Made Men Pre-Alpha Guide Introduction Congratulations! You’ve been picked as one of the early testers of Made Men. However, exciting as that sounds, the reality of it is that you’re literally among the first people who will test the game. As a result, your experience will probably be much more one of frustration and annoyance than of having fun, playing the game. Of course, this will get better as bugs get fixed and more features added, but especially the beginning will be “rough”. And it is during this rough beginning that we need you to stick around most. So in inviting you to become a tester, we’re actually burdening you with an important responsibility: that you muster the discipline to keep “playing” a game that isn’t even remotely fun to play yet! There’s one more thing I want to impress upon you. Creating an alpha comes with a lot of work for us that isn’t necessarily relevant to getting the game finished. It’s therefore as much as an “investment” in time and effort from us, as it will be for you. While testing, please keep this in mind; not all bugs are equally important, not all missing features can be equally high on priority lists. We really hope the benefits of hosting an alpha test will outweigh the disadvantages, but a key thing to note is that you, as a tester, largely decide that for us ;-) What to expect now Before moving on to the more practical details of the alpha test, I want to give you a quick impression of what you can expect, both now and in the future. The version we’re currently testing is incredibly unfinished. A lot of work has gone into getting re-usable systems up and running, but not so much the content yet. For example, you may see very few earns compared to the amount that we’d ideally include in the final version. This is because the actual earns are just “data” being fed into the earn system. Creating more earns is now pretty much an endeavour of content; an exercise in creative writing. Hopefully you’ll understand that we’re more concerned with getting all the other systems working first. So, to get to the bottom of it, what you can currently expect to be testing are the following things: Communications; we’ve created a multi-person conversation system, rather than the old email-like system in MafiaMatrix. Especially the multi-person part is untested. Events and request; we’ve created a basic journal that logs your events and requests. This cannot really be actively tested, but over the course of time you should see some events starting to drip in here. Also, requests are the place where team invites must be accepted or rejected. Earns; the first version of the earn system “works”. It is entirely data-driven and every earn is thus bound by the rules of the “the earn system”. There can be no “custom earns”. Because of that restriction, we’ve drafted up a very elaborate system that has so many parameters that it still seems like there are way more possibilities than in MafiaMatrix. It is this elaborate system that we hope to get some feedback on through your relentless testing of earns. Crimes; crimes have also been made much more “systematic” than they were in MafiaMatrix, but still allow for a decent amount of customisation. It’s mostly the fact that a LOT of stuff is actually the same for every crime (sending events, setting timers, checking victim location etc. etc.) that made us not want to repeat the code for these things for every crime. So again, while for crimes it is more important that they’re individually tested as well, we currently mostly want “the system” tested. That’s why there is only one crime right now. Teams; teams are a nifty new feature but also a relatively unfinished one. At the time of writing this guide, you can’t even leave or disband a team yet, so we ask you to choose your initial partner carefully, it won’t be until the next update (hopefully soon) that you can divorce from your partner in crime. Promotions; They aren’t visible in the game, but in the database we will see them starting to appear as you gain more crime experience. This is another reason why it’s important to remain active, even if it’s boring. What to expect in the future This is only the very first phase of testing. For us, one of the advantages of hosting an alpha lies in the fact that we’ll have people immediately being able to give feedback on new features as we introduce them. Again, this is why we need you to stick around. It’s no use if we have to actively get you all back from inactivity again whenever we deploy a new feature. For a long time, the most important thing for us will be to get all the underlying systems tested. So one thing you can’t expect in the near future is to have a lot of polished content added. One of the first things we’ll try to add, apart from adding some sorely lacking features to teams, is the basic framework of all the careers. That means raw ranking without anything to do in those careers, just to see if the careers and promotions system works as it should. Then, with that framework in place, we can start addressing individual careers and adding custom content for each of them. Another big thing we’ll want to start testing soon is the act of killing one another. Getting killed has a lot of side effects (database clean-ups, different front-end skin, parts of the game becoming inaccessible) so we want to get this up and running quickly as well. Expect conflict and the raw careers framework soon (I’d say 2 weeks but who would believe me? :P) I don’t want to look ahead much further. The way I see it, starting with this very first alpha test, we are bound together in a metaphorical marriage. We’ll all undertake a journey from this very first beginning right until the public release of a fully finished game. I hope and trust that you feel the same way, and in doing so, prove yourself as a trustworthy partner in the development of this game. What to expect from Croot? Nothing. Practical details Below follow some practical details and instructions for getting up and running, how to report bugs, what bugs to report and what not to bother us with, etc. The test environment has been set up at http://test.made-men.net/ Registration is completely bare-bones. Upon signing up you will be greeted with a blank page. This is a good thing because it means your activation e-mail has probably been sent. Upon activation, you’ll be required to enter your alpha code. Please decide among yourselves who tests Facebook login and who does e-mail registration. Please note that the birthday input field’s format is: yyyy-mm-dd Character creation just about barely works, but expect no fancy success messages and other things. Chances are that after filling things in and hitting the create character button, nothing will happen. If that’s the case, give it 10 seconds, refresh the page, and see if your character name appears in the top right. If not, feel free to come to me (Roger). Since we have no forums, bug reporting is going to be a bit of a challenge for now. Since we have such a small group of testers, I’d like to see that you keep track of bugs among yourselves, so we don’t get duplicates. Then we can occasionally exchange all the gathered bugs. The most annoying thing for us is to get PMed 6 times with the same bug – or to constantly get messaged with small individual bugs. We’d rather receive them in batches so we can add them to the to-do list. A lot of stuff is unfinished, which means that if a button or hyperlink doesn’t work, there’s a good chance it’s not a bug, but simply something we haven’t gotten around to adding yet. For hyperlinks a good test is: if a # appears at the end of the URL when you click it, it’s probably just something that wasn’t added yet. Same goes for 404 pages, although we shouldn’t have very many of those yet. 404 is the error code for “not found”, which means it’s not a bug but simply a page that hasn’t been created yet. Conclusion That’s it for now! Thanks in advance for your help, and good luck with the testing.
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