Interplanetary is a turn-based strategy game for PC, Mac and Linux, featuring both single- and multiplayer modes.

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Alpha builds and Steam Greenlight (Games : Interplanetary : Forum : GameDev Talk : Alpha builds and Steam Greenlight) Locked
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Jan 30 2014 Anchor

Really impressed by Interplanetary. Amazing work.
I'm interested to learn more on what did you need to consider before providing alpha builds.
I will soon want to offer my game for alpha testing and will appreciate any tips, specifically when considering the game for Steam Greenlight.
Thanks and I look forward to playing your game.

Feb 10 2014 Anchor

Thanks a lot! I can give you a couple of pointers that I can think of.

Consider this, for a moment: why do you want to put out the alpha version? We wanted to have people test the game for quality assurance purposes. Of course, the additional publicity was a nice thing too. We'd like people to play our game, that's no secret.

Make it easy for people to play your game. Our alpha code system is quite simple for what it is, but you can also consider letting people play your game in their browsers, if at all possible.

Because we wanted testers to test our obviously very incomplete game, we used a system of codes that we would give out to any askers. This way, everyone would know what they're going in for; if we would've just given out a free link to the game, a lot of people would have just downloaded it, expecting a complete package. Once we went to Greenlight, we had updated the alpha enough to give out a free link the and its connection to Greenlight also emphasizes the fact that the version is incomplete. If we hadn't had a good enough version at that point, we would've postponed our campaign. Some kind of a playable demo is a good idea to have when going to Greenlight. You shouldn't underestimate the power of good screenshots, videos, written descriptions and cover images, though; a playable version won't replace the need for them. People won't download even a free game unless you first show them what it's about and get them interested.

We're going to continue to update the alpha and let the code owners have the new, more experimental versions. When we reach beta, we will change the system.

We wanted people to test the game so we had to make sure to give them the features we wanted them to test. The targeting system especially was something we wanted to get a lot of feedback on. This also meant that some of the more irrelevant features would need to be polished not to drag too much attention to them. We didn't want people to just comment: "the planet graphics suck" and leave. When giving feedback, it's easy to grab into the most obvious thing and ignore the others.

For feedback, we created a survey with SurveyMonkey. It's important to think of the right questions to ask; most people won't bother writing out their life stories. You need to make the survey very easy. This system worked well until we reached over 100 answers. The free version won't show more than that so we needed to pay a fee to access the rest.

How large of an audience are you trying to reach? When we started giving out the codes, we got picked up by RockPaperShotgun, which gave Interplanetary a huge surge of popularity. I had to spend days simply to answer all the code requests we were getting. An automatic system would've made things much easier, but I prefer unobstructed contact with people. Makes it easier to answer to their specific questions and such.

We used Mediafire to host the game files, which was a good idea in hindsight. Using a personal storage method such as Dropbox might have ended up problematic with the large amount of traffic we were getting.

Huh, could have just as well written a blog post about all this. Well, enjoy my disjointed thoughts! Hope this helps! Good luck and ask, if you have any more questions.

Feb 19 2014 Anchor

This is super helpful! thanks so much :D
I think this kind hands on experience on the initial release process can be valuable to the many first timers. Please consider blogging this so it will be visible to others who may not visit this post :thumbup:

Feb 20 2014 Anchor

Thank you! I think this was a very good chance for me to reflect on the process. I'll definitely make a little post about this once I have a chance to.
Good luck with your game!

Just a little heads-up, if you haven't checked this yet: Indiedb.com
I expanded my thoughts a little bit there, so it may be more helpful.

Edited by: Jeoo

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