Playtesting Game 2

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Participant demographics

For the 2nd game of this unit, I run the same playtesting template I did for the prototype 1. The sessions lasted for around 10 minutes each. All 3 participants were confidants and naïve playtesters. All 3 testers had previous experience with games, playtesting, and programming. Like for the first prototype, all of them are PC gamers and have moderate experience with first person shooters.

Playtesting findings

I tried with the playtesting to get a general idea about what was good and wrong with the game. I found it hard to express this with numbers, probably because I can’t do it so I preferred to ask them for opinions rather than numerical judgements.

I divided my questions around the 3 areas we were trying to gather information on: Gameplay responsiveness / General gameplay // Balance and difficulty // Aesthetic aspect of the game.

  1. Gameplay

Every playtesters all had previous experience with first person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Lost Planet. I asked them: Do you think that for a FPS, the gameplay was enjoyable and is the lack of movement a turn off for the game.

Overall, they found the gameplay responsive and were not too shocked about the lack of movement. They said that in the initial idea of sniper defence, it is an interesting option. However, one of them did say that moving just on the roof could be also interesting. This was one of our initial idea but I didn’t apply it in my prototype and I still think that at least for this level, being static is better.

I got some reflections about the mouse movement being too slow when non-scoped and too fast when scoped. I tried to reduce that in my prototype beforehand but as it was causing error, I decided to leave it as it was for the playtesting. However, I do agree that this needs to be changed.

They finished about the gameplay being not too hard but maybe a bit too monotonous with only 1 kind of enemies. I completely agree and I could totally add several types of enemies and maybe other weapons and maps to change the gameplay even more.

  1. Balance and difficulty

For the difficulty and balance theme, I asked them: Do you think the game is beatable, do you think your weaponry is sufficient ?

The evolution of the difficulty is accelerated because it is a prototype. It goes from easy to hard to simulate an advancement in the levels. In their opinion the game is beatable. However, they did criticize a bit the firing rate.

They said that the fire rate was sufficient at the beginning (the 90 first seconds) but could be augmented when reaching a certain time. The spawn rate of the enemies was going higher and higher but the rifle was still capped at 1 shot / sec. They suggested that upon reaching a certain time, the rifle could be upgraded or changed to get a more powerful version of it.

I got some words about the bullets not hitting the targets. After some investigation, it seems that the hitbox generated by the navmesh are bigger than the actual elements. So, the city lighting was blocking bullets even though the player isn’t aiming at the pole. This could be patched be manually redoing the hitbox of the elements present on the field.

 

3. Game Aesthetic

Originally the game should’ve been something in a more greyish tone, more urban. After some thought about it since the rubber ducky was something so strange to put in a game, I decided to stray away from the greyish theme to go into something more mystical. I did create an atmosphere with a nebulous skybox and a crystal-like music. I asked them about their opinion about the general ambiance of the game and the art style.

Overall the game was appreciated. The graphism matched the” rubber ducky madness” pretty well (That’s their words) and the music contributed to the atmosphere giving an ethereal feeling to the scene. They said that maybe a blue skybox would be better suited. It is interesting because I got the same recommendation for the playtesting of game 1. People seem to want blue colours in game.

As I said in the previous playtesting. Even if I like taking recommendations about aesthetic in a game. I think it’s before everything a bias taken by the creator and thus should not really be criticized.

  1. Improvement and recommendations:

-Add a pause function

-Modify the speed of the mouse when zoomed in

-Change the fire rate of the gun

-Redo the hitbox of static elements

– Add a limitless mode where you need to compete for the highest time survived

-Add impacts on the ground to know where you shoot when not aiming

-Add the possibility to kill 2 enemies with 1 bullet

-Add animation for the enemies (Free assets rarely have animations)

-Add more enemies, map and guns

 

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Game 2 – Reflection

Professional Development and Practice

The second mini-game development cycle introduced me to 3D modelling. Blender is a program I have no experience in, so trying to learn even the basics of this software has been a bit of a struggle. I have had very brief experience with other modelling programs before, i.e. Google Sketchup and AutoCAD, so the concept of modelling objects on a computer isn’t completely foreign to me, but I only dabbled in it very lightly. This meant that the visual fidelity of my prototype has suffered, since I wasn’t able to construct any decent placeholder models to use, so I just stuck with basic geometric shapes and have tried to make up for it more from a gameplay/mechanical standpoint.

Working in a team

Having prior experience as a team in the previous game cycle, we all found it much easier to agree on a game idea. Everybody was also much more comfortable with sharing their opinions and negotiating compromises. However, an inherent issue I’ve found with the team is our shared skillset. We are all primarily programmers, so our ideas for our game’s aesthetic is limited severely. This wasn’t an issue in the previous game cycle as it’s much easier to develop nice looking minimalistic work in a 2D environment, but in a 3D environment it’s far more difficult. While we do have quite a diverse range of ideas and opinions surrounding game design as a team, which does lead to lots of interesting discussion, our game ideas tend to be limited based purely on the fact that we do not have the experience with the more visual aspect of game development.

Working independently

Game development would have to be one of the more rewarding and satisfying things I’ve ever done. Having the ability to develop my own environment/world, and having full control over all the rules and variables is very fulfilling. Being able to create something that not only I can experience, but that I can also share with others, opens up more meaningful ways to interact with people. This would be more applicable in a multiplayer game, since everybody would be sharing pretty much the exact same moments, just from different perspectives. The fact that I can influence a game world, which includes people’s experiences, feels very empowering, and it drives me to come up with an idea or concept for a game that would get peoples attention.

Ethical Considerations

Developing a first person shooter with terrorism being one of the main focuses/threats may bring a bit of attention due to recent events. However, I do not think this would be a massive issue as the game is meant to a fairly light hearted poke at terrorism, and is meant as more of a satire than anything. The concept of the game itself should show that, as it is quite ridiculous. The fact that a group of people want to destroy a giant rubber ducky, no matter the cost, should send a clear message that even the game isn’t taking itself seriously.

Game 2 – Playtest Report

Participants

None of our group members attended the workshop in Week 8, so playtesting was unable to take place within our studio. Testing was conducted instead with three close acquaintances that have had experience with video games, and/or game development.

Playtest Overview

Each playtest session lasted around 15-20 minutes, of which the tester played through the first level of the prototype and also answered the interview questions proposed in the playtest plan.  The testing was performed in-person, with all the responses to the questions being recorded in a word document.

Similar to the testing performed in the previous game cycle, questions allowing for more open ended responses were used and were separated into the three following categories: Gameplay, Balance/Difficulty, and Game Aesthetic.

Test Data

Participants

Jake Williams-Cornelius

Lachlan Ritchie

Matthew Grant

Gameplay

For a first person shooter, did you find the gameplay enjoyable?

  • Yes
  • Felt like a very basic first person shooter. I can’t say I did or didn’t enjoy the shooter, it was just bearable.
  • It was alright

Was the game clear with what the overall objective was?

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yep

How did the gun mechanics feel? (Responsive, sluggish, etc.)

  • Very Responsive
  • Gun and player movement was responsive, the sensitivity difference between being zoomed in and out was a bit off-putting however.
  • Responsive, but I wasn’t a fan of the locked mouse sensitivity.

Did it feel rewarding to shoot/destroy enemies?

  • A Little
  • Nope
  • Not really

What are your thoughts on the game idea/concept?

  • Good and Simple
  • Not entirely original, but can be pulled off if the gun mechanics are improved a lot.
  • Very generic

Balance/Difficulty

Do you think the difficulty of the demo level is too high?

  • No
  • The game’s difficulty peaked about 45 seconds in, then it just wore off. Maybe speed up the spawns a little, or add a bit more enemy variety.
  • It offered enough of a challenge.

Do you think the level was unbeatable?

  • No
  • Not at all.
  • Nope

At any point did you think that the enemies were dealing too much damage, or very little?

  • No
  • They all seemed like they did the same damage to the duck, otherwise it felt about right.
  • Enemy damage felt balanced.

Did the sniper feel like it was ever doing too much or too little damage?

  • No
  • The sniper was incredibly powerful.
  • Felt like it dealt way too much damage, all the enemies died in one shot.

Game Aesthetic

What are your thoughts on the current game aesthetic? (Sound/Art assets)

  • Sub Par
  • Everything seemed very placeholder, so I can’t really comment on it.
  • Very basic.

Any other thoughts/opinions/suggestions?

  • Get actual art assets
  • Obviously use proper art and sound assets, but also add in more weapon and enemy variety.
  • More colour and shape variety if you’re going to stick with this aesthetic. Also make the duck a duck.

List of Improvements

Gameplay

  • More visual feedback
  • Improve gun mechanics
  • Offer weapon variety
  • Offer more enemy variety
  • Improve AI navigation

Balance

  • Faster spawn times for the slowest enemy
  • Slower spawn times for faster enemy
  • More spawn area variety

Aesthetic

  • Art and Sound assets

It’s clear that the game is lacking quite a bit of content and depth, but the testers did seem to enjoy their time with the game.

Activity 6 – Playtest Plan

The following is a brief outline of how playtesting will be conducted:

  • Playtest Goals
    1. Player engagement and level of game responsiveness.
    2. Overall game balance and difficulty.
    3. Quality of sound and art design/direction.
  • Playtesters
    • Team members within the studio. (Or if not possible, other peers with a video game background)
  • Playtest Method
    • Test individually and interview afterwards
  • Data
    • Interview responses
    • Reactions/comments during game testing
  • Time
    • First level of the game. 5 minutes in length, or however long it takes the tester to successfully complete the first level.
  • Resources
    • Interview Questions
    • Note Taking Resources (laptop, notebook/writing utensils)
    • Analyses
    • Review tester’s responses, compare responses, and evaluate what needs to be changed/improved.


Here is the full playtest plan/template:

Overall Approach

(including resources)

Session Goals Method How to Analyse
What to measure How to Test
Testers will play the game individually. They will start the game at the first level and play for the length of the prototype. This will be around 5minutes in length, or until they have at least successfully completed the first level.
During the session, the testers will be allowed to voice their opinions on the game, with a more formal interview to follow after they have completed the level. Testers will be asked questions relating to the playtest goals and their responses will be recorded.
Before playtesting commences, the testers will be asked a few questions regarding previous experience with video games to allow for better analysis of what demographic we are catering towards.
Resources:

  • Basic game prototype (~5mins in length)
  • note taking equipment (laptop, notebook, writing utensils)
  • interview questions
Goal 1:

Player engagement and level of game responsiveness.

Player interaction with the game. Interview Questions:

  • For a first person shooter, did you find the gameplay enjoyable?
  • Was the game clear with what the overall objective was?
  • How did the gun mechanics feel? (Responsive, sluggish, etc.)
  • Did it feel rewarding to shoot/destroy enemies?
  • How did it feel to move the player around?
  • What are your thoughts on the game idea/concept?
Review responses from testers, identify any patterns/similarities, and address them while staying true to the core game idea.
Goal 2:

Overall game balance and difficulty.

Ability to overcome challenges and complete game objectives. Interview Questions:

  • Do you think the difficulty of the demo level is too high?
  • Do you think the level was unbeatable?
  • At any point did you think that the enemies were dealing too much damage, or very little?
  • Did the sniper feel like it was ever doing too much or too little damage?
Review issues presented by testers and identify any similar complaints.
Goal 3:

Quality of sound and art design/direction.

Reactions to certain objects and sounds. Interview Questions:

  • What are your thoughts on the current game aesthetic? (Sound/Art assets)
Review responses from testers, identify whether a majority either likes or dislikes the assets used.

Game 2 Reflection – Chi Yan Chau

Student name: Chi Yan Chau

Student number: N9316311

  1. What did you learn about professional development by going through the design process?

By going through the design process, I realized that a digital game could not be built within a very short time, a fully playable digital game could only be made with countless revisions. From brainstorming a game idea or concept, sketch a draft idea in paper, then to prototype a playable stages, as well as discussing concepts and ideas with group mates, they may have different ideas which can implement a better game, accepting their ideas are also an important part in the design process. Even ideas are important, skills and techniques are also essential for building games, therefore I realized that being equipped with coding skill is an essential part in going through a game design process.

2. What did you learn about the other majors in the degree by working in mixed teams?

By working in mixed teams, we have different skills set in creating a game. In my teams, I am majoring in game design and two of the group mates are majoring in programming. We would then be able to share different skills. As a result, I have always learned something new about coding in every weeks, even the tutorial videos talked a lot about how to create different scripts, for example, how a scripts work in managing health and utility tools, how a scripts work in controlling certain characters movement, I have really learned a lot in creating scripts. On the other hand, communicating within the team and searching online for solution are both very important tools in learning about the other majors in the degree, especially by working in a team with students who study other majors.

3. What did you implement in your own individual work that you found the most satisfying?

I found the most satisfying work in creating the prototype is to create an alternate scripts rather than just copying what the scripts write in those tutorial videos, for example those videos only provide a very basic scripts for making a basic first person shooting experience, alternating the scripts would make it more advanced and useful in my prototype. For example, I would want not only one type of enemy having damage to one type of characters, but two types of enemy having damage to two types of characters. Also it does not have any pre-modelled rubber ducky available in the asset store, I rather use a horse mask model to create a similar gameplay mechanics which also made me satisfying.

4.  Do you think that there are any ethical issues attached to designing a First Person Experience inspired by recent events?

I think that an ethical issue really depend on what inspiration the game designer has in recent events. For example, in our case, we created a ducky protecting FPS experience with destroyable civilians in the game concept, this has made a low-degree of ethical issues attached in the game, as that player could have go rage shooting in the game that kill everybody in the game, which this is pretty serious if it has occurred in real life. One of the most obvious ethical issue in FPS experience is that one of the mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2, the controllable characters pretend to be terrorist and arrived in an airport and start shooting at innocent people. This has made a serious ethical issues around the world at that time.