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Attached Playtest

As a key part of the game development life cycle, playtesting helps understand the end user experience in respect to the game flow and objectives.

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ROLE: LEAD DESIGNER, LEAD PLAYTESTER, ASSISTANT DEVELOPER

TIMELINE: 4 WEEKS

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Attached is a 2.5D role-playing platformer in which the player is a child exploring his own home through the means of objectives. While objectives are a main point to the game players are put to think about the dysfunctionality of the child household.

A small game project where I led the level design and playtesting. This game was created in a group of five as a challenge to convey a serious topic or theme. 

Playtesting Objectives

The objective of the playtest is to identify any issues user experience when moving through the levels and assess how well does the game design achieves in expressing its message. The following were the goals of this research:

 

  • Understanding pain points and gain points of the game in the eyes of the player

  • Observe how targeted players maneuver through the game

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of games instructions and themes

  • Analyzed the findings of the playtests and offer recommendations of fixes in a detailed report

Methodology

The playtesting was broken into two sessions, the alpha and beta phase.

 

The alpha phase consisted of a mass initial demo accompanied by survey. Throughout the alpha phase there were 41 playtest occurrences. Surveys focused on more quantitative research where the levels were scaled on how well they achieved a certain aspect. Playtests were focus on players overall play experience and in each level. The survey also highlighted how well does the game does in term with net promoter scoring, where promoters respond with 9-10, passives respond 7-8, and detractors respond 0-6. Net promoter scoring was determined by asking participants the general question of how likely the game would be recommended to another individual and then moved on to scoring of the different levels of the game. 

 

The beta phase consisted of five 30–40-minute in-depth usability study. Participants were asked to complete one playthrough of the game and answer a few follow up questions.

RESULTS

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Players varied in game experience. The “I’ve played a lot” category contained the most players. These players made more comments on gameplay. And design whereas many of the “I don’t play games” players focused more on the text and objective flow.

Net Promoter Score

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The game achieved a net promoter score of 4.9 which is incredibility low. While not negative to deter users away from the game; a low score is not favorable as it does not keep users interested in playing the game and recommending it to other users. 

User Stories

The following user stories were created from the alpha stages of the testing. These were the most common pain points found within from the survey:

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User Story 2
User Story 3
User Story 4

The user stories defined and communicated what direction the game development would be going between the alpha and beta phases.

Emotional Concepts and
Psychological Constructs

A usability test was utilized during the beta phase. We applied James-Lange Theory of Emotion and Facial-Feedback Theory of Emotion to understand what emotions the player felt during the game. Initial testing players could imagined to have felt confused or sad towards the ending of the game. We can recognized these emotions through facial recognition such as scrunching eyebrows or trembling hands and directly see what external stimulus is creating these emotions. While adding more directive comparably to the alpha phase, there where many looks of confusions when the physics of objects in the game did not behave as they thought it would. Some individuals eyes widen when they heard the gun shot.

Some psychological constructs used were based on motivation. Here we focused on what drives the player to continue through the game, which could include curiosity, enjoyment of the obstacles, etc. We recognized psychological constructs through short interviews after the game with the participants and could be reinforced with the Facial-Feedback Theory.

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