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Beta Testing Suggestions

06-30-2009, 08:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 4,024
Beta Testing Suggestions

Sorry if this is the wrong forum, but I wasn't really sure of a good place to put this. After having beta tested several iPhone games in the last couple of months, I'd like to offer some suggestions from a beta tester's perspective. These are things that will hopefully make the beta testers' lives easier, but in turn will also make the beta test more useful and a more positive experience all around (at least with some of the suggestions).

1. It seems that a lot of "beta" tests are really more of a "I'm 99% done with the app, let's see what a couple more people think before I release". Please don't do that. There's nothing more frustrating to me than getting accepted to a beta test, installing the beta, and then seeing a day later that the game has been submitted to the App Store. Honestly, that's both a waste of the developer's time in preparing the beta for an extra person, and I waste of my time having gone through the trouble of downloading, installing and theoretically testing the beta. I would allow at least a week between the last participant being accepted and submission of the game.

2. If the game is of any substantial size in terms of game play, plan on at least offering two beta builds before release. When we go through the trouble of offering suggestions for making the game better, and you go through the trouble of implementing them, we'd like a chance to see them and make sure they actually worked like we envisioned and that we didn't lead you down the wrong path. Plus, it makes us feel like you actually care about our opinions. I'm currently beta testing Dungeon Slayer, and I think they've had a new build almost every day.

3. Be responsive. I know you guys are busy making a product, but we're busy with our lives as well. I also realize it's a privilege to get to play the game before everyone else, but the reason any good beta tester volunteers for testing is because they want to help make the game better, and if they don't get any feedback from the developers on their suggestions, then there's not much incentive to continue beta testing.

4. Keep communications in one spot. If you want to use a custom forum, or facebook, or ibetatest.com or whatever that's great. In fact, there should be a central location rather than just using emails to communicate back and forth, because then everyone on the beta team can see what others are experiencing. Pick one place to have all your communication routed through, though. Otherwise it's too hard for the beta testers to keep up with the different issues in different spots.

5. Include a version number somewhere. I think the majority of developers do this, but it's often not put in until the end when a proper about screen exists. It would be nice to have it during beta testing so we can be sure that we've always got the latest version of the game on our device.

6. Name the provisions files appropriately. This is really more for the beta tester, but every once in a while I go to clean out my provision files, but unless they are clearly named I really can't get rid of them, because I usually have 3-4 betas on my device at any given time.

Anyway, I hope this is useful to someone out there, and that you aren't all just thinking "the nerve of that non-developer guy". I just want to try and help you guys help us to be the best beta testers we can, so that you in turn can have the best products you can. Thanks for reading

Eric Pankoke
Mobile Games Reviewer: Rusty Sabre, TouchMyApps
Blog: iPhone Life
Twitter: RustySabre
07-01-2009, 01:20 AM
Joined: May 2009
Location: La Coruña, Spain
Posts: 191
Good points Eric,

You are right in all you say.


Scoreloop ID: coolman

My game: GeoRain in the AppStore, July 1st - 0.99$
07-01-2009, 02:28 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,634
Thanks for your thoughts. We haven't had any beta testers yet, but we will need beta testing for our next game, so I'll keep your pointers in mind.