

Thanks for your input.

Yes, you are dead right. If ADRIFT games could be played on a smartphone, maybe more people would play them.

I suppose I am a bit of a dinosaur, haven't dragged myself into the 21st century yet. I found ADRIFT 5 so very very easy to learn how to use. I think I had "Fortress of Fear" on the go within days of downloading ADRIFT. I have looked at Inform 7 and find the complexity of the documentation bewildering. I am trying to find a tutorial that will teach me to write a small basic game in the simplest terms possible, but everything I have seen so far spends so much time trying to explain things I just get confused. (Getting on a bit now, I have just turned 60)

Thanks for the suggestion for the "Send me bug reports so I can make the game better!" section, that is a very good idea. The only feed back that I got for "Fortress of Fear" was from a German guy who found a bug! He went on to finish the game with a bit of help from me.

As you quite rightly say, in the "old days" we used to pay for games so we would spend weeks, if not months playing them so we got our money's-worth. I remember the Rick Hanson series which would I spend night after night struggling with. I was not like any of my adventuring friends as I actually LIKED mapping mazes. I remember the "Hambledon Village maze" in one of the Rick Hanson's (I think that was the name of the village?) there were about a dozen locations in the maze, each location had exits in all eight of the usual compass directions plus Up and Down AND In and Out. What fun I had mapping it!

Those were the days!

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WIP: Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest & Revenge of the Space Pirates
Also Available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire and The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:39 am 
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MTW wrote:
I'd like to add to Peter's post that some beta-testers prefer to test for competition games. I know of some personally who've offered their testing services but, again, only for comp games. Just a matter of preference or whatever. I'm sure if you said your game was going to be in an upcoming comp, you'll have more luck. But I've been wrong before. Like when I tried to build a cat. I couldn't build a cat. Who was I kidding?

Unfortunately, as my games have been published before (on the Sinclair Spectrum), they are (I think I am right in saying) ineligible for most competitions. I did enter the first few locations of "The Axe of Kolt" in an ADRIFT "Intro" competition. It did quite well and the people that played it said they were looking forward to playing the whole game.

I have even thought of offering to PAY anybody who would properly playtest my game from start to finish, but my one regular (unpaid) playtester advised me against this.

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WIP: Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest & Revenge of the Space Pirates
Also Available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire and The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:40 am 
I wonder, out of sheer curiosity, whether we could meaningfully correlate a person's age and whether they prefer new-school or old-school IF, assuming they have a strong preference at all. We theorize about it all the time, but given this very community we have here (after all, this board IS the focal point for english IF) maybe we could just ask and get some data.

(of course by "age" I mostly mean "having lived through the commercial era of IF", which isn't the same thing but is close enough)

Quote:
I have even thought of offering to PAY anybody who would properly playtest my game from start to finish, but my one regular (unpaid) playtester advised me against this.


It DID cross my mind to start talking about beta-testing as a paid position, actually. But everything that involves money turns ugly really soon.


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