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[Information] What does Pre-Alpha, Alpha and Beta really mean?

As a developer I am familiar with the meaning of Pre-alpha, Alpha and Beta, but it struck me that developers often use these terms without providing a full explanation of them. Developers, I'm about to break the mystique, so look away now :)

I liken the stages of software development to how an artist might create a work of art. First they may draw a rough sketch (Pre-Alpha), then over time add more detail and color (Alpha and Beta) until they arrive at a finished product (Release). 

Developers have learned over the years that the more people testing and providing feedback as the creative process evolves, the better the final product. 


  1. Pre-Alpha refers to software that is not feature-complete and is not usually released to the public. Developers are usually still deciding on what features the software should have. Pre-alpha testing is mainly carried out in-house by the development team. This is the earliest stage of software development.

  2. Alpha refers to early software that is stable enough to facilitate limited testing outside the core development team. Alpha software is usually not feature complete. 

  3. Beta refers to more polished software that contains most of the major features, but is still not yet complete in its early iterations. Beta is the final major stage of testing before release and often involves a large player base so as to test the game systems under load and catch any bugs or performance issues that were missed in the alpha stage.

  4. Release (sometimes also known as Live or production release) is the final product ready to be released to the public. The final release is typically chosen by the developers from a set of release candidates that are built after the beta stage.

At the time of writing, Ashes of Creation is in the Pre-Alpha stage.

There will be several alpha and beta stages before the live release, which is estimated to be sometime in 2019.

If you are in the testing phases, you have around two years to help Intrepid to make Ashes of Creation the best MMORPG ever released! And don't worry if you missed out on alpha or beta testing through the crowdfunding campaigns or key giveaways.

Steven recently announced that additional alpha and beta early access keys will be available in the future. These early access keys will not be the same as the crowdfunding keys.

Comments

  • @lexmax :D My life is so much better with you in it ❤️ Thanks for keep us up to date and giving us cool information threads xD 
  • You are always posting helpful information and links.  You make things much easier on us wee folk!
  • You're the glue and Flexseal that fills in the holes and keeps things together and not getting waterlogged.
  • Pre Alpha - WHY U PLAYING MY BROKEN GAME!?
    Alpha - WHY U STILL PLAYING MY BROKEN GAME!?
    Closed Beta - I think I've done some progress but it's still broken!
    Open Beta - I hope people can't figure out that it's still broken
    Release - נאָך צעבראכן אָבער איר וועט קיינמאָל וויסן


    איך ווי שאָקאָלאַד מילך
  • Release:  "נאָך צעבראכן אָבער איר וועט קיינמאָל וויסן"

    Those in the know will really know!
  • But in the world of mmo releases i would like to mention that this isn't a concrete scenario. As a software designer myself lexmax had outlined a good process that I would recommend game companies follow.

    so far the development speed of AoC has been extraordinary if it's to be believed. I am eager to get into the UE4 world and feel the movement and see it in action. So far it looks pretty good. :)

    ~ Rhapsody ~
  • Thanks lexmax...yet another great post!!!
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited August 2017
    That was all well and good for Waterfall, but doesn't have much meaning for Agile.
    No such thing as "final release to public" -  especially not in video game software.

    These days, alpha, beta and release refers to gated release of early access.
    alpha is exclusive for friends/family/whales.
    beta opens the gate to include "founders"
    release is open access for everyone.


  • Dygz said:
    That was all well and good for Waterfall, but doesn't have much meaning for Agile.
    No such thing as "final release to public" -  especially not in video game software.

    These days, alpha, beta and release refers to gated release of early access.
    alpha is exclusive for friends/family/whales.
    beta opens the gate to include "founders"
    release is open access for everyone.
    I am an agile developer @Dygz and what you said complements rather than contradicts what I posted :)
  • Dygz said:
    That was all well and good for Waterfall, but doesn't have much meaning for Agile.
    No such thing as "final release to public" -  especially not in video game software.

    These days, alpha, beta and release refers to gated release of early access.
    alpha is exclusive for friends/family/whales.
    beta opens the gate to include "founders"
    release is open access for everyone.

    I agree. I don't mind developers recruiting their beta-testers via kickstarter etc., but it becomes a problem when people don't see the beta as a testversion they can help polishing but as just an early-access version.

    Giving beta-keys for early-access backing is a smart way to reward backers, but I fear that the quality of testing suffers because of it.
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