Playertesting – Timestamping Player Actions
During playertesting, I observed the actions of playtesters and manually timestamped major in-game events in an excel spreadsheet. This created an excellent reference to understand how difficulty ranges between players, and for us to observe visually which aspects of the game were taking too much and too little time (ie were too easy or too hard).
Playertesting – Issue List
Our producer took a second set of notes during playertesting, observing player behaviour and observations. I spent several hours typing these notes up complete with a tally for the number of times each comment arose and categorising them according to the level or blueprint it directly affected, and according to whether the observation was positive or negative.
In playertesting we found that players continually attempted to jump over the shockwave instead of block it, as we intended for them to do.
To solve this, the height of the shockwave is going to be visibly much larger and just by sight the player will be able to realise they are unable to jump it.
As above, the shockwave grows in size as it travels. It’s height is visibly taller than the player character to discourage jumping.
Destroying on Block
Once the height of the shockwave increased, there was a problem when continuing the shockwave to expand after blocking it. The shockwave would become so big that the player character would be inside it – it’s texture would disappear, so it would seem to the player that they were out the other side, except overlapping still triggered (meaning a player that stopped blocking would then immediately be damaged).
To solve this, I ensured that the shockwaves disperse when they come into contact with the player’s block shield.
Safely Jumping Shockwave
I did find a solution to allow players to safely jump over the shockwave. It checks the jump state of the player character at crucial times – if the player character is detected to be jumping when the shockwave hits, they will be permitted to land safely. There are failsafes in place to prevent immunity from willy-nilly jumping.
In playertesting, we were shocked to find that players barely used the dodge mechanic. When queried they replied that they were unable to judge what triggered the ‘trip’, and thus to them the perceived risk of using the mechanic outweighed the reward of success. To encourage players to use this mechanic again, I will be editing the percentage number that affects how often the player character trips in-game.
Dialogue Text Wrapping
One bug that continually broke immersion during playertesting was dialogue that ran off the screen.
I spent time reading forums, tutorials and video tutorials to understand and implement particle effects for successful hits.
I created a mirroring ‘blood splatter’ pixel effect that is created upon successfully hitting the Heresy Boss.
Here is an example of one video I used: