As part of my dissertation I would like to have people playtest my rifle mechanic while I record how well they do and their thoughts on the idea. Following my research I have come up with a strategy on how I will get feedback for my mechanic and will be able to use it to iterate the mechanic further.


The Plan

What I want to do is make 3 stages for my game which players will play through to get a feel for the mechanic. The stages I have come up with are:

  • 1st stage – Introduction stage, allows the player to familiarize with what they need to do. They pass this stage when they hit all targets.
  • 2nd stage – Timed stage, records players on how fast they can hit all the targets in the time limit. This is to test how fast they can reload and hit the targets.
  • 3rd stage – Survival stage, records player on how long they can keep shooting targets before they reach the player. This is to test whether players find the mechanic enjoyable to use as well as testing the player in a more stressful situation to see if they can still function the reload sequence.

When players have played through all 3 stages they are brought to a screen which shows their timers for the 2nd and 3rd stage and total targets they hit. I would then ask if the player could fill out a short questionnaire about the game to get feedback and their thoughts about it.


How iterating the rifle mechanic will work

I’m hoping to keep the stages the same for each iteration. I will then iterate how the rifle reloading mechanic will function after collecting and analyzing player feedback, so then I can playtest it again to gain feedback on the iteration. This is known as iterative game design. (Techopedia, 2017).

The feedback will be collected with a questionnaire for the players to fill out after playing the game. Following Vin St.John’s ‘Best Practices: Five Tips For Better Playtesting’ blog post, I will test out the game myself first to give me an idea as to what scores work (and if there are any bugs I can find myself). When having others playtest I want to make sure they know what they need to be doing and to allow them to work out how to play for themselves without little interaction between me and them. I also need to make sure that those playtesting are my target audience which is males in their  late teens to early adults as they are more interested and engaged with first person shooters.

With the questionnaire I want to avoid using more than one open ended question as this would be harder for me when I analyze the results. I plan on using either a rating scale question and/or dichotomous questions for my questionnaire as this will help me make any charts to help show my findings and results.


What next?

Now I need to make the stages for the game and start making a questionnaire. I have some ideas for what questions I will put onto the questionnaire by looking up question examples online (Wesley Rockholz, 2014 &  Fullerton, Schell, Salen 2012). Once both of these are ready I will playtest throught it myself and then start having others playtest it.


References

Fullerton, Schell, and Salen, (2012). Capstone Winter Quarter Playtesting. [online] Capstone Winter Quarter Playtesting. Available at: http://www.brianschrank.com/capstone/resources/Playtesting_reports_template.pdf [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

QuestionPro, (2017). Online Survey Questions and Answer Types – QuestionPro Articles. [online] Questionpro.com. Available at: https://www.questionpro.com/article/survey-question-answer-type.html [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Rockholz, W. (2014). 10 Insightful Playtest Questions. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WesleyRockholz/20140418/215819/10_Insightful_Playtest_Questions.php [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Schreiber, I. (2009). Level 2: Game Design / Iteration and Rapid Prototyping. [online] Game Design Concepts. Available at: https://gamedesignconcepts.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/level-2-game-design-iteration-and-rapid-prototyping/ [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

St.John, V. (2013). Gamasutra – Best Practices: Five Tips for Better Playtesting. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/185258/best_practices_five_tips_for_.php?print=1 [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Techopedia, (2017). What is Iterative Game Design? – Definition from Techopedia. [online] Techopedia.com. Available at: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/27045/iterative-game-design [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

QuestionPro, (2017). Online Survey Questions and Answer Types – QuestionPro Articles. [online] Questionpro.com. Available at: https://www.questionpro.com/article/survey-question-answer-type.html [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Rockholz, W. (2014). 10 Insightful Playtest Questions. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WesleyRockholz/20140418/215819/10_Insightful_Playtest_Questions.php [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Schreiber, I. (2009). Level 2: Game Design / Iteration and Rapid Prototyping. [online] Game Design Concepts. Available at: https://gamedesignconcepts.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/level-2-game-design-iteration-and-rapid-prototyping/ [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

St.John, V. (2013). Gamasutra – Best Practices: Five Tips for Better Playtesting. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/185258/best_practices_five_tips_for_.php?print=1 [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Techopedia, (2017). What is Iterative Game Design? – Definition from Techopedia. [online] Techopedia.com. Available at: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/27045/iterative-game-design [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

 

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