Brainstorming by yurtgc548



  Game Design
  Vishnu Kotrajaras, PhD
What is playtesting?

 Something a designer performs
  throughout the game design process, to
  gain insight into how players experience
  the game.
 The end goal:
    – To get feedback to improve your game.
Playtesting and iterative design
 Test in every stage.
 The beginning stages are very important.
    – Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to
      make changes.
Recruiting playtesters
   Self-testing
    – In prototype stage.
    – In order to get the core game mechanics.
    – Continue to do self-testing throughout the life of the
   Confidants
    – When the prototype is playable.
    – Find friends outside the design team to test.
    – You need to be there only to explain the game, do
      not intervene with their play. Make yourself
       • Because personal relationship can ruin their judgement.

Ideal playtester
Recruiting playtesters (2)
   People you do not know
    – Outsiders have nothing to lose or gain, so they will
      tell the truth.
   Ideal playtesters
    – From any place in your local area.
       • Schools, sport clubs.
       • post your ads online or in newspaper.
    – If you get enough people, turn down the ones with
      poor communication skill.
       • asking questions during interview will help you on this.
Recruiting playtesters (3)

   Target audience
    – They provide much better feedback because they
      know your game type very well.
    – Posting on gaming websites.
    – Have testers sign a nondisclosure agreement to
      prevent them stealing your idea.
       • Do not be afraid of someone stealing your idea. They
         cannot make it work as good as you.
       • The risk is relatively low (in western countries).
Do not forget to prepare

   Snacks and drinks
    – Testers will feel they owe you something and will
      do better to provide you with their feedback.
    – Make them more likely to return to test again. (so
      they can provide the information about how they
      think the game is progressing)
    – But you must also keep fresh recruits throughout
      the process.
A playtesting session
 Do not explain much.
 Let the testers play it out.
 Allow them to make mistakes.
 Provide answers when they get stuck.
 Ignore your ego and pride.
 Do not persuade testers to give good
  comments. (they will usually obey you
  because they are at your place).
  Otherwise you won’t get an honest
A playtesting session (2)
   Forgive them if they are too harsh.
    Communication skills are different for
    – But tell everyone that there is no right or wrong. (It
      is like brainstorming.)
    – No testers should ever criticise another tester.
    – And remind them to always stick to the game.
A playtesting session (3)
   Do not silence the
    testers unless
    absolutely necessary
    (such as he has very
    bad manners).
    – Isolate him out,
      perhaps having him
      test alone.
    – But do it as soft and
      polite as possible.
Tips for a playtesting session
   Act as a researcher
    – Welcome the playtesters and thank them for participating.
    – Tell them that you are testing the game, not their skills. Any
      difficulties in playing the game will help you improve the
    – Let them start playing. You take note.
        • Include specific information when writing up your playtest.
          Record the date and time, who played and for how long.
        • Ask them to talk out loud throughout the game about what they
          are thinking, questions they may have.
        • Warn them that you won’t be able to answer, you just want to
          know the questions.
    – Do not help them in playing.
    – When they finish playing, interview them or discuss with them
      to get additional feedback.
    – Thank them and give out gifts.
Structuring the session
   One-on-one
    – You watch over their shoulders as they play the game.
    – You take notes and ask questions along the way.
   Group testing
    – Let them play together, you observe and ask questions.
   Feedback form.
   Interview after the session.
   Open discussion
    – You take notes during the discussion.
    – Free-form, or guided discussion. It is up to you.
   Mix the above.
The Play Matrix (help testers)
 Helps stimulating discussion and analysing gameplay

                  skill              chance

                 chess          poker     blackjack
 Mental          civilization
                   warcraft Tetris

               football          tag
Using the matrix
   Ask your testers to plot your game on the matrix.
   Ask players where they want to move the game to.
   Ask them what needs to be changed to move the
    game towards their preferred quadrant.
   This is a also a good chance to learn the type of
    –   Strategic
    –   Acton
    –   Gambler
    –   kids
    Taking notes
   Keep notes
    – Otherwise, you will only remember what you want
      to hear.
   The notes must be filed chronologically, or
    entered into a database.
Taking notes (2)
   There is a form
    – See additional notes.
    – Create your own questions as you get more
    – Questions can be geared towards particular areas.
    – Rank your questions in order of importance.
    – Do not ask too many questions.
   One-on-one interview is best for evaluating
    – But if you can’t, then organize group interview.
    – Try to keep aggressive members from dominating.
    – They do not have to agree on anything. Just let
      them speak their opinion.
Example: let a tester choose music

 Let the tester rank the music you chose
  for the game.
 Tell them to put boundaries on what is
  good, what is ok, and what is
    – The ranking has to be detailed.
    – Not just choices for the tester to choose
      which is better.

   Do not lead testers.
    – If they ask question, respond by asking
      them what they think they should do.
   Ask testers to think out loud.
    – So you know why they get stuck, etc.
   Use feedback forms.
What about quantitative feedback?

 Time it takes to read the rules.
 Time it takes to perform certain functions.
 Speed that a player gains a level.
 Asks testers to rank ease of use of certain
  features, from 1 to 10.
 Must have clear objectives that you want to
  find out before any measurement.
    – So that you can design the stats to be measured
   Never use quantitative feedback alone.
    Controlled situations
   You set parameters or events in the game so that you
    can test
    –   The end of a game.
    –   Rare events.
    –   Special situation.
    –   A particular level of a game.
    –   Feature(s).
    –   Loopholes.
    –   Dead-ends.
   Testing is not about being fair to testers or making sure
    they enjoy the game.
   It is about seeing what happens in every possible
   This is the real reason behind many cheat codes in
    games. Yes, they are tools for testing in controlled
Example: Monopoly
   To test the going to jail feature and see
    how it affects players who owns very
    little property versus players who own a
    vast amount of property.
    – Start the game when the player is in jail.
    – Play for 30 minutes, see what happens.
    – Then repeat the experiment with a change
      in the player’s financial position.
Well known cheats

Example of the usefulness of testing

   Age of Empires 2
    – They want non-gamers to be able to pick
      up and play.
    – But part 1 was difficult to learn, even for an
      expert gamer.
    – Grandmother and middle age people
      testing, they do things right too after
      completing the newly developed tutorial.

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