Rants from A.W.O.L.
Just a few ramblings from me.
October 24th 2002
How do I become a beta tester?
That question has been asked more than once since the release of Nakatomi. The simple answer is you can't. I know it sounds mean and arrogant but it's true. Short of sending Chris bribes there is little to no chance of getting the job. I'm writing this for people who want to know how I got the job and what it was like. I can't give away every point because I am bound by an NDA (non disclosure agreement). But I will give you as much as I can.
The story starts in late June when I am contacted by Introversion. They basically said I was picked to help beta test 1.2 contacts me. At the time I had been getting a lot of fake e-mails from other community members e-mail addresses. So I took this as another prank. But I also wondered if it was real. The next few days were agonizing and I was trying to see the e-mail was legit. When I found out it was real, I was ecstatic.
But I was still wondering how in the world Introversion got my e mail address and picked me to beta test. It turns out another member of the forums had suggested me to Chris (I'm not saying who because they will be bugged to death). I was e mailed an NDA from IV which I fill out, sign, and then send back to them. Filling it out wasn't the problem, getting it to them in time was.
I had to figure out how to get Introversion my NDA. I live in the middle of America and they live in England. After two days of battling with fax machines and whatnot I was forced to send it snail mail. On IRC I was very excited and doing my best to keep the info I had been given secret. But thankfully I was able to chat about it with the other beta testers in a private channel. After days of speculating and talking, the beta patch arrived in our mailboxes.
Now you might think it was all fun and games from then on out, but it wasn't. Bugs bugs bugs bugs and more bugs is what we dealt with. EVERY time we encountered a bug we had to stop, type up a report, and send the user file and debug log to Chris. This would have been ok if it was only a few times, but this kind of thing happened over and over again. During the next few weeks we received small updates and continued testing clearing up the bugs.
Every time we got something new, we had to reinstall Uplink from scratch and start a new user. It was a big pain in the ass. LAN's were a big pain in the ass at first too. We had no idea how to go about working with them. We also were giving Chris ideas on how to improve the game before release. You can thank me for suggesting Chris made it so you have to click "abort" twice so you don't kill a mission by accident.
They had to be the busiest few weeks of his life. I can only imagine how full his mailbox was. So the next time you think bad thoughts about Chris for not fixing a bug in Uplink, think about all the work everyone has put into it. He is just one guy working with a hand full of fans to fix and improve an already great game.