We are just about to enter one of my favorite phases of the development process —beta testing! Yay! We’ve been working hard and HRO is, officially, feature complete. So now it’s time to hand it over to friends and generous volunteers to “stress test” our baby. This will be the first time anyone outside the W&M team will be able to play the entire game through and we’re really looking forward to the player feedback.
In an ideal world, we would be playtesting the game at a show or festival in addition to distributing keys for people to play on their own time in their own homes. The advantage to the in-preson festival-type testing is that the feedback is immediate. We can see how far a player gets, where they laugh, where they get stuck and we can learn a lot from the questions they ask. Our playtesting philosophy is to be as hands-off as possible and just watch players play. It’s observational. We get to be Jane Goodall — you know, if Jane Goodall studied video games instead of gorillas.
Of course, in-person game gatherings have been kind of rare lately. Which means this month of beta testing for HRO will be remote — with players playing on their own at their own pace and filling out a questionnaire with their comments and reactions. We don’t necessarily capture as much experiential data as we might at an in-person event, but the players get to spend more time with the game. And they get to send along more detailed reactions and comments.
If you’d like to participate in the beta, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can get you on the list.
Worthing and Moncrieff, LLC is an independent developer of video game stories founded in 2015.