AIF 101: Testing
You're not done yet. Testing is a very important aspect to any project. There are two types of testing; alpha and beta testing.
Alpha testing is simple. Run through the game yourself, testing everything out, and make sure it works. It would be nice if that was all we had to do, but alas, there are some major problems with alpha testing. Number one, you already know everything. You know what the player is supposed to do. You won't get stuck. Number two, you are only one person, with one person's ideas (unless you're collaborating, but thats not much better.) You will only try out as much as you can.
The purpose of a beta tester is not to beat the game offered. A beta tester's mission is to destroy it. You need to look for the game's critical bugs, areas that don't work, ways around puzzles.
Beta testing isn't a simple process. It is a cycle. You give your games to your beta testers, have them check it out, make modifications based on their feedback, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Give different versions to different testers, change groups mind-process, whatever.
When does beta testing end? Whenever you decide it has. There is no real end to beta testing... you just have to decide when to stop.
Make sure you give your testers a deadline with each version. You have to begin working on the next version. Let them know what format you need their responses in, and weather you want a transcript of their play. I recommend that you do get a transcript... next to standing over their shoulder and watching them play, this is the best you can do. You can see what parts of the game they get stuck on, and what things they try, what seems logical to them.
Its a good practice to give all of your testers feedback, if only to say thank you.
What should beta testers look for? Typos. Spelling errors. Interactivity with all things... everything mentioned in the room descriptions should be there, if only to examine. Missing synonyms you think are logical for both nouns and verbs. NPC interactivity. Whatever.
© 2004 J Freebase - Updated 07/12/2004