After several months and over a hundred hours of playtests with dozens of people, Star Eater is moving to Beta. So I thought I’d use this time to discuss the differences between Alpha and Beta, and what that means for Star Eater.
First of all both Alpha and Beta are pretty subjective terms, and you’ll hear different people from different companies using them in different ways. At some companies where I’ve worked there wasn’t even a consistent understanding of what constituted a ‘Beta’ from person to person on the same team. For me, Alpha is the stage at which the game isn’t functionally complete. In Alpha, you’re still considering the fundamental mechanics of the game and they’re subject to change at a moment’s notice. A game in Alpha may not at all represent the product that will be released at the end of the development cycle.
Beta is the point in time where you become comfortable with the basic design of the game and move to a more iterative development method. For Star Eater this means we feel confident that the rules of the game are solid and more or less ready to go. Basically we think the turn structure and the Command cards are solid and need only minor work to get in a state we think is good to release, if any at all. For the Beta period, we will be focussing on ‘smaller’ issues, such as UI, graphic design, art and content in the form of additional components, warships, scenarios, squadrons etc.
If you’re following on, here’s what’s coming in the Beta Phase:
- 3 player free for all
- 2v2 team battles
- Faction 3
- Additional capital ships and special abilities for each faction
- Additional components for each faction
- More fighter squadrons
- General UI/UX improvements
- Improved graphic design
- Production quality art