Extension Approved – Do not mark until 11pm Sunday 07/05/17
The focus of my playtesting was to gain feedback about whether my game had succeeded with what I had set out to create – a realistic first-person shooter experience where the player is a police officer that must use appropriate force while conducting a drug raid. It should be noted here that I had very limited time and resources to complete this Unity game project and thus the final game I used for testing was very rudimentary. Despite this I still did my best to adhere to the three main player experience goals for this game. These subsequently became the goals for playtesting. In the spirit of good testing and reporting I also created expectations relating to these goals:
||I utilized third party assets to create a basic environment and tools which were appropriate to a police scenario. I expect that testers will understand the intended theme but probably not agree that it is realistic or topically accurate.
One of the main reasons we chose to create a police themed game was that it was highly appropriate to the FPS genre. I expect that testers will understand that the gameplay reflects that of a police raid.
Because of the limited scope of the game, I expect testers will not find the game very engaging.
||The main strategy elements in my game are movement and positioning within the warehouse. I expect testers will understand and utilize this basic level of strategy.
Unfortunately, I was not able to implement any significant measure for ethical performance outside of a basic ‘kill counter’. Thus, I expect testers will not conduct themselves ethically while playing as a police officer.
||The game has a clear main menu screen that outlines the mission objective. I expect that by briefing the testers before gameplay they will follow the intended function of the game.|
Five participants were acquired for playtesting. These players varied in ages and background. Consisted of my friends and fellow students. Did not have strict conditions for participants other than that they must have had previous experience with video games. This experience was required to act as a baseline for them to gauge the function and quality of my game.
Game was setup on a laptop. The control scheme and basic story/ theme were briefly explained to the tester. Testers were asked to talk aloud while playing, expressing any thoughts and feelings about the game. Observer watched and took notes of the testers playstyle. Tester played the game for 1 minute after which the sessions was ended. They were then asked a series of questions relating to their experience with the game. See Playtest Plan for detailed explanations of my approaches to playtesting each of the session goals.
|Session Goal||Interview Responses||Summary|
Topically Accurate/ Gameplay
|1. How engaging was the play experience? ((scale: 1 not at all – 5 very engaging)
||Testers did not find the game engaging as expected. Observation during play sessions showed that testers found the game somewhat interesting during the first playthrough of the level. After the basic enemy AI and limited level space was realised almost all testers seemed to lose interest.|
|2. How would you rate the game’s realism? (scale: 1 not at all – 5 very realistic)
||Testers had mixed opinions on the game’s realism. Most (4 of 5) seemed to somewhat agree that the game had realistic elements. The main downfalls of the game seemed to be the that the gameplay area was “Too confined” and the “Funny to watch enemies explode.”
In future iterations of the game I will aim add more detail to the environment and add realistic movements to enemies.
|3. How would you rate the game’s ability to capture the police/ drug raid/ body cam topic?
“Captures the police theme ok. Enemies do look like drug dealers. No bodycam elements.”
|The consensus amongst testers was that police theme was well conveyed in the game. Some understood a relation to the drug raid theme because of the old warehouse setting.
As expected no testers understood the body cam topic. This is simply because I was unable to implement a body cam system into the game for playtesting. This would be the first element I rectify in future iterations.
|Session Goal||Observational Notes||Summary|
|Observer Reported Question:
How ethical overall was the player’s gameplay?
“Enters game. Looks around. Enters the warehouse. Enemies are at the door waiting. Dies instantly because enemies have stacked up on door. Retries by going straight into the warehouse. Kills some enemies. Evades them around the warehouse. Gets trapped in a corner and dies.”
“Walks into warehouse. shoots and kills all the enemies first try with accuracy and movement. On second try finds a place where the enemies can’t reach high up. shoots all enemies easily. laughs at them getting stuck.”
As expected the testers did not act ethically as police officers during gameplay. Their mission was to kill all the drug dealers so all testers complied with this task. I was unable to implement a system that gave testers the opportunity to arrest or subdue enemies non-lethally. One tester suggested adding “Arresting abilities” in future iterations of the game.
As expected players were able to employ maneuvering and aiming strategy to kill most of the enemies within the game. The issue was that many would get trapped or cornered in the warehouse area and be unavoidably overwhelmed by enemies.
Most learnt from their mistakes by finding exploits by moving or jumping to areas which were inaccessible to the enemies, guaranteeing they complete the mission.
|Session Goal||Interview Responses||Summary|
|1. Did you understand your mission?
100% “Yes” response to this question.
|As expected, the basic mission brief did an effective job of conveying to the testers what they were supposed to be doing with the game. A few testers did attempt to walk off and explore the game area (not going straight into the warehouse as expected).
One issue was that there was no information on how to control the player character to testers had to figure it out on their own. None had any problem doing so as all were familiar with basic FPS controls. Regardless, future iterations should include information about controls as more tools and abilities are added.
|2. Did the game work? Yes? No? Explain…
“Yes, works as a basic shooter. Although enemies don’t work very well. They should have guns too.”
“Not really. You can move and shoot fine, restart the game etc. But the enemies don’t work. There isn’t anything to do other than kill them.”
|Most testers agreed that the game did not function properly. There was a total consensus that the ”enemies do not work”. Because the main task was to kill the enemies and the enemy AI did not work in the eyes of the testers. It is not surprising that most did not view this as a working game.|
Recommendations for Improvement
The final question of the interview asked how testers would improve Drug Raid. Ironically, most of the feedback I received were on features already considered but I was not able to implement into the current version. The main suggestion for improvement as that I ”fix the enemies”. I received some valuable feedback about how I should add “better audio, music etc.”, “a cover system” and “co-op mode”. These were things I had not thought of during development and could greatly improve the game. Other common suggestions included creating a “Bigger environment”, “different weapons and abilities”. To complete the Drug Raid game as it was intended I need to extend my knowledge of:
- Enemy AI – To give players a challenge worth playing through.
- Environment/ Enemy Modelling – To make the game more engaging and fun I need more variation in my enemy types and environment visuals.
- Level Creation and Pacing – To make a game that has cohesive functionality and appropriate ‘open-endedness’ to fit with development intentions.
- Audio integration – A vital aspect of therapeutic game development. By integrating appropriate sounds into my game to compliment the visuals a more calming and coherent experience will be created.
- Unity Engine and C# Scripting – My main difficulty in creating this game was that I was not able to access and find online resources to help me implement many of the key intended features. As I improve my knowledge of the Unity Engine and scripting I will be better able to create components of my games without need for outside help.
I feel as though the Drug Raid game lacked cohesive integration of all these components hence why my playtesting results were unfavourable overall.
Full Interview and Response Transcript