The playtest plan below has included overall approach, 3 session goals that we are trying to achieve and the method of what we will use. We are putting a lot of efforts to make sure the playtesting session will go as planned since it will take a huge part of our reports and final analysis. We also ensure that our prototypes will be done and playable for the participants by the time.
The aim of this activity was identifying challenges that the player would be presented with in the game and interpret the way in which the player would handle those challenges, and the visual responses the player would receive as a result of those choices and actions available to them.
Interactivity Choice Chart
Diagram above shows the challenges and choices intended for the player to make.
Our player experience goals from activity 1 were to make the player analyse and think about what they are doing in the game in order to be successful. I think that over the weeks of design and the activities in classes we have been able to stick to that. The above challenges are based on the sketches and thoughts for our game so far. There may be variances between each of the studio members games as to what extent they decide to implement these ideas but this is the basis for our design thus far.
The biggest challenge for the player is that they avoid shots by enemy ships, this is a pretty basic function as far as SHMUP games go but it was identified as the most important. This first challenge ties in with two of the other challenges being, “Interpret enemy ship movements” and “Analyse strategic targets.”. These challenges are based around the idea that is a damage increase to be alive. You can’t do damage when you’re dead. The challenges with the design of the game also present some interesting choices for the player though. In our particular game we decided for enemies to spawn with a colour and those colours correlate to a weapon colour on the player ship. For enemies to be destroyed by players they must analyse where the can attack from and then select the right colour to attack with. This requires the player to make quick decisions and still be analytical staying true to the PX goals set out in activity 1.
The other player challenges are based around actually doing damage. We feel that these challenges are the bread and butter of a “space invaders” inspired SHMUP. In keeping with our PX goals we wanted the player to need to analyse when would be the best time to attack. This comes in the form of enemy movement patterns and shooting fire rates. Now this requires good timing and analysing of when would be the optimal time to attack.
We feel as a studio that this is a very exciting idea for a game and creates the PX goals we set out to achieve.
Our ideal visuals would be described as: bright, colourful and cell shaded
With goal of using these visuals to establish a mood that is: Cartoonish, nostalgic but also tense to fit with the fast paced gameplay.
Pictured below is a mood board created from online example images of the style we would like our games to feature.
We will now discuss in detail some aspects of our games look and feel:
Dimensions: Our games will be for all practical purposes 2 dimensional as the gameplay is only reliant on an x y plane however a third dimension may be added depending on the assets used as it would have no detrimental effect on gameplay and allows us to use the most relevant aspects regardless of their dimension.
Game Boundaries: The game world is rectangular in shape relying on the scrolling background code provided for us on blackboard to allow for a simulated never ending y axis. The x axis is bounded by the confines of the screen not for any in game reasons but to keep the game focused and tense.
Scale: The scale of objects in our games is relatively relaxed. The player and the enemies are of relative size to each other but elements in the background will not be realistically proportioned so as to create a sense of power and excitement with the player.
Setting: our game is a set above earth in a space / sky setting to make use of the scrolling y axis provided to us without logical constraints an indoor setting would create. The time period the game is set in is futuristic to allow for ships and aliens to be used as assets to provide an instantaneous knowledge in the player upon starting the game their goal to destroy the enemies.
Characters: because of the nature of our games and our chosen setting there no obvious characters within the game. however It is inferred the player is controlling a human flying their ship. The lack of characters allows for a constant scale between the enemies and the player. All the assets will have a easy to notice science fiction appearance.
Behaviour: The enemies will behave based on the gameplay requirements while the player character is entirely controlled by the player.
Sound: Our studio decided that we would not focus on sound within our games using sound effects sparingly too keep the player focused on the colours and visuals.
It should be noted that this activity is based on our ideal visuals and as we developing on a short time cycle our in game visuals will be influenced by the assets or modelling programs (and our associated skill levels) available to us. Because of this our final games may not quite reach the desired visual styles mentioned above.