Jeff Bell
This post is another update on the development of my team’s game for the 3D Game Capstone class. The major event this week was our preparation for a playtest with industry professionals.

First Playable

Our goal this week was to create what’s called the “first playable”. As you’d expect, this is the first, playable version of the game. For our first playable we essentially made a tutorial level for the first portion of the game.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to polish it as much as we could. One of our challenges was to try to make the game seem interesting even though there isn’t much story and the gameplay is only a few minutes long right now. Overall I would say that the most successful part of our first playable was the aesthetic of the game. The opening area and village really turned out quite nicely and have a wonderful look.

An in-game sunrise

The Playtests

For each playtest we had a few rules as to how we conducted ourselves while someone was playing the game. First and foremost, the player is never wrong. If the user does something that we don’t want them to do, then they aren’t wrong, they’re just playing the game the way they want to. It’s up to us to make a note of their decisions and actions to figure out how we can do better to lead them in the direction we want.

The other really important rule (which is a hard one to follow) is to not say anything while someone is playing our game. This is important to really see how someone who hasn’t seen the game before reacts to it. We could constantly intervene and say “Oh you do it like this” or “Don’t do it that way”, but it doesn’t give us any feedback on what they didn’t understand. More importantly, it doesn’t let us see if they could eventually figure it out or even find another way to do it.

Our game is puzzle and physics based which leaves a ton of room for people to either not find a solution or just break everything. We definitely learned a lot about how the current puzzles in our world play. For example, we have a puzzle where you use a see-saw to get yourself close enough to a lever to interact with it. To us the goal seemed fairly straightforward, but there were a ton of different ways the puzzle was interpreted. The biggest thing we learned was that the puzzle is not quite clear enough on what to do. That being said, we also want people to be able to complete each puzzle in different ways so it was neat to see all the ways we could incorporate solving the puzzle.

Overall, it was a good experience but we are slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities of where to go next. There are so many different ways we could go from here. It seems like right now we are leaning towards adding more gameplay – especially some that involves using the gluing ability. As of right now our first tutorial level only uses telekinesis. Our hope is that once we add another level to the game we will be able to have a more clear goal of what we want the game to become. Then, we can polish the game up and adjust it to however we see fit. Until that time comes, happy hacking!