Samuel Sousa

DevLog #05 - Playtesting & Feedback, First Session

Following the 1.0 build, mentioned in the previous DevLog, I wanted to get some reactions on it (it always helps recentering one's priorities). Even though I knew the project was still missing details, I pushed a few e-mails out of the never ending list (not so much) and started to fire away:
"Hey Bro! Will ya give my super duper game a spin?"

I had the chance to get a few interested in the awkward position of testing my project. Since, the majority of players just skip everything and jump right into play and expect the developer to give them directions afterwards, I establish before hand that I will be a silent invisible half way over the shoulder non interactive observer and only answer questions when play-test is over. I believe, this allows for the most clean petri dish I can get.
Game Structure
This version of the project can only be controlled by keyboard and the structure is pretty straight forward. Once you get to the main menu you can either: read the Tutorial (Boring! No need for that); Play (Yep! That's what I'm here for!) or check the Credits (Nah! I'm not good with names).
Main Menu Schematic Gif Tutorial keyboard sequence
The tutorial section takes away all the control from the player, leaving only a indicated interactive key to be pressed. The game controls consist of: ARROWS = Move Character / Select; SPACEBAR = Jump / Next; F = Use Hammer; ENTER = Start / Next / Pause;

I noticed that this kind of system helped many position their fingers on the keyboard, which was nice to observe (Working as intended!).
Hands on the KeyBoard 6 Windows Overlapping
When jumping into gameplay the 6 Frame Long Cutscene often felt lengthy and open to misinterpretation and devoured the players enthusiasm and concentration when handling the hammer. Following this, players that didn't read the Tutorial ended up in gameplay unaware of the controls which in turn would make up for a quick match full of subsequent deaths. Therefore, spoiling some game content without meaning or surprise.
("Why U no Tutorial?" - I'm still developing)

Those that luckily survived a little longer, shortly after, would wonder how to return to the main menu and ended up rebooting the game.
("Why U no ESC?" - I'm still developing)

On a second try, players were able to survive a little longer and have some fun, which is nice:
"This game is fantastic!"
"Oh! I didn't know you could do that!"
"I'd just stay here, smashing the dam."
"It's little but it is enough!"

On the other hand: "I think you should put a few power-ups..." which is understandable.
The not so commercial concept has also led some players to question what seem to be the common set of rules that make a game - a game.

. . . IN CONCLUSION . . .

So much left unsaid, many problems were no-brainers but to have people test your project and see how it performs allows you to discuss, confirm, discover and answer issues or possible expectations that you were not aware of. Looking forward to address these issues, the project will be more accessible and meaningful I possibly can, next time. Aside those adjustments, more intuitive controls like Mouse & Keyboard are in order (it's a PC Game), available English translation, Music & Sound Effects On/Off toggle and possibly a Colour Correction.

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