Cycle 3: Playtest Report

The playtest conducted for the Cheese and Crackers game prototype was mainly based on two playtest plans posted in the Playtest Plan post. The first playtest plan aims to obtain some insights from game experts (either gamers or developers) regarding to the measure of how meaningful the crackers are, how appropriate the level of difficulties of the game, and how natural the players feel the game world flows. In the other hand, the second playtest plan aims to obtain insights from player that has similar demographic to Sam (the selected target audience) which includes finding how difficult the level is for the player, finding if the game meets the expected player experience goals, and finding if the game world is appealing to player.

Data Collection

The playtest was conducted to seven participants, which includes five expert participants and two participants that have similar demographics as Sam. Five selected participants for the first playtest plan are mostly both developers and gamers with varying gaming experiences, but they all are confidants and naïve to games. Two selected participants for the second playtest plan are Bryan and Owen which are respectively 15 and 13 years old at the moment, experienced minecraft players, and enjoy playing PokemonGo just like Sam. Both of them like to design their custom map of many games, which is considered similar to Sam who would like to create games using simple tools.

The playtest session to experts took around 10 to 15 minutes for each participant, while the playtest session for the target demographics took around 15 to 20 minutes. The session began with filling the questionnaire form to filter the player demographic. It is then followed by briefing about thinking out loud before the playtester plays the prototype. Around 10 to 15 minutes were spent for the player to play the prototype and speak out what they were thinking, while I observe and took notes any important information relating to the primary playtesting goals. After the completion of the game, the playtester were instructed to fill the survey form.

Please refer to appendix A for the complete player playtesting note, questionnaire, and survey form results.

Key Findings

Plan 1 – Session Goal 1

Finding out how meaningful the crackers are to the players.

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2 3 4 5
I tend to collect every crackers in the game 4 3 5 5 5 88%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

Generally, all players tend to collect every crackers in each level before progressing to the next level. Most of them relatively put a lot of effort to collect every single crackers, although some gave up at some points. Some missed to collect the crackers because they did not notice the existence of the crackers. Those players added that they require the game UI to display the number of crackers they have collected or the number of crackers left to collect. A player that does not really enjoy platformer games did not see the importance of collecting the crackers and more focused on progressing through the level.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The crackers are relatively seen as important elements in the game that players have to collect.
  • Players are not clear with the number of crackers in each level
  • Players sometimes miss to collect a remaining cracker because they thought they have collected all
  • Players require a UI feedback to keep them updated with the total crackers collected

Plan 1 – Session Goal 2

Finding out whether the level of difficulties is appropriate or not.

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2 3 4 5
The game was easy to learn how to play 5 5 4 4 4 88%
I find completing the game is difficult 3 5 4 5 4 40%
I find collecting the cheese is difficult 4 4 4 4 4 50%
I find collecting the crackers is difficult 4 4 4 3 3 70%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

Based on the observation to how the participants adapt to the game, it can be said that the controls and mechanics are relatively simple and easy to learn. Playtesters mostly took less than a minute to figure out the control of the character. Participants have no issues with completing level 1, but started to get frustated once they progressed to the second level onwards. Multiple jump attempts made to complete level 2 and 3, while level 4 was quite frustating to use the booster. They found it difficult to jump over platforms and walls appropriately because the friction of the game is set to be minimum, so the ball easily slides off from the platforms.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The game was relatively easy to learn how to play
  • Completing the game is found to be difficult by most players
  • Collecting the cheese is found to be difficult by most players
  • Collecting the crackers is slightly difficult but still at reasonable level
  • The platforms minimum friction makes the players feel difficult in controlling the characters to jump over platforms and walls
  • The difficulty for level 2 onwards need to be nerved

Plan 1 – Session Goal 3

Finding out if the players feel the gameplay and the game world flow naturally.

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2 3 4 5
The game world is just perfect for the gameplay 4 3 4 4 4 76%
I feel the gameplay and the game world flows naturally 4 3 5 5 5 88%
The game’s concept and mechanic is interesting 4 2 4 4 4 72%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

Throughout the playtest session, most of the playtesters stated that the game mechanics’ flows is just nice and reasonable. The look and feel matches quite well with the gameplay, making it looks natural. Some ambiguity between platforms and backgrounds was a small problem. The playtesters generally asserted that the game concept and mechanic is quite common and non-innovative, but still interesting.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The game world matches with the game story and mechanics, but still can be improved
  • The gameplay and game world relatively flows natural
  • The concept of the game is common and non-innovative, but still interesting

Plan 2 – Session Goal 1

Finding out if the difficulty of the level is in the right level.

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2
The game was easy to learn how to play 4 4 80%
I find completing the game is difficult 4 5 25%
I find collecting the cheese is difficult 4 5 25%
I find collecting the crackers is difficult 4 5 25%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

Two of the players basically learn the controls and mechanics of the game quite fast for their ages. Playtesters mostly took about a minute or two to figure out the control of the character and the jumping mechanics of the game. Participants seemed to be able to complete level 1 easily with two crackers, leaving the last one on the corner because feeling difficult to collect. Participants started require help with completing level 2 onwards. They were keen to collect every crackers throughout the game but due to time and skills limitation they gave up and focused on completing the game instead. Similar to the experts, they found it very difficult to jump over platforms and walls appropriately because the friction of the game is set to be minimum, so the ball easily slides off from the platforms.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The game controls suit the target audience demographic characteristics and gaming background
  • Completing the game, collecting cheese, and collecting crackers are too difficult for the target audience demographics
  • Friction on platforms need to be reduced to make the mouseball more stable
  • Crackers and cheese positioning need to be refined

Plan 2 – Session Goal 2

Finding out if the game meets the expected player experience goals. (Get a sense of excitement and tension)

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2
The game was exciting to play 5 5 100%
The game gives some moment of tensions 5 5 100%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

The playtesters generally gave positive response to the excitement of the game prototype. The player seems to be energetic and passionate in completing the levels. At some points where they were gonna make a big jump, they encountered a moment of tensions. They ultimately enjoy the excitement and tensions throughout the playtesting session.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The target demographic playtesters are 100% excited when playing the game
  • The participants encountered moments of tensions during navigating the characters to jump over platforms
  • The participants’ experiences meet the expected PX goal.

Plan 2 – Session Goal 3

Finding out if the players find the game world appealing.

The collected quantitative data from player survey forms:

Question Player Response Score
1 2
The game world is enjoyable to look at 5 5 100%
The character is enjoyable to look at 5 4 90%

 

Player observation and note reviews:

The playtesters responded that the character is good looking when prompted a question during the playtest session. The participants stated that the game world, furnishes and elements look enjoyable. There are no much commends about the appearances of the interface, indicating that they perceived every objects in the game well and suitably.

Based on the relevant data mentioned above, there are some standing out key findings:

  • The game world is enjoyable to look at from both participants’ perspective
  • The character is enjoyable to look at from both participants’ perspective
  • The target audience demographic see the game world relatively appealing enough

Recommendations

Based on key findings and playtesters’ feedbacks, some potential changes and improvements to the overall game design need to be considered. These includes:

  • Add UI that informs the number of remaining and already collected crackers in the level to avoid players missing crackers
  • Add some friction to the platforms to increase character stability
  • Increase the length of the platforms to make the players easier to jump into
  • Increase the sesitivity of wall jump
  • Place crackers in the more easily reachable spots
  • Add more lighting to the platforms and reduce the light for background to make them visually more separatable
  • Add more platforms in the top right corner of level 4
  • Widen the platform in the bottom right corner of level 5
  • Add an additional level for tutorial that slowly introduce players with the controls and mechanics of the game
  • Add arrows that points to crackers or cheese to guide players where they have to go.
  • Reposition portal in the level 2 because players are mostly confused where to go after collecting the cheese
  • The rat enemy should be redesigned more nicely instead of just using sprites

Appendix

Questionnaires, Surveys, and Notes

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