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Are there any reasons why Intercept Games wouldn't want to do polls or beta tests for KSP 2, to make it a better game at launch?


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Genuine question to try to understand why they might not do this, as I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be purely positive.

If they're sure about features like multiplayer, colonies, etc, why don't they just show off their current implementation and read the comments on the forums. Or even better, make a poll that needs some personal identification like a phone number for a verification code (without them storing it obv, but to avoid bots) and asking the community what they think about the feature in it's current implementation. If they're making the game to serve the community that is most likely to enjoy it, what downside would there be to asking them what they should change to make the most people happy? A poll for feature implementation could be very easily seen as just development and subject to change (because possibly changing it is the whole point of the poll) and would be hard to twist into a promise and fact that people would get angry doesn't actually happen.

Beta tests would give them great data on all sorts of different system specs, play styles and a much larger team of bug finders. It could even be incredibly limited, to just even a single feature, as to not basically give the whole game to people for free, for however long.

All of this would go to further guarantee a good experience for money at launch. I don't see how in a hopeful future of decades for the game, it could be a bad thing for a couple of months prior to allow a couple hundred / thousand people get to beta test, or vote for polls on features. The few early months of exposure to the game would be well worth it in the long run, and give people significantly more confidence in pre-ordering and just buying in general.

This would all be assuming they did it early enough in the time remaining until release to actually change things, unlike Battlefield 2042 for example, where I don't believe they got the information early enough, and didn't seem to try to act on it at all - that's why that game is a failure (EA even said it, not just me).

Just to restate: I don't mean this post in any sort of argumentative, rhetorical way, as to push for them to do this - I am just genuinely interested in people's opinion on as to why this might be a bad, or good idea.

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4 minutes ago, Derpiesaurus said:

why don't they just show off their current implementation and read the comments on the forums.

Only to get flooded with negative responses if they decide to not implement some of the shown features in the final product. Can't please everyone.

5 minutes ago, Derpiesaurus said:

make a poll that needs some personal identification like a phone number for a verification code (without them storing it obv, but to avoid bots)

With this community, or part of it, being so paranoid about privacy (not that it's a bad thing but there's a lot of overreacting) I don't think this would end well. You know, the usual "they'd lie about not storing it".

9 minutes ago, Derpiesaurus said:

asking the community what they think about the feature in it's current implementation. If they're making the game to serve the community that is most likely to enjoy it, what downside would there be to asking them what they should change to make the most people happy?

Probably because they have their own vision and don't need or want any outside interference. Unless they explicitly ask for feedback, which they actually have, few times.

Other than that, why every published doesn't do it? Probably because they don't need to. They may send few copies to some well known members of the community, probably YouTubers, few weeks early at most, and perhaps let them give an early review a few days before release, like it often happens these days, but that's it.

And please don't bring any more multiplayer games on the table because they need different treatment - mostly testing servers and player interactions, and unless Intercept really wants a huge open multiplayer server, such testing makes no sense.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

Only to get flooded with negative responses if they decide to not implement some of the shown features in the final product. Can't please everyone.

Yeah this is a good point. I can see how it would be pretty easily get flooded with all sorts of opinions on things; though that's why I think polls could work so well, because they can still choose x amount of options, but the community could help choose the generally agreed upon best. Though, balancing and predicting the PR nightmare that could potentially occur from stuff is a good enough reason not to do it to me.

41 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

With this community, or part of it, being so paranoid about privacy (not that it's a bad thing but there's a lot of overreacting) I don't think this would end well. You know, the usual "they'd lie about not storing it".

This is one thing that I thought of that could've been a problem, which is why I tried to word it the way I did. But for the most part, in my gullibility, I trust when companies that I know well when they say upfront and directly "We will not store this data". If it's hidden in terms of service under article 532 page 73, then yeah It's kinda sketchy. But I do think that this may not be a popular view on it.

41 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

Probably because they have their own vision and don't need or want any outside interference. Unless they explicitly ask for feedback, which they actually have, few times.

Other than that, why every published doesn't do it? Probably because they don't need to. They may send few copies to some well known members of the community, probably YouTubers, few weeks early at most, and perhaps let them give an early review a few days before release, like it often happens these days, but that's it.

And please don't bring any more multiplayer games on the table because they need different treatment - mostly testing servers and player interactions, and unless Intercept really wants a huge open multiplayer server, such testing makes no sense.

(the spaces are in relation to your's, rather than quoting each bit, to save space I realise this doesn't really save any space, so it's kinda unnecessary but I've already done it so meh)

Very true, and I can't think of any time they asked (just bad memory.. or I haven't seen it), but it's pretty cool to know they have asked for feedback already. I think it might make more financial sense to go with what the people that are likely to buy the game want, but that could easily lead to a better theoretical experience, but a worse playing experience; so yeah, risky...

I definitely could be wrong, but I don't think it's a bad idea to show a wider community the game before release, for feedback. They definitely wouldn't have to, proven by the success of games that don't do that. But if you look at the snapshots they do on Minecraft, it gives the community so much time to give feedback and bug reports, and the updates come out brilliantly and at a very acceptable amount of bug free.

(Answering this with the assumption you're talking about the mention of Battlefield 2042, so do correct me if I'm wrong). Bare with me since I know Minecraft is another mention of a multiplayer game. I 100% get that all games would need differing feedback and testing - and the reason BF2042 did that is to test servers and player interactions like you said. I think finding bugs and feedback of gameplay loops would still require the same sort of testing though (giving out temporary stripped down copies, or full copies for testing), just maybe not directed towards multiplayer. It's more the practice of the testing that I'm looking at in the BF2042 example, rather than the specifics, which is why I mention Minecraft above. I don't mean anything specific about it, just that they have people test for months and months, and as far as I know, always have had a great reaction to updates.

Edited by Derpiesaurus
Change is where the strike-through is under the third quote.
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16 minutes ago, Derpiesaurus said:

I can't think of any time they asked (just bad memory.. or I haven't seen it), but it's pretty cool to know they have asked for feedback already.

Last time it was about the idea of procedural solar panels, before that, I think it was something about exhaust plumes. Even before, I believe they considered changing Kerbal surname based on planet it was born on. It ain't much but it's there.

20 minutes ago, Derpiesaurus said:

go with what the people that are likely to buy the game want

There's another thing that pops up every now and then: options. Optional N-body, optional RSS, optional realistic light, optional this, optional that. That is literally a road to nowhere, even if in theory that would please everyone. But have fun waiting another 5 years for a release, with chances that only few percentage of players would use all features (and then mods would have to fix them anyway).

Ok, so Minecraft, in theory it's the same as KSP, as in a singleplayer game with multiplayer aspect. That is correct, but then it was developed as early access from the very beginning. That's just their way of development, and mind you, back in the days of alpha and beta there were no weekly snapshots, you were stuck with whatever version was the latest. And even so, I don't think they use too much of the feedback (other than community votes on minecons and whatever), it's mostly squashing bugs. KSP1 was in early access and as far as I know, some people outside Squad were betatesters, hunting bugs before a new version dropped.

In any case, what I think could happen would be a closed beta with a chosen pack of people and that's it.

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1 minute ago, The Aziz said:

Last time it was about the idea of procedural solar panels, before that, I think it was something about exhaust plumes. Even before, I believe they considered changing Kerbal surname based on planet it was born on. It ain't much but it's there.

I may have to do some digging because conversations about that sound like a really fun read.

3 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

In any case, what I think could happen would be a closed beta with a chosen pack of people and that's it.

Yeah, especially with the great answers you've given me, I do think now that it's the least risky way of doing it. And because they've already sort of asked for feedback on things that are necessarily going to be added (or I assume that's the nature of them), that's pretty much good enough imo to answer the question about posting ideas for feedback. I hope they just do a decently large sized group of people for a beta test, rather than only select Youtubers and stuff, as famous != great tester necessarily (Unless you're Scott Manly that is, he's legendary. Which reminds me that I think we need a petition for him to be the voice of the tutorial.. but that's a whole other topic).

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Posted (edited)

The other thing is your average gamer isn’t necessarily a good game designer. They aren’t bad at identifying problems, but they also aren’t necessarily good at coming up with solutions.  To ask them to design the game is to ask for a bunch of discombobulated features that don’t necessarily work together. This is generally why “design by committee” doesn’t produce good results. One  example is the mission builder from Making History. Folks were never very happy with the generative contracts from KSP1, but if you were on this board around 2016-2017 you would have heard a lot of players asking to be able to define all their own mission parameters rather than rely on random ones. Hence the mission builder was born. It wasn’t a crazy idea, but sadly it never really caught on and mostly flopped. People thought they wanted to define their own missions but thats because they felt frustrated by arbitrary contracts and kinda just preferred sandbox. But the solution was not to give them what they thought they wanted and leave all the constraints to players. The solution was to carefully build a set of backbone missions that aren’t arbitrary and give progression a more defined structure. Thankfully that sounds a lot like what Intercept has in mind for ‘adventure mode’.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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3 hours ago, The Aziz said:

There's another thing that pops up every now and then: options. Optional N-body, optional RSS, optional realistic light, optional this, optional that. That is literally a road to nowhere, even if in theory that would please everyone. But have fun waiting another 5 years for a release, with chances that only few percentage of players would use all features (and then mods would have to fix them anyway).

I dont think things will be optional. There will most likely not be RSS in stock KSP2, and the other features will very likely always be enabled in stock.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/21/2022 at 3:53 AM, Derpiesaurus said:

Very true, and I can't think of any time they asked (just bad memory.. or I haven't seen it), but it's pretty cool to know they have asked for feedback already. I think it might make more financial sense to go with what the people that are likely to buy the game want, but that could easily lead to a better theoretical experience, but a worse playing experience; so yeah, risky...

An example of the community asking for adjustments was when they showed the new KSC off and people noticed a hill to the side of a runway. People complained that would be an issue and it wouldn't make sense to have hills at an airport anyway. Nate responded saying that he agreed and the hill would be removed.

 

On 5/21/2022 at 4:28 AM, The Aziz said:

There's another thing that pops up every now and then: options. Optional N-body, optional RSS, optional realistic light, optional this, optional that. That is literally a road to nowhere, even if in theory that would please everyone. But have fun waiting another 5 years for a release, with chances that only few percentage of players would use all features (and then mods would have to fix them anyway).

On 5/21/2022 at 8:03 AM, qwery123 said:

I dont think things will be optional. There will most likely not be RSS in stock KSP2, and the other features will very likely always be enabled in stock.

 

I don't think many or any  major features would be optional but I would be surprised if there were no options for changing out some gameplay features

Edited by mcwaffles2003
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Perhaps because you can sell a beta version for $60, then apologize and promise to fix everything in a couple of years? Now many game companies work this way, and KSP fans tolerate any bugs. And now there is no beta version, only pre-alpha, it is not known whether there is a working build at all.

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3 hours ago, Alexoff said:

Perhaps because you can sell a beta version for $60, then apologize and promise to fix everything in a couple of years? Now many game companies work this way, and KSP fans tolerate any bugs. And now there is no beta version, only pre-alpha, it is not known whether there is a working build at all.

IDK about anyone else but this comes off as more than a little bit disingenuous towards the developers, that particular "tactic" seems to always be a result of the development studio not being able to make the financial case for continuing to pay their developers unless they release the game "as is" and rely on whatever amount of sales that brings in to hopefully eventually be able to fix things and release the game "the way they wanted to".

It happened famously with No Man's Sky, and there are countless other games out there with less successful attempts at this.

Heck IMO there's even a few Capcom fighting games that were forced to take this approach, just look at the state Street Fighter V was released in, compared to now (a success), and then compare that to Marvel vs Capcom Infinite (another Capcom fighting game, developed around the same time), which was supported for pretty much as long as it took for it to not get selected to appear as a main game at the Evolution fighting game tournament (the biggest one of those in the world, and pretty much the only one where people from all nations will show up to compete, thing's packed nearly every year (barring the pandemic years of course)). MVCI was a failure, SFV was a success.
Both games could have been so much more, had they merely been released "when they were (truly) done", instead of "when the deadline hits".


Now back to KSP 2. Do I think that this fate is certain for KSP 2? Absolutely not. I think the exact opposite of that will happen.
This time around, KSP 2 has the support of a AAA publisher, instead of being "literally one guy's (and then many people's) side project that grew to the point that the company he worked that allowed him to use their resources to develop his game pivoting out of the entire category of industry that they were working in, to become a game development studio" (Squad used to be an advertising agency if memory serves).

So the money's not gonna be a problem, and they already know they're gonna get a good amount of sales because to be quite honest KSP fans are the first to tell you they're KSP fans, you won't hear it from any of their friends unless their friends are ALSO KSP fans (and I mean that in the best way).

I really don't see this "release it now for too much money and hope we can fix it later" approach happening to KSP 2.
And furthermore I don't see any sort of a wide-scale "open beta" type thing happening for KSP 2, because the first thing that people would assume is that the thing in my previous sentence is happening instead of "we wanna iron out as many bugs as we can before we actually release this thing".

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5 hours ago, SciMan said:

I really don't see this "release it now for too much money and hope we can fix it later" approach happening to KSP 2.

I think this is a big part of the "delay", which is actually more of a pushback, than a delay, that people misunderstand. There is a good possibility they're just pushing the game back to really polish it, than because they have to. I have never once in my life seen such a positive community when it comes to "Take literally as much time as you need, give me a good game". I think the development team really understands that, and are taking their time because of it. I have very little doubt that we'll get a good game at launch. And anyway, a bunch of funky bugs in a game like KSP is fine imo as long as they're ironed out in a couple of weeks, because they usually make it funny for about that long, before they get tiresome.

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14 hours ago, SciMan said:

It happened famously with No Man's Sky, and there are countless other games out there with less successful attempts at this.

I remember something similar happened with GTA 3, which was released by the same publisher as KSP 2. And also KSP 1.0 was almost the same beta version, which was completed for a long time, and the number of bugs in the game remains large, no one is going to fix them. The disgusting PR campaign of KSP 2 and the delay in the release for 3 years led to the fact that only true believers in the grandiose plans of the developers and the success of KSP 2 remained on the forum.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Alexoff said:

I remember something similar happened with GTA 3....

First off, publishers generally don't have the sway with a developer that is needed to do things like dictate "you must release the game in whatever state it's in".

Secondly, that's Rockstar, not Intercept. Different developer, different set of morals, ideals, values, and even probably a whole different business case.
Same can be said for the "developer" of KSP 1, since this was literally their first try at developing anything even remotely resembling a video game (and to say that they were successful is quite an understatement, practically nobody's "literally I've never done this before but let's make a video game" type attempt at something goes on to become not only so financially lucrative that Squad itself pivoted into the games development industry, but that Squad went on to be acquired by a large video game publisher, and now there's a sequel coming out (maybe not by Squad, but they're still assisting in a few ways or so I remember, tho the details are hazy).

KSP 1 was a marvelous success story, even tho the state KSP 1 is in right now is still quite frankly a buggy, un-optimized mess.
EDIT: To be perfectly honest, I don't think KSP 1 ever hit the milestones that would qualify it as a "finished game". If you need evidence for that, just look at the state of Career mode. What exactly is it supposed to be, nobody knows. What it's not is a good representation of how a space agency actually conducts itself. What it is is an experience that very much forces you to play the way it wants you to play, which is completely contrary to the status of KSP 1 as a "mostly sandbox game". Nobody that I know likes running even 20 tourism missions to pay for their Jool-V mission, yet you'll have to run MORE than that many missions you "aren't really interested in" in order to get enough funding to do what you "Really Want To Do".
END EDIT

That's probably not a small part of the reason that KSP 2 exists. Sure it shares a game engine, but it's a pretty clean slate all things considered, and it's being done by people who actually have made a few video games in the past, meaning that it's almost certain to not have the same kind of issues.

Sometimes, when you're coding something, to fix an issue (or number of issues) you have to re-write like 90% of the code you had originally.
I believe such is the case with KSP 1 and KSP 2. The issues with KSP 1 run so deep that it is probably significantly less effort to simply start over from scratch, and that takes time.

I'm quite confident that KSP 2 will be SIGNIFICANTLY better in most if not all aspects, not least of which is performance.
If the price we pay for that is time, so be it.

I turned 34, 2 days ago. Over the years, I've learned that there's a time for patience, and a time for "action first, thinking later".
Most of the time being hasty leads to a reduction in the positive experiences you encounter. The only time this is not valid is in life-and-death situations. And just so we're all clear, when exactly KSP 2 releases, and the state which it releases in, is most certainly not a life-or-death situation.
Heck KSP 2 could be cancelled tomorrow and I'd find a way to keep on living.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that game development is very much "a time for patience".
KSP 2 will be done when it is done, no matter how many hardships we have to endure, and one of the primary reasons it will be good is that it was not rushed.

Remember the story of "the tortoise and the hare". Who won that race in the end? That's right, the turtle won it. Slow and steady is the way to go.

Besides, with the current news of the release being in "early 2023", combining that with the previous best estimate of when the game would be released, which was "FY2022", guess what? This latest announcement on the release date is in fact not a delay at all, because "FY2022" runs until something like April 2023 in actuality, which is quite literally still "early 2023" (financial years are weird in that way). With that in mind, I find it hard to relate to people who continue to call this new information that the game is releasing in early 2023 "a delay" in any way. My own analysis of it using just two pieces of information leads me to the opposite conclusion.

Now I wouldn't call the PR campaign of KSP 2 "disgusting" either.
Two things happened that were unable to be foreseen.
1. Covid-19 happened, which delayed pretty much every planned activity, the world over, not just KSP 2.
2. The game development studio responsible for developing KSP 2 was subject to a hostile takeover and employee poaching by a newly-formed subset of Take-Two Interactive, which FURTHER put delays in place.
Now given those two things happened to a different video game, do you think that other video game would have a good PR campaign? I certainly don't.
That being said, I think KSP 2 will be the better for that 2nd event, as the scope of what exactly KSP 2 "is" was widely increased into something that is actually deserving of the title of being a successor to KSP 1.

Do I think that "only true believers remain on the forum"? No. I do not. I think that people that don't believe in KSP 2 are active, just not on the KSP 2 Discussion sub-forum.

So I guess I'm saying "Don't post your own opinions as fact unless you have concrete data (with sources that you're willing to share) that supports it".
I could say "cows can fly, that's a fact" until I'm blue in the face, but anyone with half a brain and the knowledge of what a cow is could be fully correct when saying that I'm wrong in that statement of supposed fact.
Now if I said "it is my opinion that cows can fly", people could still prove me wrong, but by stating it's my opinion and not "the facts", I would not be guilty of misrepresenting the facts.

Edited by SciMan
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On 5/21/2022 at 3:02 AM, Derpiesaurus said:

Genuine question to try to understand why they might not do this, as I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be purely positive.

So, everything is a tradeoff, and nothing is unalloyed good.  The tricky part comes in balancing the tradeoffs.

It may be instructive to review the history of open-versus-closed betas with KSP 1.

Once upon a time, when KSP had a major release coming out, there used to be a thing called "Experimentals" where basically anyone who wanted to could sign up for it to get an advance peek at the upcoming release, with the opportunity to submit bugs, feedback, etc.  An open beta, basically.

It was that way for a while, and then eventually they shifted to doing a closed beta.  Instead of having it open to the general public, they limited it to a relatively small number of people (regular players doing it as volunteers, not paid staff).  Once they shifted to that pattern, they stayed that way for the remainder of KSP's lifecycle.  The small, closed beta was entirely private, with members not allowed to share what they saw with the public.

So, it's worth asking the question:  why would the company do something like that?  Obviously, they thought it would be "better" for some reason, but why might that be?  (Especially why would they think that's better when they already had the experience of large open betas?)

After all, with the open beta, they'd get far more users providing feedback and trying all sorts of things and finding bugs and so forth, so that must be better, right?  Why would they prefer something much smaller?

Well... it turns out that "more" does not necessarily equal "better".  Here are a few of the benefits you can get with a closed beta rather than an open one:

 

Much more actionable feedback:

Pretty much every avid KSP player knows what they like and is ready to share opinions.  :)  Lots of them would be happy to report bugs, too.  However... reporting in a way that is useful to the developers is a specialized skill, and lots of people don't have that.  The only good way to report actionable feedback (either a bug report, or a suggestion) is to file a bug in a bug database.  And the bug has to be couched in terms that are actually useful to the devs-- for example, if there's a bug in the program, then the report needs to state a clear and succinct repro case for how to reproduce the bug.  Most people don't know how to do this.

If you have a closed beta, you can pick and choose whom to let in, and so you have a population of reasonably-trained people giving you feedback, who can be counted on to be diligent about checking for duplicates before filing, and whose goodwill is assured.  As a developer, it's much more useful to have 200 good, actionable bugs than to have 10,000 bug reports & miscellaneous feedback, of which 90%+ are either unactionable or duplicates of each other.  Having the huge numbers of bugs not only doesn't help, it actually hurts because now you have to spend your time hunting for the needle in a haystack and triaging endless cruft rather than spending time actually, y'know, developing and fixing bugs.

There are other considerations below, but I think this one's the biggie.

 

Participants with the right motivation:

What the devs need, from a beta participant, is someone who is motivated to do whatever is necessary to make the game better (even if it's un-fun and boring).  What they do not need is someone whose primary motivation is just to have fun, and who wants to get their hands on it earlier rather than later.

Really good beta work is a form of drudgery.  "Game tester" may sound like an awesome job title ("Oh man!  You mean I get to play games all day and get paid for it?  Sign me up!"), but it's actually a lot less fun than it sounds like, even if you're getting paid, which beta participants aren't.  Someone who makes a good beta tester needs to be patient and have a high tolerance for repetition and attention to niggling little details.  This does not describe most people, and it does not describe the primary motivation of most people who sign up for an open beta.

The devs need people who will do the drudgery, not play the play.

 

Better engagement:

If you only have a reasonably manageable number of people in your beta, and they're all people who have been vetted and approved, then you can have a group chat channel where people can talk back and forth, bounce ideas off each other, exchange thoughts with the devs, etc.  This sort of engagement is invaluable.  And you can't do that if you've got several thousand random members of the public in your beta.  There would be just too many of them, it's not possible to have a coherent chat if there are thousands of people in the channel; plus not all of them would be of good will and on good behavior, so then you'd have to waste more time and resources moderating and so forth.  It would be impractical-- the upshot is that with the open beta, it simply wouldn't be practical to have that sort of engagement.

 

Confidentiality:

With a closed beta, you can have all the participants sign NDAs so that they can't talk about it with anyone outside the beta.  Knowing that they have confidentiality means that the devs can be much more open in talking about what's going on, what their problems are, their concerns about various matters, etc.  They can be more free to experiment with ideas that might not pan out and end up needing to be axed or substantially modified.  Whereas if it were all out in the open, this is just all sorts of PR disaster just waiting to happen, even if the devs do nothing "wrong".  People are funny creatures-- if you show them something they tend to think "yes!  that's mine!  I'm gonna have that!" and if you then decide not to do it after all, they view this as if you "took it away from them" and can be vocally angry about it in ways that are unhelpful.

With a closed beta, it's easier to manage the message, and the general public doesn't get their hands on it until it's relatively polished.

It's also the case that with confidentiality, this gives the company various PR options, for example they can choose to do a big "ta dah!" unveiling when they actually release.  Sometimes that can have value, and it's nice for the company to have the option.

 

Flexibility & practicality:

With a closed beta, the devs can set things up however is convenient for them (which is what they need), without needing to worry too much about "would this arrangement leave anybody out"-- because they can pick and choose who's in the beta.  That can greatly simplify things.  For example, back when KSP was still doing Experimentals (open beta), there was one release where they announced that they were going to have this open beta, but only people who had KSP via Steam would be able to participate.  There were perfectly good, simple, technical reasons for this:  at the time, Steam had good support to meet their technical needs (in terms of releasing builds, having the necessary infrastructure for distribution, etc.)  The problem is... the general public viewed this as vile discrimination.  Lots of people were super eager to get their hands on the early version... and then became absolutely enraged when they were told that they couldn't.  (Especially people who bought the game through the KSP store, because they felt they were being "more loyal and helpful" by doing so.)

Holy mackerel, the KSP forums were a firestorm for a while.  It was pretty much a PR nightmare.  There was basically no way to tell people "you haven't lost anything and this isn't personal".

Point is:  if you have something open to everyone, then the collective community is going to decide that you have to support and allow everyone to do everything, which isn't necessarily what the devs need or want to support when they're busy working their way through the development process.  With a closed beta, the devs can simply do whatever is technically easiest and most efficient, and not have to worry about managing the social dynamics of it.

 

...Anyway.  Those are a few of the reasons why a company might choose, for example, a closed beta over an open one.  It's worth noting that the folks who made KSP actually tried the open beta for several releases, so they had a pretty good chance to see the advantages and disadvantages of it-- and then, they switched to closed beta and never switched back.  I'm not a Squad employee and am therefore not privy to their internal deliberations, but I think those observable facts right there make a pretty strong case that having experienced both options in detail, they decided that on the whole, the closed beta worked better for them than the open one did.

That's all ancient history at this point, of course.  You weren't asking about original KSP; you were asking about KSP 2.  Well... again, I have no idea what their plans are for KSP 2-- I don't know any more about it than you do.  And of course, not every company (or even every game from the same company) is always going to do things the same way all the time; KSP 2 has a somewhat different context than KSP did, so the same factors wouldn't necessarily apply.

But, that said:  it totally makes sense to me that they wouldn't do an open beta.  They tried an open beta with original KSP for several releases, and eventually gave up on it and never looked back.  So, if it worked for KSP, it's at least plausible that it would work for KSP 2 as well.

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Posted (edited)

Regarding beta testing, I fully agree with what @Snark said about betas, and why a closed beta is often just "easier to deal with" than an open beta.

However, there's a part of me that would like to know what kind of testing regime they are in, if any, and what general kind of development work they're focusing on at the moment (a small part, but it exists and it's quite loud in my mind).

Nothing too detailed, just something like "we're focusing on asset creation" if they're doing stuff like modelling and texturing, or "we're coding (named) game mechanics (or sub-systems that enable game mechanics) and testing how they play with other existing ones", which is a stripped-down version of the update we got when they told us about the new Resource System.
EDIT: My point is that it doesn't have to be some super-detailed mega-reveal kind of thing that takes a month to put together, it can be as simple as a status update of a sentence or two.

And if they're doing some sort of closed beta or alpha testing, it would probably not be a bad idea to let the forum know that. I personally am extremely interested in this specific knowledge, not because I myself would like to be a tester (I am capable of it, and have assisted with finding and fixing bugs in a few KSP 1 mods in the past, but like was mentioned it's rather tedious work), rather as an indicator of how complete the general process of developing the game is, or at least how close to actually releasing it the developers think it is (things happen, sometimes you think you're 90% complete and uncover an issue that means you have to re-write half your code, I've been there with some of the small programs I've written for other games that have programmable elements in them).

Of course, IMO the best thing to do along with that announcement that they're doing some form of whole-game alpha or beta testing would be to include a link to some sort of online form or survey or even "test" i suppose would be the most proper term for it, that would-be participants in said testing could fill out in order to opt-in for the chance to become a tester (with someone at Intercept sorting thru those applications until they think they have enough of them to continue, obviously).
@Snark did say that the participants in the beta testing are carefully selected, and I fully agree with that, but my thinking is that the form (which serious would-be testers should probably treat more like a job application) should help make the job of sorting out who the developers think would actually make a good tester at least somewhat easier, at least in theory.

Edited by SciMan
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@SnarkVery well written! I absolutely agree now that it would be easier to deal with, and are likely to receive better feedback from a carefully selected group of people. However I'm still not sure anything can beat a whole crowd for finding bugs (maybe not reporting them though), which in my experience tends to be what remains when a game launches. There aren't usually any deep technical problems with the vision of the game, or the general function of things. It's usually just small bugs that are found through rigorous testing. So I think some type of open.. something, would be useful, but yeah the way I explained one of the possibilities, it wouldn't be very viable.

I still think though, after all the answers here, that polling the community on things for KSP2 would be a good idea. I've definitely narrowed the scope of the polling in my head after reading everything, from whole features, down more to what I'm about to explain here: I think they could still use polls to ask some questions (these are examples rather than things that might actually work) like "How long should it take for a new KSC to be built when colonising?" and then giving options like "2h", "4h", "12h", "24h", for people to choose from. It could be a good gauge of how long the general community is willing to wait and be satisfied with things like that. Though I'm open to being corrected about that too!

It does appear that Intercept has already been pretty open when they want community feedback, as said by someone who commented here. So with the issues that occur with open betas in mind, they pretty much are already quite close to the ideas I had in the original post.

Coming back to the example of the Minecraft snapshots that I used in a reply.. I reckon something like this is exactly what all games should do. I originally said it may be worth trying to be this open before the game is launched, but then everyone would hoard to the test game and scramble the bug reports and feedback like you said. I now realise that the only reason this seems to work, is that Minecraft's core playerbase seems to be kids, that are less likely to be up to date with snapshots, or even care about them. These snapshots are also specifically updates, not a new game, so there's less hype there as well. So the end result is that the users that are testing the snapshots, are usually adults, that have a good amount of knowledge on Minecraft and usually are "savvy" enough to file good reports. I think KSP 2 should employ a testing method like this, after they release the game, as it truly seems to be a great method.

So all in all, pretty happy with what they're doing, development wise, and I very much expect there will be some sort of NDA covered closed beta regardless, so my only hope now is that they do something like snapshots as I think it could be great, but I imagine they'll have a good method anyway.

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Posted (edited)

They do not want to say they are planning a feature, change or decide not to do it, and then get eaten alive by some of the "fans". remember the last delay forum post? ya that's why

Edited by Ryaja
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3 hours ago, SciMan said:

Nothing too detailed, just something like "we're focusing on asset creation" if they're doing stuff like modelling and texturing, or "we're coding (named) game mechanics (or sub-systems that enable game mechanics) and testing how they play with other existing ones",

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They do have different people doing different things at the same time.

Regardless, beta testing before release when not everything has been revealed (like, if there are some things to discover or unveil like in eg. Story driven games) comes sometimes with some legal procedures, NDAs, review embargos etc. It's easier to do it with a smaller group than to trust some random players and risk a leak.

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10 hours ago, Derpiesaurus said:

I still think though, after all the answers here, that polling the community on things for KSP2 would be a good idea. I've definitely narrowed the scope of the polling in my head after reading everything, from whole features, down more to what I'm about to explain here: I think they could still use polls to ask some questions (these are examples rather than things that might actually work) like "How long should it take for a new KSC to be built when colonising?" and then giving options like "2h", "4h", "12h", "24h", for people to choose from. It could be a good gauge of how long the general community is willing to wait and be satisfied with things like that. Though I'm open to being corrected about that too!

For updates when the game is already out, absolutely, but not now, and not until we have the game.

If you ask me that question I would reply "it depends" what activity I have to do for those 2, 4, 12 or 24 hours? It's just waiting for it to be built? It's time spent launching and connecting new supply routes to provide all the needed resources to make the colony work? It's time purely spent on internal Factorio-like lines at the colony site placing and moving production buildings and conveyor belts? Or it's just a time-warpable wait time?

Not everyone is going to stop to ask those question, most people would reply to the poll without a clear image of the gameplay in mind.

If you ask me I would gladly spend 12 hours of gameplay to connect my colony to multiple far-away mining operations, if you think about it, every connection is a new craft to design, launch and fly, and that's exactly whaty KSP should be about, but, at the same time, I wouldn't like 12 hours spent on Factorio or ONI like gameplay (And I have an open save for both of those games right now).

Without the game in my hand I can't simply reply with a number, and if I did reply anyway my contribution would be not only useless but counterproductive.

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Q: Are there any reasons why Intercept Games wouldn't want to do polls or beta tests for KSP 2, to make it a better game at launch?

A: Because there is scant evidence that polls and beta tests make a game better at launch.

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7 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

Q: Are there any reasons why Intercept Games wouldn't want to do polls or beta tests for KSP 2, to make it a better game at launch?

A: Because there is scant evidence that polls and beta tests make a game better at launch.

There's also plenty of experience where excessive pursue of information from a non-random (and thus non-representative) sample of a game's player base, which is what forum and poll replies are, can misdirect a company away from what the actual player base wants.  Many a company that didn't vet such feedback has gone down the wrong routes with their products.

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1 minute ago, Jacke said:

There's also plenty of experience where excessive pursue of information from a non-random (and thus non-representative) sample of a game's player base, which is what forum and poll replies are, can misdirect a company away from what the actual player base wants.  Many a company that didn't vet such feedback has gone down the wrong routes with their products.

Simple example: It's pretty useless to ask on this forum if it's too difficult to land on Mun and come back.

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Posted (edited)

It is, if you're doing it for the first time with no prior experience. It's not if you're doing this for 20th time when most of the previous ones were successful.

I mean I still hate the Mun, it's too big for my budget landers and there's no nice places to land.

Edited by The Aziz
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Posted (edited)

I could be wrong but I don't recall them ever announcing a closed beta... Im guessing they had a stable of people they contacted directly? 

I'd personally be happy to track bugs but its not something I've done a lot of in the past. I think Im probably better at giving broader balance and pacing feedback on mechanics and gameplay.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Posted (edited)

[snip]

I wouldn't [be a beta tester]. I don't want to ruin the fun of the game for me. I found out when writing patches for KSO that testing and debugging really isn't for me. When I was done, I never really used the KSO shuttles because I was bored of them, and stepped away from KSP for a bit because it burned me out.

So no official beta testing for me. I'll report bugs when I can easily reproduce them, but that's about it.

Edited by Vanamonde
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