Our group was running late with our prototypes, so we were unable to conduct play testing during Week 4’s workshop. We were also unable to meet up and complete play testing due to our busy schedules, but we were continuously providing feedback and constructive criticism to each other during the prototype development process. So, instead, I conducted play testing with three friends instead of two studio members and a single friends. All of the people I conducted testing with have experience with game development and programming, and also have never played my game before.
Each session lasted around 15 minutes each, of which they played through the two minute demo of my game a couple of times and answered questions I provided after each play through. These tests were done in-person, and the answers were recorded in a word document.
I used questions that allowed for more open ended responses, instead of opting for a more simple rating system or yes/no answer response because I find the information to be much more valuable and also a much more accurate representation of what an individual thought of the game. The questions I provided can be separated into three categories that were goals the studio set for our playtesting. The testing covered General Gameplay Mechanics, The Balance/Difficulty of the game, and the overall Game Aesthetic.
- Lachlan Ritchie
- Chris Mooney
- Matthew Grant
For a SCHMUP, did you find the gameplay enjoyable?
- I found the game enjoyable and calm.
- Yeah I thought the game was pretty fun.
- The game was entertaining, I felt that the demo was a little short though.
Was it clear that the number of sides the shape had symbolised how strong/tough it was?
- Originally I believed that the size of the shape determined how much health it had, not the number of sides.
- I just assumed that each colour had different amounts of health.
- I had no idea that this was a thing, but looking back now it makes sense as to why the square and hexagon took more damage.
Was it clear that each colour represented a different playstyle/movement pattern/attack mechanic?
- Yeah, definitely.
Do you think the difficulty of the demo level is too high?
- I think the difficulty level was perfect. It wasn’t too stressful, but wasn’t too laid back.
- Nah it wasn’t too difficult, but it offered some challenge.
- I found that it offered a bit of a challenge, but it wasn’t particularly difficult.
Do you think the level was unbeatable?
- No, I think the level was beatable.
- Not at all.
At any point did you think that the enemies were dealing too much damage, or very little?
- The only problem I had with the damage being dealt to me was that the first time I played, the amount of damage I could take was not clear.
- The game seemed fairly balanced in terms of damage, although I couldn’t tell if i had taken any or not.
- I found it hard to tell if I’d already taken damage from the square’s or not because there wasn’t an visual feedback or HUD to tell me how much health I had left. Otherwise, the game seemed fairly balanced with the current enemy types.
Do you feel as if the music fit the style of the game?
- I think that the music did fit the style of the game, however it would fit better with more sound effects.
- The music fit fairly well.
- The music was nice to listen too, added a lot to the game’s ambience.
What are your thoughts on the game’s minimalistic art style?
- I think the minimalistic art style looked good.
- The art style was very basic and it was easy to look at. Nothing too exciting but it was nice.
- Fairly generic shapes and colours, but it was nice to look at.
Any other feedback/criticisms?
- I think that there should be one more simple game mechanic, just so there is a little bit more to think about, and allow for deeper strategies.
- Would be nice if there was more variety in enemies and weapons that the player could use.
- More sound effects and visual feedback. Like showing how much damage the players and enemies have taken, and sound effects for firing projectiles and stuff.
Key Findings/Improvement Recommendations
- Make the game a little more challenging
- Make it clear that the number of sides a shape has symbolises how large it’s health pool is.
- More visual feedback, so it’s easier to tell how damaged the player and enemies are
- More enemy and weapon variety
- Sound effects for firing projectiles
Overall, it seemed like that testers enjoyed the game, but it’s very clear that there is much improvement needed. The game shows promise, but it is distinctly lacking in content.