My form of play test analysis was observing the testers playing for all 3 of them, asking them to verbally make note of things they find interesting or odd and then for the 2 colleague/experienced testers I did a post play interview. I thought using the person who was a bit less experienced wouldn’t have a very impactful result with an interview post play so decided to leave it out. The focus goals of the sessions were:
- Player interaction with controls.
- Visually appealing level design.
- Are objectives clear.
In the second lot of testing on the less experienced tester the goals were:
- Game difficulty
- Objectives are clear.
- Tester understands the setting for the game.
After observing the players navigate through the game I made note of some of the changes I thought may need to be made for a more successful game.
Improvements made based on play test sessions:
- The jumping was a bit precarious in some areas so I need to move around the level to make sure the jumps could be more easily made as players were more often unsuccessful in making the jumps.
- Jumping height was changed a few times because of the changes in the level design as well.
- The first level was changed to a bit more of a tutorial level so that the players can understand more clearly the objectives of the game.
Below is a link to the play test session documents.
Play test 1 – Colleague
Play test 2 – Experienced player
Play test 3 – Less experienced player
As this is a 2d sidescroller the possible interaction with the world is simpler than that of an rpg and so the object list is smaller than that of the aforementioned genre. The table shows the relationships between objects, how the interact and the purpose of them being in the game. The rules associated with the objects justify and links they have to other objects through their attributes and purpose.
||Player controlled object, allowing interaction with the world through simple controls.
||Character is depicted as a young warrior from the world war eras. He has a knife which he uses to attack the soldiers guarding the bodies of the avatars fallen comrades left over from the war.
The avatar uses his basic attack and jumps to maneuver through the level.
|The player uses the avatar to interact with the world.
The player’s avatar can take damage from, deal damage, collect items by moving over them and jumping on the platforms.
|The avatar is affected by gravity, and the constraints on the world laid out in the boundary rules of the game.
The avatar is restricted to the bounds of that area.
||Purpose of this object is to try and prevent the avatar from reaching the end goal of the level by attacking the player when they player enters the constraints of the patrol points assigned to the enemy.
|The enemy will have a ranged attack and a melee attack based on the distance away from the target.
2 points are assigned to the enemy soldier, the enemy will constantly move between these two points.
|The enemy soldier patrols an area between two points, if the player enters the area the soldier will move closer while shooting until they get into melee range.
||The enemy is restricted by the bounds selected as patrol points. If the avatar is not in the patrol point area then the enemy soldier will continue to move between the points.
It is an exit requirement for all enemies to be defeated before the player can finish the level.
|Fallen Comrade Collectable
||There are bodies of the avatars fallen comrades placed on the ground throughout the level.
|The body is a skeleton laying flat on the ground.
||The object can be collected by the avatar.
||The collection of the fallen comrade is a requirement for the level to be completed.
When the avatar walks over the collectable it disappears and goes into the avatars inventory.
When all bodies have been collected the player will see a dagger on icon in the bottom left hand corner of the screen signifying that all bodies are collected and can now finish the level.
|The player is required to navigate of the platforms, the end of the level will be behind the need to get over the platforms.
|These platforms will move left to right.
|The player jumps onto these platforms to navigate through the level.
||These platforms do not act like the vertical platforms. The avatar jumps onto the platform but does not move with the platform. The player must move left and right respectively to avoid falling off the platform while it is moving.
||The player is required to navigate of the platforms, the end of the level will be behind the need to get over the platforms.
|These platforms will move up and down.
||The player jumps onto these platforms to navigate through the level.
||The avatar jumps on these platforms and times the jump to either the next platform or ground.
The platforms move at different speeds and are not affected by gravity.
The play test plan for cycle 3 can be found here. There is a play test plan for our target audience Sally and then also one for our other testers who will provide a broader scope of details.
Our focus for the design was Sally:
• Age: 21
• Gaming Background:
– First game: Warcraft 3
– Current favourite game: SIMS 4
– Likes PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds
– Mobile games: Two Dots, 1010!, Pocket planes
– Does admit to playing Kim Kardashian game
• Gameplay experience
– Has been playing games since she was 10
– Plays approximately 1 hour per day
Sally has always seen herself as a gamer and started fairly early on in her life. She has around 11 years of gaming experience and still play approximately 1 hour each day. For this cycle we wanted to make a game that could be enjoyed in short spurts as Sally doesn’t sit down and play hours for hours on end.
Approach to learning and finding information:
Through the last 3 cycles of the design process of these games, there have been many learning points for myself and I’m sure for many others in the course. As with all learning it takes practice and through the small 12 week cycle of these games I have seen a progression of quality and design from the initial game. I now have a better understanding of the process required to design for a target audience, and I have spent a lot more time thinking about what not only what I would enjoy in a game but also what someone else might enjoy when thinking about game mechanics and interactions.
Non-Technical Skills Developed:
Something that I consider very important that I have had the pleasure of developing in the 3 cycles is the social/team based learning that I believe is an integral part of design. I think very highly of the opinions of others and have found nothing but improvements to my own ideas when discussing them with my studio group and the other studio group opposite me on the table. At the beginning of the cycles I wasn’t really talking as much to my group members, this was evident in the creative differences that were in the iterations of our games. I think other than the category it was hard to find any underlying commonalities to link the earlier games together. In more recent cycles I think the discussion of the games and bouncing ideas off of each other has brought together the tones of the game and it’s more evident to someone with an outsiders perspective that the games came from the same studio.
Strategies managing team based and individual assessment:
It has been an interesting experience working so closely each week with the same individuals, unfortunately during cycle 2 we had someone in our studio drop out. This left me and Joel as the only remaining members. I don’t feel like this was detrimental at any point other than some of the activities for cycle 3 we have needed to do a bit of extra work leading in to our own activities for the cycle. Both Joel and I have been able to work together when needed and are not afraid to ask the other for help. We spend a lot of time communicating outside of the tutorials, discussing ideas for the game and changes that the other might want to make to theirs. It has been very easy working in these groups, I have probably found more difficulty in the individual side of the work. I have really needed to set myself small goals through each cycle to prevent myself from leaving things to the last minute. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing the individual work by any means but having someone to work with, in my opinion, escalates the quality of the work and I lean more towards this style of team integration rather than individual work. Planning has been probably the most important part of this game development cycle, good time management has had a very positive impact on the work load.
Some of the important parts that need to be considered when working in a team are, sharing an even workload, participating in group forums and making choices together. The reason these topics are important in teamwork is because if one person is doing the work it isn’t fair on them, groups are formed so people can work together and engage with each other. Having an open forum where choices can be made together as a group is an excellent way to socialise and have outsider perspectives to your own, every had a different childhood and group up different ways, so listening to others opinions broadens your mind to design possibilities in a game that may previously not have been thought of. This would be why developers are not working in their own little box when making games, they have developer meetings and bounce ideas off of one another.
The following assets can be located at the following URLS or attributed to these persons:
As we have in each cycle, Joel and I had discussions about ideas but as we are doing a 2d and a 2.5d game we haven’t really shared anything other than ideas this cycle.
Platform movement code – HTTP://forum.unity3d.com/threads/moving-platforms-2d-platformer.175594/
Skybox – RKD, NightSoundGames
Army Car – IGIIID
Airforce Plane – walterlima3d
Fires – Digital Ruby (Jeff Johnson)
Walls with Vines – bitsong
Sniper Rifle – Sagh
Exit Door –DNK_DEV
Skeleton – Polygon Blacksmith
Abandoned Buildings – Aleksey Kozhemyakin, LowlyPoly
Audio – BitsAlive Game Studios, Daniel Kole Productions
Since starting this semester I was reasonably confident in my abilities to produce simple code to get my ideas across and my main focus was on designing aspects of the game that would be fun. I would think this would have a larger focus on the bounds of a game and the rules. Since the first cycle I am finding myself more confident in my coding abilities in a larger scale project. I’m starting to research into different ways to code something, which I previously wasn’t overly interested in. There were some frustrations during this development cycle, some of which I wasn’t able to fix in the time that I allocated myself and others I was concerned I may ruin some aspects of my code by filling it with unimportant code. The game is by no means perfect but overall the result something I can be proud of, overcoming some obstacles that I would have previously been stumped by.
Other Course Majors:
This cycle really gave me some clarity on the importance of other majors work in these projects. Trying my hand at some of the animation and modelling in blender made me see the amount of work that goes into the simplest things and gave me a huge appreciation for the asset store. The intricacy of the coding major and how much more I have to learn about it was evident to me in this cycle and I was really glad to be able to talk to my group members about everything, the outside perspective even just fixing something small felt really good.
What I Found To Be Most Satisfying:
I think the most satisfying element for me was being able to think of a layout of a map that the player can use to their advantage if they put thought into it. I’ve always been into game like Zelda and the puzzle solving type of games, finding hidden things in a game. It is very hard to implement those game aspects into and FPS such as the one that was made. For me personally I was really happy with the layout of the map.
Ethical Issues Of First Person Experience Inspired Events:
I feel like there is a fine line in these sorts of games based on recent events. The problem to me was very clear from the beginning of the cycle. We were immediately made aware of the prohibition of political games. My first thought was a Trump game. I think with these real events based games you are always walking on a thin line and through the development process you can become oblivious to the impact that parts of a game you think are fine can have on someone else. There have been so many tragedies in recent years and even months of drunken fights and young people dying because of a night out. It can be hard to make a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable in these cycles but it is a line I felt myself being dragged along.
For the playtesting, I used 2 of the same people from the previous cycle and a newcomer who is an avid gamer. I prefer having the outside opinions of other people when doing the testing but they still need to have an interest in the topic. I think having such different testers give more perspective in the design and you can create a better overall game. I’m happy with the results of the playtest and the changes that incurred based on the answers received.
My form of play test analysis was supervising them playing the game and during their time playing I took notes based on 3 important categories.
- Usability of controls.
- How long they were alive/what their score was.
- What they enjoyed about the game/ what they would change.
After observing the players navigate through the game I made conclusions based on the data from the playtest sessions and thought about how the player would want the changes implemented.
Improvements made based on play test sessions:
- Spawn rates of the enemies, this took a while to get right and I had to take into consideration the spawn points as well as the rates. It was a delicate balance but happy with the result.
- Jumping height was altered a few times to try and find a nice balance.
- Audio levels were a very large improvement on the playability, it was far too loud originally and was almost deafening, I found a nice balance of sound levels for music and in game audio.
- Adding more enemies was a very important change that came from the playtesting, originally it was too easy because it was easy to run away from the few enemies that appeared.
Below is a link to the playtest session documents.