The playtesters for this report were not all experienced gamers and some struggled with the game being first person at first. They all gave relatively good feedback but also pointed out a few bugs and things that they had issues with. I got them to think out-loud and recorded their thought process throughout the 2-4 minute sessions. I then got them to fill out a small, anonymous google doc while I wasn’t in the room in an attempt to get their honest feedback.
On the first run through the players were a bit overwhelmed by the number of enemies coming towards them. The inexperienced players lost fairly quickly and the experienced players managed to get about a quarter of the way through the game before they got bitten and overwhelmed. On the second attempt the players all had some kind of plan of attack for eliminating the enemies. They all started with a similar plan of attacking the snake closest to the objective but soon started attacking the nearest snakes to them and letting snakes through when they knew it was a lost cause instead of chasing them and wasting time.
Each player reported that getting bitten by the red snake that changes the movement controls around was extremely difficult to deal with and often cost them the game. None of the players had much difficulty with the other two kinds of snakes and one player didn’t even notice getting bitten. They all reported that the game was difficult but not impossible and gave it an average of _/10 for fun. Most players put anxious or stressed as the feeling that they experienced while playing, which was the goal. A few players didn’t realize that there was any difference between snakes or that their effects were determined by their pattern and color.
The first player wasn’t supplied the controls and wasn’t aware that the character could sprint in their initial run but did far better in the following attempts. The players gave the game an average of _/10 for difficulty. Players all pointed out that there was a bug on the game over page that caused the mouse to be disabled and required the game to be force quit.
The playtesting was very useful in understanding the players thoughts and why the game will need to be changed in the future. The difficulty level difference between the snake bites was considerable even though they all seemed balanced while creating them. I believe this was because as the programmer, I knew the pattern to the bites and how to work around them while the player had to figure it out on their own. The testers assisted in locating bugs and warned me that the shovel hit box was quite small. I believe that the prototype was good enough at showing where I intend to take the game.
The raw results for the survey are here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TdJwQJ2StGKUt8w0AsAhjwgpWHfixOD7PIFEF60DTQw/edit?usp=sharing
I learned that teamwork and communication are very important in designing a game. I noticed in the first project that our communication wasn’t especially good but we still managed to produce a set of games that were very similar. Unfortunately this time our ideas varied a bit and our games appear to have gone in slightly different directions. We all put our own unique spin on the basic idea that we came up with and we all produced nice looking games.
Working in Teams and Other Majors
During this process I learned a bit of basic animation from working in Blender and using the Unity animation tool, however, my Blender animations never made it into the final game. We shared some resources but we ended up making our own individual games as we wanted to make slightly different ideas and we were trying to get the most individual experience we could from the project.
I enjoyed making the different venom effects for each of my snakes (as difficult as it was) because it gave me experience programming elements of a game I wasn’t even aware existed. I disliked having to use the default FPSController because my code couldn’t interact with it for some reason and I was too busy to recreate it. I found some sound effects in my SFX library that fit perfectly into the game and required very little editing. I tried a lot of coding that I’ve never had a chance to use before such as Switch statements which was excellent practice.
There could be a number of ethical issues related to animal violence that could be brought up about this game. However, pests such as snakes are exterminated, this game just represents a crude way of doing it. I don’t think it will be an issue, especially since the game will never see a major release.
In the Snake Defence game, your role as the player is to defend the end point; be it a town, country or other important structure or feature from incoming waves of snakes that hope to deplete your lives by reaching the end point. As the player, your capacity to stop the snakes is determined by your ability to chase them down and attack them with your shovel weapon. Additionally, the player can set up defences to assist in their efforts to stop the snakes from reaching the end point.
As the player, I will chase down snakes to hit them with my shovel.
As the player, I will use my shovel to hit the snakes in order to kill them.
As the player, I want to kill snakes to stop them from reaching the end point.
As the player, I want to stop snakes reaching the end point to preserve my lives.
As the player, I want to avoid coming in contact with the snakes so I don’t get damaged.
As the player, I will build defences to assist me in stopping the snakes.
As the player, I will track my resources to build more defences.
As the player, I will position my defences to best deal with the snakes.
As the player, I want to kill snakes to gain score and resources.
As the player, I want to survive the waves of snakes to win the game.
For the cycle two play-testing sessions our focus continued to be the player’s overall enjoyment of the game however due to the nature of first person games we also concerned ourselves with potential bugs that we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed as well as the success of our player experience goals. The team highly values player comments and found them to be vital to providing useful information for later analysis to improve our individual prototypes. Raw player comments can be found here.
When play-testing the cycle 2 prototype, the player experience roughly fit the original goals set at the beginning of production. Players where encouraged to think aloud and that honest feedback is greatly appreciated and vital to understand how they interacted with the game. After each 5-minute play-testing sessions some noteworthy feedback regarding the prototype included:
- Players found they weren’t sure of their objective from the very beginning of the game
- Players liked the tower defence aspect of the game and liked the freedom it gave them as well as adding a reasonable level of strategy. Some players commented that this made the game a little too easy but added this could easily be fixed by adding more enemies or tweaking enemy stats.
Regarding the Mechanics of the game some players exposed bugs that had not been noticed in earlier testing phases such as UI elements not being exposed or the mouse not being unlocked in the main/pause menu. Additionally, sometimes the placement of the turrets wasn’t as precise as the players would have liked so after these issues were solved the players expressed that they quite liked the idea of the game. More feedback included:
- They liked all the UI elements and that it gave them a lot of information to play
- After difficulty tweaks they found that the game was challenging enough to be enjoyable but not too difficult
- It was hard to tell sometimes if the player hit the enemies when using the shovel weapon
To conclude these play-testing sessions revealed key aspects of the game that needed fixing and modifications as well as reflecting how the real player experiences compared to the goals determined at the beginning of production. 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.
Challenge 1 (Time Pressure): Defeating the enemies(snakes) before they reach the objective(houses).
Challenge 2 (Conflict): Fight the enemies (snakes) to defeat them.
Challenge 3 (Physical Coordination): Time your movements correctly to defeat enemies(snakes) that are attacking from different locations.
Challenge 4 (Physical Coordination): Accurately attack the enemies(snakes) before they have a chance to fight back.
Challenge 5 (Pattern Recognition): Learn the patterns to the different venoms to continue defeating enemies.
The player can choose the order that they attack the snakes.
The player can choose how close they want to get to the snake before attacking.
The player can choose to let a snake get to the village in order to prevent a larger group from entering from a different direction.
The players can see how much health the town has left and can choose to leave snakes alive at the cost of a little bit of health.
Chase snakes, attack snakes, run around obstacles, jump over snakes.
The player loses if they let in too many snakes, the snakes die if they get hit by the shovel, the player becomes poisoned by the snakes if they get bitten.
Game over screen, snakes have a death animation, player’s vision or controls are impaired.
We came up with the following PX goals for the game that we want to make for mini-game 2:
Analyzing, speed, concentration
We decided to stay away from using the cyclone as our game inspiration as we assumed that a lot of the other groups would be doing something similar and we wanted to stand out.
Idea 1. We read an article about snakes crossing borders and climbing onto planes and killing the local wildlife so we thought we could make a game about stopping them with shovels.
Idea 2. There was an article about a dog running across train tracks and getting hit 3 times and surviving that we thought sounded like a good idea for a game.
We decided to use the snake idea as it allowed us to do more and seemed like a more enjoyable experience. Below is our studio’s PX goal for mini-game 2.
The player must analyze the wave of snakes in front of them and use their speed to eliminate them quickly and in an order, that allows the fewest snakes to get through. They need to be accurate to not get bitten, but if they do they need to concentrate to work out the pattern of the venom affecting them.
The game-play will rely heavily on physical challenges such as using speed and agility to maneuver around, combined with cognitive attributes such as visual processing, remembering and analyzing to eliminate the enemies in the most efficient order and navigating while under the effects of the snakes’ venom.
The playtesting was conducted on 5 different playtesters to produce the playtest report. Each one was asked to speak aloud their feeling and thoughts while playing the prototype. The prototype had a known issue that I still couldn’t find a solution to, the problem was informed to the playtesters before they start. The problem was that current score counters won’t reset when game is replayed without restarting first. While this is an issue, it didn’t affect the core mechanics in anyway. At the end of every playtest, playtesters were asked to give a fun score, scaling 1 – 10, 10 being the most enjoyable. The results were recorded electronically on Microsoft Word. Here is the link to the file.
The most occurring comment was the hit box not being sized properly. However this problem can easily be solved by playtestings and improve on it each time. There were also many comments and recommendations regarding the selection of range weapons as well as the behaviour of the snakes. Unfortunately I cannot implement the weapon switching mechanic but snakes can somewhat be improved regarding their movement, especially the green snakes. I was considering another scene in Unity for a new mode but seeing how limited time combined with my limited ability, I doubt it would be done by the playtesting dateline. Coincidentally, a few playtesters mentioned something similar to this mode in question as well.
By the conclusion of the testing, many aspects of the game that needed improvements and been pointed out. This is the major reason why playtesting was conducted. As well as seeing how much the playtesters enjoy the game in the prototype state; averaging the fun score results resulted 6.6/10. In my opinion, it didn’t do as bad I thought it would for a prototype.