New Badges for Game Releases!


#1

We wanted to create some badges to help celebrate when a member or a group of members release an alpha, beta, and full game so Kilif was kind enought to make us some awesome badges!

We have badges for

We have already started to award these badges to some members. If you have a game or project you released on the forums post a link to it here and tell us if it is in a alpha, beta, or full release, and who all should get the badge if you where in a group.


#2

You might want to define what you mean by Alpha and Beta because people interpret them in different ways. It’s been the subject of confusion and argument (protracted) elsewhere. Here’s my take on this with my professional development perspective hat on:

Proof-of-Concept (PoC): Some things work, enough to demonstrate that the approach is reasonable. Some things don’t work or haven’t even been implemented at all. You can’t use it for its intended purpose, but users can give feedback about what they have been told is supposed to work. In a game this might mean you can start playing, but not finish.

Alpha: The product basically works and provides its primary function. For a game you could argue that this means you could play it through to the “end”. At this stage users can suggest changes and new features that can still be implemented.

Beta: The product is feature complete and has been tested, but some bugs will still be found by users and ironed out. Bugs get fixed but any new features requested are parked until after the release.

Full: All the bugs found in Beta are fixed (though it’s likely some remain). Users can expect the full functionality to work without issue. A second wave of development may be started to add new features while the full release is being supported.

However, how I’ve seen these used can be as lax as:

Alpha: I made a thing which is in no way finished yet and you can play it for a few minutes to see if you might like how it begins. (ie. a PoC in the above scheme)

Beta: Go me! You can complete one of the paths through the game. If you are lucky I’ll tell you which one it is. (ie. an Alpha in the above scheme)

Full: I’m so done with this. Some of it works, some may not. I may fix bugs, but I’m interested in my new project now. OR I borked my PC/game source, and can no longer change it.

I actually consider Yaffaif to still be a PoC myself by the first set of categories. The underlying engine isn’t complete, let alone the story. But others would definitely consider it an Alpha.

I think it’s important to encourage people though, and I assume that’s what these badges are for. The professional set are too strict for most to meet and feel they are progressing. So here’s a third set of definitions from Lashek and co. on TFGS - I suspect these strike the right balance:

https://www.tfgamessite.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6763
(you may well need an account to see that, provided for completeness)

Concepts: Exactly as it sounds. Trials of new engines with games that have little content, or are not really playable. No story, plot, etc. If your game only has a few rooms, a couple of objects, or something similar, it belongs in this category until you have something worth moving.

Alpha/Demo: Your public testing version, if you will. Has plot, story, more then a couple rooms, and is fleshed out enough to last more than 5-10 minutes (rough numbers). Games in this category may not be complete but should feature at least 1 ending.

Beta/Playable: Your secondary public testing version. Has plot, full story, wealth of content, and is fleshed out enough to bring a lot of enjoyment. Games in this category should be mostly complete.

Complete: Exactly as it sounds. Game is complete and requires no further work, complete with story, plot, etc. Bugs can be in complete version, but we hope you’ll fix those while it’s in the Beta/Playable phase.

I’d argue that the “at least one ending” requirement for an Alpha is peculiar to the kind content on TFGS. Afterall, not all games have endings as such.

It would be good to have a set of definitions you can apply to each of these badges to show what they mean. And possibly an additional badge for “Concept”. Maybe Alpha and Beta are too loaded and the sequence should be Concept -> Demo -> Playable -> Completed?


#3

I can see your point and I forget sometimes that I should explain these things as not everyone is familiar with the standard software release life cycle.

Here is how Apha, Beta, and Release are defined:

  • Alpha - game is playable but feature incomplete (this includes proof of concept)
  • Beta - game is feature complete, but unstable and may require usability testing
  • Release - game is feature complete, and stable

This is how we will judge if a game is in alpha, beta, or release. I will change the badges longe description to reflect this later.