Aaaaaahhhhh! We’re here!! We made it! This week was our last session at WB Games, and now all that’s left is the Showcase!! We brought in a bunch of trusted friends to help comment and critique, including but not limited to past Pixelles mentors, WB Games employees, and many more local indie devs. Our incubees and some of the Follow-Alongers got some fresh eyes and new direction on their progress so far.
A big thank you to our playtesters from Week 6’s session!!
Learning Through Playtesting
We’ve talked about it a million times: PLAYTESTING! By now you should have a good grip about what it’s all about, but it’s still an ever-important part of the iterative process of game-making.
As there wasn’t a singular mentor today, we’re actually going to look at the experience of the session through the incubees themselves! We went around the room and asked them which pieces of advice they got from playtesters that seemed the most useful to pass on. Here’s what they said:
- Make clear instructions at the very beginning. Even if the game seems intuitive to you (eg. controls, goals, ) it might not be to first-timers playing your game. Do something that conveys this well!
- Same goes for the difficulty level! As you develop your game, you actually become an expert at playing it as well, so you end up in a biased position. Maybe the game is actually too hard to pick up, or much more easy than you anticipated! Playtest with many different kind of people to figure out how to adjust your difficulty level accordingly.
- MORE FEEDBACK! Does your player have a good sense that they’re doing something in the game when they’re doing something? We write more about this below.
- Likewise, does the goal of your game feel satisfying? Playtesting will let you know if the player has enough incentive enough to go seek a win condition, if your game has one. If it doesn’t, then what are the motivating factors for continuing/discovering more within your game?
- Leave sound and art for the end. We’ve said this before, but in a pinch, they’re actually relatively easy to implement after you have all your base gameplay down! Shiny things are great and fun, but simple gameplay also goes a longer way than you might realize.
- It’s always fun for someone even if it’s small! Many participants came in not knowing if they had enough “game” to show, or felt like their projects were incomplete. You can still playtest though! Even just moving around on the screen makes players really happy, and seeing that joy might help you feel motivated. There’s still lots to learn even if it might not feel like there’s much on-screen. Having even the tiniest playtest might help you discover more dynamics you didn’t expect!
- If your game has a specific message you want to convey, be sure to double-check if that is resounding clearly to your players. Follow through with the statements you want to make — games can be art and connection just like any other media!
- Conversely, pointless games can be totally fun and also really cool! You did this for you, so you do you!
Further Reading about Playtesting
- Better games through playtesting
- Playtesting Tips for Designers
- Production Testing and Bug Tracking
- Playtesting 101 (pdf)
Adding More “Feedback”
In your polish-adding frenzy of the next little while before the showcase, you might be wondering where to start. How do you make your game have a good “game feel”? The feedback that every game dev hears at a playtest: ADD MORE “FEEDBACK”!
There’s many great videos out there that explain how to achieve these effects through simple colours, animation, and sound. It doesn’t take much coding at all, usually (though you’re all experts by now, right?), and adds so much to the experience. Tweak your game into perfection!
Right up until the Showcase date, our secret Follow-Along Facebook Group, or Follow-Along Slack are still open! Post builds of your game!! Post artwork, resources, whatever you like! We’re still here for you!!
And an extra bonus… We’ve secured extra work sessions thanks to support from GamePlay Space!! Even though the official incubator is technically over, you can still come out . We’ll do our best to bring in experts in all the game engines, so if you need something specific, DO LET US KNOW!
When: Saturday February 20th, and Saturday February 27th
Time: 2pm to 5pm. Bring your game!! Bring a friend!
Where: Gameplay Space, 1435 Rue St Alexandre (Metro Place-des-Arts)
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.
- 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 25th to put together a gameplay video and promotional material. Send us a link or executable to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Following along? We’d love to see and play your game! Send us a playable link or executable by February 25th, 11:59pm, and your game just might be featured in our showcase! You can contact us by Twitter (@PixellesMtl), e-mail (email@example.com) We’d love to have you in the family!!
- IMPORTANT NOTE: The build that you submit to us on February 25th is just for our own promotional needs, and to secure a spot in the Showcase. The game that you *bring* to the Showcase can be updated right up until the last second! So just submit if you’re almost there, it’s fine! Get that spot, and you’ll have a week still to put in those final touches.
- As we juuust keep on saying, 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…
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!
RSVP below to let us know you’re coming!
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
From 6:30 to 9pm
WB Games Montreal
888 Boul de Maisonneuve E #600 (6th Floor)
Montreal, Quebec (map)
→ Full EventBrite
→ Facebook Event