Week 9 Cycle 2 – Playtesting Report

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 looked down at the phone and how far they got through the level

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 and looks down 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 not avoiding the gameobjects then the purpose of the game is not obvious or does not facilitate the ability to experiment. If the player moves and looks down and up while moving 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 a member of the course.

 Observational Notes

  • Grasped the movement controls instantly
  • Started to get confused and did not look down
  • Avoided oncoming Obstacles
  • Guessed the goal was to get to the end
  • Did not realise to look down

Feedback Notes

  • Move too slow
  • Not obvious how to get score
  • Not Obvious to look down
  • Feels like player is not having an impact on the game

Post gameplay interview

Q: Describe the effect of the “Runner” Object
A: The Runner Objects were a hazard that I had to dodge otherwise they pushed me back

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: Not sure, I saw that there was a time limit but no idea what to do or how to do it

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: I enjoyed trying to dodge the obstacles

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 movement 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. The main problem was the goal not being obvious and the scoring mechanic but being obvious. Perhaps a prompt should be used to engage the player and let them know that they should look down to get score.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Not achieved –  the player took too long to understand the controls
  • Goal 2: Somewhat achieved – The player understood to dodge the oncoming obstacles but not to look down and get score
  • 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 friend.

Observational Notes

  • Started moving straight away
  • Got stuck on a Runner and fell off the edge of the map
  • Kept Getting stuck on runners
  • Did not understand goal of game

Feedback Notes

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

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of the Runner Object
A: It is used to stop the player moving forward and to punish them for failing

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 look down 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 the tutor of another subject

Observational Notes

  • Tried arrow keys instead of wasd for moving
  • Started moving
  • Started looking down
  • Realised that score was accumulated from looking down
  • Never looked up
  • Did not reach goal  in time

Feedback Notes

  • Didn’t really know what was going on
  • Too many obstacles
  • I don’t know what I was doing but it was enjoyable

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of the Runner Object
A: Not sure it seemed like they just kept coming and pushing me back

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: To get a high score?

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: I enjoyed just looking down and getting a highscore

Results from Playtest

It was unfortunate for the player that they just kept looking down and did not form a strategy of looking up and down periodically. They did however look down and understand that’s how you accrue score. I will have to take note and potentially change some of the mechanics.

Were the Goals Achieved? 

  • Goal 1: Achieved – The player instantly started moving and looking down
  • Goal 2: somewhat Achieved – Due to the player misinterpreting the goal they grasped only the basics of the mechanics
  • Goal 3: Achieved – The player had an enjoyable time because of the highscore they got

PLAYTEST FOUR

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

Observational Notes

  • Started moving
  • Tried the other buttons
  • Did not find controls for looking down
  • Got pushed off the edge
  • Kept getting pushed off the edge
  • 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
  • No feedback

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of the Runner objects
A: I have no idea but it seemed like they were annoying

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 being pushed off the edge. 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 looking down and subsequently did not figure out how to accrue score
  • Goal 2: Not Achieved – Due to the player being pushed off the edge continuously 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 Looking down
  • Found that looking down increases score
  • Did not know why
  • Did not move and just accrued score

Feedback Notes

  • Slow to move around
  • Not obvious why the objects do what they do
  • Hard to understand what the goal was

Post Gameplay Interview

Q: Describe the effect of the Runner Object
A: It was just annoying that they kept coming and did not give me any room to move

Q: What was the goal of the game?
A: Based on the fact that there is a score probably to get the highest score possible

Q: What about the game did you enjoy?
A: The idea was interesing

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 game 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 the goal is not obvious.

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 an arrow pointing down telling the player to look down. Or I could have a line of text saying look down or both.

In terms of introducing more objects I could make objects that not only hinder the player but help them aswell. Potentially introduce the objects that I have talked about previously such as a postman, potholes, cats and dog poo. Each of these objects would have a different function. Due to the time and requirement constraints it was deemed that these extra objects were not needed for the prototype but could be added in the future.

The last problem with the game was the goal not being clear. Potentially I could have worded prompt or maybe a storyboard before the game starts to let the player know what is happening. However, if the goal and controls are explained to the player they have a lot more fun and do better in it.

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