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Play testing your game

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Play testing your game

Postby P/o Prune » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:18 pm

It’s common knowledge (or should be) that testing a game is essential before releasing a game and I assume that authors play through their games a few times before even sending it to the poor beta tester.
But how do you play test your game? I mean, you know all the solutions to the puzzles and the correct things to ask your NPCs. What do you do to put yourself in the players chair and play the game seen through his/her eyes?
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby Duncan_B » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:50 pm

You have to be a little bit of an actor, I think, to be able to take on the role of a tester. Other than that, you could try running a playthrough of your game on a non-standard interpreter, like Gargoyle, and see how well you do. Also make sure to read your descriptions very closely. I mean, slow down and read them word-for-word, as though you were just seeing them for the first time. It might help if you read them out loud so you don't go too fast and skip parts.
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby David Whyld » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:21 pm

I always attempt to try everything I figure a player would try. Examine everything, try and pick up everything, move and look behind everything, etc. Always bugs me, though, that no matter how carefully I test something, when I have someone else test the game they find something really obvious I missed right at the very start of the game. But then I guess that's why we have betatesters.
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby Hensman Int'l » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:56 pm

I try to approach it like David W. does.
Always bugs me, though, that no matter how carefully I test something, when I have someone else test the game they find something really obvious I missed
The d'oh moment. :?
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby ralphmerridew » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:56 am

One other thing:

Betatesting does not mean: Send game to testers, get results back, revise game, then release.

It means going through repeated cycles of "Send to testers, then modify game according to their reports" before the public release.
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby P/o Prune » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:05 am

ralphmerridew wrote:One other thing:

Betatesting does not mean: Send game to testers, get results back, revise game, then release.

It means going through repeated cycles of "Send to testers, then modify game according to their reports" before the public release.

I realize that... I was just curious about how other authors play tested their games before going beta.
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby Lazzah » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:55 pm

David Whyld wrote:I always attempt to try everything I figure a player would try. Examine everything, try and pick up everything, move and look behind everything, etc. Always bugs me, though, that no matter how carefully I test something, when I have someone else test the game they find something really obvious I missed right at the very start of the game. But then I guess that's why we have betatesters.

Too true! It never fails to amaze me what playtesters try to do to manipulate objects and solve puzzles. My adventure "Fortress of Fear" is being playtested a.t.m. and I keep muttering "I never thought of THAT!" as I am reading the transcript from the game by a playtester and seeing what inputs they have made. :haha:

You also get very frustrated as, to you, the solution to a puzzle is blindingly obvious (after all, you thought of it!) but unfortunately other people think in different ways. I have been surprised also that one's culture can also make a difference. The expression "needle in a haystack" is well-known in England, but maybe not in other countries. I have one English playtester and he found one object the very first time he played my game, whereas two other guys from the continent have missed it completely. (Hint there, P.O.!) :whistle:

What fun!! :D
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby ralphmerridew » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:58 pm

Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby Lazzah » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:03 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:One other thing:

Betatesting does not mean: Send game to testers, get results back, revise game, then release.

It means going through repeated cycles of "Send to testers, then modify game according to their reports" before the public release.

It also helps if those that volunteer to playtest games actually do so! I have had 7 people volunteer to playtest my new adventure and only two are actually playtesting the game and sending back very useful regular reports.

Only two of the other volunteers bothered to write back and say "Not my cup of tea", one being a fellow Drifter. One guy did send back a couple of reports at first, but I have heard nothing since, and the rest I have not heard anything from at all - total time-wasters! I don't mind if they don't like it or it is too difficult for them, I just wish they would let me know! :x
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Re: Play testing your game

Postby MikeDesert » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:06 am

I had a co worker play my Surban Prodigy game at lunch (I still haven't uploaded the 1.2 with a ton of bug fixes) and he was typing things like "go around the house" "stab the wall with the bone") I was losing my S**t saying "that's not how you play text adventures!!" haha
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