Beta begins today! We could not be more excited. This is a project that began years before the Kickstarter was launched; to have it, at long last, reach this milestone leaves the Meriwether team collectively breathless.
We truly believe we have a fun, compelling game that has a new perspective on the Lewis and Clark story as well as innovative game mechanics, all couched in a meticulously researched and lovingly written meditation on the nature of discovery and heroism. We're grateful for your enthusiastic support in building this amazing game.
If you backed us at the ENGAGÉ level ($40 or higher), you will be receiving a link shortly to download the Beta. If you don't receive anything, we must not have a current e-mail for you. Please contact us immediately, either through Kickstarter or at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can get the Beta into your hands.
Better than Beta!
Most Betas are used to help find technical glitches and test compatibility with different systems. We're taking a more active approach: we CRAVE your input about the game design, story, art, and everything else because we know our backers can help us improve every aspect of this game (as you already have!).
You can help us fill in any of our design blind spots, refine mechanics and dialogue and character development, and most importantly, tell us what you like and what you don't. Any feedback you give us will help make the game stronger. The more the better!
That said, if you would rather play a finished game than an early, evolving beta, you may want to hold off on downloading until the game reaches a slightly more refined state. We will update often with new revised builds, and let you know the state of the game, so that you can decide what stage of release is right for you.
Here's a few pointers on how you can criticize us most constructively:
1. Trust your feelings
User-friendliness is an iterative art. If something is confusing, doesn't feel right, works counterintuitively for you, or seems just plain weird, please do not assume it's your fault. It's not you; it's us. :) Tell us, so we can look for a way to improve all interactions in the game.
2. Say why
Saying why you did or did not like something gives us the qualitative richness that really gives us food for thought. The biggest way to have a lasting impact as a beta tester is to explain your thinking to us.
3. Take a screenshot, or even a Vine!
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and moving pictures a thousand words per frame! If we can see exactly what's happening on your machine when a bug activates, we will be able to squash it much more quickly. You can take a screenshot very easily. On Windows computers, just press the Print Screen button, open Microsoft Paint, and press Ctrl+V or use the Paste command in the menu bar. On Macs, just press Command+Shift+3 to take a screenshot. Save the file and send it to us. Our Dev team has also been using the Vine app. We use our phone to record what's happening on the screen, then send Vines to each other with brief explanations. That's turned out to be a really useful tool for us, so feel free to Vine us, too!
4. The game is not yet balanced
We will only have a sense of how hard the game difficulty level is after we've had enough players playtest it and give us feedback. It will likely start off woefully unbalanced. Our goal is to make a game that feels challenging, maybe even occasionally overwhelming, but never so hard that it is unfun. Let us know what you think about the difficulty so we can hone in on the challenge-level sweet spot.
If you have your own beta-testing tips, please share them in the comments!
What If I'm Not a Beta Tester?
Don't worry! All backers of Meriwether will get to play the game well before it's released to the general public.
After beta-testers have had a chance to give us their reactions and we've revised the game based on their feedback, we'll release a 0.9 version of the game to all backers. That will be a second, larger round of testing, where we will still be listening carefully to player feedback and improving the game on all fronts. And of course, you will have access to builds from then on, all the way to the final release, once it's ready for primetime.
We cannot thank you enough for your continued support. With Beta, the real fun begins, because we start to share the game with our supporters. Excelsior!
Josh and the Meriwether team