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A Question [and a Poll] about 'Alpha' Testing

Discussion in 'General' started by Fodder09, Nov 2, 2013.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Fodder09 Trainee Engineer

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    Although this is a question to the community as much as it is to the developers, I would most certainly appreciate any official response, although I find it unlikely that I will get any.
    Anyway, to the point, my question. Any of us who have purchased this game and received early access, are playing the Alpha version of the game. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but does this not make us alpha testers? By playing the game, we are testing it for bugs, suggesting fixes and improvements, and there are sections on these forums for doing just that. However, with regards to the features in the game that are currently testable, there aren't too many beyond the physics engine and basic gameplay. The developers have stated themselves that they are holding back survival mode mechanics (like mining) and the use of tools and certain other features (that are in fact functional) until they are 'polished' enough for them to be released (http://blog.marekrosa.org/2013/10/development-update-for-9-102013_23.html - this is mentioned here). What I am wondering is why, as essentially 'alpha testers', we are not given access to the full spectrum of features that are currently functional (at least to some extent). I feel that giving the community full access to a game that they have willingly supported the development of would not only benefit the users, as more gameplay means more fun, right? But also the developers, as we, as 'alpha testers', can, of course, test even more features, suggest improvements and polish, give detailed bug reports and feedback on a far greater scale than can be achieved internally within KSWH.

    This isn't intended to be a 'whine', 'complaint' or a 'troll' thread, simply a suggestion to the developers and a point made to the community about what we could be achieving as a community, as I, personally, am dying to test out the features of this game that will fulfill the developers' true vision for what they wish Space Engineers to be.
     
  2. KriegsMeister Apprentice Engineer

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    I think what they mean by "polished" is not crash whenever you place a drill on an asteroid or other major and obvious bugs that come up during inhouse testing, if they already know the problem is there why bundle it with the game for the community for everyone else to complain about rather than just fix it and implement it later. alpha/beta testing is to catch bugs and what not that the devs did not spot while doing their inhouse tests
     
  3. RedPhoenix Moderator

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    817
    Alpha is more about bugfixing, in beta, or the later alpha stage, new features are going to be added.

    But to say that in a nutshell: They want to make it work before giving that to us, and we will test it until it works fine.
     
  4. Wyvyrias Junior Engineer

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    In any case I think they should release alpha builds to test them.
    But I think then the forum would becomes filled up with a lot of bug reports (I talk about bugs which are the devs working on already).
    And maybe a lot of people would complain about these bugs, no matter if it's an unstable build or not.

    It's just my sight but I think they release an update every friday (I'm not sure).
    So I think we get new updates fast enough. And 1 week is more than enough to check out everything.
    Give them time and everything will be fine.

    PS: Some of the stuff they're working wouldn't even work properly on our user PC's. I has to be stable. Or (how I said already) a lot of people will complain about this.
     
  5. bacondeity Apprentice Engineer

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    419
    Well it's from the subjective point of view of the devs. It's up to them to decide how functional they want something to be before they implement it.

    The thing about early access, I find, is that yes we're alpha testers, but we also bought the product, rather than having a specific "alpha test" version of normal games. So my assumption for how early access games are is that they try to get out as polished a feature as they can and mod it from their from our feedback. Until it is built to perfection, finally reaching beta, and then the final release.


    Either way, I think they have plenty of time to fix and implement features from our feedback.
     
  6. Fodder09 Trainee Engineer

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    17
    I see what you mean, although they do state that the features are 'functional' in dev blogs, I would consider 'polish' things such as textures, models, perfecting physics interactions and the like. And of course, it's the developers' choice when features are released, I simply meant this as a suggestion, not a complaint
     
  7. bacondeity Apprentice Engineer

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    419
    Yeah dude, I agree. This isn't a simple alpha test. They are selling the game already to the public, so if someone who's completely ignorant buys this game, doesn't read anything about it and starts playing it, the forum will be filled with "this isn't working," "this game sucks," "finish the game before you release it," things like that, I'm sure you'll agree. We already have threads like that from time to time, like asking about multiplayer, why the tools or weapons aren't working, or even how to play the game. Those people obviously didn't watch the tutorial nor read the dev blog (or at least the planned features list), so releasing even more broken features just so we could test them would probably end up being worse than helpful from a feedback standpoint.
     
  8. Wyvyrias Junior Engineer

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    The worst thing: a lot of people can't read the ''Early Access'' sign on Steam.
    So in this case it really could cause massive complains.
     
  9. bacondeity Apprentice Engineer

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    Exactly. I think they're doing a good job with their roadmap of releases and updates. Hell, we, as players, will make due with what they give us. In the advanced building tutorial, they even said that what we make inspires other players as well as the dev team. And according to Marek's dev blog, "The best thing about Space Engineers is the community."

    And if they keep doing what they're doing, it'll probably stay that way. :DD
     
  10. Faeron Trainee Engineer

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    I support the release of all features, especially since I've worked in the gaming industry for about five years now.

    However, it's on STEAM for a reason, probably funding or to forecast the reception of the game. Releasing all features, if they are buggy, would turn players off and get the game bad press.
     
  11. DrVagax Administrator

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    821
    Most features are tested internally and after they are polished up and ready to go they are send out to the regular Space Engineers alpha build for final testing.
    If they would ship buggy versions of several modules you would have the corrupt saves bug times 100.
     
  12. Balmung Senior Engineer

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    Normally a Alpha means: runable, but with less Features and with many Bugs. But since this is a buyable Alpha for Players the Alpha works a bit different.
     
  13. CptTwinkie Moderator

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    I think that since this is test software you can ask for anything and report anything and the devs will do whatever they want. In this case they're charging real monies for the alpha. That's great for keeping development going but it means that people expect to get something worth paying money for. If they release a feature that inadvertently nukes your save folder or even just changes a game mechanic in a way that breaks your toys then people are going to get mad. "I paid you monies and you ruined my life. Lawsuit time!"

    So they're smart in being careful.

    Just enjoy what you have. Report bugs. Make suggestions that can be reasonably worked out and that fit in the game. "I want laser beams that blow up planets!" is not reasonable. "I want to be able to group things in the control panel and maybe not have my fighters bouncing off the walls." Is a lot better.
     
  14. solver Trainee Engineer

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    Since english is not my main language, i appologise if this comes off as condesending or lecturing, that is not my intent, i am only trying to clarify on what pre alpha, beta, beta tester and so on means.

    There are slight differenses between early alpha/beta access and alpha/beta testing.
    In the past, all alpha testing would be done in house and a select few would be invited to the beta stage. As the beta stage moved closer to it's end, more testers would be invited and the beta would evolve to more of a stress test before the release.

    Since the first stages of testing a new game or a specifik feature in a game require some knowlage of what is going on behind the image on the screen, you don't want to many people involved in that stage.
    You only want people who can figure out what they did to cause a bug and then replicate the events. It is also a plus if they can offer a guess on what is causing the problem.
    That is the actual "testing".
    Then, when the feature apeers to work, you want more people to use it to find those last bugs, that is the phase all of us pre alpha players are in.

    We paid to be able to give coments and auggestions, get a taste of something (hopfully) grand and to use all of our diffrent spec computers find those pesky bugs that all inhouse testing could not.
     
  15. Nivve Apprentice Engineer

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    151
    This keeps being annoying indeed. I sincerely hope they will move the early access section to a more detached location for this purpose.
    Sort of a greenlight section, you never hear about it unless you're looking for it.

    But well, it's a steam problem in any case unfortunately...
     
  16. CptTwinkie Moderator

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    Technically that's accurate, to the best of my knowledge. However...testing is testing. Maybe we hate a new feature and it needs reworked. Better to find out
     
  17. solver Trainee Engineer

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    True, and i agree.
    The reason i'm leaning towards not releasing all the stuff is so i don't have to reed all the complaints on the forums. As someone stated already, not everyone is observent on the early access part.
    But offcourse i would like o play with all the toys.
     
  18. johncage Trainee Engineer

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    you don't have to read the complaints. just don't click the threads where a feature is being discussed/debated/criticized.

    that's the whole purpose of having early access alpha. so features can be tested.
     
  19. RandomAccessModule Trainee Engineer

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    Alpha = Test Phase. I voted NO access. Let's give Dev's time to 'polish' the beta product. I prefer to have a little stable environment than a big unstable one. Let's them make the world (universe) stable in all his physics aspect and then maybe add mining or guns or whatever.
     
  20. Nivve Apprentice Engineer

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    151
    That would be really easy if there were three topics. However there are already a lot of topics (of which multiples are repeatings of earlier discussions) and complaints, having a load of buggy features will make it so much worse.

    That they can be annoying is not even the bad part; The bad part is that really constructive feedback will be crowded out by 'This does not work' topics which are not so constructive.
    Makes it easier for every one the way they are doing it right now, one aspect of the game at a time.
     
  21. Fodder09 Trainee Engineer

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    Well, seeing as it was partly the intention of this thread, it's nice that all of you who have have voiced your opinions, rather than argued about them and flamed each other (or me) - that's far better than most gaming communities could manage. If the developers do end up seeing this, then at least they'll have a good idea of what their community thinks on the idea that I put forward that's comprehensible and sensible
     
  22. bwc153 Trainee Engineer

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    I think allowing someone to access development builds (and steam does allow this!) would be a way to let people help alphatest and bugfix some critical things in versions, and also prevent the usual group of no-readers from whining about a buggy game when they bought the alpha, as the most recent and unpolished stuff would not end up in their hands unless they specifically enabled the development build (which would require them to put effort into enabling)
     
Thread Status:
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