[MUD-Dev] Quality Testing

Koster Koster
Thu Oct 18 16:16:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Tresca

> Okay, THAT's disturbing.  If I understand this issue correctly: 1)
> an effective QA methodology doesn't apply to a game with a
> bazillion variables in it.  2) if you were to use said QA
> methodology, it would unacceptably delay the game beyond its
> release date -- such that it might no longer have a competitive
> edge.

That sounds like ALL games to me. Remember, the commercial games
market is driven by graphics. It takes a year to six months for most
games to go from "decent graphics" to "crap graphics" in the eyes of
the hardcore market.  You've got a window--hit it. You also have a
"drop dead" date in the fall.  If you don't get your game onto the
shelf by late September, it might as well not be there until
January, because it'll miss the Xmas crush--retailers often won't
even take it because they will have filled their retail shelf space
with something else. This makes the importance of deadlines all the
greater.

> This leaves us with the "let the players test it" approach, which
> I'm all for with Beta tests.  But how effective are betas in
> cleaning the game up enough for release?

A lot depends on how you run said beta. They're great for stress
testing, and really, you can't really test some stuff any other
way. For many other things, they are useless since the effort to
actually track and verify all the input you get can be greater than
the efforts of an in-house QA staff.  Basically, a lot depends on
what you are looking to get out of the test.

> I'm wondering if this doesn't warrant a different sales approach,
> where you offer a game at half price or free for the first five
> months to "get it out there," thus satisfying the release schedule
> requirements, but at the same time, level-set player expectations
> so they know the game isn't perfect.

Well, but the release schedule requirements are driven by the need
for revenue. Half price doesn't give you that revenue, free costs
YOU money.  Might as well not make the game at all.

-Raph
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