Session 6 Summary: Internal Playtest

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Here we are at the last week of Pixelles Incubator 3! You made it! You’re amazing. Treat yo’self, you deserve it!! Our very last session was all about what to do once your prototype is complete. Rather than one mentor, we had a group of trusted game dev friends come in and give feedback to our dear participants.

A big thank you to our playtesters from Week 6’s session: Stephen, Samantha, Graham, Jess, Devine, Nicole, Aurelie, Marion, Yowan, Catherine, Albert, and Valerie! (I hope I didn’t miss anyone.)

Playtesting Basics

Playtesting is a critical part of game design, where someone entirely new to the game is allowed to go through it on their own, without help or hints or explanation from the designer. The idea is to watch and observe what different players do in the game space on their own, while observing and taking careful notes to allow for any adjustments to be made to the game.

To playtest your game, get everybody to play it! People who don’t play games, hardcore gamers, FPS only, artists… You want a variety of players to test out your game because not everyone plays the same way. Take notes, observe them, and ask them questions at the end. It’s a good idea to prepare a questionnaire or list of questions to ask everyone. Some example questions can be:

  • how do the controls feel
  • is the jump too high
  • what they think of the story
  • what they think each HUD element represents
  • are the enemies too hard
  • is the music annoying?

We strongly suggest that for the first few players, ask them to talk out loud while playing, step back and watch them silently without hovering. Resist the urge to interject with explanations for rule or controls; because your future players won’t always have the benefit of you behind them, those are things you have to add to your game. Little design problems like this will crop up fairly consistently across the board, confirming for you where you need to work on polishing next. Don’t be discouraged! Sometimes it’s a bug you are already well-aware of, but observing new players try to get around it will give you some really great clues on how to design that missing part when you’re ready.

If your game isn’t 100% complete you can still playtest certain areas or ideas to gauge whether or not it’s successful. It’s easy to get defensive about your game but you have to remember that your playtesters aren’t commenting on your game in a personal way; they’re merely talking about their experience. In the end, it’s to you to decide whether or not what they say is worth changing parts of your game for. But, for now, listen and try to understand how they came to that buggy area or comment.

Further Reading

Meet Up

Come out to our very last Follow Along extra session on February 21 at GamePlay Space from 2pm to 5pm!

As per usual, there will be a spread of tea, cookies, and great company. Come pre-test your game! For Follow-Alongs, if you have any questions about your game or the showcase, this is also a great opportunity to come out and talk to us about all your expectations, unknowns, and triumphs!

Look forward to seeing you there! Thank you so much for joining us in our game-making journey.

Homework

  • Finish your game! You can continue to work on your game up until the night before the showcase but we’ll need an playable version by 11:59pm on February 23rd to put together a gameplay video and promotional material. Send us a link or executable to moms@pixelles.ca.
  • Following along? We’d love to see and play your game! Send us a playable link or executable by February 23rd, 11:59pm, and your game just might be featured in our showcase! You can contact us by Twitter (@PixellesMtl), e-mail (moms@pixelles.ca), or on the Facebook Group. We’d love to have you in the family!!
  • As above, we cordially invite you to come to our last meet up as well, in case you have any dangling, burning questions, or just want to see us face-to-face, before the…

Showcase

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Time to show off your games during the Festival Montréal Joue! Invite your friends and family to come out, play games, eat snacks, have a drink, & celebrate the future of game-making!

When:
Thursday, February 26th, 2015
From 6:30 to 9pm

Where:
Gameplay Space
1435 rue St Alexandre
Montreal, Quebec (map)

Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/426056347551037/
RSVP and let us know if you’re coming!!

That’s it for PGI3! See you at the Showcase!



Posted in Pixelles Game Incubator 3
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Pixelles is a non-profit initiative committed to helping more women make and change games. We're based in Montreal, and have already succeeded in building a supportive community of game creators, both hobbyist and professional.

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