I thought I had a post like this up at some point, but I can't find it now. So I will go over this stuff again.
I'm very shortly going to be ready to start putting together the game. I'm still running through engine tutorials, getting my C# skills honed, and working on my modeling skills (such as they are), but it's all coming together, and my thoughts have turned to how to use my new knowledge wrt the game I want to build.
The very FIRST thing I am going to do is put together the networking system. Specifically, the client and server connection, the patcher, and the news system. The reason this is the first thing on the to-do list is that this is where we got into trouble with the C4 engine, and I want to make sure we don't run into the same issues with Unity. (If we do, I will probably have to write my own client/server system, blech).
Fortunately, I don't have to start this from scratch. A whole lot of the system I used in the C4 engine was my own creation, and it is not tied directly to that engine. This includes things like the directory parser (to check for updated files), the text file creator, restart utilities, and so on and so forth. Actually, much of the very complicated system is already done. So I expect I can have it up and running reasonably quickly (hopefully). The work is going to be in adapting what I have to work with Unity rather than C4 (connecting the server to the database, accepting and sending packets, etc).
When this becomes ready, I will need testers.
I am a FIRM believer in "Test early, test often". I work very iteratively, and testing is key to that process. At first, you won't even have a "game" to test, per say. You will launch the game, it will connect to the server, you will log in, and it will download whatever recent news you are missing. You will have the option to patch your game to the most current version. And that will be about it. But once all that is tested and working, you will start to notice changes. The "Start New Game" button will become active, and you will get to run around in the first level. Maybe at first with a stand-in capsule for the main character. Then perhaps with a non-animated humanoid. Then later on it will get a texture, then animation, and so forth. Then there will be enemy, and soon they will get an AI and you can fight them. In other words, you will get to see the game come to life over time.
On the bad side, you will be subjected to "spoilers". There is just no way around this. In order to test, you will need to play the game, and playing an unfinished game means you will see things an ordinary player wouldn't see until they were well into the game. I can totally understand why people would not want to be in that position.
On the good side: You get unrestricted access to the game with daily builds. You can make more concrete gaming suggestions (since you will be intimately familiar with the game, you will have a better idea of what will work and what won't). You will, of course, be helping me in tracking down and killing bugs. And active testers will get a free copy of the finished product (once we hit that point). There is a forum set up for testers where spoilers can be safely posted (this forum is not visible to non-testers, so no worries about spoilers), and you will have access to that forum for bug reporting and game suggestions.
So, I'm not ready for you yet. I have quite a bit of work to do getting the server/client setup all ready, so it may be a little while. But give it some thought. If you want to be involved in the testing, post here and let me know. I will sticky this thread for that purpose. You can post here early if you want, and I will let you know when things are ready. Or just wait until I give the word. Whatever you want to do. I will actually edit this first post when actual testing is ready to commence.
[EDIT: scratch that last paragraph. The game is now ready for testers].