13: ETC Playtest

Download Illuminate Issue 13


Saturday’s Playtest at the ETC

On Saturday, with the help of the faculty and staff here at the Entertainment Technology Center, we were able to bring in eleven kids–seven boys and four girls, ages 6-8–to play our game, now titled Rumble Blocks. The kids came with their parents or designated chaperones to take a tour of the ETC building with its many devices, games, statues, and posters. After the tour and a pizza lunch, they settled in to play our game.


This was our first opportunity to have a playtest that completely consisted of kids in our target age range, so we were very excited to see how they would do. The results happily exceeded our expectations.  We split the group in half and tested two versions of our tutorial–one with voiceover instructions and one without, relying solely on visuals. Both versions fared about equally in terms of how long it took the kids to pick up the game mechanics, so this should mean the visuals are doing their job.


Some kids did very well and beat the entire game during the playtest session, while some others had a harder time. The kids who did well seemed to grasp the physicality of the blocks and thought of their structure as well as the checkpoints, whereas the kids who struggled tended to be the ones who focused overly on the checkpoints and didn’t think of the blocks as making a single structure.


The kids played the game for about 45 minutes and stayed engaged the entire time. We got some great video footage, tested our data collection, and set up the game to take screenshots of what each kid’s tower looked like whenever they would win, lose, or hit reset. These screenshots will help us improve our levels and will help HCII look for early patterns in the ways the kids build.


Thanksgiving Break

This week the Illuminate Team is on Thanksgiving Break. We would like to send our thanks as well as good tidings as we enter the bustling Holiday Season. We wish everyone safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving.








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