tl;dr great deadline/motivator, smoother period due to preparedness, fancy bug tracker, thank you beta testers for patience and bug finding, and a right real success it was

RE:H Beta Preparation

This time around, we went in with a little more formal preparation. Some of the items required before we could hit the “Release (Beta)” button included:

• The game in as unbroken a state as possible (which we found out was not quite the case! But that’s what Beta periods are for!)
• !!NEW!! “Public” Bug Tracker
• Email copy/merge with all Kickstarter emails filled in so that hitting the “Release (Beta)” button is as easy as hitting the “Send” button
• Patreon draft post with similar information to the email ^
• Blog post announcement
• Kickstarter update post announcement
• Discord verification bot
• Place to host game builds
• Discord channels structure
• Reorganizing the gamedev ToDo list for pre-Beta, during-Beta, and post-Beta activities

And probably some other items that we’re already forgetting in this final stretch to polish the game.

Game features

There were a lot of last minute features that we needed to add for the Beta because we needed users to test them, and the game experience is quite off without them, such as an updated Stats screen (albeit temporary) and some basic conversation logic (for when you have free time to explore the city). If you look at the timestamp for when we hit the Release Beta button, you’ll notice that it’s quite late in the day. This is entirely due to adding all these last-minute features, which is one of the things you usually want to avoid by a long stretch (at least for a final release). But there was no way around it. Such features were vital, and we are forever grateful for the patience and helpfulness of our beta testers!

Bug tracker

The bug tracker was implemented in Notion, our current favorite productivity suite/tool. It allowed people to look up whether a bug had already been reported before reporting one. While quite useful, it was definitely difficult to keep it up-to-date–sometimes we would fix bugs immediately and then not feel the need to put it in the tracker, but then users on an earlier build would report the same bug because it wasn’t there. A better system would be to allow users to submit public bugs immediately and for us to accept/reject/delete/etc. them. Unfortunately, while Notion has a beautiful and easy-to-use interface, it lacks the ability to allow public users to make direct entries–they can only make comments.

Post announcements

While the copy/email merges and Kickstarter/Patreon/Blog/etc. posts were all standard practice, the copy itself evolved quite a bit over the course of a week. The post ended up being quite a bit longer than expected, and certain additional features were removed (we were going to include a couple of debugging options, but they malfunctioned).



Hello!

You're receiving this email because you have access to the Red Embrace: Hollywood beta! Below, you'll find a lot of links and instructions. Please read through the entire email!

Beta period is open until August 24.

Game Files contains all the game builds for Windows, Mac, Linux. No Android builds at this time. Let us know if you have any difficulties accessing the builds.

Google feedback form is for all your feedback on the game and can include bug reporting, pacing, how you feel about certain parts of the game, etc. If you encounter new bugs or have additional feedback, please submit a new form. While it's helpful to receive feedback throughout the whole beta period, please try to consolidate some of the feedback into a single form so that it's easier for us to process.

Discord verification code is a special code that grants access to the beta channel in the official Argent Games Discord server. You'll be able to discuss RE:H with other beta testers and report bugs there. You can use it by typing
!verify {{verification_code}}
in the #reh_beta_verifier channel. If it works correctly, you'll then have access to #reh_beta. While using Discord is not a requirement to participate in the Beta, we highly recommend it for discussing the kinds of MCs you're playing with others. Many choices are available only for certain personalities, and we expect it will be fairly difficult to uncover all of the choices (and thus all possible bugs and feedback points) alone.

RE:H Bug tracker contains a list of known bugs. It will also list the latest version of the game. Please check it before submitting a new bug report! It's possible that a fix has already been pushed, or we are already aware of the bug.

Build updates: We will announce any beta build updates on Discord and Twitter, and we will update the top of the RE:H Bug tracker.

PLEASE CHECK THE PREFERENCES SCREEN WHEN YOU FIRST LAUNCH THE GAME. We have provided one temporary debugging option that you can choose to enable: analytics (may or may not actually work if enabled).

analytics: This uses Google Analytics. Choices made, endings reached, etc. will be recorded to Google Analytics. This is DISABLED by default, but enabling it would be especially helpful during the beta period, to let us know if there are certain parts of the game that are difficult to access.
Games where you see "20% of users selected this option!" or other such stats use a similar analytics method. We currently do not have plans to implement this feature to RE:H (opt-in/out), but you can request such a feature if you want. We're certainly curious which endings, mentors, and choices appear most popular.
Note: enabling it might not actually do anything. There appears to be a slight bug with it.

Please remember that this is a BETA BUILD and that we are still ACTIVELY DEVELOPING/BALANCING STATS in the game. This means that there may be many choices that are difficult to reach or appear and don't fit your MC's personality. Let us know about such choices! We will try to get at least one update out during the beta period (especially if there are any game breaking bugs).

Game files:
(Mac) <>
(Windows/Linux) <>

<>

Discord channel verification code:
{{verification_code}}

RE:H Bug tracker:
<>

IMPORTANT BETA NOTES

* SPECIAL endings are NOT included in the beta ...
* Some CGs are WIPs (may include only 1 version of MC in yet)
* Not all side conversations are in (marked by )
* Some small features are missing ...
* The fate ...

KNOWN BUGS TO WATCH FOR

Is anything missing from the History Log, or are there strange characters appearing (e.g. "?" instead of —)
Is your MC not showing with correct customization in CGs
Is there any window management problem where a menu or window disappears/appears/remains on the screen unexpectedly? (e.g. a strange window blinking behavior before a character speaks, or your quick menu appears/disappears unexpectedly)
Are choices in floating boxes showing up when you've been talking to a character with the large dialogue window on the left?
Are any choices too long (so they overlap edges of choice box or the sides of the large NVL window)
Are there any points in time where the music/sfx is unbalanced (one or the other too loud, too soft, doesn't sound good together)?
You should (pretty much) always have at least two options in a choice. Let us know all instances when you only have one option
Are there any points in the game that are particularly laggy?



Discord verification bot

The Discord verification bot was a modified version of https://github.com/solesorcerer/Discord-Verification-Bot. We’ll release code at a later time and a description of how to use it in case it’s helpful to the community! This allowed anyone with a unique verification code to be assigned the reh_beta z role in Discord and receive access to the beta channels.

Game build hosting

We were originally hosting the builds on AWS S3 because we thought our Google Drive was out of space. This proved to be a poor decision though, as expenses for all the large file transfers started adding up. Plus, file transfer speed was incredibly slow! We moved back to Google Drive.

During Beta

For the first 4 or so days, we were practically on-call around the clock fixing bugs. Though we felt somewhat confident about the release, beta testers displayed (normal player) behavior that we had not tested, so many bugs (even large, game-breaking ones!) escaped our notice. After the frantic fixing of such game-breaking bugs so that the game entered a fairly stable state (where bugs don’t break the game, just cause a small exception that can be ignored), we were able to focus more on continuing development.

Post beta

Thanks to all the major bug fixes made during the beta period, we have been able to focus all our efforts on improving/polishing the game and working on invisible game logic!