Game Development Reference
Such an expert panel tends to be relatively small and easy to manage. It's much more
challenging to manage a mass Beta test effectively.
External Beta testing can give you some very useful data. It can also give you a ton of
useless data if the testing is not managed properly.
As mentioned in Chapter 5, there are two types of Beta testing: closed and open.
Closed Beta occurs first and is carefully controlled. Closed Beta testers are screened
carefully and usually have to answer a lot of questions before they are accepted into
the Beta test. These questions can range from the technical specifications of their com-
puter to which specific games they've played recently.
The simplest type of closed Beta testing occurs on console or other offline platforms.
Testers are recruited to come into the publisher's or developer's offices, review and
play the game, and then fill out a questionnaire or participate in a focus group discussion.
Open Beta occurs after closed Beta concludes. Open Beta is open to all who are interest-
ed in participating. Although developers will still solicit some level of gameplay feedback
from this much larger group, their role may be primarily to load test the network code
and shake out such items as the login system, matchmaking, overall network stability,
lag, and so on.
Although Beta testers won't run test cases, they will report defects, in addition to pro-
viding gameplay feedback. Most Beta test managers email a bug reporting form or
host a bug reporting site that allows Beta testers to report defects, make comments,
and ask questions.
Besides playing the game the way it would “normally�? be played, here are some other
strategies you can adopt as an individual Beta tester:
Try to create infinite point-scoring, money-making, or experience-producing
Try to find ways to get stuck in the game environment, such a pinball bouncing
forever between two bumpers or an adventurer who falls into the river and
can't get out.
Spend some time in every feature, mode, or location provided in the game.
Spend all of your time in one feature, mode, or location and fully explore its
options and functions.
Try to find ways to access prohibited modes or locations such as locked race