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With The Road to v1.2 and The Road to Android behind them, Overhaul Games customer support rep Dee Pennyway has penned a blog entry for Gamasutra that covers the challenges of doing open beta testing and the specific areas that they have focused on prior to releasing these major updates to Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. We're now well on our way down The Road to v1.3, so hopefully this means that we'll be seeing another sizeable update soon:
Imagine the scenario: a massive repository of bug fixes and new features, a hungry community waiting for a patch, and limited time and resources for thorough testing. How do you make sure the patch is stable before releasing it?
That's what we were facing with the 1.2 patch for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. Well over six-hundred changes needed testing, and after a summer spent in development limbo our players were beginning to wonder if the game would ever see another update. We needed a way to get those people involved, we needed to do the kind of intensive testing that was necessary but beyond our limited resources as a small company, and we needed to make it fun for everyone.
We started by calling it an Open Beta about two weeks before we launched the event. We were surprised to see a great deal of negativity toward the term, which is understandable; if you've been waiting for a patch to fix a major bug, the last thing you want to see is a months-long testing process before it's released, and that's what people think of when they hear about an Open Beta. So okay, we went back and looked for a better way to present it.
In the end we settled on The Road to v1.2. We wanted to make it clear that this wasn't just any beta. We wanted to tell people, This is the light at the end of the tunnel, this is what we're working toward, and this is your chance to be a part of it.
The community jumped on board immediately. We were amazed by the enthusiasm and precision of the feedback we received. On our forums, people talked about The Road to v1.2 as though it were an event, not just a beta test. It was great to see the community get involved so readily.