Cycle 3 Playtesting Report

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level 1

level 2

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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