Week 10 Play Test Notes
Week 10’s play test went better than I expected. We had a version of the game ready with a multitude of place holders and our mechanics were almost where we wanted them. People had something close to the intended experience that we were hoping for but there were some things that we were not expecting either and forced us to look at some of our design elements a bit more.
One of the main things that we wanted to test during this play test was a recent big change that we made to the main mechanic of the game. This change was made almost right before play testing. To further explain the mechanic in question I will refer to GIF files and explain.
The balancing of the player was very different the morning of the play test. Before the play test the player body had it’s rotation locked, the player body would never leave the ground and the head would fall off when the player would let the head tilt too far back.
Right before our play test, one of our designers decided that we should try testing a different balance mechanic the we had been thinking about adding. This changed the rotation on the player so that it was no longer locked and the head would no longer fall off. Instead of the head falling off and hitting the ground for the player to lose it would now look more like the character was falling over. This quick change was made so that we could see if we needed to make this massive change to our game or keep it how it was.
Looking over the recordings of the people playing our games, we are able to see that YES, our game is difficult but people kept on playing regardless. People thought that it was challenging to a point that they wanted to keep playing to get further than they did last time. People thought the balancing was the game. Balancing your head to some sort of end goal. The enthusiasm here was awesome and backed up our idea for the mechanics of the game. With players focusing on their personal progression though, they were also ignoring the biggest part of out game which was boasting to NPC characters along the way. Some people didn’t even know that they could boast because it was not conveyed anywhere near enough to the player nor was it given a purpose. The boast was used only to enlarge the size of the players head and play a silly sound. When the players increased their head size, they found it harder to control their balance which was exactly what we were going for but for that reason exactly, players would AVOID boasting just so they could get further. This was cause for concern in our group as a major part of our game is the mechanic of boasting and enlarging your head. It was clear during the play test that this needs to be made more attractive to the player or even made mandatory for the player to finish a level.
After people had finished playing the game, I asked a couple of questions to help clarify why some people made certain decisions. After watching a pair of girls play through the game, I realized that they were not boasting at all. They then asked me “Do I need to boast?”. This reinforcing what I came across when watching other replays of people playing. They just thought that it made the game harder and didn’t want the game to be any harder than it already was. When watching another player actually finish the game, I approached asked them what they thought. He said that it was good and the controls were challenging to master. He then went on to ask “Is that it?”, wanting to know why the game suddenly restarted after he had gotten to what looked like the end. I also admit that this was rather awkward that the game didn’t reward the player for winning. This was simply down to the fact that our team hadn’t gotten to creating a Win game state for when the player gets to the end and this resulted in an unsatisfying end to a mildly satisfying game.
The main balance mechanic got it’s share of the spotlight also. Over all, the mechanic was received rather well and players found it very difficult (as we planned). We also received direct complements on the balance mechanic itself for being difficult and players could see this mechanic becoming the games focal mechanic but only with a bit of work. Players found it difficult yes but it was too difficult when added together with the players increasing head size. Players found that as they boasted, the head became harder to balance which was good but at around the 3rd boast, the game became impossible to complete as the characters head couldn’t be balanced no matter what people did. All this was exactly the feed back we were after.
Main points from this Play Test:
- Players thought that the balancing mechanic was hard but not too hard to the point where they wanted to just quit.
- People either rarely boasted, found it too hard to play after boasting or didn’t even know that that they could.
- The players that DID boast found that the balance mechanic was too hard to the point where it was impossible.
- It was not satisfying to end the game at all even after boasting to all other NPC characters.
How to handle these points:
- Play around with the controls slightly to try and enhance the characters movement as much as possible. One big thing that needs to be done is to change the way the player body travels relative to global space rather than the local player space.
- Make boasting either really juicy and fun for the players to do. Encourage the players as much as possible to boast. OR make the boast mechanic mandatory for the completion of the game.
- Balance the balancing mechanic with the increasing head size by changing the property scaling of the head in accordance with the changes made to the player controls.
- Create a win game state for the player to gain satisfaction for completing your game. Make sure it encourages the players to keep playing!