Information Request

Dear sir or madam,

Is it true that Beta testers often use things like

!this game is a bit dull so far
? does this troll do anything?

so they can just send the author the game transcripts, giving them the in-context information of their experiences and thoughts?

If this is the case, I’ll work beta functions into my game. make things easier on everyone.

Yes, it is common for testers to leave notes like that in the transcript.

They can do so even if you don’t make any special facilities, of course – the game will just spit up a parser error. But it’s often considered classy to put in the beta functions you describe.

I just found something like that going through the Inform in-built documentation.
Figured I’d help a brudda out.

Any tips on how testing is done so I can maximize my assistance to them?

or will this suffice? [code]Section Beta - for the testers

After reading a command (this is the ignore beta-comments rule):
if the player’s command matches the regular expression “^\p”:
say “(Noted.)”;
reject the player’s command. [/code]

In my experience, beta testers will follow whatever guidelines you ask for, as long as you make it easy for them. But if your request is confusing or extra-complicated, then you’re less likely to get feedback, and the feedback is less likely to match what you wanted.

I may have misphrased my intention.

Are there any things I can do to make the job of the beta tester easier? Like the “noted” thing i found in the documentation.

There are some useful links here about the testing process. “Suggestions for Testing: The Author’s side” is a good one.

(You can also learn a lot about the testing process, and what is helpful or not helpful to testers, by testing someone else’s game. It helps to know what it’s like to be in a tester’s shoes. I highly recommend it.)

To get the best chance of feedback, make it easy to play the game.

A web game is easier to play - I don’t need to find a compatible interpreter and install it. I can play it anywhere.

If players must use an interpreter, pick one which is cross-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux…) and works with the game, and recommend it to players. I can’t play a game if it doesn’t work in my interpreter. In addition, if you want testers to test other interpreters, tell players where to find interpreters.

If you want transcripts, provide instructions - a player might never had made a transcript before. What is the command? Is it SCRIPT, GLSCRIPT, TRANSCRIPT? Check what command works in your recommended interpreter(s). Do I need to type it again after restart? Yes in some interpreters. What about after restoring a save? Yes, generally.
If I want to make a note while I’m playing how do I do it?
What should I make notes about? Anything strange which doesn’t fit in the game.

It would be convenient if the game prompted testers with the command to start a transcript each time the game starts or is restored.

Are there any debug commands I should know about? If you want players to test one scene, provide a command to jump to that scene and tell them.

A transcript is kind of a big bang feedback. Feedback in smaller pieces is more focussed and easier to deal with but takes more time. You can setup a private forum or invite players to e-mail you any time about any little thing. An advantage of a transcript is that you will see if the player had difficulties which the player didn’t notice to note (you tend to only get notes in small feedback - you just get more because it’s easier to go into detail about a specific thing than type more than a sentence or two in a transcript note).

Put a reminder at the beginning to turn transcripting on. I can’t tell you how many times I finished a playthrough of a beta game where I’d commented inline with wonderful brilliant finds and suggestions, only to realize I’d forgotten to turn on the damn transcript.


good point - but let’s go beyond that. or at least try.

Can I force transcripts to be on from inside the game? :slight_smile:

You can, though it’ll usually pop up a dialog asking them where to save the transcript file. And some interpreters (though I can’t imagine very many nowadays) don’t support transcripting.

You can! (I usually do during test sequences.)

Check out these helpful I7 instructions from JasonLautzenheiser:

I got it :slight_smile: it’s in the documentation. ^^ thanks though :slight_smile: