Comp game still in beta?

The description for Body Bargain is:

I’m hoping this is some kind of clever part of the game, but I fear the game actually hasn’t been completed, but the author decided to just submit something in order to beat the deadline and then rely on in-comp update to actually finish the game.

Now, I’m sure the author will be punished in the scoring by those who don’t think this was a good move, but should this even be allowed? It just gives me kind of an icky feeling to have a game in the comp that is acknowledged as being in beta when the comp starts. There may very well be other games in the mix that are essentially in the same boat and are waiting for the first in-comp update to actually finish their game, but this one actually comes out an acknowledges it.

While, of course, acknowledging it is better than not acknowledging it, the better course would have been to not submit the game for the comp and instead release it later.

Now, there’s no rule expressly forbidding this, but should there be? Does it make the comp look bad to have a game that’s in beta and says so? Or am I making too much of this?

-Kevin

Very likely, an author who decided not to enter the Comp because the game wasn’t quite polished enough would lose motivation and never release it. That happened to me once. Before that, when I was a young teenager, I released a horribly buggy game into the Comp with no betatesting. Now that updates are allowed, I feel that to disallow authors from entering what they consider to be beta versions would require banning all untested games, and that would lock out enthusiastic kids – like my 14-year-old self – from participating.

Not really. What you’re making has been made before at length after the last comp [emote]:)[/emote] –

<a class=“postlink-local” href="https://intfiction.org/t/using-muds-to-introduce-people-to-if/83/1

It’s also been anticipated as a possible move to be made in this comp:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5762

(maga’s prediction from that topic: “Someone will replace their entire game with another during the update period just to make a point; this will be widely condemned as a dick move. They will then claim that the big pile of 1-votes they received proves their point.”)

  • Wade

To my mind, there is a difference between “I am done, but I haven’t had anyone else test this” and “I am not done yet, but once other people test it, I’ll finish it up, but for now, here is my unfinished game”. I’m am fine with the former but not with the latter.

Yes, I’m well aware of all the discussion last year. I wanted to bring this up now that something like this has actually happened. Whether it fits maga’s prediction or not remains to be seen, I guess [emote]:-)[/emote]

-Kevin

(I’m not commenting on the specific case, but I’m interested in the general topic.)

I think the only difference there is that the former doesn’t know how to do things. A game that hasn’t been tested is unfinished, regardless of whether the author realises this or not. Polish should be encouraged.

I wouldn’t mind a rule requiring beta testing, as that would help explain to new people how to do things properly. (If such a rule existed, it should be accompanied with a link to where testers can be found and an explanation of why and how to do this.) In the case of enthusiastic kids, surely it’s possible to be just as enthusiastic about having it tested. At least, that’s my personal experience: Having a game beta tested by good testers is at least as rewarding as releasing it properly. (And the latter is more so if the game is polished when released.)

I’m happy to have all of this sorted out by voting. It’s rude to waste judges’ time, but it doesn’t usually take long to determine whether a game is well-enough implemented to keep playing. And the more you waste judges’ time, the more you are going to be blasted in reviews. Seems reasonably fair.

I do strongly encourage authors to have their games beta-tested, though I need to point more strongly to this forum as a resource.

How would you enforce such a rule? If, say, someone entered a game that hadn’t been beta tested but simply listed a few random names as testers, how would you know it was genuine or not?

I agree that polish should be encouraged, but I don’t think it should be required. However, I guess I heavily consider the author’s intent. If the author completed a game, whatever that means to the author, then fine. If the author thinks the game is unfinished (not just “oh, it would have been nice to add these features I didn’t get a chance do do” but “this game isn’t fully complete, but here it is anyway, and I’ll finish it up a week or two after the comp starts”), then it shouldn’t be entered.

That said, I guess I’m coming around to just being fine with letting the judges decide, although I still think it’s extremely unfortunate to have an avowed beta game entered into the comp.

-Kevin

Then I’d just say that the cheater shot himself in the foot. Unless it was so well made that it really didn’t need testing (and in most cases, the author who thinks that about her own game is the one that most would need testers), it’ll be marked down by voters because of its failings.

But the point would be to state that testing is something that’s expected, and that it makes for better games. Without having done the research, I’m guessing that untested games tend to end up lower than the ones that have had good beta testers. Of course, polish isn’t everything, so I expect there to be several exceptions in both directions, but it certainly can’t hurt. And it’s not just about bugs. The best testers (IMO) are the ones that help make the game better in other ways too.

That’s good to hear, as that’s pretty much what I was looking for.