Week 4 – Play Test Report Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

Student Name: Jack Hendy

This playtesting report will outline the procedure and results of playtests conducted by me, Jack Hendy. The playtesting that will be conducted will be blind playtests meaning that the player will have no intial experience with the game in question. They will not have seen it before and will not have anything about the game explained to them. This is the most raw form of playtesting as it gives you such a pure thought process on the initial thoughts that players have about the game. It can be very insightful if conducted correctly. The most important thing is to leave the player alone, and to not disturb them or help them in anyway. This way the playtesting data collected will be as accurate as possible.

Playtest Type
Blind

Number of Playtesters
Five

Playtest participants
One participant per playtest

Procedure
The general procedure that each playtest is as follows below

  • Setup with note taking device
  • Give player Controller and explain what is required of them in terms of thinking out loud
  • Press play and sit back and watch them play
  • Take minutes of their exact actions
  • Take notes of their concerns or questions but do not answer them
  • Afterwards ask questions based on the playtest goals and record answers

Playtesting Goals/Plan
(SKIP THIS IF THE PLAN DOESN’T MATTER RIGHT NOW)

Goal 1: How easy/quick is it to understand the controls

What to measure: Levels of interaction with the player character – how much the player moved or shot, if at all

How to test: Give no instructions before play

How to Analyse: Note how quickly the player seems to understand of controls – from their own commentary and observing their movement

Outline

This goal gauges if the player was able to grasp the controls and mechanics without much trouble or help. If a game can be picked up and played without any instruction then it will be more successful with a casual audience. People don’t wont to fight with controls or mechanics.

To measure this goal the level of interaction the player has with the player character was observed and recorded. If the player isn’t moving, or does not understand how to move then the goal of the controls being easy to understand will not be obtained. If the player moves around and shoots and moves onto understanding the mechanics then the goal will be reached.

To test this goal the player will be given the game to play without any explanation of controls or mechanics. This will give the player the chance to learn the controls completely organically and will highlight issues that the game has.

To analyse this goal notes will be taken during the playtest and the game screen will be recorded for analysis

Goal 2: How easy/quick is it to understand the mechanics

What to measure: Levels of interaction with the player and the game world

How to test: Once the player has a basic understand of controls allow them to play and explore mechanics

How to analyse: Make note of the moment to moment gameplay the player is experiencing deduced from their verbal commentary and my visual observation

Outline

This goal builds on the previous goal asking “Once the player understands how to control the character will they understand how to play the game”. The biggest problem with this is that conveying game mechanics and feedback well requires high level production value. Due to this assignments time frame the production value of my presented game is quite low. It is mainly a prototype to test the base mechanics and if the player finds them fun or interesting.

To measure this goal the level of interaction the player has with the game world was observed and recorded. If the player is avoiding the gameobjects and not interacting with them then the purpose of the game is not obvious or does not facilitate the ability to experiment. If the player moves into and tries to shoot the game objects and develops a pattern of play then they are understanding the mechanics.

To test this goal the player will be taught the controls and then made to play the game giving a verbal commentary.

To analyse this goal notes will be taken and the player will be observed.

Goal 3: How fun the game is

What to measure: How engaged the player

How to test: Asking the player how the felt during the playtest and giving them a list of most agree with to most disagree with questions

How to analyse: Given their experience the “fun” aspect of the game can be analysed by the results of their answers represented graphically

Outline

The most important thing when designing this game was the aspect of fun, how much fun the player would have by playing and how to increase the level of fun. Fun is a very subjective thing and due to the fidelity of the prototype the fun aspect will still be tested but it will not be analysed with a high regard for the results.

To test this goal the player will be asked a number of questions that will allow them to explain how they felt and lead them on the comment on how much they enjoyed the game.

These results will not be analysed in depth due to the fidelity of the game.

(START OF THE ACTUAL REPORT)

PLAYTEST ONE

The first playtest was conducted with one of the tutors who had obviously playtested before as she gave very informative notes on what she was feeling and thinking throughout the test.

 Observational Notes

  • Grasped the movement controls instantly
  • Started to get confused and pressed all the other buttons
  • Finally figured out shooting controls
  • Noticed Red to White change in the “Virus” collectable
  • Did not notice the point of the other coloured collectables

Feedback Notes

  • Move to slow
  • Collectables all looked the same (shape wise)
  • Did not expect to use the right thumbstick for shooting
  • Feels like player is not having an impact on the game

Post gameplay interview

Q: Describe the effect of each of the coloured collectables?
A: I noticed after shooting the red one it became white but as for the others I’m not too sure. There is a counter that goes up I guess when I get the white ones but no idea what it’s for.

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: Not sure, I saw the counter at the top left but I feel like that’s just for debugging or something.

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: I enjoyed shooting the collectables and having them come towards me

Results from Playtest

The biggest issue that the player had during this playtest was understand the controls. Without any input from me the player used the first 1 minute of the gameplay to figure out the shooting controls. They commented that they were not expecting it at all. This might be due to the playertester playtesting other games in the unit will very different mechanics. After that they were able to understand half of the effects of the collectables. They thought white didn’t do anything but shooting red turned it into white so it must be okay. They didn’t notice the other collectables do anything even though the size of the player character was noticeably changing size. After asking the player about it they said they weren’t paying attention to the actual player character. This is an issue with the level of feedback the game is giving when something happens. Potentially the collectables should have a more obvious and diverse affect on the player or be represented in a different way.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Not achieved –  the player took too long to understand the controls
  • Goal 2: Somewhat achieved – The player understood that some collectables were good and some were bad by inference. The effect should be more obvious.
  • Goal 3: Not achieved –  the player had trouble with the controls and understanding the mechanics which led to a jarring, unenjoyable experience

PLAYTEST TWO

The second playtest was conducted by a member of another group in the workshop.

Observational Notes

  • Started moving straight away
  • Started shooting as well a little bit and was taken back by the control of shooting
  • Shot all around at everything
  • Realised his size was shrinking and decided to stop shooting and just tried to avoid everything
  • Did this for a while before I stopped the playtest to explain the mechanics

Feedback Notes

  • Didn’t understand the goal
  • Objects too small
  • Hit boxes aren’t working
  • Felt like the controls should have been explained

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of each of the coloured collectables?
A: The red and green collectables shrunk my guy and the white and yellow ones didn’t seem to do anything

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: I have no idea to be honest

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: Trying to avoid everything was fun

Results from Playtest

The main issue that arose from this playtest was the fact that the mechanics and the effects of the collectables were not obvious. The player did not even bother trying to collect them thinking that the game could be finished by time rather then score. This gave me insight into how others think and how the different ways in which I can improve my game.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Achieved –  The player instantly grasped the controls however was surprised when they did
  • Goal 2: Some what Achieved – The player understood half of the mechanics presented
  • Goal 3: Not Achieved –  The player avoided all game objects which led to stale gameplay

PLAYTEST THREE

The second playtest was conducted by a member of another group in the workshop.

Observational Notes

  • Tried to move using directional pad buttons instead of thimbstick
  • Started moving
  • Started Shooting
  • Realised green was good and started collecting as much green as possible
  • Started to get really big and caused a bug in the game to make the red and yellow collectables increase the size of the player character as well
  • Ended up taking up the whole screen

Feedback Notes

  • Didn’t really know what was going on
  • Got so big made it hard to play
  • I don’t know what I was doing but it was enjoyable

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of each of the coloured collectables?
A: Not sure it seemed like they all made me get bigger

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: To get really big?

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: I enjoyed taking up the entire screen

Results from Playtest

It was unfortunate for the player that they encountered a bug that gave them the wrong impression of the game but it was interesting to see that the bug made the game more enjoyable. I will have to take note and potentially change some of the mechanics.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Achieved – The player instantly started shooting and moving
  • Goal 2: Not Achieved – Due to a bug the player came to the wrong conclusion about the mechanics of the game
  • Goal 3: Achieved – The player had an enjoyable time becuase of the ridiculous size they got to

PLAYTEST FOUR

The second playtest was conducted by a member of another group in the workshop.

Observational Notes

  • Started moving
  • Tried the other buttons
  • Could not find the controls for shooting
  • Died
  • Kept Dying
  • Got frustrated from not being able to stay alive long enough

Feedback Notes

  • Quite difficult
  • Didn’t know what was going on
  • Moved really slowly
  • Shot slowly
  • No feedback

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of each of the coloured collectables?
A: I have no idea but it seemed like they were all bad

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: Not sure, I didn’t survive long enough

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: Not much since I kept dying

Results from Playtest

This playtest gave me a better idea of the difficulty of the game and allowed to me see the worst case scenario of someone playing it. The player could not survive for more than a minute and kept dying to the red and yellow collectables. As a result the player did not manage to experience most of the game and gave uniformative feed back on the mechanics. However, it was very helpful to see someone have trouble with the difficulty and speed of the game.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Not Achieved – The player did not find the controls for shooting and subsequently was not able to see the effects of shooting the collectables
  • Goal 2: Not Achieved – Due to the player not being able to shoot they did not experience most of the implemented mechanics
  • Goal 3: Not Achieved – The player did not end up having fun understandably

PLAYTEST FIVE

The second playtest was conducted by a member of another group in the workshop.

Observational Notes

  • Started Moving
  • Started Shooting
  • Realised green made you big and thought that was bad
  • Found effect of Red
  • Did not know why the change in size exists
  • Found that White increases DNA score
  • Did not know why

Feedback Notes

  • Slow to move around
  • Not obvious why the objects do what they do
  • Red and Green had no point just changed size
  • Hard to understand what the goal was

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of each of the coloured collectables?
A: Red was bad and made me smaller Green was bad and made me bigger White increased my score and yellow didn’t do anything

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: Based on the fact it says out of 100 probably to collect 100 DNA

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: The shooting was interesting

Results from Playtest

The player was very experienced in game play and picked up the controls and mechanics very quickly. However, because of this they found it less enjoyable and more of a chore than a game. It was helpful to see someone know exactly what to do and still not have fun. It was the other extreme to the other playetest beforehand. Seeing these two extremes was helpful and has given me ideas of how to improve the game.

Were the Goals Achieved?

  • Goal 1: Achieved – Player found controls pretty quickly and seemed to have no problem understanding them
  • Goal 2: Achieved – Player managed to grasp the underlying goal and effects of gaem objects however the player seemed to think that some of the effects are pointless
  • Goal 3: Not Achieved – Player understood the game but did not find it enjoyable

Improvements

As it stands now the game prototype is not fun, too slow, too confusing and there is no real goal.

The aspect of fun comes from the culmination of the mechanics the visuals and the feedback so to address this I must fix the other problems plaguing my game. The biggest one being how it isn’t obvious what the controls are. To fix this I must communicate to the player the controls through some means such as text or visuals. I could have a picture of two joysticks being moved which will prompt the player to try both. Or I could have a line of text saying use both thumbsticks.

In terms of making the collectables have more obvious effects I could change the way they hurt or help the player. For instance with the red collectable I could introduce a health bar that will deplete when a red collectable hits you. Also when it touches the player I would have a unpleasant sound and an explosion to occur. This would indicate to the player that the red is bad. Contrarily for green I would have it play a nice sound and make it replenish the health bar.

For the yellow collectable I could turn it into a simple ai drone that might follow you and require you to shoot it so that it is destroyed other wise it will deplete your health more greatly.

For the white collectable I will have to maybe instead make the DNA counter a score counter and give the white collectable the ability to increase the score of the player.

The last problem is not having a goal. Most SHMUPs are level based or scored based with story to keep you going. My game has neither which is why I make a counter for DNA. Potentially I could have both the counter and the score to show progression and the red or yellow collectables could reduce your score and the white and green might increase it.

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