The aim of the playtest was to identify whether a player could complete the three session goals outlined in the playtesting plan. These were: whether or not a player could figure out how to complete the puzzles, whether or not the player was able to complete the prototype, and whether or not the player felt a sense of adventure throughout playing the prototype.
The playtest was conducted with five naive participants, additionally there was one knowledgeable participant who was connected with the games construction. Each participant had ten to fifteen minutes to complete the four puzzles within the prototype level. Before participants began playing the level they were required to fill out a questionnaire to help understand the types of players the participants were. Below is a summary of the collective data gained from the questionnaires.
Most of the players were experienced video game players, however their response to daily duration of game playing varied. Two thirds of the playtesters use computers to regularly play video games, and the others were still familiar with the controls used for computers. Almost all the playtesters wrote down that our main genre was one of their favourite game genres, which is FPS.
While the player was playing the prototype the players screen was recorded with screen capture technology whilst simultaneously their voices were recorded on a mobile device. (See appendix B for video of the playtest).
After completing the prototype the participants were required to fill out a survey that informed us of how they felt about the prototype. The participants were also observed whilst playing the prototype so any problems/issues with the prototype could be identified at the time.
One of the first key findings was the size of the level. Due to the fact that the puzzles were spread out and poor placement of the instructional gems, it took players a long time to travel between each puzzle.
Another key finding was that the prototype needed to include boundaries for the players in the form of invisible barriers in order to get them to complete the puzzles as intended. Players were able to bypass obstacles instead of figuring out how to complete the task and move on to the next challenge.
We also discovered that rather than instructing the players on how to complete the puzzles we allowed the players to interpret the solution to the puzzle on their own. As a result, many of the participants began solving the puzzles in ways that we hadn’t intended. For example, when it came to the third puzzle players were required to build a makeshift bridge, however some of the participants found ways to fly over the river using the crate. More of these findings are explained in the video in appendix C.
We found mixed results on observing whether or not the player could complete the puzzles. Some of the participants found them easy, whilst some of the players struggled with the puzzles. With all of the puzzles the players understood what needed to be done, but lacked some missing details that caused the players to be tripped up. For example, the required amount of weight needed for the detonator button to activate.
All the players completed the game in the required time. Overall the players found the game easy however they indicated that the game was also fun and enjoyable to play, as shown by the results of the survey (see below). As the prototype tested was a beginning level it was designed to be easy to complete, however the difficulty level would be increased as the game progresses.
Based on our questioning during playtesting it was difficult to determine whether the players had a sense of adventure during the game. It was determined that the prototypes infancy of development was the factor that made it problematic for players to gain a sense of adventure.
Based on key findings and playtester feedback some improvements to the overall game design need to be considered. We conclude:
- The displayed weight above the object could be changed to display on the gravity gun in order to retain the game world’s reality and keep the player immersed in the experience.
- Include all the instructions for the game controls at the beginning of the level. For instance, how to run, jump and control the gravity gun. This would enable the player to focus on solutions to the puzzles instead of how the game works.
- Adding invisible barriers to the level to keep the player on the correct path.
- Include instructions on weight requirements for completing puzzles. An indicator is needed to inform the participants that they have reached the required weight to complete the task.
- Adding obstacles or small puzzles along the way to the main puzzles in order to make the distance between each puzzle more interesting.
- Adding a game menu for the player to begin the game to improve the visual presentation and be more user-friendly.
- Cleaning up small visual elements such as height of trees so that players solve the task as intended.