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Quality Of Life Improvement: An Actual Beta Testing Team

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Cyclone, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. Cyclone

    Cyclone Well-Known Member

    Feb 29, 2020
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    Going to ping our community manager DTG Jamie on this one. :cool:

    On this forum and in the Discord server are many people who enjoy playing Train Simulator. They continue to do so despite competition from games like Trainz Railroad Simulator, Run8 Train Simulator, and Derail Valley, among others.

    However, it's a love/hate relationship. This is a market where there is a bit of, not a monopoly, but a sort of an oligopoly. Very few players, and therefore not as much need seen to really do anything beyond initially relesing a product and moving on. DTG has left many abhorrent bugs in software previously released. There is the Woodhead Electric Railway in Blue with five scenarios that need repair. There is the Brighton Main Line with a signal that fails to go green in City Express (which I found to be the save if you save your game and resume). There is Sherman Hill with the Introduction scenario and various bad scenario timings, most easily fixed and pushable without too much effort testing them (the Intro scenario needing a rebuild).

    So this is where my idea comes in. Let's have an actual team of beta testers. To qualify, you must own a substantial number of DLC items on Steam and thus show you have supported DTG in the past. Given they already own a lot of DLC, chances are they'll never have time to play all of it anyway, so why not direct their efforts and have them help beta test fixes for their products and even allow them to compile reports of things that need to be fixed? Occasionally, they can even work on something they might not own. That takes the onus for testing off of the DTG team, which I suspect is mostly over on Train Sim World 2 right now (and frankly, that's the worse of the two in my view, but that's not for this topic to discuss).

    Logically, each fix can have a two week testing period, and extended by two weeks into the next testing period if more data is needed. After a month maximum, push the update unless something is known still broken, and put it back in the oven. If a new update is posted every two weeks, that is repairs to 26 different products over the course of a year. You can even be ambitious and post new fixes for the team every week (this might be too ambitious and assumptive), and therefore, potentially have 52 repairs made per year.

    Cost to DTG? Nothing. You don't have to pay us. We already play your products. We want to see the products do what they're supposed to do, so fix them and let us tell you if it works before you push it to the live Steam store for updates.

    Benefit to DTG? No wasting money on an internal beta testing team to play each fixed product for two weeks, letting more money be spent on programmers to make actual fixes. It also shows that DTG actually cares about the quality of the work that it puts out, a vision that is sorely lacking among the most dedicated users who, every time a bug is reported, say something along the lines of "So?" to such reporting users. These users tend to flock to products by Richard Armstrong of Armstrong Powerhouse, or Alan Thompson of AlanThompsonSim, because they are seen to be completely superior products to those offered by DTG. They are not even available on Steam because they know they would lose 60% of their income to both Steam and DTG, so the result is that the market is completely split. This is now AP's and ATS's game, not DTG's. DTG is publishing old content (Heart of Berlin, WCML North) while others forge ahead with new and innovative things that actually work. Ironically, AP products often require DTG train models to work in some cases, while others are competing versions of existing products. These people don't want the 170 from Edinburgh/Glasgow; they want the 170/171 pack from AP. They don't want the original 175 (or even the current unbranded one) from South Wales Coastal; they want the 175 pack from AP and the livery pack from Major.Wales. Ironically, you have to buy South Wales Coastal first. DTG seems happy being the source product for products created and sold by others, and then sitting back and letting everyone else make the money. Is this really the right attitude?

    Perhaps DTG can even be generous if a good job is done by the team and grant them a free DLC from time to time. It could even be something not available to the general public, as an incentive to take part and help out. Maybe throw in a BNSF product here and there? Maybe grant everyone the old Class 150? Things like that. Or you can just give them a new route to play on, or a new toy to play with. It could even be an upcoming product that you want thoroughly tested. You plan to sell at least 20,000 copies, what is the relative cost to giving a team who has historically supported you 20 free copies to make sure it works?

    Jamie, you surely know this is a good idea. I try to only offer good ideas. :cool: Let's get DTG and its userbase to work together to make the best content that can be made for the game.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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    DIFFLOCK Active Member

    Jan 27, 2021
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    Cyclone: Your well-reasoned post above: OUTSTANDING Sir! Thank you. :cool:
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  3. NEC Railfan

    NEC Railfan Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2020
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    I whole-heartedly support this, the more DTG step-up their game, the more healthy competition is created among 1st and 3rd party, creating even better products. One thing I'd actually want to see is a remaster of many older "Classic Range" products, and bring them to a modern standard, such as the AEM-7 and F40PH (there is a lot of demand for it). On the British side perhaps the Class 158, LNER A3, London - Brighton, original Woodhead Line... Reworked routes such as New York - Philadelphia, Donner Pass, etc,...

    In conclusion, the less enhancement packs need to be created because of low quality, the more satisfied people will be with the product. (And I won't have to fiddle around making sure the physics and sound enhancements are present before playing a scenario. ;))
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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