Aquasition – Dev Diary Part 13 – Testing

After receiving some feedback from a testing session I have decided there are a few things that I should attempt to change in the game with the time I have left before the public events.

Here are some of the key points from of the feedback, both positive and negative:

Positive

  • Minimal design ensures the player doesn’t feel overwhelmed of pressured by tasks.
  • The game lets you learn intuitively what to due to minimal instructions.
  • The game feel and the controls were comfortable and felt good.
  • The music was nice.
  • The underwater setting was communicated effectively
  • Good sense of depth thanks to the parallax

Negative

  • The sparkly collectibles could be hard to spot against certain colours.
  • At the end it looks like the player merely moves backwards towards the horizon.

Other Comments

  • “I didn’t notice I was getting slower until around three collectibles but kept picking more up because video games…”
  • “There’s a point when you think, do I want more?”
  • “You think you want the things but you don’t”
  • “It looks like you get chained down with links around your neck”

Testing

I feel like the feedback was pretty good since at least the point of the game was communicated effectively and the player received the intended experience. This was because they played how I intended for them too and hopefully this means the overall design of the game encourages the player to act in this way.

After some thinking I might make ending the game an option for the player that they are made aware of when they start. This would eliminate the need to try and find a one size fits all scenario that triggers the ending and make it more personal to the player. The issue currently is that the ending is triggered when the player has no collectibles on them. However, this would trigger the ending when the game starts, so I added both a time delay and a requirement for the player to collect a certain amount then drop them all. This scenario means that some players may spend time collecting then dropping all of the collectibles but not trigger the ending if they didn’t pass the threshold. I guess what I am trying to do is put numbers on the player’s realisation of something, whilst also limiting there ability to just end the game straight away before they have this realisation. What I could do is provide the player with the ability to press a button to trigger an endgame screen. I could leave the threshold stuff as it is, but if the player presses the button before, the player character could simply sink to the bottom with all the collectibles on it. Maybe I could make the only way to end the game at all, be by pressing a certain button. This would make the ending very personal and could be an interesting way to tackle my problem. Although, the recent testing has gone quite well and people have managed to achieve the ending and also understand the game concept.

What I need to do now, before making any big changes to mechanics, is make sure the ending has more impact visually and won’t be misinterpreted. I suppose that maybe that could be the case with a lot of things in this game. The player needs to interpret the game in the way I intend and a lot of that comes down to the presentation in this instance I think.