We are often asked how we define our ALPHA stages for PROJECT DEIOS.
In times, where Steam and other early-access programs often use the term "ALPHA" to pre-market software that is almost completely finished, it can be difficult to know what to expect from alpha development here at DungeonFog.
We are using our alpha stages to build the foundations of the software and test them with a select group of people who are willing to assist us. Therefore we have decided to open access to our alpha development for people who want to be part of the full journey of our software development.
For us ALPHA development is defined by the rulebook of software development:
Alpha software is computer software that is still in the early testing phase. It is functional enough to be used, but is unpolished and often lacks many of the features that will be included in the final version of the program. The "alpha phase" of software development follows the early programming and design stages, but precedes the "beta phase" in which the software closely resembles the final version.
Since the alpha phase is an early part of the software development cycle, alpha software typically includes significant bugs and usability issues. Therefore, while beta software may be provided to the public, alpha software is often only tested internally, or with a selected group of alpha testers. The alpha stage is also important for competitive reasons, as the developer may not want to disclose the new features of a software program until shortly before the release date.
If a developer is building a small application, he may be the only person who ever tests the alpha version. Larger programs, however, are often tested internally by a team of developers during the alpha phase. In some cases, multiple teams may work together on the alpha version of a software program. Once the programmers have built a working version with all the necessary features, the lead developer may decide to implement a "feature freeze," which means no additional features are planned for the current version of the program. This often signals the end of the alpha phase and the beginning of the beta stage of development.
We are differentiating our alpha phases into the following sub-steps:
- Technical ALPHA - The main goal of technical ALPHA is to establish the core foundations of the software, rendering engines and databases. During technical ALPHA the priority lies on testing the basic architecture of the software and its performance on the various testing environments.
- Feature ALPHA - Once we have confirmed stability and performance we will go into our Feature ALPHA, where we start adding new tools and features and test them separately or in combination with other tools. Each feature will developed and released for testing in several iterations until we are confident that this new feature meets our requirements in terms of performance, stability and usability.
- ALPHA Polish - Before closing our ALPHA development, we will polish UI and user experience and start preparation for the BETA release.