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"Useless" testers

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"Useless" testers

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:00 am

It has happened again… Do you recognize the situation?
You put out a request for a beta tester for your game and someone answers offering to help you. You send the game and then …. Deafening silence… you hear nothing, not a peep, not even an e-mail telling you that unfortunately your game isn’t interesting enough for the tester to want to play it (which is ok, of course)
It’s just a real pain in the neck when you experience this…
I understand that there can be reasons why someone goes back on but the least anyone can do is to send an e-mail telling the author that s/he can’t test the game after all.
I’m seriously thinking about opening a thread where people can give names and emails of “useless” testers.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:02 am

You probably shouldn't do that. If there's one thing guaranteed to cut down the number of willing testers, it's a thread bashing them if they fail to deliver.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby Lazzah » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:05 am

Po. Prune wrote:It has happened again… Do you recognize the situation?
You put out a request for a beta tester for your game and someone answers offering to help you. You send the game and then …. Deafening silence… you hear nothing, not a peep, not even an e-mail telling you that unfortunately your game isn’t interesting enough for the tester to want to play it (which is ok, of course)
It’s just a real pain in the neck when you experience this…
I understand that there can be reasons why someone goes back on but the least anyone can do is to send an e-mail telling the author that s/he can’t test the game after all.
I’m seriously thinking about opening a thread where people can give names and emails of “useless” testers.

I totally agree with you. I must have had a least a dozen replies to my requests for playtesters on game-testing.org and the intfiction.org forum and all but four of the people who replied have turned out to be complete time-wasters. They either don't reply to my initial reply email where I ask if they have done any playtesting before or, like Po. Prune's experience, you send them the game and don't hear another thing from them. Only two people I have sent the game to have had the decency to write back and say "This is not my kind of game" and "Sorry, I cannot playtest the game any more", the rest were not heard from again. :x

Why do these people bother to respond to your request if they have no intention of playtesting the games? Maybe they just want to play your game to get ideas for their own games!? Aaarggh
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:23 am

David Whyld wrote:You probably shouldn't do that. If there's one thing guaranteed to cut down the number of willing testers, it's a thread bashing them if they fail to deliver.

You're right, I probably shouldn't :wink:
The problem isn't that they fail to deliever, the problem is that you never hear from them in the first place.
I sometimes think they're only volunnteering to test in order to be first at a game, although I can't see what the fun would be playing a buggy and untested game.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby Lazzah » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:04 am

David Whyld wrote:You probably shouldn't do that. If there's one thing guaranteed to cut down the number of willing testers, it's a thread bashing them if they fail to deliver.

Why shouldn't we bash them if they are so rude as to not reply once we have sent our game to them? They can't be very willing if they do that! I have been considering adding "Time-wasters need not apply!" to my requests because I have encountered so many. I give full details about my adventure in the Playtesters Request details and am aware that it might not be everyone's "cup-of-tea", but to have so-called volunteers reply and then you never hear from them again is just astounding. It would never have happened in the "good-old-days" of the 1990's! Times have changed and not necessarily for the better. :(
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:34 am

How much do you pay your testers for their services? Do you enter into a contract with them and let them know, up front, that if their testing doesn't pass muster, you'll publicly bash them? If yes to both of those, then by all means bash them to your heart's content. No doubt you'll have people queueing up around the block to test your next game.

Testing is something done for free. It's a favour. It's not a way of life. If someone agrees to test your game then fails to do so, that should be the end of the matter. Add them to your "don't touch with a bargepole" list and forget about them. Start bashing them for it and pretty soon you won't find anyone willing to test your games.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:13 am

David Whyld wrote:Testing is something done for free. It's a favour. It's not a way of life. If someone agrees to test your game then fails to do so, that should be the end of the matter. Add them to your "don't touch with a bargepole" list and forget about them. Start bashing them for it and pretty soon you won't find anyone willing to test your games.

I can understand why Lazzah feels the way he does. although I realize that testers are doing this on their own time, and without pay, I still believe that as an author you should be allowed to expect just a minimum of courtesy.
My reason for making such a list was not to bash testers. The list was only meant as a help to other authors so they could avoid wasting time on people that are not serious.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby Lazzah » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:21 am

David,

What you fail to understand is that these people Finn and I are talking about have NOT DONE ANY TESTING! They reply to your request, you send them your game and then you hear nothing more from them. This has happened to me several times since I first requested playtesters just after Christmas. There are just as many who have replied to my request, I reply thanking them and asking politely if they have playtested before and if they have ADRIFT installed on their PC and I then hear no more from them! It is so frustrating when this happens time and time again!

WHY do they bother offering in the first place if they are going to make no effort whatsoever to playtest your adventure once you send it to them, or they don't reply when you have asked them a couple of simple questions?

The two people who ARE playtesting my adventure are doing a fantastic job, but I have told them both that if at any stage they cannot continue to playtest, I would be grateful if they would let me know. Is there anything wrong with that? All we want is for the people concerned to have the decency to tell us that they do not want to playtest our games, not just cut off communication. It is simply good manners to do so.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby NickyDude » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:24 am

Why not have the best of both worlds? There may be many reasons why testers don't test and bashing them and calling them useless is not the way to go. Instead create a polite thread asking them why they haven't tested or even create a list of reliable / unreliable testers that people can send their games to and maybe put a cross next to those who aren't reliable.

Just a though. :)
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:31 am

Lazzah wrote:David,

What you fail to understand is that these people Finn and I are talking about have NOT DONE ANY TESTING! They reply to your request, you send them your game and then you hear nothing more from them. This has happened to me several times since I first requested playtesters just after Christmas. There are just as many who have replied to my request, I reply thanking them and asking politely if they have playtested before and if they have ADRIFT installed on their PC and I then hear no more from them! It is so frustrating when this happens time and time again!

WHY do they bother offering in the first place if they are going to make no effort whatsoever to playtest your adventure once you send it to them, or they don't reply when you have asked them a couple of simple questions?

The two people who ARE playtesting my adventure are doing a fantastic job, but I have told them both that if at any stage they cannot continue to playtest, I would be grateful if they would let me know. Is there anything wrong with that? All we want is for the people concerned to have the decency to tell us that they do not want to playtest our games, not just cut off communication. It is simply good manners to do so.


I understand they haven't done any testing. I also understand they're not obliged to do any. Unless you're paying them for their services, whether they test your game or not, and whether they provide you with any feedback, is entirely up to them. If they're useless, don't use them again. Problem solved.

The only thing a thread like this does is discourage people from agreeing to test games in future. I'd certainly be hesitant to volunteer to test your game after reading this, in case I found myself without enough time to adequately test it and had you starting threads telling everyone how "useless" I was at testing.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:35 pm

NickyDude wrote:Why not have the best of both worlds? There may be many reasons why testers don't test and bashing them and calling them useless is not the way to go. Instead create a polite thread asking them why they haven't tested or even create a list of reliable / unreliable testers that people can send their games to and maybe put a cross next to those who aren't reliable.

Just a though. :)

Probably my fault calling them "Useless" Sorry about that... Unreliable is a much better word and describes perfectly what I mean. :blush:

David: The only thing a thread like this does is discourage people from agreeing to test games in future. I'd certainly be hesitant to volunteer to test your game after reading this, in case I found myself without enough time to adequately test it and had you starting threads telling everyone how "useless" I was at testing.

So what you say is that we, as authors, just have to lean back and "take it"?
I perfectly understand if a tester find him/herself without enough time to test a game, but what's so wrong about expecting the tester to at least send a line or two saying so?
If a unreliable tester becomes hesitant to volunteer testing games, maybe that's where we should be heading thus saving us a lot of wasted time.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:24 pm

Po. Prune wrote:If a unreliable tester becomes hesitant to volunteer testing games, maybe that's where we should be heading thus saving us a lot of wasted time.


A constant complaint on this forum - from you, more than anyone else - is the lack of people willing to test games. I don't see a thread like this doing anything but making that situation even worse.

I also wonder what the next step from this is. If someone does test your game but you don't think the testing is done to a high enough standard, is it fine to publicly bash them for it?
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:23 pm

David Whyld wrote:
Po. Prune wrote:If a unreliable tester becomes hesitant to volunteer testing games, maybe that's where we should be heading thus saving us a lot of wasted time.


A constant complaint on this forum - from you, more than anyone else - is the lack of people willing to test games. I don't see a thread like this doing anything but making that situation even worse.

I also wonder what the next step from this is. If someone does test your game but you don't think the testing is done to a high enough standard, is it fine to publicly bash them for it?


David,
I'm not quite sure I follow you.
Why do you tink the thread would escalate into being about how the author feel his/her game is being treated? I would think it goes without saying that if you ask for your game to be tested you should also be prepared for any critisism the tester may give you.

As I started out by saying. This is about the people ofering to test your game and then go back on their offer without as much as a single word of explanation. It's the fact that they don't even bother to write and say, sorry I can't test your game, or sorry not interested after all.
In my opinion it's a simple matter of being polite enough to take the couple of minute (as a tester) to write the author and tell him/her that you're not interested in testing the game after all.
I would think this would be a polite thing to do. Something like if you offer a friend to help him fix his car, or mowe his lawn. Would you just stay away because you couldn't be bothered after all, or would you at least call him and give him some kind of excuse?
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:07 pm

Po. Prune wrote:I'm not quite sure I follow you.
Why do you tink the thread would escalate into being about how the author feel his/her game is being treated? I would think it goes without saying that if you ask for your game to be tested you should also be prepared for any critisism the tester may give you.


That wasn't what I meant. My point was that if we start bashing people who agree to test games and then fail to deliver, what's the next logical step? Bashing people who do test the games but don't test them to a high enough standard? Would it be acceptable to start a thread saying "oh, such and such tested my game but he missed all these things that were wrong about it. He's useless."

Yes, it's annoying when people agree to test a game and then fail to do so, but at the end of the day it's not that big a deal. No one here is obliged to test a thing. If they say they will and then don't, just forget them and move on. There's nothing you can do about it anyway. A few years ago I edited the newsletter for several issues. Do you want to hear how many people promised articles and reviews but never submitted a single thing? Let me tell you, there were a few people every single issue who did that. I didn't publicly bash them for it. I even seem to remember a couple of people submitting articles for later issues who had originally failed to submit them for earlier ones. I'm pretty sure if I'd taken them to task about their tardiness, they'd have never submitted a thing.
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Re: "Useless" testers

Postby Mystery » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:17 pm

It's very unfortunate that this does happen, but it has to be expected. A person may agree to test and some unforeseen circumstance could come up that may prevent them from contacting you back, or they may have something going on in their lives that puts everything else on the back burner. For example, I used to have dial up- and was piss poor, and lost my internet for about 3 weeks. It was unexpected and I couldn't do anything- didn't have anyway to contact anyone to let them know the situation. Perhaps there has been a tragedy in someone's life that just makes the whole offer to be a tester non-existent.

And yes, there are just some flaky people- you can't change them, control them, and really have no recourse other than not considering them again. Common courtesy doesn't exist like it used to (neither does common sense, btw)- the best thing you can do is forget they exist, and maybe next time put your thread up to the community asking for anyone that can recommend reliable testers- but you also will still have to remember, unforeseen circumstances can pop up with anyone, at anytime.

And if you wanted to arrange to compensate someone for their time - you could probably interview them in such a way as if you were interviewing someone for a job. Requesting a history of their experience, experience with the software, and providing references whom you could contact. Compensation could be anything from a $5 gift certificate, digital copy of some sort of game-like on Steam you can gift games and you can really get some for next to nothing, paypal payment or whatever.

Word of mouth recommendations are probably the best way to get the ball rolling, and some sort of compensation for their time would probably net the best results.

Have you tried requesting testers at places other than here? Or asking for recommendations for reliable testers on other IF venues?
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