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Beta, revisited

Posted: 29 Jan 2016, 22:41
by raevol
Bringing this subject back up, wanted to beat a dead horse. :)

I think we're at a good point to enter a "beta" that I proposed before.

I know that our project doesn't really follow the "alpha/beta/release" model that is common for commercial games, but here's my idea: a "beta" announcement would be a good PR move for us, to give people, including all these fun news websites that have taken an interest in us, an idea of where we stand. My hope is that even though entering "beta" would change nothing about how how our development mechanics work, it would be a good PR move, and bring interest and testing to our project.

What would "entering beta" entail? I think we should do a news writeup for this, explaining that we're basically feature complete, that we're on a bug-smashing mission, and that we're headed for 1.0 in the next year or two or whatever timeframe we want to announce, or not announce... I think it'd be good to make a video we can share around with all of this info, people like to watch videos. That's basically it.

Again, basically this would just be a PR move, since it wouldn't change any of our project organization, but I think it's a good idea. What do you guys think?

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 08:09
by raevol
No thoughts?

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 08:44
by Berandas
I completely agree that "entering beta" would be a very good PR move.
I've seen many people on the internet referring to OpenMW as that it's "only 0.38" and they often don't understand or expect that the engine is nearly completed and the game is actually fully playable.

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 11:06
by Zini
A rarely use the term alpha anymore these days and I have pretty much given up on the term beta, because from a technical perspective it is meaningless.

But this is PR and as you know, I normally don't get involved in PR, because I don't understand it. Therefore I will stay out of this discussion.

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 15:33
by scrawl
The common definition for alpha & beta is:

Alpha: not feature complete yet
Beta: feature complete, some bugs remain
Alpha software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss. Alpha software may not contain all of the features that are planned for the final version. ... The alpha phase usually ends with a feature freeze, indicating that no more features will be added to the software. At this time, the software is said to be feature complete.
Beta phase generally begins when the software is feature complete but likely to contain a number of known or unknown bugs. ... ycle#Alpha

By this definition, a quick look at our roadmap shows that we would be in the Alpha phase.

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 19:34
by WeirdSexy
I would suggest instead to hype up the 1.0 RC, when things get to that point. Maybe plan on having a longer than normal RC phase for the 1.0 release. The increased interest would perhaps lead to more testing and perhaps give the news sites you speak of time to write things about us and the upcoming 1.0 release. Then before that initial wave of increased interest dies down, BAM, v1.0 hits.

We've spoken mythically since the early days about "v1.0", not so much about a "beta". I don't think the terms would be so good for us. People are really waiting for v1.0. I think people can get behind the term "release candidate" and it has real meaning with respect to how the project is developed and released.

Of course, the RC is probably further away and involves OpenCS in a way that your proposed "beta" does not, but I've given my 2 cents.

Re: Beta, revisited

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 19:49
by raevol
scrawl wrote:By this definition, a quick look at our roadmap shows that we would be in the Alpha phase.
Fair enough.