On Saturday, March 22 Team Monkey Business had it’s 3rd playtest.
One first grader
One fourth grader
For this playtest we had a prototype with a basic subset of our desired functionality of the game. We had spent the week leading up to it polishing on what we had in place. Players could interact with their bookshelf (drag and drop books to different shelves, look at descriptions of books in the catalogue that correspond to those in the library), visit each other’s houses and make recommendations. Also, the current version had animations for the characters (walking and idle) and art assets for the neighborhood.
We wanted to:
Guage player’s overall impression of our prototype now that we had many of the features in place and linked together.
Ask questions to see if the next steps we had planned were heading in the right direction
Need of guidance
While our testers indicated in their surveys that they understood the different aspects of the game, it was clear from observation that they needed direction multiple times throughout the experience to perform all the interactions in the game.
To address this, as indicated earlier, we plan on implementing in game instructions in the near future. Also, more immediately we will redesign some of the UI elements in the game to make their functionality more apparent.
2. Not made for adversarial players and that’s ok
Our game holds little appeal for adversarial players, but as it is an educational game and meant to encourage learning communities and reading that is ok. The two testers we had for this playtest were clearly fans of adversarial games (they listed Titanfall as their current favorite game and destroying other players as their favorite part).
However, something to note , is that if their are enough player to player interactions then different types of players may interpret these interactions in ways that appeal to them. For example, today’s players saw visiting each other’s houses as “burglarizing”, and recommending books as “messing up” a friend’s house.
3. Quests/Exp may hold interest for gamers
Today’s testers, who are definitely gamers, indicated that among several choices quests and experience points was the most interesting thing for them.
Our Next Steps:
Our artists are currently working on additional assets as decorations and our game designers have created a specification for a quest and experience point system. So, depending on the feedback we receive from faculty after our half-semester presentation, our tentative plan is to move forward with implementing our quests and decorations systems.