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Beta testing is always a critical time in a game's development. Some developers choose a closed beta, with fewer testers, while others go for a large scale open beta. Handyman Studios took the middle of the road, and opened beta to Kickstarter pledgers. Wonder why?
Posted by LadyAijou on Aug 24th, 2012
Going into Kickstarter, Edge of Space had come a long way. There was a solid alpha version of the game, and plenty to show off to persuade the masses to stand behind the game. After the funding rolled in, it was time to head into beta, and start beating the bugs out of the game. Many were surprised to download the 1st incarnation, Beta 1, and find out that the game had been entirely stripped back to the most basic features. Testers could move a character around, shoot one weapon, and dig. A placeholder background, and the bare dirt biome were all they could see of the game's graphics and art style. It wasn't long before the confused gamers came back and started question why that was. Most had figured they would be looking at the same alpha version they had been looking at for 90+ hours on livestream, a version that supported bosses, enemy spawning, the elaborate power grid system, and more. They didn't realize that in order to find the bugs in the core systems of the game, you have to go back to that core.
The decision to test the game the way we did was something that we put a great deal of thought into. Sure, we could have released the more feature-packed alpha as our beta, but doing so would have considerably increased the difficulty of locating bugs, and stamping them out systematically. It would have meant having to peel back layers and layers of code, trying to isolate where something had gone wrong. By layering features back in a couple at a time, we could easily identify the problems, and it has proven to be both effective and efficient. Our dynamic duo of code, Jake and Paul, have been able to handle all the bug reports flying at them from the numerous users in beta. Even with just the two of them, the content has been pouring back in at a phenomenal pace, and the game is building back to be better than ever before. Our most recent patch put in natural creature spawning, the basics of the character customization, 11 sets of armor to play with, and even health and death. The last few months have been an amazing journey, working side by side with our fans in the community to make the game the best it can be. The patience and support as we have plowed through setbacks and pushed forward to prepare for pre-order sales has been truly wonderful. We are thrilled with the way beta has gone, and look forward to engaging new fans in the completion of the process going forward.