I’ve shifted our focus more fully into the concrete experience of designing a game. I’m also finding it useful to consider the practitioner’s general outlook of “this is how I did it,” vs. the observer’s or analyst’s outlook of “but how does a person do it,” without falling into the trap of tossing it back into the observer’s lap by saying, “well, you just do it and then you’ll see.”
It’s up to you to judge how well I’m succeeding in avoiding this … all the while with the stealthy goal of having Justin himself say, soon, “oh look, this is how I’m doing it, so yes, I see.” I’m mentioning it only now because I think we just went there.
Part 1 (embedded below): Justin raises the issue of setting as a dynamic component that can be acted upon and altered
Part 2: we arrive at a concrete mechanic for how he wants players to change the thing I call Backdrop, for his project called Origin
Part 3: I discuss (what I at least call) the alpha phase of design, specifically its best practices for playtesting
Part 4: I stress the rough-and-tumble playfulness necessary at this phase
Part 5: I contrast the beta phase and its particular dangers
2 responses to “Design Curriculum 6: Alpha and Beta”
Types of beta tests
Hi Robbie, a lot of this
Hi Robbie, a lot of this material will do better as dialogue when we meet again, and I definitely know it will work better than a written response for third parties who watch. So I've clipped and saved your text for us to go over in person.
Briefly for here though, I want to distinguish between what people actually do when playing vs. what they want to say about it afterwards. A certain amount of your text shifts into the latter when I don't think it has to.
And one more thing: to get away from the concept of stress testing entirely. It's very tempting to focus on it as if the game were a device, a sausage-grinder which will indeed do X no matter what sort of primate does whatever sort of behavior with it. Think about why stress-testing a musical instrument doesn't make sense, because the point is whether it does do X, when you do X with it. It also doesn't disallow the possibility of someone playing it differently, in some way you never conceived.