Friday, November 19, 2010

DCS: A-10C Warthog - Three Betas Down, Many More to Go

Beta 3 for DCS A-10C has been released. Better framerates here and there, avionics/weapons fixes and fog, lots of fog.
If you never beta tested a game, let me sum it up for you: not that fun, not for everybody.

The first beta version you download makes you feel you are living the dream. A game you like ... And you are playing it before the crowd. You get that shiny avatar with the words "beta tester" on it and you use it in discussion forums like a badge vested for your savviness, awesomeness, luck or whatever. Your forum posts are read and dissected to the last word in search for new bits and pieces about the game .You are admired, popular, even needed. And if you are the quiet type who don't post anything in any forum, you feel like you got your efforts compensated by a free copy of the game, even when is far from finished.

The office looks as good as always, the view out of the window ... very foggy
Around the third or so beta download, it all starts to wear off. - Gee! I have to play this scenario again? By the sixth beta download you are so busted that you are just clicking around to find out the bug that will save your reputation among the other beta testers. - Damn! I'd rather be playing that other game I just bought ... With the game getting less buggy at every download, you start having problems finding anything of substance. You search in vain for spelling errors in the briefings, for insignificant graphical glitches, for that miracle finding that will earn you two days away from the game.

By the ninth beta download, you have completely gave up and left everything up to those other guys who apparently don't have a life other that this game and report more than ten bugs per beta. - I played ... It didn't crash ... Good job guys fixing that stability problem that I reported before! Yup, those two crashes you got while running  at the same time the beta and that other game you bought.

By the time of release, the very sight of the splash screen of the game gives you a headache and carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. - Send my free copy to this address ... and let me have my life in peace!

Flying around Russia, weaponless.
Joking aside, beta testing is and will always be a labor of love. But one can't negate it has a toll on your enjoyment of the game you test.

In the case of DCS A-10C, we are not required to report bugs. But I am wondering how spent we are going to be when the sim is officially released.

Tactical signaling with smoke or there is always somebody grilling something in these Caucasus towns?
We are now at version 3 of the DCS A-10C beta and it looks like there is a lot of work to be done. Is there a need to release every single beta version to the pre-order customers?



kylania said...

They said they'd try to have a new beta version to us every two weeks.

You're quite correct in that many people will probably get bored and worn out by the betas. For those people I can only suggest this:

Don't download the new betas. :)

Enjoy what you have, play to your heart's content. Stop playing if it's a chore or a bore. If you want the new fixes and features, by all means upgrade, but don't feel you have to.

Personally I'm loving each new beta, even with the problems they've added. Then again I'm also taking it pretty slow. A mission a night, a training session here or there. Just messing around with friends on the weekend. All still fun for me. Hope it still is for you!

JC said...

Ey kylania,

Thanks for your comment. You make a good point. One thing that I forgot is that if by the time the sim is officially released we have all the canned missions played to exhaustion, we will still have a lot of community-generated content. :)