Our session goals for playtesting at this stage are checking on level of engagement and joy, as joy is part of or PX, checking on balanced mechanics, as we did not want our game to be too difficult or too easy, and checking that the mechanics function, as the game is in a fairly early stage. We used these goals to guide our playtesting with 5 confidants.
Play testers were to play the game by themselves without being told anything about it, including the controls. This was to achieve the rawest and most real feedback from players, without leading or giving any guidance. They then began at the start of the game and be allowed to restart 4 times upon death. We felt that this was a better alternative to time constraints, as the player could feel stressed or be interrupted by a timed session suddenly ending, and players won’t have to sit and continually die for a long time if the game is too difficult. They were encouraged to talk through their thinking during gameplay, and if they stopped, they will be prompted to keep talking. We felt that this was the best way to ensure that we were getting real-time feedback, without leading the player. After play testing the game, they were asked to take a questionnaire, so that players did not feel obliged to say they liked the game as they might in a face to face interview.
The only resources required for this process were the game, a pen and paper or laptop, and our questionnaire.
We measured engagement and joy based on player’s own reported engagement and joy. We felt the best way to test this was by observing reactions and questionnaire questions based around ambience, emotions, and engagement. We then analysed these results by reviewing notes, reviewing answers to the questionnaire, and looking for patterns and discovering areas where issues were identified.
We measured whether the mechanics felt balanced by the duration of life and level of player frustration. We tested this by observing how easily the player could understand the game and how quickly they died, and questionnaire questions based around difficulty and which features worked/didn’t work. We then analysed these results by reviewing notes, reviewing how long they lasted, and looking for patterns in how long players were lasting/what features they liked/didn’t like.
We measured whether the mechanics functioned by whether or not there were any sighted or reported bugs/glitches. We tested this by gameplay and how quickly they died, and questionnaire questions based around whether they felt they had seen any glitches. We felt this was a better alternative to asking whether or not there were any glitches as it allows us to be informed of any glitches we may not have noticed and any features that we think is obvious but that may seem annoying or like a glitch to players. We then analysed these results by reviewing observations and questionnaire answers.