If you've been in one of our betas before you already understand what I'm about to talk about. But if this is your first beta, you may find this discussion interesting.
Our betas tend to be very beta. That is, rough. Whether it was Galactic Civilizations or Sins of a Solar Empire, our first betas tend to be pretty rough. Unfortunately, the higher the profile the game, the more likely people are going to try to use the beta as a way to judge the final game. The first GalCiv beta was awful. I mean AWFUL.
Here's a screenshot of GalCiv II beta 1:
Here's the final game:
It's amazing how much can change in a few months. Bear in mind, this was a SEQUEL to an existing game in which it was the same games team working on it.
Sins of a Solar Empire went through the same evolution.
So right now, we are working on a ton of things in preparation for beta 1 including the opening screens to try to make them more friendly and well, more polished. If you've developed a game before, you already know how things like finalized UI images often wait until very late. But the average consumer isn't going to be quite as understanding.
The stability of the beta is excellent. It's as stable as a released game IMO. The challenges will be compatibility, balancing, and taking in user feedback and implementing it. We all have our own lists of things we want to address as soon as possible it's just a matter of prioritizing those changes and getting them in.
Some people at Stardock want to focus on the maps. Some at GPG want to nail down the in game UI functionality. Others want to incorporate additional strategic elements. And believe it or not, this is the sausage factory that exists on every game whether it come from Blizzard to Bungie or Ensemble. We all go through this.
Of course, the difference here is we plan to share with you a peek at the inner sausage factory in our development journals here and elsewhere so you can get a sense of what goes into making a AAA title.