After seeing way too many maps released straight into beta (not like S.W.A.T.Y.) without testing, or people releasing fully detail map, or to V.02 or something, I've decided to release this. Little text is the less obvious/used/necessary steps in the dev process. Everything else is integral to the process, so read up >:3 GUIDE TO THE DEV PROCESS Pre-alpha: Any map that is released before it is in a playable state, for any reason, is pre-alpha. A developer may release a map to reserve a name or concept, or just because they're really excited to release it. STEP 1 - ALPHA After you have carefully crafted your map as according to the [ame="http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=10073"]ten commandments[/ame], and ensured that it is functional, playable, and to the extent of your ability awesome, you enter alpha. In alpha you should be mapping function > form. This means that your goal is primarily to ensure your map plays well, isn't unfair to any 1 class, and is generally bug free. An alpha can last as long as you want it to. In some cases, such as [ame="http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=7088"]Vector[/ame], Icarus extended the map into more than 30 alphas. In another case, [ame="http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=7036"]Panic[/ame] by Ravidge lasted only 9 alphas. Some developers like to make small changes in their alphas while others release a few alphas with dramatic changes between them. No technique is provably better, so it's up to you how your maps are made. The 'tests': _test merely refers to the stage in mapping when a map is being tested for final bugs before release to beta or RC. After a lovely trip down alpha lane, your map is now ready to begin STEP 2 - BETA Beta is the second main step in the dev process. This means its one step further than alpha. In beta, you map should be getting a fine-tuning. Some major changes can be necessary, but the majority of the changes should be minor. Important, minor, but important. The second thing that should be happening in Beta is detail. Detail, detail, detail. Betas are mostly released in bigger increments, so that there are only a few released, each with significant changes. The most betas a map that I have seen going to is 9 or so, and that is Furnace Creek by Youme and Nineaxis. FINALLY, your map is nearing completion. It is now in RC. RC MEANS RELEASE CANDIDATE. WHICH SO HAPPENS TO BE STEP 3. Release Candidate typically is the last phase a map enters. The only exception to this is if a map is made official by valve. There can be multiple release candidates released, such as _RC1, _RC2, _RC3. _Final: A map is made final when it is officially accepted by Valve. Note: I may(probably) have missed something in here, so if I have, please correct me Thanks!