On Monday, Feb. 24th we had our first playtest at Dickson Elementary School. For playtesters we had a class of 15 fourth graders (10 girls, 5 boys)
Important to note , our playtesters were participants in the Questyinz pilot, so they had played the original game.
Our users were able to test a rough prototype in with a static image for an avatar and an interactive bookshelf with basic functionality.
We had two main goals for this playtest:
- See how the users interacted with our bookshelf.
- Did they actively seek out books they had read?
- Were they able to understand the feature? Did it make sense to them?
- Get general information on what our players wanted from the game. This could come from:
- Watching them play
- Asking questions about the current game and games they play on their own time.
We polled our testers for basic information on their preferences, as well as their feelings about their original game (e.g. what they like and don’t like about it).
Some of our takeaways:
- Many fourth graders are already gamers.
- Games they mentioned included “Minecraft”, “Animal Jam” (an MMO for younger audiences), and “The Sims”
- Some things they liked about these games were the customization, moving around/exploring, and 3D graphics (presumably for its immersive aspect)
- Fourth graders don’t have issues understanding and poking around the bookshelf feature, but they aren’t particularly interested publicly displaying information on their reading habits
- While we know that players sought out specific books they read (they mentioned that some were missing and they would like them added), they need motivation to explore outside of books they already knew they like .
- Many players just ended up “decorating” the bookshelf by putting different colored books on it.
- Players want a way to communicate in-game, and interact with their friends in any way possible
Our Next Steps:
Our next planned actions for the game based on this feedback and our existing objectives:
Allow users to visit each other’s house and recommend books. This should begin to satisfy the player’s desire to communicate and interact, and also give them a feeling of exploring.
Give the players object’s to put in their house. This seems to be a persistent desire of our players. While the current “Questyinz” gives some of this functionality, we want to give interactive objects that will help with the feel of an alive, playful world.