Reflection (cycle 3)

Student Name: Wai Man Ho

Student Number: n9659340

Reflection on Mini-Game Cycle 3

 

Limitation of Hitbox

The use of Hitbox may have its limitation. For example, it cannot handle multiple enemies hitting the game object from different directions at the same time. More than one Hitbox will be needed to put around the game object and above (if attack from sky) which will make the program becomes messy very quickly. Another way to do similar thing is using the game object’s own collider to detect collision and handling the contact points accordingly.

Calling of Damage() routine

If you do a global search of “Damage()” for the whole project, you will find no one is calling this routine. But this is the routine that create Hitbox and hence able to cause damage to the Game Objects in the scene. The secret: It is called inside the Animation as one of the event setting. I have created a few new animations when adding new enemies to the scene and none of them can create Hitbox at first because of this missing part.

Adaption of Prefab to the game

It is quite a challenge to use a prefab item obtained from the Asset Store and then modified it so that it is suitable to be used in the assignment project. As there are lots of details (such as scale, animation clips, shader etc.) that it needs to fine tune or change, so as to match with the rest of project settings, before it is able to work together with other Game Objects on the same scene.

 

Reflection across all three game cycles

 

How you have approached learning new things and/or finding new information during the semester

A lot of tricks have been learnt during the making of three game cycles, either by my own research or with the help of tutors. For example, a resize of the Enemy Zone will also changing the scale of the prefab that is sitting inside it as the child, but a change in size of its collider will not affect the prefab in anyway at all. I learn this trick through the hard way: After numerous of failures and experiments.

Sometimes, debugging may require you to run the game in a “step by step” fashion so as to see what is actually happening in the game play. Although the Unity has not provided just a debugging feature, but you can press the Play and Pause buttons alternatively very quickly to obtain the similar outcome. I learn this trick when I see how the tutor is debugging the program.

 

What additional, non-technical skills you’ve developed during the semester

Team work is a very powerful tool – We always can come up with the most creative ideas during the brain-storming exercise, which is vital to create the “fun” element in the game. As we hope not all the game are the same and we do needed to bring the uniqueness to our game design, so that it can stand out and appealing the target audiences. It is quite satisfactions to see that all our games design so far (in all three cycles) are off the “Main Stream” and have their own unique ways of presentation to the audiences.

It benefits most to me when working through all these game cycles, as they are representing different style of the game play and each has its own attraction to the audiences. On top of it, different style (e.g. FPS, Side-Scroller) of games will have their own limitations and difficulties that need to solve during the implementation of the actual game. That will broaden my abilities in problem solving under different circumstances and equipped with these experience will allow me to face the more challenged task in the future.

 

The most effective strategies you used for managing individual and team activities

Several strategies are used and the most important one is showing respectful to other people and others will respect you. Sometimes we can have arguments during brainstorming, but that is healthy debate to flush out new ideas, and do not have any intention to belittle anyone or proof that you are wrong and I am right attitude.

 

Ethical considerations

In a team-base environment, there are certain responsibilities required for each team mate in order for the team to function properly: Fair workload distribution so that no one is overloaded, tasks clarification so that each one knows his responsible area without overlapping and finally honesty to the team.

Game can bring educational value to it, and through playing games, people can learn valuable things and rare lifetime experience out of it. For example, in our side-scroller game, we could learn that some tasks cannot be done alone but require cooperative of different people, as each person may have his own uniqueness and special ability that no one else have

Week 13 – Reflection

Student Name: Joshua Crowley

Student Number: n9719024

New Learning Approaches

Diving straight into the deep end of individual game development using Unity was a daunting task for me at first thought. I only dabbled here and there with the development software as well as Kodu Game lab from last semester, and thought to myself just how would I manage to create three games across this semester. I ended up finding that working in a studio helped me settle into the first few weeks, with my team mates being programmers themselves alleviated a bit of the stress. Asking them for pointers and tips certainly helped my progress, but I was still at a loss when I was tacking tasks on my own at home. Through the use of video and text tutorials online, as well as the prescribed videos for each cycle, it helped me step through the stages required to implement certain features. I’m relieved that I have been able to create three games, thought with varying success. To help assist me in future development cycles I may be involved in, I intend on persevering with self-teaching methods for programming.

Non-technical Skill Development

Over the course of the past 13 weeks, I have been able to reinvigorate my creative mind which I have been abandoning since childhood. Bouncing ideas off one another and iterating on concepts and themes has helped me shape my way of working through a design challenge. With each cycle, it became easier to communicate with one another as we tried to incorporate our ideas together where possible. This was helped by understanding how each person envisions the end project, rather than sticking to our own ideas, whereas during the first cycle we struggled to find a middle-ground where we all agreed. Additionally, with the blog activities we have been assigned, it helped me to understand other methods and ways of tacking the design process.

Strategies for Individual/Team Activities

Whilst I was struggling with certain aspects of the development process, contacting fellow team members or meeting up on campus definitely helped me progress further. Although what I lack in coding knowledge, I contributed in game mechanics and level layout suggestions. The majority of the workload, except for the blog entries, was done individually. In the future, I plan on creating more opportunities for in-person team meetings to see as to where everyone’s progress is, and allowing for time to help collaborate more with one another to ease the stress.

Ethical Responsibilities in a Team Based Environment

Within the context of a game studio, it is important to collaborate with one another and to help push each other to perform to their best through shared knowledge and team work. For the most part, our studio did well in terms of the creative and planning processes. But in terms of development, helping those who were lacking in particular aspects of programming would have been welcomed through regular team meetings.

Week 13 – Playtest Report

MenuScene 1Scene 2Scene 3

PLAYTEST SETUP

4 participants were selected to participate in individual play test sessions, each without prior knowledge of the game or development process. 2 participants are knowledgeable in games and mechanics, while the other 2 participants are targeting the audience of the “Sally” persona, as previously discussed on the blog. The play test setup is as follows:

  • Each player was set up in front of a laptop running the game, using keyboard controls.
  • Play testers were briefed on what their role was as a play tester, and were instructed to speak their thoughts out aloud.
  • Each test’s findings were recorded on a secondary device for note taking purposes, whilst observing and listening to the player’s game experience.
  • Each player was instructed to explore the level and explain as to what their actions would be to complete the level.
  • After the first play through, the play tester was asked to give general feedback about their experience with the game. Additionally, two questions were asked of the player that aim to investigate the fulfilment of our initial player experience goals. These questions are:
  1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process
  2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

The PX goals for our game are:

  1. Players will face dilemmas that are designed to make them combine multiple game elements.
  2. The player must interpret the game environment by questioning and experimenting with game mechanics and objects contained within in order to achieve the goal.
  3. Players will feel satisfied after multitasking and coordinating multiple game elements.

At the end of each playtest, each session will be evaluated as to whether it satisfies the goals set according to the playtesting plan, for both experts and the target audience. The goals are as follows:

Goals of the playtesting session for Experts:

Goal 1: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 2: Are the interactions between puzzle elements clear?

Goal 3: Is the level or puzzle design confusing?

Goals for playtesting target audience:

Goal 1: Is the gameplay smooth and/or enjoyable?

Goal 2: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 3: Do the controls and mechanics feel natural?

Note: Due to a lack of time, the puzzles in each level currently do not function. Each level aims to show how the character switching mechanics could be harnessed in a final game release. The player can choose to progress to the next level by walking into a green square towards the left of each level. Each playtester was briefed about the functionality of the game prior to starting the session.

PLAYTEST RESULTS

Playtester 1 – Expert

General Feedback

  • The controls feel a bit floaty
  • The camera panning when switching characters is pretty cool
  • The colour coding of puzzle elements seems straight forward, pressing on a button should trigger an item of the same colour.
  • The level design needs to be further refined, but interesting concepts nonetheless.
  • Keeps getting teleported back to main menu

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. Approaching each puzzle seemed pretty straightforward, I looked to see where each switch would activate a certain element.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. I’ve played games where you control two characters before, this feels more or less the same. It did make sense in the context of the puzzles, however.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Not achieved): To solve the puzzles?
  • Goal 2 (Achieved): Yes, just had to switch characters to see more of the environment.
  • Goal 3 (Partial): Somewhat, as I had to keep switching characters to see what I had to do in advance

 

Playtester 2 – Expert

General Feedback

  • Bounce sound is loud
  • Jumping on the green slimes a lot
  • Jumping on the switches opens doors
  • Accidentally switching levels by bumping into green cube
  • Thought he could wall jump in second level
  • Character got stuck between blue and yellow tiles on second level
  • No restart button is a pain

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process?

A1. Yes, Jump on the corresponding coloured pad to activate a door or platform.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was a bit confusing at first, but is a cool feature of the game. The mechanics suited the puzzles well.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): Yes, to reunite the two brothers.
  • Goal 2 (Partial): Somewhat, as I wasn’t able to play the game fully.
  • Goal 3 (Achieved): No the puzzles are simple

Playtester 3 – Target Audience

General Feedback

  • Enemies are easy to defeat
  • “But they kill me after a while if I stand on the spot, not very intimidating”.
  • Not too sure as how to progress in the majority of the puzzles
  • Tried stepping on switches but noticed they don’t do anything
  • When asked as to what each switch may do, the playtester suggested the panels matching the switch would disappear in all levels.
  • Had trouble jumping up the walls in the second level
  • Didn’t really know what the end goal was

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. In some ways yes, but I didn’t really know where else I could go as nothing changed when I stepped on switches.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was fun being able to control two people, but having to switch between them all the time would seem a bit repetitive and annoying after a while.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): The game is smooth, somewhat enjoyable
  • Goal 2 (Partial): Yes, but is not easily noticeable on the main menu
  • Goal 3 (Achieved): Yes, but a bit floaty

Playtester 4 – Target Audience

General Feedback

  • The main menu is a bit cluttered, but tells me what I need to do I guess.
  • Was a bit annoyed with the puzzles not functioning
  • Tried to explore each level as much as possible, jumping on things to see what they do.
  • Got killed by slimes twice, had to restart.
  • The walls seemed to be hard to climb up in the second level, didn’t make it up.
  • Understood the majority of the puzzles, except for the third level. Suggests putting goal marker of some sort.

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. It would be helpful if there was hints in the game telling me what to do next. The colour coded switches and stuff helped a bit I guess.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was annoying more than anything, I like to control only one character so I don’t have to worry about the other.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): Controls as intended
  • Goal 2 (Not Achieved): No, needs some sort of hint system
  • Goal 3 (Not Achieved): Switching between characters is annoying

 

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS

As a whole, the majority of playtesters found the puzzles presented to them pretty self-explanatory due to the colour coded nature of the puzzles themselves. Between the two groups of playtesters, the Experts tried mechanics that they thought would have been already implemented into the game, as Playtester 2 tried wall jumping in the second level of the game. They also expected an easy way to restart the level, as they were able to exploit or glitch certain portions of the level and were unable to progress further in their current state. Both Experts seemed to understand the end goal of the game, and had some fair criticism about the polish and logic of the puzzles as being a bit simple, although effective in demonstrating the switching mechanic. As for the Target Audience playtesters, they tended to explore the levels more freely and tried to get the puzzles to work. Both of them suggested that a hint system should be implemented in the final release, as the colour coding on its own isn’t enough for those who aren’t as experienced with platformer and puzzle games.

PX goals that were set earlier in the cycle were partly achieved, where it was a mixed response to the switching mechanic, where some feared it may become tedious after constant switching. The game environment subtly hints to what is expected of the player when it comes to puzzles, and the majority of players agree also. The puzzles and switching mechanic seem to make sense to players also, but may not be challenging enough for those who are experienced.

Improvements to the game in the future would especially include fully functioning puzzles that are more detailed and that flow logically from one puzzle to the next. Additionally, an optional hint system would be implemented into an options menu for those that wish for additional assistance. The animations and sounds of the characters and enemies would also be further refined, as the current animation cycle for the player is very jittery, and the jump sound is a bit loud. The goal of the game must also be made clear to the player through visual cues, such as a light trail connecting the two knights to represent their connection, and encourage the player to bring them together.

In respect to the persona of “Sally”, I feel that this style of game after playtesting amongst two different audiences, is not well suited to this particular persona. Her previous experience with games such as Warcraft and Sims is more focused around the use of a mouse, whilst platformers rely heavily on either a keyboard or a controller. Additionally, the dexterity required of a player when jumping across platforms or timing enemy attacks is slightly different compared to clicking directly onto enemies using a mouse as it is more direct. To cater to this particular audience further, it would be suggested that the controls be simplified by having keys close together, and having an optional click to control method of movement, like in point and click adventure games.

Cycle 3 – Reflection

Student Name: Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

At the start of this semester I knew nothing about development in Unity. The best source of information for this course was the four videos on the blackboard for each Cycle. These videos held incredible information about the development of game concepts that aren’t generally taught. Apart from them the internet was my most used tool figuring things out whenever I had a problem. My team wasn’t very useful for helping with problems in development. This subject has made me very eager to finish University and start developing my own games with my own ideas. Now that I have the skills I believe it will be very possible for me to create and publish my own indie games.

Non-technical skills I have developed over the semester is the ability to brainstorm and write. This subject has a large amount of writing activities and reports. It has been a struggle to put my ideas into words for the tutors and I hope that they will take that into consideration that my coding brain is not good at structuring reports well. Brainstorming was also a huge part of this subject. I enjoyed it but it felt too forced and sometimes unnecessary. I would have much preferred it if the main focus was on the development alone rather than split evenly between development and writing. But it has helped me with these skills that I otherwise do not use that often.

The best way that we managed the activities was to just evenly distribute the load, so that each person has done each task at least once. For me it is easier to work on something by myself rather than work with someone else especially on ideas that I predominantly came up with. It was easier for me to go ahead and develop the game so that when my team had questions about implementing mechanics I could easily show them because I had already done it. It was difficult working with them but it isn’t there fault it’s just that I find working alone easier. I realise though the pitfalls of this because the mechanics or ideas you might develop may not be fun to most people. Additionally, coming up with new ideas is easier if you have someone to bounce them off. However, for this subject it was easier enough to develop the game individually.

I believe we worked together as a fair team divvying up tasks evenly and helping each other when they ask for help. I believe we all worked very hard on our respective games and our group activities.

Playtesting Report (Cycle 3)

Student Name: Wai Man Ho

Student Number: n9659340

 

Playtest Setting Up

Testers will play the game individually without seeing the other tester to play. Each session ends if the game is over. Tester will be asked to think out loud and work out the solution by them if they get caught in the game play. An interview will be done after each session ends.

Resources: PC for game play, interview questions, notepad & pen to take notes

Who are the Participants

Audience who has never played this game before.

There will be two types of participants: Expert player and Target Audience player.

Notes Taken of the Expert (tutor of another subject) Player 1 during playtesting

  • He reads the instruction screen very quickly with mouth murmuring the contents in order to help him understand as fast as possible and remember the keyboard keys to control the game.
  • He then presses the ESCAPE key to see if the game can terminate. (Which is failed at that moment as this feature has not implemented yet even it has mentioned in the instructions).
  • Next, he is testing the Zoom function with pressing key Z and X to get a feeling of what he could see after Zoom In and Zoom Out.
  • Then he moves the characters around the area, switching between two characters.
  • “The camera movement is too slow if the characters are far apart! Should speed up a bit as it takes too long to reach the other character.”
  • Observed: The camera takes around three seconds to switch between characters and he thinks it is wasting his time during the process as he cannot make any move while waiting.
  • He looks at me when the Bomb appears even before the chest has opened; indicate it is a bug that needs to be fixed.
  • Observed: At first he is wandering around the area and reading hints occasionally. Then suddenly I heard he says “I got it!” and then he is confidently moving the characters to solve the puzzles.
  • “Oh!” he cries out loudly with excitement when he sees the Giant Warrior is walking slowly towards the main character on the Top Floor.

 

Interview of Player 1 after playtesting

  1. Do you find this game fun to play?

May be.

  1. Will you play it again?

No.

  1. Is the game too easy or too hard for you?

At first I cannot finger out how to solve the puzzle, but finally I am able to work it out.

  1. Which part of the game you like most?

There are varieties of enemies and not just one type is good.

  1. Which part of the game you don’t like?

The keyboard control is a bit hard to use, it will be good if we can use mouse or joystick to get a better play experience.

  1. Any suggestions of improvement on this game?

There are few bugs in the game that need to be fixed. The animations should not play more than once if they are related to the puzzle, as we don’t want to solve the same puzzle again and again.

 

Improvement Work after first playtesting

Changes are carried out right after the first playtesting has done:

  • Flags have been added in the Game Manager to make sure the animations are only played once for the puzzle related theme such as sliding down of the wall and opening of the chest which should not play again once the player has gone through them.
  • The animation of chest box opening and appear of Bomb item on the chest box requires the detection of finish the animation first before making the Bomb visible on the scene. Unfortunately it is not easy to be done for the animator as the animation clips is hidden inside it.

 

Notes Taken of the Normal Player 2 during playtesting

  • Observed: Player tries to read the instruction when game has started, but the Bat keeps attacking and finally kill the character with a Game Over exit, even before he has finished reading the instruction.
  • “I forget which keys control what already!” as the player want to control the characters to move after restart the game again.
  • Observed: The player tries to move the character across the boundary at the far right end of Top Floor, the object is too thin and the sword can be seen going through the boundary for the next level.
  • “Now how can I go back to kill the remained enemies?” after he has read the Hint in order to finish the current game level.
  • Observed: Player tries to make the character jumping high and attacking the Bat at the same time as it is attacking the character.

 

Interview of Player 2 after playtesting

  1. Do you find this game fun to play?

Yes. It is playable, controls are working fine and the enemies are doing their job.

  1. Will you play it again?

No. As I know how the puzzle be solved already.

  1. Is the game too easy or too hard for you?

Too easy as the puzzle is not hard to solve at all.

  1. Which part of the game you like most?

The visual graphic of the game is pretty good. They are 3D and movement of enemies in their own styles and speeds provide a certain degree of fun in playing it.

  1. Which part of the game you don’t like?

“I cannot see the Enemy Remain status clearly as the yellow colour is almost the same as the wall’s colour for the background.”

  1. Any suggestions of improvement on this game?

Attack key f is too close to the Movement key d. they should be far apart to make the control more easily. The instructions should be display on screen all the time so that people will not forget which keys control what.

 

Changes are carried out right after the second playtesting has done:

  • Characters are moving a location that will not be attacked by Bat so that player can have time to read the instructions as long as he like.
  • Enlarged the trigger area of the Level Passing at Top Floor so that characters can be more easily to go back to other floors.
  • A Black background panel is added behind the “Enemy Remain” status to make it looks clearer against the background graphic.

 

Summary of further possible development after Playtesting

There are few improvements can be made to the game so that it is more users friendly and fun to play:

  • Brief keys control instructions are display on the upper screen all the time as a reminder.
  • Handling enemy attack from sky with additional Hitbox which should be located above the character’s head.
  • Medical Kit should provide an option that player is able choose not to pick up if the character’s health is not a problem.
  • The attack animation from the character should have more varieties and not just one type. Depend on the additional keystrokes control; the attacks can have angle slicing, pointing in and out, waving, x-crossing, vertical and horizontal strike.

Conclusion of the Play Testing

It seems the game has achieved its objective: Appeal the target audience with puzzle solving, strategy game play and exploration of the game world as adventure. The puzzle is not too hard to be solved if all the hints are read, which will display on screen once the character has reached the assigned location.

Cycle 3 Playtesting Report

menu

level 1

level 2

menu

menu

For this playtest the expert players were given the controls to present them with a smoother experience than the last two playtest reports. However the target Audience Player will not be told the controls.

Notes were taken on my laptop and condensed to fit the bullet point form.

Playtest One

Playtester: Tutor 1 – Expert

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Started moving
  • Was able to jump up the platforms
  • Saw red key and switch players
  • Used other player to get red key
  • Switched to P1
  • Stayed in the goal area for a bit
  • Player was too engaged to talk

Level 2

  • Quickly traversed the level
  • Switched characters frequently
  • Understood how the platforms worked
  • Was disappointed when there wasn’t more

Feedback Notes:

  • Not obvious what the goal is
  • Jumping and moving felt clunky
  • Puzzle was simple
  • Level too short

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: As soon as I saw the coloured key I knew it opened the door beneath me but it was hard to figure out how to actually get to the other key. If I had not been told the controls I would never have known what to do.

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: The coloured platform stopped me from getting further in the level until I had found the key, I guess it was teaching me that I had to do something before I could continue.

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: I just followed the design of the level which was pretty linear.

Results:

Apart from the controls the player would have figured out all elements without being told. The level design is built in such a way that the player know which way to go at all times. After playing through the first level with trial and error the player was able to traverse the second level quite quickly and efficiently. They switched characters at the prompted times correctly and conquered the puzzles.

Goals Achieved:

  • Goal 1: Partially Achieved – The goal of the game was clear once the player had found the goal
  • Goal 2: Achieved – The player quickly grasped the idea of collecting keys to unlock doors
  • Goal 3: Achieved –  The level and puzzle design was not confusing and even a bit too simple for the players liking

 Playtest Two

Playtester: Tutor 2 – Expert

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Switched players straight away
  • Kept switching
  • Started moving as P2
  • Found the red key
  • Kept playing as P2
  • Did not know what else to do
  • Switched to P1
  • Followed path of level and reached goal
  • Thought the game was over
  • Read the prompt text and switched to P2
  • Realised blue door was still locked
  • Switched to P1 and unlocked blue door
  • Got to the exit with both players

Level 2

  • Was confused by the platforms
  • Thought that they did not do anything
  • Got stuck with P2
  • Accidentally turned on the platform and continued up with P2
  • Found their way through the level by mistake
  • Did not grasp the feedback of the platform mechanics

Feeback Notes:

  • Not sure what I did but found my way to the exit
  • Platforms were appearing randomly maybe on a timer
  • Level was difficult to navigate

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: Not sure but probably opened the doors

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: No idea, they kept appearing randomly. Not sure what the point of them was

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: I realised I had to get to the end of the level but the tricky part was figuring out how

Results:

Unfortunately the player was unable to learn exactly how to traverse the level and instead accidentally triggered and passed the puzzle elements. I will need to design the elements better so that the effect and trigger of events is obvious and purposeful. The player developed misconceptions about the mechanics which may have lead to problems in future level design. It was helpful to see this take on my level and puzzle design and is something that I can improve upon in the future.

Goals Achieved:

 

  • Goal 1: Not Achieved – the player reached the goal by accident e.g. not understanding the puzzles but luckily completing them.
  • Goal 2: Not Achieved – the player did not figure out how to make the platforms appear and disappear on purpose, they believed it was a timed event
  • Goal 3: Partially Achieved – The level was simple enough to understand which way to go but the puzzles were too confusing for the player to continue.

 

Playtest Three

Playtester: Group Member – Expert

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Switched to P2
  • Missed the red key
  • Was stuck at the bottom
  • Found that it was not possible to get back up
  • Restarted the game
  • Stayed as P1
  • Found red door and saw red key
  • switched to P2
  • collected red key
  • switched to P1
  • fell on blue key
  • waited on goal
  • Switched to P2
  • Finished level

Level 2

  • Confused by coloured platforms
  • Thought he was stuck again
  • Kept switching between characters.
  • Did not know what the platform did
  • Gave up and asked for help
  • After being told how to use the platforms he easily made it through the rest of the level
  • Annoyed that it was confusing

Feeback Notes:

  • Seems buggy and not finished
  • Mechanics are not obvious
  • Shouldn’t have needed to ask for help

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: Those ones open the coloured doors

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: Well they make the invisible platforms appear for no good reason

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: I didn’t really just kind of winged it

Results:

This playtest was it stilted as the player got stuck in a part of the map that they cannot get out of. Additionally, the platform mechanics were not obvious to them. Then player thought that the platforms worked like the keys and once you step on the trigger it should stay on. Due to this the player treated the triggers as such and skipped over parts of the level. The player became frustrated that the mechanics were not obvious. I feel like the effects and triggers of each mechanic should be implemented so they are obvious to the player. The worst thing you can do is make a game that punishes the player for not understanding obscure mechanics.

Goals Achieved:

  • Goal 1: Not Achieved – The goal was not clear for the player as they were hindered by bugs in the design of the game
  • Goal 2: Not Achieved – The interactions were also not clear to the player as there is no feedback from actions the player takes leaving them guessing most of the time
  • Goal 3: Not Achieved – The puzzle design was too confusing/ not clear enough for the player to understand

Playtest Four

Playtester: Workshop Colleague – Expert

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Forgot that you could switch characters
  • Stayed as P1 and tried to jump on the door
  • Kept trying to jump into the wall or floor
  • Realised they could switch
  • Switched to P2 and jumped down
  • Tried to get through the blue door
  • Missed the red Key
  • Thought it was a bug that they couldn’t get further
  • Stopped to think
  • Switched to P1 and saw key
  • Switched to P2 and tried to get back up but couldn’t
  • Jump was too difficult for the player
  • Player could not continue after many tries

Level 2

  • N/A

Feedback Notes:

  • Puzzles were confusing
  • Jumping was hard
  • Didn’t really know what I was supposed to do
  • Wanted to see second level
  • Maybe implement a skip function

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: Open the grill things I’m pretty sure

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: I don’t know, what platforms?

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: No Idea man, I guess to finish the level but I don’t know how

Results:

It was interesting to see a playtester who understood the mechanics but could not actually grasp the character movement. They were not able to actually jump correctly from platform to platform. It was bad design on my part since I played the game alot the movement was easier for me and I placed the platforms in such a way that it was difficult but still doable. I was able to make all jumps and crosses without trouble. I wrongly assumed that other players would be able to make it to. I will have to change the size of the platforms and change how the character moves through the air.

Goals Achieved:

 

  • Goal 1: Partially Achieved – Due to the player getting stuck with the movement mechanics they were not able to finish the level. Although, the player does understand what they have to do they were just unable to do it
  • Goal 2: Partially Achieved – The interactions for the first level were clear to the player but they did not get to play the second level so they may or may not have understood the platform mechanics
  • Goal 3: Not Achieved – The level design and platform placement was confusing for the player as it seemed like some areas were impossible to get to.

 

Playtest Five

Playtester: Friend – Expert

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Jumped up platforms
  • Found red key
  • Switched to P2
  • Got Red Key
  • Switched back to P1
  • Dropped down onto Blue Ket
  • Switched to P2
  • Dropped down and went through blue door
  • Moved both characters into goal

Level 2

  • Jumped up platforms
  • Saw blue platforms appear
  • Switched to P2
  • Climbed blue platforms
  • Got Orange Key
  • Stepped on Red Trigger
  • Switched to P1
  • Jumped up up to orange door
  • Moved through to purple trigger
  • Stood on purple trigger
  • Switched to P2 and moved across purple platforms
  • Moved through purple door and got red Key
  • Switched to P1 and continued right to blue key
  • Returned both characters to the goal zone

Feeback Notes:

  • Puzzles seemed very simple
  • The visual hints were good I could see what I was doing
  • I think the visuals were a bit plain and could have been clearer

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: They open the grates in the doors

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: They make the corresponding platforms appear

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: The level was fairly linear allowing me to follow the prompts to the end of the level

Results:

This playtester was very competent and instantly grasped the goals and mechanics. They inherently knew the controls of jumping and moving. Additionally after seeing the red key and the red door they were able to understand that the puzzles revolve around switching characters at certain times. From that point on when the player got to a dead end with one character they would switch and try the other one. This combination of skill and observation allowed the player to quickly finish each level.

Goals Achieved:

 

  • Goal 1: Achieved – The player quickly grasped the goal and how to get there
  • Goal 2: Achieved – The player instantly understood how to interact with the doors after seeing the key objects and how to make the platforms appear after seeing them appear while standing on the trigger zone.
  • Goal 3: Achieved – The level design was not confusing for the player as they were able to quickly traverse it

 

Playtest Six

Playtester: Friend – Target Audience

Observational Notes:

Level 1

  • Player had trouble jumping and climbing the platforms
  • The players timing was off and they couldn’t get a feel for the jump height or in air movement speed
  • Stuck at the start for a bit
  • Decided to switch to P2
  • Again could not jump the platforms
  • Switched to P1 and tried to jump up again
  • After a while they got up and saw the red door and key
  • Switched to P2 and managed to jump to the red key
  • Switched to P1 and jumped down to the blue key
  • Jumped into the goal zone
  • Switched to P2 and followed into exit

Level 2

  • Again the player had trouble with jumping
  • Got up to blue trigger
  • Saw blue platforms appear and switched to P2
  • Struggled to climb blue platforms
  • Found orange key
  • Saw purple platform gap and tried to jump the gap
  • Fell down and tried again
  • Fell down again
  • Switched to P1 and tried to get up further
  • Could not figure out how
  • Gave up

Feeback Notes:

  • Very confusing trying to jump platforms
  • Hard to control the character, Jumping was difficult
  • Maybe a hint system would help if the player gets stuck

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: What did the coloured keys do?
A: Opened the door things

Q: What did the coloured platforms do?
A: I don’t really know I guess create platforms somewhere

Q: How did you figure out the goal of the game
A: I just followed the keys and objects

Results:

This player was used as a playtest for the target audience of Sally. The playtester shared some of the likes and dislike that Sally has. This made them a perfect candidate to playtest this game. The problem that the playtester was having was the difficulty of the controls. They seemed to grasp the concepts well but not the controls. Their timing for the jumps and general method of playing showed that they were not comfortable or used to using these kinda of controls. The wasd form seemed unfamiliar to them. It is interesting to note this because thematically the game is something that Sally would love to play. However, practically its a game with a control system that she is not used to and because of this she will have trouble playing the game. She may even not like it because the controls are so abrasive. In designing this game I had Sally in mind thinking she would love the theme and puzzles but did not think of the controls.

Goals Achieved:

  • Goal 1: Partially Achieved – The goal became clear to the player after trial and error
  • Goal 2: Partially Achieved – The interactions between puzzle elements were clear for the keys and doors but not for the platform triggers
  • Goal 3: Partially Achieved – The level was hard to navigate due to movement constraints

 

Improvements

The final product is definitely no more than a prototype, it is riddled with bugs, abrasive movement and unfamiliar goal and controls.

The most important problem that players are having is understanding how to finish the level and get to the end goal. This is a culmination of unclear mechanics, difficult controls and lack of prompts. Apart from the mechanics one way to make the goal more clear might be to tell the player or give them some story or bit of information. For example the castle could be on fire and they are trying to escape. Or they are rescuing someone from the top of the castle and they must solve the problems to get there. It is obvious that this alone isn’t enough to help players with understanding the controls but it will help once the mechanics are smooth and clear. It is important to think about the reason behind the players actions, why do they want to get to the end of the level. I will need to give them some reason to go on.

Another problem is with the new mechanic in the second level where the player must stand on a plate to make coloured platforms appear. This mechanic is not intuitive and I did not explain it at all during gameplay. I will need to fix this to make it obvious that the plate triggers turn on platforms for the other player. Some ways to fix this include adding animations for the platforms to show that they are moving when you stand on the trigger, along with sound to give the player an indication that something is happening. I tried to design it so that the player will see the platforms appear the first time they step on the trigger but most people do not see it in their peripheral vision which is interesting. Maybe I should direct the players attention towards the platforms, potentially by moving the camera to put the platforms in their field of view.

A problem that was not obvious to me until playtesting was the difficulty of the controls and the trouble that players were having jumping up on to platforms. They would not make it high enough and get stuck on the side of the platform. This will be difficult to fix as it is so subjective to players. I will have to make the platforms smaller and lower so that they are easier to jump up on. This will mean creating more platforms for the players which is simple enough. Another parameter to change is how much the player can move in the air and maybe allow them to move a bit more. This will help players traverse the level smoothly

Finally the most important part of this playtest was the Target audience playtest which used a playtester that matches our chosen target audience from the start of the semester. Our chosen target audience was Sally, our 21 year old gamer who likes Sims 4, Warcraft 3, Two Dots and Pocket Planes. She is a fairly casual gamer who likes management and strategy sims as well as simple puzzle games. Our game was designed to target her love for puzzles and management. The puzzles of our game along with the ability to manage two characters at once makes our game something very appealing to Sally. This playtest however has highlighted an important problem that Sally might face when playing our game. The controls are completely different to the games that she is used to. Warcraft 3 uses mainly the mouse to control unit and buildings, additionally Sims 4 is heavily mouse based to control and design the families that she creates. The mobile games she plays are also completely different control wise because they are touch screen. None of Sally’s favourite games use the keyboard like ours does. This might make her play experience less fun and more abrasive. She may feel like the controls are too hard and be turned off our game without experiencing the mechanics designed for her. An improvement for this might be to change the control scheme to using the mouse or touch screen capabilities. This would be difficult to implement as it would change the dynamic of the mechanics and possibly the target hardware that it would use. This game could possibly be moved to the mobile sector with tighter controls and smaller levels and more simpler textures/models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cycle 3 – Playtesting Plan

Student Name: Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

Goals of the playtesting session for Experts

Goal 1: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 2: Are the interactions between puzzle elements clear?

Goal 3: Is the level or puzzle design confusing?

Player stories Tested

Player Story number 5, 2 and 3.

As the player, I want the environment to change as I interact with it and open up new areas for me to explore

As the player, I want the puzzles to be engaging and interesting and allow me to coordinate my actions to complete them

As the player, I want to feel satisfied with my actions after completing the level

These playtesting stories relate to the puzzle elements of the game and how the player interacts with them which is the most important feedback that I can get from the expert player testers as they are able to get deeper into the experience than the general target audience.

ExpertExpert Playtesting Plan

Goals for playtesting target audience

Goal 1: Is the gameplay smooth and/or enjoyable?

Goal 2: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 3: Do the controls and mechanics feel natural?

Player stories Tested

Player Stories number 7, 8 and 10.

As the player, I want to be able to jump and move around to overcome obstacles

As the player, I want to be able to understand the goal and the controls inherently

As the player, I want to be able to plan out my solution to the puzzles presented to me using the two player characters effectively

These playtesting stories encapsulate the want of the target audience. Sally, our target audience, wants to be able to understand the game and its controls. If the game is too abrasive then she will not want to play it. These goals help figure out if she will like it.

targetTarget Audience Playtesting Plan

Playtesting Method

The method that we will be imploring is the blind playtesting method. This involves not telling the player anything about the game beforehand, not even the controls. This playtesting method is the best at gathering raw information about the flow of your game. A game designed well feels good and flows well. If the player is able to grasp the basic controls and concepts of the game then you have done a good job at designing it. This initial testing is crucial to the games development at pointing out problems early.

Data Collection

The data that will be collected will be gameplay minutes and observational notes. Gameplay minutes are a raw capture of the players actions as they occur, recording what they are doing and what buttons they are pressing. Observational notes is a more higher thinking collection of data. It involves capturing the essence of what the player is trying to do and analysing why they took these actions. Additionally, a small survey will be given at the end of the playtest to record feedback the player may have.

Resources

It will be best to take notes as text via a computer or piece of paper. If taken by paper they will be transcribed into the playtesting report. This is the easiest way to capture the playtest in its entirety.

Analysis

Analysis will be done by reviewing the gameplay minutes and observational notes then proposing conjectures about the players actions or feedback and making conclusions about the testing.

Playertest plan Experts

Playertest plan Target Audience