Tuesday, March 4, 2014

(Belated) First Prototype Playtesting Results

Just realized that we never made a post about our very first playtest! We've been pretty ambitious about the stuff we want to include in our game, so everyone's been really focused on working rather than typing up fancy word-posts. That's the excuse we're going with, at least.

Anyway, we had our first playtest a couple weeks ago, and we got a lot of valuable feedback. A lot of it was what we expected, but that was still valuable in reinforcing our internal playtesting. 

Overall, we were looking for feedback on the general gameplay flow and user interface components. As a turn-based game with a lot of different things you can do, we needed to make sure that it made sense and didn't take too long. 

The feedback we received boiled down to about what we expected: we're headed in the right direction, but we definitely need to polish some of the visual feedback and UI flow. The biggest issues were with being able to tell which character was selected, how and when they could use their different combat actions, and the confirmation of combat actions. 

We expected most of this, as we didn't have time to put a lot of polish into our UI before the test. 

Interestingly enough, the rest of the feedback we got was pretty...un-unanimous. Some people liked the fact that our characters were on stands, some people thought it detracted from the setting. Some thought the cooldowns on character abilities were too long, others didn't. These responses were quite helpful in that they provoked some important design debates within the team. They didn't necessarily lead us in any particular direction, but they forced us to have a clear, meaningful reason behind every design decision that we made.

For example, we talked a lot about the stands under characters and came to the conclusion that we absolutely have to include them. Yes, they may take away from the representation of characters as living beings, but without them, the lack of character animation looks incredibly out of place. And since we don't have a year and ten artists, fully animated characters is simply not an option.

The discussion about ability cooldowns* led us to implement a new system of "waiting" on a character's turn. If the player doesn't want a character to take any action on a turn, they can tell them to "wait", which will end that character's turn and lower their ability cooldown by an additional turn, or they can "defend", which doesn't alter their ability cooldown but increases their defense until the next turn.

*reminder: our game has no resource management system such as mana; all abilities simply have a number of turns that must pass before they can be used again.

A lot more design discussions came out of our playtest, but you'll have to wait to see the results!

No comments:

Post a Comment