Today we had conducted testing of our first interactive prototype. I believe today's testing went really well because I had received a lot of constructive and actionable feedback. I think this is a result of me asking very specific questions. The questions I asked are below:
- Is the objective of the game clear?
- Should the player movement be adjusted?
- Should the alien movement be adjusted?
- How easy is it to shoot the letters?
- Is it easy to infer what happens when a letter-bomb has landed on the ground?
- Is the placement of the answer field effective?
- Overall, is the game too hard or easy?
Summary of Feedback
Game's objectiveFor most people, the objective of the game was clear. The reason for this is that they were already familiar with games, particularly Space Invaders. They knew that they had to shoot the falling letters. However, some people struggled to figure out which letters to shoot or spare. But after multiple playthroughs, these users became familiar with the game rules. A few users suggested that a hint for the secret word should be displayed, because they were just shooting all of the letters because they were afraid to lose. I am not too sure yet how to address this because I believe it will make the game too easy.
Player movementInterestingly, I had received mixed opinions regarding player movement. Half of the people loved the movement and thought it was perfect in terms of speed and smoothness. However, the other half did not like it at all because it wasn't accurate due to the deceleration. To address this, I will have to find a good balance of speed and deceleration. I am planning to reduce the amount of smoothing/deceleration and ensure that the player's speed is the same as the falling speed of the letters.
Alien movementThere were a few issues with the alien movement. The problem is that when multiple incorrect letters fall down at roughly the same time, the alien row will move down multiple times rapidly.This was overwhelming for users to see. One of the users suggested that I should implement a delay timer to prevent the aliens from moving down rapidly in such a small amount of time.
LettersMost users had no troubles shooting the actual letters themselves. They said that the letters were a big enough target and shouldn't be increased in size. One user suggested that the letters should be encapsulated in a circle. I think this is a good idea because it gives the letters, as targets, more surface area and a visible hit-box. This will aid in more accuracy for shooting the letters.
One major issue regarding the letters was that since they are randomly generated, sometimes the player has to wait for long periods of time for the correct letter to spawn. A great suggestion was that there should be some bias towards the correct letters for the generation and not to have it purely random. Another issue with the letters are that, sometimes, too many letters are spawned on the screen and it becomes very difficult to shoot them. This is due to the random timer interval which triggers a letter to spawn. Again, I will need to tweak this.
Overall difficultyThe overall difficulty of the game will need to be adjusted and balanced since I had received varying opinions regarding this.This was mainly due to the users' varying skill levels, but also because of some of the ways that the existing game mechanics that are implemented such as the player deceleration, alien movement and letter generation.
Over the next couple weeks I will tweak these mechanics and address the issues mentioned above.