Works in progress
WIP means work-in-progress.
Many times when a game or other program is announced to be in-progress, there is a clamor for WIP versions. Sometimes the developer is eager to provide them, and sometimes he or she is not. This is the decision of the developer and should be respected.
There is a difference between status reports and releasing WIP versions. It's basically about control. With status reports, the developer releases information that may include screenshots or gameplay videos. These usually are the best features of the current version. Releasing a WIP version exposes all the potential faults of the program. It also does not reflect how the program will eventually be. The screen might be completely different, it may be a shell of the final version, it might display extraneous information used for debugging. Releasing a formal beta version requires code cleanup to protect the program from the end user. This is time that could be spent furthering the program.
Honestly, when you play with a WIP version, does it really satisfy anything? Do you find yourself saying "I can't wait until it does [this]" or "It'd be awesome if it did [this]"? This results in a barrage of bug reports and feature requests.
Usually, the issues are probably something the developer knows about. Now all of a sudden the developer has to explain or defend why the functionality is not there or why it behaves differently than how a minority thinks it should. Then, the developer has to respond to the feature requests. Common responses from the developer would be "It'll be in the next release", "I'll have to think about it", and "I don't think so."
Each of these responses takes time. The first response feels like a waste of time because the developer knew it was coming, but the user did not. Not a fault of the user to ask, but listing all the features of a program and their expected implementation dates... that's just too much time. The second response is the beginning of "feature-creep" where the end result looks nothing like the original design - for better or for (much) worse. It also leads to never ending development. The program must be released in some form, so let the developer finish. The final response usually results in a "why not?" discussion that further reduces the amount of time a developer has to finish the project.
So, hopefully the other developers are with me when I say we know you all are excited about what's coming down the pipes. We're excited to be able to provide it for you, but we need the time to work. Your support and enthusiasm is appreciated and we will certainly make use of it when we have a release-ready version.
A simple "Looking forward to this" or "Can't wait" is a good show of support. A respectable question like "What are the main gameplay features?" is fine, because it gives the developer a chance to address everyone on a topic that is of interest to everyone. A question like "Will it feature in-game music selection?" will be answered when the release is made if it wasn't listed in the program's feature description. At that time, feature requests can be queued up and prioritized.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.