This cycle i used the same series of playtesters with an adjusted form of playtesting to focus on the session goals established.
The notes take from the playtests can be found (here) with the results sumarised below:
Key findings across players:
A common element noticed during the playtests was that the difficulty in general was too high with players rarely winnng the game.
The story of the game was also found to be lacking with none of the playtesters able to explain what the game was about.
Fix building colliders to prevent players becoming stuck in the buildings
The controls were better synced with the animations for a more streamlined experience
The car was slowed down
The enemies movement speed was slowed
The enemies damage was lowered
The change in enemy spawn rate based on the players drinking was improved
A story section was added to the how to play menu so players would better understand what the game was about, the title was also changed to reflect the story. With more time ideally i would have incorporated the story better into the game itself rather than a wall of exposition text.
To improve the quality of our games the following playtest goals were established:
Goal 1: to balance difficulty
Goal 2: To test the players understanding story and their goals and reasons for in game actions
Goal 3: To check for exploits, game breaks or bugs.
Testers: For our play testers we will each choose 3 friends to get feedback from a variety of people with different gaming skills and knowledge of programming
Approach: Our method of playtesting will be very hands off. We will take notes beforehand on the player’s strengths, weaknesses and interesting traits before letting the player play the game for 15 minutes with minimal tester involvement, only when the player becomes stuck / has problem. During this 15 minutes, we will continue to take notes on what the player does well and what they seem to struggle with. After the session, we will ask questions based on our test goals. This playtest is close in structure to our previous game playtest however we havev shifted our focus onto keeping the session goals in mind with regards to the questionnaire at the end.
We will measure responses and data gathered in Approach and compare them with our session goals to determine improvements to be made.
Analysing responses: To be able to analyse the results we will compare the 3 playtest results to see if a pattern emerges, if a pattern is not found we will weight opposite responses based on player skill level. To ensure the player understands the story and motivation of the game we will ask open ended questions of the player to see if they can reach desired results. Bug fixing will be based on the events where the player needed help. We will decide how to improve any segments requiring tester intervention so players can complete the task without assistance.
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.