For years now, developers have used beta testers to get feedback on their creations before their release to the public. The concept is not new at all; authors, playwrights, and musicians have been using a form of the “beta test” system for hundreds of years to get opinions on book drafts, scripts, and opinion pieces before they sent them out for “massive” printing.
At Aavega Interactive, we’re not ones to break with time-old traditions. However, we recognized a gap in the ways that we saw beta testing happening across other platforms, with other companies. Given that Jolly Rogers Pirate Rumble (JRPR) is a couch co-op game, we didn’t want to only test the game at a convention, or with a group of professionals. As JRPR is meant for players of all ages, and all gaming backgrounds, the Aavega team wanted genuine feedback from everyday people that could be playing the game at any given moment. So, with our game in hand, the team hit the road again for an opportunity to host JRPR’s first-ever beta testing event at local Atlanta college, Oglethorpe University.
My parrot, Charlie, and I were eager to see college students playing our game, and we were not disappointed. Welcoming almost 100 students from across campus, players from every spectrum of gaming backgrounds were represented, from avid gamers to inexperienced players. Students came together to play the game with their friends, their classmates, and even complete strangers they had never met before. Assoon as the game began, strangers became friends and friends became opponents in the world of pirate fighting.
Along with free-play testing of the 5 current maps within the game, we also hosted a tournament for our team-favorite map, Capture The Flag, with gift card prizes for our winners. I haven’t seen a more intense game played since the Auburn/Alabama Iron Bowl incident of 2013. With a crowd forming around the finalists, players were becoming more frazzled with each passing second. When the final buzzer sounded, the teams found their scores tied, and we knew we were going to have to have the nail biting experience all over again. In the sudden-death round, the players were tied with 10 seconds left, as the crowd became more and more entranced, the seconds wound down until, with 7 seconds to spare, the tie was broken, and the crowd erupted in cheers.
In the growing age of live-stream gaming, our team was interested to see what the future of couch co-op gaming might have in store for the Jolly Roger’s of the world. After the success of this event, I’m here to tell you that we aren’t worried. The community formed in couch gaming is untouched by the solitary feel of online gaming. Aavega Interactive has a message for the gaming communities of the world; We’re here to take gaming #Back2TheBasics.
After hours of fun game play, each student had an opportunity to give us their brutal feedback to help us improve the game for future pirate players. As we analyze everyone’s responses, we will be re-vamping our game play to incorporate the feedback. The game, in its’ final stages of development, is expected to be released to the public in 2019.