Premium Membership obtained: First impressions

4 12 2008

It’s done! I went and invested in a premium creator’s club membership which means my game will officially be a waste of time and money if I don’t bother to finished it (how’s that for motivation?). Well it wouldn’t be a complete waste, because I’ve learned a lot already, but there’s still much to learn! I’ve been working on it, largely adding to the usability of the menus today, but that’s not what this post is about.

Premium membership entitles you to:

  • Deploy games to your 360*
  • Download premium content
  • Playtest games
  • Review games
  • Submit games

I’d completely forgotten about the premium content bit (now I can look into those premium samples). Okay there are only two, that’s less exciting and a bit disappointing. Maybe I’ll glance into the Robot Game though. The deploying-to-360 functionality was something I already had from my trial membership through Dreamspark.

So, submitting a game is obviously key, but I’m not there yet. That leaves playtesting and reviewing. I took a look at the games in the review queue, only to be a bit disappointed that many of them are just re-submissions of existing games. Regardless, I don’t feel I have a good enough grasp of edge cases to catch the important crashes (storage devices, purchases, extra controllers, etc) and thus I’m going to avoid peer review for the time being.

Playtesting is the real reason why I caved and bought a subscription early. Yes, that’s another thing. There’s very little incentive to buy a subscription before you intend to submit a game. The premium samples are probably the only reason, short of wanting to help the community. In my case, I actually want to do just that, but I wonder how many people are putting off the purchase, and thus their contributions to playtesting/reviewing, for a pretty straightforward financial reason.

Some people are thankfully using playtesting for what I hoped it to be: a place to get feedback on your game, from alpha through to almost release-worthy. I think it’s great to just grab a few games, take note of what the developer is interested in hearing about and then sitting down with the games and a clipboard. I looked over three games tonight,left a bunch of feedback for two of them and look forward to doing it again.

If only there were more games in the playtesting queue…

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