Took the term 'alpha-testing' out of the defination and changed 'plot completed' to 'completely written' as maybe this incorporates the suggestion made by [RF] regarding the discrepency of the author vs. the user(?) SarahSmith - 19 Nov 2002
I'd define this a little differently. Since "completed" is a pretty unhelpful term in this context, I'd make the distinction as: alpha-testing being what author does, and beta-testing being the testing done by others. This seems a more useful distinction, IMHO, in that it then applies (or damn well should do) to the majority of development scenarios.
Rather than excluding non-authors from the alpha-testing definition, I'm inclined to provide examples to better pin down the idea of "not completed." Asking someone to test a portion of the game that has been compiled separately for that purpose or to test for a specific type of functionality with the caveat that other functions have not yet been coded should qualify as alpha-testing. I would also think a typical alpha-tester would be in fairly on-going contact with the author during testing, while a beta tester would maintain more "objective distance."
SharonBrown - 14 Aug 2002
I guess where I'm coming from is: "alpha test" and "beta test" have more or less well-known definitions in the software development world. Alpha test is internal, performed by the developers to verify that the code does what they intended it to. Beta test is external, performed by pre-release customers, to validate that the code is useful, meets the real-life requirements, doesn't fall over unexpectedly, etc, etc. That's the simplistic distinction that I'm trying to preserve here. It's not vastly different from Sharon's view; it's more that I don't want to have to provide examples in order to clarify the differences.
I guess my own experience is that I sometimes find it useful to let someone (generally someone who knows a fair amount about IF and about my game design practices) play an incomplete version of the game, and then make suggestions. Which I suppose makes them one of the developers as well.
-- EmilyShort - 15 Aug 2002
In a situation like this, I think it would be appropriate to begin with the prescriptive definition of what alpha testing is according to the software industry, and then describe how IF authors tend to get their alpha-testing done.
-- DGJ - 17 Sep 2002