Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Play-Testing WARP-TEK

Recently, I've sent my game WARP-TEK to a few friends for beta testing- so they can help me catch bugs, point out things which are annoying or whether the game is just "missing something".

I'm not really expecting to get unbiased feedback. In fact, I'm almost certain that they all had their expectations a bit unfairly tampered with before they even launched the game. However I do think that their feedback is super valuable- they know the core idea of the game better than random people, so I don't have to own up to the fact that I don't have any tutorial system at all, and I don't have to explain it to them otherwise.

I'm probably not gonna get feedback like "this whole system is broken, ill conceived and I spit upon you and your ancestors". If I get feedback like that at this stage, then fuck me it's a good thing I didn't show anyone this pile of garbage before I fix it. If not, then it's a kind of "go-ahead" to pass it on to the next wave of playtesters at some point who would be people a little more removed from me.

I should note at this point that if you're active in my Discord server, there's a much, much higher chance of you getting a beta key. That's mostly because if you never speak to me, then it's really quite unlikely that I'll even know you exist and I'm not gonna fire some beta keys into the ether quite yet.

But the point is that at the moment, I'm not expecting to get really detailed feedback. One active user in my Discord server - Miles - has given me an extraordinary wealth of things to think about, consider, and tweak. I'm super grateful for this but it's a spell of luck that he did. Fortunately, the overall response seems to be that the game is pretty cool(albeit flawed at this stage) which definitely surprised me for the game being so early on in its life cycle!

The important thing about selecting playtesters is to make sure that they have some kind of analytical and game design oriented mind so as to pick out things that are cool and fun and be able to present them. Even if they don't have the best solutions, if they have anything to say at all then it's your job as a designer to evaluate their feedback and consider whether there is a problem there and whether you can come up with a fix for it.

With less experienced game designers or with completely random people i.e the average consumer, they probably will give you a high amount of garbage advice. They might suggest new features that are incoherent with the rest of the game, they might feel frustrated by something but not realize what it is that is actually frustrating them.

I don't mean to frame it as them being stupid, but it does take a certain level of skill to provide good and useful feedback, and when you're interpreting this feedback you have to also consider the playtester's competence in analysis and design.

Lucky for me, out of the three people who playtested WARP-TEK for me, two of them were analytically-minded game developers. The third was my brother and he didn't give me shit for feedback so I'm going to pour syrup in his bed but the point is, I got some good, trustworthy feedback in the end.

Anyway this video sucks and I guess if you watched this far into it then I kind of feel bad for you but I already missed my last scheduled upload 3 days ago and I can't justify missing another one. YouTube is hard! I gotta think of a cool idea every 3 days? And I got a video game to develop? Yikes!

So yeah thanks for watching and stay tuned for more meandering garbage. Goodbye!

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