This past Saturday we had 24 playtesters ranging from teenagers to adults coming in to play and observe The Drop. It was pretty interesting and fun while also confirming a few things we know we need to improve. As we expected, the game was difficult for people outside of our demographic (gamers, ideally ones that play FPS or rhythm games.) but for the groups we got that were in our demographic they were able to surprisingly quickly adapt to the game and enjoy themselves.
Two of the biggest and immediate concerns were the visibility of our crossfader and players. Our playtesters often struggled to find the crossfader and their opponent in the map, so we are working on ways to allow both to stand out more prominently.
Something players would also just stand next to the crossfader which creates a stalemate (the crossfader won’t move if both players are standing next to it.) We came up with a few solutions to this, but likely the one we will be going with is making it so if both players are standing next to the crossfader it will begin to shake and create a small explosion, launching both players back and away from the crossfader. We will be playtesting this to see if it helps change the players’ behavior.
Another thing playtesters didn’t grasp immediately was the items. Elizabeth has been working this week to replace the placeholders with more intuitive items. Through the playtest only a few players went for beastmode and players didn’t generally get high enough combos for the combobreaker to be relevent. JD theorized that rather than the playtesters’ skill being the limiting factor for combos, it was that they didn’t realize they should be attempting to get combos.
Initially, we had tried creating a combo indicator in the bottom right of the screen, but our playtesters barely noticed that. JD designed a new system where the notes coming across the screen fill up and change color according to your current combo level. This way the areas the player needs to focus on are consolidated. We will be testing the new design to see if players notice it and attempt to get more combos as a result.
UI Notes Redesign
Throughout our game’s development, we have recognized the need to iterate on the design of the notes the players need to press in order to fire. We had several ideas we were considering throughout the semester and have been testing a few of them this week. One of the designs we are testing has notes coming from left and right converging at your crosshairs (rather than just the right side.) Below is a video showing another idea we are testing.
What you will notice in the video above is the notes have been redesigned from a circular shape to a diamond one. One of the issues with the previous UI was that when many notes appeared in a row, it was difficult to differentiate them. The newer design makes it a little bit easier thanks to the points on the top of the diamonds centering where you should be hitting. In the video you can also see one of the possibilities we are looking at where the notes actually follow your opponent around, rather than always being present.
This makes things a little bit more intuitive, but potentially has some other issues including being more difficult, but we will be playtesting it and a few other options to see what works best.
As always there is a ton more we are working on, but that is all for now.
Until next time,