The lightning rounds are over!
That is right, we finished our third “one-week” prototype this past Tuesday (and we’re very excited about it). Three straight prototypes of this scope and magnitude may have been ambitious, but we stuck to our process and our deadlines and churned out three solid starting points for further iteration.
With these demos done, we kept on schedule with aiming to playtest them and see which one people enjoyed the most/would choose to play again. We spent half of Tuesday and Wednesday prepping for the playtests in two ways:
- Revisiting each of the old prototypes and fixing small bugs/inconsistencies to make each demo playable all the way through
- Developing playtest schedules, surveys, checklists and interviews in order to accurately gauge observation and feedback
Wait wait, speaking of all these demos, it has occurred to me that most of our readers actually do not know what we have actually been making. We have kept the stories and concepts under wraps, but now they are ready for the light of day. In these past few weeks we have made:
- Pegasus: a competitive flying experience where guests tilt their bodies to control a flying horse through Ancient Greece to capture rings, chase their friends and explore the city
- BusBot: a cooperative catching and balancing experience where guests share the duties of a new, unstable restaurant appliance trying to catch plates being thrown at them by angry customers
- Daredevil: an asymmetrical, competitive experience centered on dueling stuntmen who take turns position-matching to complete tricks or sabotaging their competitors.
Now that you all know what we tested, here is what we learned:
- Positive: people loved the feeling of freedom and control of the horse; people enjoyed flying, chasing, and exploring
- Negative: People felt a lack of speed control; worried about collisions; motion sickness is a concern
- Positive: Funny situation; balancing was an interesting mechanic, cool to see lots stacked together; liked to be the person who controlled spinning
- Negative: Scoring was confusing/unnecessary; felt like they should be standing; did not like being the person without control of spinning
- Positive: Position-matching is intuitive, sabotage is enjoyable and promotes one-upping each other
- Negative: two players’ actions felt disconnected; did not really need to be in a fancy chair
Our biggest question, though, came in the realm of replayability. Considering our target audience and goals of our client, we wanted to make sure we learned which experience had the most potential for skill mastery through practice and encouraged to return to play more. Out of our 26 playtesters, over 90% said they would play Pegasus again if given the chance to play one more. Big news there.
With these builds, their accompanying data and design documents, we will be pitching our concepts to our clients this upcoming week. This future discussion will determine which prototype to spend our last 8 weeks on and what other design principles to keep in mind as we work on it. This exercising of pitching our concepts has gone hand-in-hand with developing our “Halves” presentation for next week. We’ve really had to sort through the volume of brainstorming and creation that has made up these first 8 weeks to determine what is truly important and integral to our design process and where we are now.
Well, that’s about it for us for now. Join us next week as we learn what we will spend our time on the rest of the semester!