In Praise of the Glorious Practice of Beta-Testing

Juhana Leinonen has just announced a new site for IF authors seeking testers and vice versa. It takes a slightly different approach from the IF betatesters’ mailing list, in that you can subscribe to an RSS feed rather than getting email at times of year when you might not be in the mood for testing. There’s also a small selection of articles on the art of testing, and the opportunity to specify what kinds of games you’re willing to test.

I mention this not so much because I have a vested interest in pushing one site or another, but because it’s worth reminding prospective authors as we head into summer and the season of comp-game writing:

Please test your game and credit your testers.

It makes your game better, and it offers your players some kind of promise that you made an effort. Also, please give your testers enough time to work that you will be able to fix what they find — ideally get the game into testing a month or more ahead of the comp deadline. This especially applies if you’ve never written IF before. It takes a lot more testing time than you think.

(My personal plan for the coming competition is not to bother reviewing games that don’t credit any testers, just to spare myself the annoyance of writing the same dull rant ten or fifteen times. I realize this isn’t foolproof and that someone could stuff in the names of a half dozen imaginary friends, but still. Worth a try.)

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