Star Citizen Development Discussion (Is Derek Smart Right?)

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JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
3,938
126
First off, the link you posted initially for this has completely different wording than your post.



As a developer myself I can tell you that alpha tests are done with a very small group of users usually, not a huge playerbase, and is rarely feature complete. I've alpha tested many applications and games over my lifetime including some RPG games like Everquest, Asheron's Call, and a few others. I can also tell you that I've never seen an alpha release test sequence that was feature complete. In fact, most of the time the alpha testing is designed to specifically get feedback to decide upon features for the product based on some preliminary features in the demo to see if the current features work, what doesn't work, and what has to be changed.

Saying SC is in alpha is currently the correct term. Per-alpha would be internal testing only. Since there is some user group testing it is considered alpha. Now BETA tends to be more feature complete.

But for those that would like other sources on the definition of Alpha testing.

https://www.centercode.com/blog/2011/01/alpha-vs-beta-testing/

http://istqbexamcertification.com/what-is-alpha-testing/

http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/what-is-alpha-testing-beta-testing/

In fact I can't find a single link in the first 10 pages on google when searching for "alpha testing software" that state that an alpha test has to be feature complete at the time the test is being run.

In fact, they all practically state it is the first form of in-house acceptance testing with some bits of user testing of feature sets to see if the work for the users. Most alpha tests are meant to be buggy, not all assets put in place, and not all features implemented either.
if the wording is different then someone changed it since I posted. Thats lol worthy in itself.
 

HumblePie

Lifer
Oct 30, 2000
13,819
146
106
if the wording is different then someone changed it since I posted. Thats lol worthy in itself.
Unless it was the original wording as shown in google cache and other caching wiki services for far longer than the version you tried to quote.

Of which the other links corroborate the same definition as is the current one on wiki that I link. That is alpha testing is never considered feature complete but an early acceptance test that includes a small select amount of users.
 

preslove

Lifer
Sep 10, 2003
16,760
60
91
When I first saw this stuff about how complicated the ships would be, with damage & individual thrusters, in the service of "increased immersion," I saw it as a huge red flag. Really, you're going to have dozens of ships with hundreds of components each in one instance? Are people's gaming rigs going to handle that? Is the engine going to handle it? Is your netcode going to handle that? Your servers? Also, how does all this background stuff actually make more immersive gameplay? Each ship having ~10 damage zones would be just as immersive, if in a fun game, as having HUNDREDS. But it seems a bunch of CR's dreams involved background functions of the game (like no transition between space & ground...), rather than actual gameplay.

Even if they weren't using a single player FPS engine, they'd never have been able to pull this off. How many man hours have been wasted on this one ridiculous design decision?
 
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JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
3,938
126
Unless it was the original wording as shown in google cache and other caching wiki services for far longer than the version you tried to quote.

Of which the other links corroborate the same definition as is the current one on wiki that I link. That is alpha testing is never considered feature complete but an early acceptance test that includes a small select amount of users.
Are you saying I literally wrote a paragraph in wiki language to try and trick you?
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
3,938
126
Never think I'm so invested that I would effort post by making up an entire paragraph. Lol. I don't effort post.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
460
126
I don't care if it\s prealpha,alpha, alpha 9.9999 or whatever. I care about realease date. I sold my x52 pro cause it was useless in elite and I just don't find good game for joystick. I would like something special so I can have a reason to buy my self new good joystick :) I don't have time for fly sims like dcs to study them, but space game seems casual enough to have fun.

Star Citizen to be finished is good for backers, all gamers, kickstarter, future projects on kickstarter and sc fi genre. Hope it will see the day of relase date, if not, life goes on.I'll play freelancer :D
Well said.

Glad you didn't get scammed :)

I just think about all the people who spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on SC instead of buying VR equipment for Eve Valkyrie.
They knowingly bought assets in a non-existent game to fund its development. As scams go, that one seems a bit transparent.

That was me that said both sides should provide links. Sabrewings has been really good about doing it. I've learned more from those links so I've nothing but good things to say about him doing it.
Seconded, Sabrewings is always a prince with the patience of Job. Or is that a job with the patience of Prince . . .

Nope, definitely the former! :D

Over 140 million apparently..
lol +1

First off, the link you posted initially for this has completely different wording than your post.

As a developer myself I can tell you that alpha tests are done with a very small group of users usually, not a huge playerbase, and is rarely feature complete. I've alpha tested many applications and games over my lifetime including some RPG games like Everquest, Asheron's Call, and a few others. I can also tell you that I've never seen an alpha release test sequence that was feature complete. In fact, most of the time the alpha testing is designed to specifically get feedback to decide upon features for the product based on some preliminary features in the demo to see if the current features work, what doesn't work, and what has to be changed.

Saying SC is in alpha is currently the correct term. Per-alpha would be internal testing only. Since there is some user group testing it is considered alpha. Now BETA tends to be more feature complete.

But for those that would like other sources on the definition of Alpha testing.

https://www.centercode.com/blog/2011/01/alpha-vs-beta-testing/

http://istqbexamcertification.com/what-is-alpha-testing/

http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/what-is-alpha-testing-beta-testing/

In fact I can't find a single link in the first 10 pages on google when searching for "alpha testing software" that state that an alpha test has to be feature complete at the time the test is being run.

In fact, they all practically state it is the first form of in-house acceptance testing with some bits of user testing of feature sets to see if the work for the users. Most alpha tests are meant to be buggy, not all assets put in place, and not all features implemented either.
Thanks, 'Pie. That's very helpful for non-developers.

Permaban with no refund of often massive investments for cheating in a freakin' alpha test?

Well, isn't that . . . convenient.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
3,938
126
what the aim bots taught everyone is there are no hit boxes and the code is so messed up even the aimbot doesn't register every hit.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
6,025
336
136
This is one of those moments where the line of "it's in Alpha" vs "You can play the game right now" makes things even more confusing. If it's in Alpha, how do you know it's cheating vs taking advantage of a glitch in the system? A glitch that's normal in Alpha and is expected to be plugged. Further more, if it's in 'Alpha' how would they know their anti-cheating worked vs yet another bug? It's so strange.. I have no love for cheaters, more so in these kind of online games, but I'm not sure how mad I could be with it.. it's in "Alpha" after all.. I'm not expecting it to really work as expected. RC on the other hand.. that I'd expect more from.
 

Red Storm

Lifer
Oct 2, 2005
14,214
215
106
This is one of those moments where the line of "it's in Alpha" vs "You can play the game right now" makes things even more confusing. If it's in Alpha, how do you know it's cheating vs taking advantage of a glitch in the system? A glitch that's normal in Alpha and is expected to be plugged. Further more, if it's in 'Alpha' how would they know their anti-cheating worked vs yet another bug? It's so strange.. I have no love for cheaters, more so in these kind of online games, but I'm not sure how mad I could be with it.. it's in "Alpha" after all.. I'm not expecting it to really work as expected. RC on the other hand.. that I'd expect more from.
There is an obvious difference between unintended bugs and intentionally exploiting code to cheat...

I still don't understand why you keep bringing up the "It's in alpha" vs "You can play the game right now." You can play the game right now in its current state, which is alpha. There really isn't anything more to it than that, quite simple. No different from the hundreds of early access games you can find on Steam right now. Those who don't like to play buggy, work in progress games should obviously wait (like myself, I pledged money back in the early days because I wanted to support this game, but I am happy to wait until we are closer to a complete game before actually playing a whole lot), while those who do enjoy contributing to the testing process should look more into it and decide if they want to buy in right now or not.
 
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werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
460
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There is an obvious difference between unintended bugs and intentionally exploiting code to cheat...

I still don't understand why you keep bringing up the "It's in alpha" vs "You can play the game right now." You can play the game right now in its current state, which is alpha. There really isn't anything more to it than that, quite simple. No different from the hundreds of early access games you can find on Steam right now. Those who don't like to play buggy, work in progress games should obviously wait (like myself, I pledged money back in the early days because I wanted to support this game, but I am happy to wait until we are closer to a complete game before actually playing a whole lot), while those who do enjoy contributing to the testing process should look more into it and decide if they want to buy in right now or not.
I would make that same distinction, actually. In my mind, "You can play the game right now" denotes that the game is not finished, but whatever progress you make will be saved. Conversely, "It's in alpha" denotes that this is merely a test and whatever progress you make will be wiped away at the next build or stage of alpha testing. i.e. with the former you are playing "the game" whereas with the latter you are helping test the game. Granted, there is no longer much distinction, especially with early access games, but some very useful things hopefully gained in alpha testing would be how people can cheat and how well your game and network code can detect and defeat that cheating.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
6,025
336
136
There is an obvious difference between unintended bugs and intentionally exploiting code to cheat...

I still don't understand why you keep bringing up the "It's in alpha" vs "You can play the game right now." You can play the game right now in its current state, which is alpha. There really isn't anything more to it than that, quite simple. No different from the hundreds of early access games you can find on Steam right now. Those who don't like to play buggy, work in progress games should obviously wait (like myself, I pledged money back in the early days because I wanted to support this game, but I am happy to wait until we are closer to a complete game before actually playing a whole lot), while those who do enjoy contributing to the testing process should look more into it and decide if they want to buy in right now or not.
You really haven't seen the back and forth of the game's state depending on what criticism is being brought up? If one says the game isn't out yet and it's <radio edit> because they bought into it back in the kickstarter days and are tired of them not producing what was promised, it's "the game IS out! you can play it now". The moment you point out the game is a buggy mess it's suddenly "It's in Alpha, it's not done yet. Wait until the final game is released before commenting on it!"

With that, it's suddenly not "quite simple". In this case, if they're banning people in Alpha, one has to question a few things. Like how do they know it's flat out cheating and not a game bug? (Yes, I do get there are aimbots and whatnot, but I've seen devs use aimbots to get the gameplay working) More so, if the games not out, why do they really care? It's in Alpha, what happens here shouldn't effect the main release.
 
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preslove

Lifer
Sep 10, 2003
16,760
60
91
Language, dude.

Using an exploit during alpha to cheat is a good thing because it gives devs a chance to fix it before release. Banning people makes no sense beyond the "this is all a huge trainwreck and CR is just winging it" explanation
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
6,025
336
136
Language, dude.

Using an exploit during alpha to cheat is a good thing because it gives devs a chance to fix it before release. Banning people makes no sense beyond the "this is all a huge trainwreck and CR is just winging it" explanation
I'm assuming the "Language" remark was for my post, I've edited it to remove possibly offending. It wasn't my intent, and thank you for pointing it out.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
6,025
336
136
Humblepie posted this:


I'm not family, I'm not friend and I can buy and play. So according to this, this is not alpha :) You guys manipulate too much with words. When you find use full it's alpha, the next day it is you can play. And most important is I can buy it today. According to this, star citizen is beta...
Anyone who helps me achieve my goal of over $140 million is my friend!
 

preslove

Lifer
Sep 10, 2003
16,760
60
91
I'm assuming the "Language" remark was for my post, I've edited it to remove possibly offending. It wasn't my intent, and thank you for pointing it out.
I wasn't offended, I just didn't want the cantankerous mods to ban/infract you :)
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,335
74
91
Humblepie posted this:
I'm not family, I'm not friend and I can buy and play. So according to this, this is not alpha :) You guys manipulate too much with words. When you find use full it's alpha, the next day it is you can play. And most important is I can buy it today. According to this, star citizen is beta...
And you must have missed the "normally". You see the definition of "normally" is "usually or regularly". This also implicitly means there are things which are not usual. Given that a space sim isn't usually made anymore to begin with, add on top of it a game targeted for PCs also isn't normal anymore, there is nothing "normal" about this game. Why would you expect that normal would then apply?

Given the fact that access to alpha was part of certain funding levels, it is clear that said alpha wouldn't be the normal alpha seen in normally developed games. In one sense, I wouldn't call what we have access to the real alpha, but the release alpha. The real alpha crashes right and left and lets you spawn any item and toggle on/off diagnostics overlays/etc... We have a release alpha which has had a little more polish, using mostly stable elements/code/functions, giving a limited view of the current state of the game. The main purpose right now is to see how people break/exploit the system as it currently stands. I am glad we are seeing aim-bots right now, as it means we are more likely to have methods used to use them fixed before the game goes live.

Again, dealing with these standard development practices and having to explain to people what they are actually seeing is why most games do not open up this early, because non-programmers/developers/professional software testers have no idea how things are made. And when you tell them, they believe their own narrative over the facts and continue to complain about things that are standard practices believing the tests need to bigger than they are to show things work or not.
 
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HumblePie

Lifer
Oct 30, 2000
13,819
146
106
And he grabs one word...Sure normally alpha for 140 millions which bans aimboters and don't give refunds if you don't sue them so they can buy alpha doors :D
Give me a break... One word :D
Are you really that obtuse? Friends and family are in quotes for a reason and there is other quantifier language with the words normally and sometimes. Companies I do work for all the time routinely select guinea pi...er "friendly clients" to help us do alpha testing of our software products. A good portion of the features and requirements are mostly coded out, but not everything usually. There are going to be bugs and more than likely major tweaks/revisions as the customers helping during the alpha test phase help with feedback on if the features are working good, need to be changed, or just removed because they are irrelevant now. You wouldn't use actual "friends and family" because more than likely my grandmother or cousin would have no knowledge or use of an HR healthcare accounting software package as an example. Using people that have no vested interested wouldn't provide useful feedback at all.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
3,938
126
Are you really that obtuse? Friends and family are in quotes for a reason and there is other quantifier language with the words normally and sometimes. Companies I do work for all the time routinely select guinea pi...er "friendly clients" to help us do alpha testing of our software products. A good portion of the features and requirements are mostly coded out, but not everything usually. There are going to be bugs and more than likely major tweaks/revisions as the customers helping during the alpha test phase help with feedback on if the features are working good, need to be changed, or just removed because they are irrelevant now. You wouldn't use actual "friends and family" because more than likely my grandmother or cousin would have no knowledge or use of an HR healthcare accounting software package as an example. Using people that have no vested interested wouldn't provide useful feedback at all.
So everything about this is normal. Good to know.
 

[DHT]Osiris

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2015
7,215
2,954
146
Humblepie posted this:


I'm not family, I'm not friend and I can buy and play. So according to this, this is not alpha :) You guys manipulate too much with words. When you find use full it's alpha, the next day it is you can play. And most important is I can buy it today. According to this, star citizen is beta...
The lines between pre-alpha, alpha, and beta in PC gaming have all been pretty blurred in the last decade or so. You've got games in pre-alpha state (and barely, or not at all playable) being sold on Steam as 'early access' alongside games like KSP which have been in a near-released state (but not necessarily feature complete) for years. Many studios, especially MMOs, have 'open betas' of what is essentially the finished game just to drum up support, get some 'leaks' out, and generally create more money from hype. Then you have games that float some line between alpha/beta and release for forever, like Dwarf Fortress. It's beta, it's playable, it's fantastic, and it's not released (and may never be) as a full 1.0 product.

I see SC as an evolving product, who's playability is maintained (as seen through balance tweaks, not normally done until the 'quilt is crafted' fully, and also through apparent banning of exploitable features) until such time that it's feature complete to the extent that is desired for a 1.0 release. Until then, people can either choose to play it or not, and whether they should expect it or not, apparently people are expecting to have a 'reasonable' experience while playing said alpha/beta/whatever.
 

HumblePie

Lifer
Oct 30, 2000
13,819
146
106
So everything about this is normal. Good to know.
Correct. The current product is what I would certainly call in Alpha stage. There is user "usable" features that can be tested. All assets do not need to be present. Most of the basic features are there, even if they aren't all that great in many cases, but they are there. As mentioned the content/assets are put in after this usually before beta. Anywhere from 80% to 100% of the content is added before beta and obviously the rest should be added before release.

Unless it is a shitty game like Vangard for example that toss out a game with whole "zones" with literally nothing in them. No monsters, items, content or anything. Just big empty spaces. That is an example of what not to do. Even WoW did similar with high end content. Which unfortunately is a major trend with online RPG games. They don't finish putting in the higher end content when they release the product in hopes they have enough time before a significant portion of the player bases reaches the point where they expect that content.
 

HumblePie

Lifer
Oct 30, 2000
13,819
146
106
The lines between pre-alpha, alpha, and beta in PC gaming have all been pretty blurred in the last decade or so. You've got games in pre-alpha state (and barely, or not at all playable) being sold on Steam as 'early access' alongside games like KSP which have been in a near-released state (but not necessarily feature complete) for years. Many studios, especially MMOs, have 'open betas' of what is essentially the finished game just to drum up support, get some 'leaks' out, and generally create more money from hype. Then you have games that float some line between alpha/beta and release for forever, like Dwarf Fortress. It's beta, it's playable, it's fantastic, and it's not released (and may never be) as a full 1.0 product.

I see SC as an evolving product, who's playability is maintained (as seen through balance tweaks, not normally done until the 'quilt is crafted' fully, and also through apparent banning of exploitable features) until such time that it's feature complete to the extent that is desired for a 1.0 release. Until then, people can either choose to play it or not, and whether they should expect it or not, apparently people are expecting to have a 'reasonable' experience while playing said alpha/beta/whatever.

Some companies can decided to do what they want, but that doesn't change the basic industry definitions. I know much of what you speak of when it comes to games. Especially those that keep the "beta" tag on their product for years although it is a fully released product. Why they decide to call it beta makes no sense to me, but they do. I certainly don't call such products beta anymore.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
6,025
336
136
The lines between pre-alpha, alpha, and beta in PC gaming have all been pretty blurred in the last decade or so. You've got games in pre-alpha state (and barely, or not at all playable) being sold on Steam as 'early access' alongside games like KSP which have been in a near-released state (but not necessarily feature complete) for years. Many studios, especially MMOs, have 'open betas' of what is essentially the finished game just to drum up support, get some 'leaks' out, and generally create more money from hype. Then you have games that float some line between alpha/beta and release for forever, like Dwarf Fortress. It's beta, it's playable, it's fantastic, and it's not released (and may never be) as a full 1.0 product.

I see SC as an evolving product, who's playability is maintained (as seen through balance tweaks, not normally done until the 'quilt is crafted' fully, and also through apparent banning of exploitable features) until such time that it's feature complete to the extent that is desired for a 1.0 release. Until then, people can either choose to play it or not, and whether they should expect it or not, apparently people are expecting to have a 'reasonable' experience while playing said alpha/beta/whatever.
My only issue with the title "Alpha" is how some people deal with criticisms. I've mentioned this a few times in this thread. Outside of that, I don't see any reason to care what they call it. I'm not sure why some people are getting hung up on the title of it, this game has so many issues with it why go after something so minor. To me it takes away from the valid points that this game has.

As for the evolving product.. well.. yeah. That's part of the issue, they kickstarted with something and then 'evolved' it into the mess it is now. While it may become a much better game (I say may because until it's out in it's completed form it's all vaper) it didn't start so massive. I probably wouldn't have too much of an issue if they were honest about what they could do and the timeframe for it. I don't agree with them expanding on the scope and features when it derails the progress of release. I'm told there was a vote on it, and everyone voted to delay the release to expand the scope but I don't konw when that was or who voted. I didn't see it after I put in for the kickstart.
 

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