As part of the play-testing plan created by the team to test our individual games we aimed to get feedback from players on the overall enjoyment of the game as well as comments on the function and ease of use of core game mechanics. These goals combined in conjunction with additional player comments would also help to determine if the team’s player experience goals stacked up with the real player experiences.
In the early stages of playtesting the incomplete prototype, the player experience was generally as intended from the beginning of production. Players were encouraged to think aloud to assist in understanding how they interacted with the game and after a 5-minute session some noteworthy feedback regarding the look and feel of the game included:
- Players found the colour-coding of enemies and their outlines when their colliders were disabled to be helpful and intuitive
- The game felt strategic but relatively fast paced therefore inducing a feeling of intensity and pressure that players commented made the game feel more fun/less fun depending on preferences
Regarding the actual mechanics of the game including the “Shift” ability some players revealed bugs that had not been picked up on in previous testing such as colliders not being reset and UI elements not reacting to value changes properly. However once these minor issues were fixed and a more complete prototype was presented players found that the “Shift” function was a unique and fun addition to the Shoot ‘Em Up style of play that added a level of complexity and strategy when combined with the linked ammo and health values. In addition to the positive comments made the players were encouraged to voice their criticisms, some of these included:
- It occasionally felt like the player could avoid enemies completely and there was a lack of encouragement to shoot and destroy them.
- Energy pickups spawned in large quantities in the obstacle dimension making things a little bit unbalanced
- Enemy projectiles travelled quite quickly making it too difficult for some players to destroy enemies and survive
- Some players did not like that ammo and health values were linked (preferences)
Overall these play-testing sessions revealed key aspects of the game that needed fixing and modifications as well as confirming that the real player experience reflected the player experience goals. Play-testing such as this is essential to the production process as it provides valuable insights into the game that developers otherwise would not have noticed.