Hi all,

I just wanted to put a question out. What are your opinions of private testing 
with a dedicated team versus publicly released betas that everyone can try out? 
I have a new game in development now, and I am considering whether to make a 
public beta available similar to what Thomas Ward and Jason Alan have done. I 
see some pros and cons with private testing, though:

1. Easier to manage. Since you have only a few people who are testing the game 
you do not need to answer the same questions or receive the same bug reports 
numerous times.

2. The element of surprise. With a private team, very few people know about the 
development and so it comes as more of a nice surprise when something new is 
released, where as in the case when everyone knows pretty much everything that 
is going on it's hardly unexpected when a game finally is released. In the 
worst case, some people may even have gotten tired of the game after playing 
the betas!


1. Limited testing=more possible bugs. If you have a smaller team you are not 
as likely to catch every single bug before the product goes to release. This 
can result in some pretty rapid patch releases (1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.1, etc) right 
after 1.0 has been put out and this obviously doesn't look too good.

2. Nagging. If everyone knows about the game while it is being developed, I 
fear that some people would be sending emails asking when the next version is 
out or wanting to know why this or that feature that they suggested hasn't been 
implemented. This is of course a very broad generalization and I do not in any 
way wish to insinuate that a lot of people do this, but there are a few cases 
and it might make it annoying for the developer to see the project all the way 
to the end. If no one except the private testing team knows about the game, 
then you will not get any public comments before you go 1.0 and then you are 
obviosly prepared to take them.

On the other hand, of course, more public suggestions means more good possible 
ideas for the developer to work with. Thoughts, anyone?

Kind regards,

Philip Bennefall
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