Jakob Hamilton Cycle 1 Playtest Report

Preamble

I conducted three playtests; one with a person in the workshop, one an avid SHMUP player and one who is a gamer but not an avid SHMUP player.

Observation Notes

Laser not quite on ship somewhat bothered player.

Player understood the health and energy bar.

Player liked blowing up a bunch of missiles.

Thought the boss needed a noticeable tell for when it takes dammage or specific points to target.

Sound is buggy.

The restart function doesn’t work.

Thought that you get shield energy back surprisingly fast.

The hitbox on the player seems too forgiving.

Notes taken before the sound, border and boss was implemented

Got caught of guard by invisible walls at the side of the field

The shield needs to be bigger

The shield is helpful when things get hectic

Player tried to spin and shoot to take out missiles but got killed

The Interview Questions

  1. how did the controls feel?
  2. how easy was it to dodge?
  3. were you stressed or bored by the speed of the game?
  4. how do you feel about the time to get to the boss?
  5. how did blowing up a bunch of rockets at once feel?
  6. how engaging was the experience?
  7. how long do you think you could enjoy the gameplay loop before it got boring
  8. did the UI and scoring system make sense, if no what was the problem?

Interview Answers

1 2 3
1 it was very easy and smooth nice and responsive good, firing’s good too
2 got very hard towards the end (shield helped in that case) destroying the rockets was pretty easy so it never felt like it was about dodging until the screen got really full really easy, the hitbox was really small
3 (not part of questionaire at the moment) two minutes was a good time limit because the slow start was enough to warm up but not be tedious nice pace, got a bit hectic at the end, the boss was underwhelming
4 seems accomplishable (was before boss was in game) two minutes is fine for getting to the boss decent for how fast the rockets get
5 good blowing up a bunch at once was alright i guess if there was something special for a bunch at once it could be neat like if it added a point multiplier for a chain reaction or something strange, the game froze a bit. It was good to see the screen clear
6 pretty engaging decent up until the boss quite engaging, a good time waster
7 about 15 minutes probably three or four bosses. it might need some mixing up. special rockets in later levels or something 10-15 minutes
8 understood health and shield but not the scoring system it made sense but it felt like the important things were a bit out of the way. like i was looking away from the action to the bottom right to check health etc didn’t take note of score, understood the shield and health bars

Key Findings
first of all the boss is underwhelming and there are still some technical issues I need to sort out. the health and shield bar might need to be placed so that they are in a better place for the player to see. the game does not have much longevity unless it gets mixed up a bit. the dodging might be a bit too easy and the hitbox might need to be adjusted. the pace was pretty good and got hectic enough to be pretty challenging at the end. the scoring system needs to be explained better

Recommendations for Improvement

  1. the boss needs to be completely redesigned in order for it to be any way challenging. one way could be that it splits into multiple parts and floats around the stage firing rockets at the player. It could also fire invincible rockets that don’t lock on to emphasis dodging, those rockets would need to be included earlier though so that the player knows how to deal with them. another way to make it better could be to have random bursts where normal rockets fly in from a random direction.
  2. the technical issues need to be fixed. I’ll try to get them done before I submit.
  3. if the health and shield bar were centered on the player in a circle pattern the player would always be able to see them. they would need to be small enough not to be intrusive though.
  4. the points scored could pop up at the enemies location when they are destroyed
  5. to explain the scoring system a tutorial splash screen could show them at the start of the game.
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