IGA Releases its Third-Generation Playtesting Service

The Indie Game Alliance is proud to announce the launch of the third generation of its playtesting service, which went live August 25, 2020. This fully re-imagined service leverages IGA’s 1000-member international demo team to expand blind playtest opportunities for indie designers and publishers, and was built both with costs and COVID-19 in mind.

Under the new system, IGA’s volunteer Minions may earn upwards of $50 in game credit for completing just three play-throughs per month and collecting player feedback in IGA’s proprietary survey tool. We’ve even rewritten our default survey to ensure your playtests get great feedback out of the box, incorporating concepts from IGA founding member Doug Levandowski’s playtesting rubric.

Unlike our previous offerings, we now support not just physical prototypes, but also print-and-plays and digital adaptations on platforms like Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, Tabletop Playground, Yucata, Board Game Arena and others.

We’re also greatly expanding the visibility of our playtest program, dropping the 25-hour demo requirement for volunteers to join the program and putting playtest games front and center on our newsletter and our website. We’re giving the power to manage the team directly to the designer in the form of an automatically-generated email list for communicating directly with playtesters, sharing feedback, game updates and suggestions.

Volunteers are no longer held to a deadline; rather, they are incentivized using dramatically-increased rewards to stick with a playtest through multiple iterations of the game. There is no longer a final report to compile and approve, as the detail level of the final report has been incorporated into the basic player survey. Crucially in the time of COVID-19, where scheduling online games can be tricky, we’re now allowing every Minion who participates in a playtest to record the play and earn credit, instead of one designated “demoer.” Minions can easily track all active playtests and how close they are to earning their bonus for a given game from their Playtesting Dashboard.

IGA playtest periods will now last 90 days, after which time they may be extended for additional 90-day periods up to three times. This ensures that only active playtests remain visible on our site, preventing “stale” playtests from getting in the way of the games that still are seeking active playtests.

All current second-generation playtests have been converted to third-generation efforts, so if we already had your prototypes on hand, there’s nothing you need to do to start using the new system. For everyone else, we encourage you to check out our guidebook entries explaining the processes to member designers and to volunteer Minions.

IGA’s revamped playtesting service is included at no additional cost in both its IGA Lite for Designers membership level, providing support for designers who are not self-publishing for just $10 per month, and its IGA Pro for Publishers level that supports indie publishers for just $30 per month.

This is the first major module launch since IGA’s early August announcement that founder and executive director Matt Holden was stepping back from day-to-day operations temporarily to focus on the development of new and redesigned tools for IGA members. Several more new features and a completely redesigned IGA member portal are planned for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

Sunsetting Print-and-Play Hosting

We’re announcing today that we’re deactivating the IGA feature which allowed members to upload their print and play (PNP) game files to IGA’s servers.

We take this action for several reasons,
* More than half the people who try to use the feature struggle with uploading large files through slower internet connections, which causes the post timeout to trigger. Opening that timeout even wider than we already have poses a security risk for the IGA website.

* Of over 9,000 games in our system, only 70 PNPs have been uploaded. Nobody is using the feature.

* Those 70 PNPs represent more than a third of the total disk usage of the IGA website, and are impacting the ability to conduct proper backups of the site.

We know that PNPs are important, especially with the new playtesting system coming. However, there are many better places to host PNP files, such as BoardGameGeek and PNPArcade.com. We’ve converted the “upload a file” feature to instead request a URL for a PNP file hosted elsewhere, and we can use that for everything we need to do with PNPs going forward.