March Winter Alpha?



  • When does the winter alpha start? It's stated that it's suppose to start in march but it's already march tenth. There's been no specific date and time that I am aware of either. An announcement should be in order with a clear date posted for when the winter Alpha is to begin, "promises" should not be made if they cannot be delivered.

    A game studio of any caliber should and must be punctual and precise, if a month is given instead of a specific date then it's generally seen as being a maybe and not a definite, that is to say there "might" be a winter alpha or there may not be. For that reason, there may be a game launch but most likely there won't be a game launch.

    Not being hostile if I'm coming off that way, what I'm trying to get at is that a specific date must be given and delivered on or we as a community cannot be certain that this game will even happen. Look at Yandere dev if you need any further references, though comparing this studio to him is a far stretch at the moment.


  • TF#4 - EMISSARY

    @drfate786 if a specific date existed, they would have told us, the fact that they don't tell us depends on the fact that it doesn't exist.
    That said, the Alpha should have started in February, and the team already apologized for being late, and also stated that they could not provide a specific date as yet.
    So far alpha phase specific dates have been posted with a couple week advance, so if no date is out yet you can expect no alpha in the next 14 days, likely.
    Again that said, inconveniences are always around the corner when developing a game with a small team, and it's sadly easy to be unable to deliver the wanted content in the wanted time, so while it can be annoying for us waiting, we cannot enforce dates from the team, because they just don't have any.
    That said, Amazon delayed New World for like an year now, and further delayed alpha phases and releases every time they got close, and they are BIG, so imagine what can happen when you're not big.
    The compromise is between not anticipating alpha periods, so that you won't break any promise, and trying to estimate delivery times, ending up with some failures here and there.


  • Content Creator

    They never give dates until those dates are A. Definite, and B. within 2 weeks of the release.
    This is done for a few reasons I'm sure...
    1. is to prevent people from claiming they are not meeting expectations on announced dates, a serious breach of trust,
    2. is to give them as much leeway as possible in the announced month to tackle any complications in the new coding that comes up while they are internally testing what they have before serving things out to us. They definitely don't want to give us an inferior product experience when a couple more days will generally alleviate that concern.
    3. In general, when they do release, and they give us a specific month, there is always the chance that the release will end up pushed off into the next month, and that's excusable, and for that reason they generally schedule such releases of the Alpha test near the end of the month, not the beginning.

    As I said in a pervious thread about this, I wouldn't expect the release anytime until after the 20th, of course, it being the 10th now, push it back even further, probably the last week in the month, if not delayed again...and this is Alpha, delays happen, you should never expect hard and fast release schedules for either Alpha or Beta phases, the only hard and fast numbers that matter in this regard are the actual game release, and release dates for platform ports if any.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    @drfate786 said in March Winter Alpha?:

    A game studio of any caliber should and must be punctual and precise, if a month is given instead of a specific date then it's generally seen as being a maybe and not a definite, that is to say there "might" be a winter alpha or there may not be. For that reason, there may be a game launch but most likely there won't be a game launch.

    Comparing alpha testing with a launch date of a game........From first hand experience, coding is never in time. It will get better close to launch as there are less uncertainties then, but for now, we will have to wait till they feel ready, and that is fine.



  • They shouldn't announce an alpha if they don't announce a date. The issue here is that since they're a small team it could be half a year before an alpha is actually ready. If they can't announce a date, they shouldn't announce an alpha. Testing phases generally should occur once the majority of the game has been created and has been tested internally, relying on the community to test the game is generally a poor decision as this can lead to bugs and exploits not being reported (so cheaters can exploit them later) or being missed altogether. In some cases, exploiters will report specific bugs and glitches with the intent that when the devs fix that particular issue it will lead to a new host of issues which the exploiters may use.

    Unity is a stable engine but like any other game engine it can be exploited. Announcing an alpha phase with a given date is essential, if this cannot be done then an alpha should not occur until a stable date can be given. Basically, everything on their plate must be finished before they can take on more.


  • TF#4 - EMISSARY

    @drfate786 I disagree, a lot of companies announce a quarter as indications for alphas and betas, and a quarter is a three months span, where they can float back and forth and narrow down a solid date while they get closer to that period.
    Alpha testing is good for unfinished games, a small dev team is composed of few people, so allowing users to test too widens the amount of heads that can find bugs and exploits, and since the devs are also playing their game, it's still better than not allowing users to test too, there are literally no drawbacks.
    What they did wrong they've already apologized for: giving a month they couldn't delivery, I hope they're not doing it again with march, but I'm confident they'll be able to start the alpha in the next weeks (even if winter is almost over and the winter alpha will end up being a spring alpha).
    As they already stated, they'll be more vague with future alpha dates, like every other company does, and as I've already said, even Amazon had to delay a lot after giving precise dates, so sadly expecting that everything will always be as expected just doesn't apply to the real world.


  • TF#11 - PROCONSUL

    A new test date would be nice 🙂


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    Just look to Amazon games with lost ark they don't give people any news


  • Content Creator

    @drfate786 You are confusing Betas with Alphas.

    When a game gets to its Beta phase of testing is when you generally see most of the coding done and they are just looking to clean up the code and add some new variety features. Alpha is usually almost entirely done internally, rarely is it open to the public at all, and it is exactly what Fractured is doing right now, in the midst of coding snippets of the game, they send those snippets out to be tested.

    As to when to announce, the ONLY time a definite date should be mandated is 1. within 2 weeks of that date, so peoplecan prepare to participate, and 2. When announcing the actual game launch. EVERY other date should be left nebulous to allow the developers to adjust on the fly without disappointing too many expectations.

    The fact that they have made the Alpha testing phase open to backers is nice, but that doesn't change what an Alpha test is, nor the expectations of an Alpha testing phase. The only other testing they are getting is the internal testing, or Pre-Alpha before they release it to us to get a wider view of their work.

    I have been testing MMOs since the very first MMO hit the market, Ultima Online, and this is pretty much how its supposed to go. Your expectations are unreasonable and you need to actually readjust your thinking to the phase of testing that we're in. Don't treat this as a Beta-Test just because it is not being done internally, and don't confuse a testing phase announcement with a release announcement...even release announcements can be subject to change, but all testing phase announcements are fluid and dynamic in nature, by the nature of the beast.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    @drfate786 said in March Winter Alpha?:

    (...)relying on the community to test the game is generally a poor decision(...)

    You have me curious there. Given a tight budget, would you either:

    1. Hire a second programmer
    2. Hire a QA-team


  • @Logain

    I would hire a second programmer, there's no need for QA when the game is in development nor should an Alpha be open to backers or anyone really.



  • @GamerSeuss That's a pretty big claim to be making. The issue with claiming that you've tested MMO's like Ultima and Everquest is that given the "nature of the beast" anyone can claim to be anything. Has anyone ever questioned the legitimacy of your testing history and have you been able to prove that you have indeed tested such MMO's? Then again, how would you even prove that?

    Did Ultima even have an open beta? To my knowledge (and correct me if I am wrong) the first MMO's were rather primitive and didn't see the light of day until release, I don't think it was until EQ or WoW that open Beta's even became a thing and even those were exceptionally hard to get into I believe.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    I tested a game called "Wish", pre EQ and WoW, never saw the light of day.


  • TF#4 - EMISSARY

    @drfate786 I disagree again.
    The more people test your stuff, the more wide and accurate is the bug finding and bug fixing.
    The past is the past, now you have the benefit of allowing a lot of people to participate to the testing phase, why not use it?
    It's not like they're forcing you to test, you can or cannot do it.
    If they opt for close alphas you won't be playing before beta, which is exactly what you're complaining for: not playing.
    So you are saying you want to play the alpha and at the same time you say that you don't want alphas to be playable.
    I see it as an added value, the chance to give it a shot during development, optional, only advantages, no drawbacks again.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    And based on the business model, without the promise of alpha testing, there would probably be half the money invested.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    @drfate786

    I actually agree with you there, however, that is the old school way from back in the older days when companies actually had to pay people to alpha test their products. The times have changed drastically since then however and now the standard method is to have people pay you to alpha test your product.

    Now days, companies rush their products out and usually with little to no QA involved at all. The meaning of Alpha and Betas have changed. Early Access has arisen. Therefore, if we as a community are wanting a game to succeed, then it is up to us to QA the game properly while its in Alpha stage to bring in more backers for the BETA stage which relies on even more community involvement to have a GREAT product released at the end of the cycle.

    We are no longer the end audience for a game, we have become the "investors" of a game. If you want your investment to succeed, you will need to work at ensuring it does.


  • Content Creator

    @GamerSeuss For Ultima Online, I can't really offer any proof this late in the game. If you happen upon an original EverQuest guide, and turn to the back where the credits are, you'll see Clyde Starr listed as a Beta Tester right there. Also, somewhere around this mess of a house, I also have a set of the programmers autographs on a piece of EverQuest stationary as well.

    Regardless, I feel its not something I need to prove or disprove, because the nature of the beast is what we're talking about, and it is still valid that this is how Alphas and Betas are run. Granted, like I said, often, Alphas are closed or very limited invite list testing phases, often done by in-house testers or a professional benchmark group nowadays, but smaller publishers are starting to go with the open Alpha format because they get more backers AND more eyes on their product prior to it releasing to beta and the much less forgiving public. Alpha testers are supposed to realize going in that the game is far from complete and still open to much change. Beta is more set, and they are just ironing out bugs and adding in variable features that are less likely to cause major issues with the code/mechanics, and more QoL for the players for when the game goes live, so they can say the whole game was tested and they don't just spring something new into the game when it's live and nnobody has had a chance at it before.


  • TF#12 - PEOPLE'S HERALD

    @drfate786 said in March Winter Alpha?:

    (...)there's no need for QA when the game is in development(...)

    If developers would work that way, they would never get aware of bugs and logical errors early on and they would persist into other systems. They would ultimately shoot themselves in the foot.
    As a programmer you want to test your code as early as possible. Often. Very often.
    You either pay for that, or you find people that do that voluntarily.

    @drfate786 said in March Winter Alpha?:

    (...)Did Ultima even have an open beta?(...)

    Actually, UO had the first 'early access' - paid beta test - crowd funding. It did exactly what you claim shouldn't be done.



  • @Ostaff The issue with players testing an alpha is that players are not programmers and they are not white-hat hackers. They don't have the fracking tools or programming tools required to crack the game and find bugs and exploits. This means that they're relying on a large quantity of players to just happen upon bugs which occur during regular play, there are certain bugs that occur from specific causations which can be exploited. I guarantee that when this game launches there will be a black market on Discord for illicit exploits, dupes and botting software as well as gold/currency selling due to the amount of exploits and bugs that will go unpatched.

    The other issue with relying on the community is that this also allows bad actors to pay for alpha/beta access and then use their own tools to find exploits which they will then use to manipulate the devs. IE, "This is a serious, bug you should patch this" only for the patching of that bug to then break ten other scripts which the exploiter will now abuse if it makes it past the beta. This happens often in Runescape and WoW where an exploiter will post a video of an exploit in the hopes that Blizzard patches it because it will actually break some other scripts which they will then proceed to exploit.

    Closed alphas and PAID full time testers are a MUST in the gaming industry, you have to pay a salary to a person who's sole job is to break the game and find as many bugs and glitches as possible whilst also highlighting the causations of it. Unpaid testers simply don't have the time, skills, tools or commitment to do this effectively. A programmer has to be delegated to doing this or things go south quickly.

    I would go on to argue that games and MMO's back in the 2000s were actually much higher quality then what we get now since back then closed alphas were used to eliminate over 90% of the exploits and bugs found in-game. This was done simply because back then the average user wasn't an amateur programmer and the assumption was that they wouldn't understand why a bug occurs or if it even is a bug. The ones that made it past the alpha and beta phases of these games were actually usually added in later by accident, like the infamous "reck" bomb in classic WoW which was actually just dev oversight when the ability was added in after the alpha/beta phases as well as other blunders.

    Meanwhile, in a particular game there was a guild that had a moderator. This guild found a gold/silver exploit and kept it hidden from the devs during the alpha, beta and live phases and then proceeded to exploit it for over a year before it was finally patched three times. There's still a black market for duped gold on Albion Online to this day because of this.

    If the devs for Fractured are wise they will have player-side client logs uploaded to their servers after each playthrough as to avoid deceit. This means every interaction should be logged and recorded so that a dev can look through suspicious player logs during the alpha and beta phases to see if they're trying to create exploits.


  • TF#4 - EMISSARY

    @drfate786 said in March Winter Alpha?:

    The issue with players testing an alpha is that players are not programmers and they are not white-hat hackers. They don't have the fracking tools or programming tools required to crack the game and find bugs and exploits. This means that they're relying on a large quantity of players to just happen upon bugs which occur during regular play, there are certain bugs that occur from specific causations which can be exploited. I guarantee that when this game launches there will be a black market on Discord for illicit exploits, dupes and botting software as well as gold/currency selling due to the amount of exploits and bugs that will go unpatched.

    I really don't understand how you can keep failing to see the nonsense in what you say.
    The more people will test the alpha, the more chances that bug and exploits are discovered and reported.
    Really, try to think about it for a second, you have two scenarios:

    1. Only devs testing
    2. Devs + users testing
      How in the world can you say that only devs is better than devs + users?
      As much as some people would not report an exploit it's sufficient for a single good person to find it for it to be fixed, so the more you have, the more chance that a single person reports it.
      Is't so clear that I really don't understand how you can miss it.

    The other issue with relying on the community is that this also allows bad actors to pay for alpha/beta access and then use their own tools to find exploits which they will then use to manipulate the devs. IE, "This is a serious, bug you should patch this" only for the patching of that bug to then break ten other scripts which the exploiter will now abuse if it makes it past the beta. This happens often in Runescape and WoW where an exploiter will post a video of an exploit in the hopes that Blizzard patches it because it will actually break some other scripts which they will then proceed to exploit.

    This probably makes even less sense than the previous point.
    Reporting a bug in hope that fixing it breaks other things, total nonsense.
    Bugs need to be fixed and fixes can cause other bugs, but it's irrelevant whether the report was made to trigger this mechanism or not, bugs need to be fixed anyway.
    It would make sense if the bug was fixes by the user himself, injecting some malicious code, but that's clearly not the case.

    Closed alphas and PAID full time testers are a MUST in the gaming industry, you have to pay a salary to a person who's sole job is to break the game and find as many bugs and glitches as possible whilst also highlighting the causations of it. Unpaid testers simply don't have the time, skills, tools or commitment to do this effectively. A programmer has to be delegated to doing this or things go south quickly.

    Was a must, things change, people change, paying doesn't mean finding everything, a lot of paid workers are slackers that will not do their job properly.
    Better relying on numbers of enthusiasts, because if you mass up enough enthusiasts testing your game, statistically speaking you will also have some experts among them, and some with a lot of time to invest in the testing itself.

    I would go on to argue that games and MMO's back in the 2000s were actually much higher quality then what we get now since back then closed alphas were used to eliminate over 90% of the exploits and bugs found in-game. This was done simply because back then the average user wasn't an amateur programmer and the assumption was that they wouldn't understand why a bug occurs or if it even is a bug. The ones that made it past the alpha and beta phases of these games were actually usually added in later by accident, like the infamous "reck" bomb in classic WoW which was actually just dev oversight when the ability was added in after the alpha/beta phases as well as other blunders.

    You don't need to be a developer to report a bug, you don't even need to know how it happens when reporting it, you just need to explain how to make the bug happen.
    Finding out why, when and where in the code is devs work, not tester ones, that's why you can have a mass of non-experts producing good results by direct testing the product on the field.
    I play Guild Wars 2 and they have a huge team, so I suppose they have a lot of paid testers, but every patch they release is so flooded of bugs I'm ashamed for them!
    This alone proves your statement wrong, since Guild Wars 2 is probably the best MMORPG of the previous generation, and still is bugged as hell, with bugs dragged around for years, well known and never fixed!

    Meanwhile, in a particular game there was a guild that had a moderator. This guild found a gold/silver exploit and kept it hidden from the devs during the alpha, beta and live phases and then proceeded to exploit it for over a year before it was finally patched three times. There's still a black market for duped gold on Albion Online to this day because of this.

    It's really unlikely that an exploit remains unknown to the majority of the population, if you have enough people testing it.
    Still this can happen, but it happens whether you had an open alpha or not, whether you had paid testers or not, issues happen, deal with it.
    If a black market exists, even better, at worst devs can "buy" exploits and fix them, at best someone else will leak them anyway eventually.


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