Quick recap of our playtest evolution:
Playtest 1 was on September 9, 2010. We observed a standard casual game of Texas Hold ‘Em, played with ten people and a deck of cards.
Playtest 2 was on October 21, 2010. That was our first public attempt at getting all the hardware working together and creating the shared/hidden screen experience.
Playtest 3 was earlier today, November 4, 2010. We incorporated player’s Xbox live avatars on the shared screen. We were also able to link some stock animations with specific actions such as folding or raising. Sounds were also added to help players keep track of the action.
We faced some challenges getting the game running, even though it was running earlier in the day. We suspect there is an issue with our server interactions and the assigned session IDs. Hopefully we can uncover the culprit in the client trip next week. Some of the gameplay and the ability to play multiple hands is also a little unstable as well. All in all, this playtest was definitely a good learning experience.
One of the major developments for this playtest was our ability to test the game using an actual Windows Phone 7 instead of an emulator. We only had one phone with which to test, but we immediately noticed that the player with the phone focused a lot more attention to the shared screen than their own screen. Obviously holding a device in your hand is quite different than have a big monitor sitting in front of you at all times.
All playtest participants were entered into a drawing for an Xbox 360 game. Congratulations to Steve Geist and Lauren Lanster.
A big thanks to all of our playtesters! Our next scheduled playtest will be in two weeks.
Here are more pictures from the day: