BG2MVG 09: The Value of Playtesting

In this series of posts, I describe the process of me making a brand new 2d platformer from scratch. You can read the intro to this series here.

Also, this series is called a “guide” but it does not mean anyone should do things the way I am, it’s just the description of my action, which can be used as a guideline for someone who has never been developing games. Or you might be better off doing just the opposite of what I say=).

Hello everyone.

Last time I’ve published a new gameplay video, with moving platform, deadly spikes and narrow tunnel. This level was planned to be on of the earlier ones. Today I gave it to my brother, who is fully aware of game mechanics, because… well he is the programmer of this game=). I expected him to pass it rather easily, especially given the fact that he saw my video and the way to pass this level.

During this playtest session several interesting things have happened.

  1. This level is MUCH more challenging than I’ve anticipated. Yeah, I know, the “curse of knowing” and it was taken into account, but still, I was really surprised to see poor orange ball die again and again.
  2. As far as I could see, the fact that he saw my walkthrough changed nothing. It didn’t help him much. After all, when one has to do something really quickly he does not think of some video. Reflexes are what matters. Apparently I have miscalculated the learning curve. Well I have no chart of that curve or anything, but I should give more similar but simpler tasks to players to master before this very level may be presented to them. So now I have to tweak sequence of levels a bit.
  3. No matter how constrained the level is, there are always ways to play it “wrong”. Well, not wrong, but differently. For me this part is always fascinating. Somehow, when player does something I never thought anyone would do, there is some strange sort of connection with him. And of course I am to assess those “gameplay variations” – some are perfectly valid and are actually better then my original plan. And some are not and have to be taken care of.

It’s been said billion times – playtesting is essential, feedback is the real treasure, do it as soon as possible. And the initial plan was in accordance with this concept. We planned to prepare a demo version with 20-25 levels, with somewhat good-looking visuals and concentrate on the Steam Greenlight and crowdfunding campaign. But so far we failed to find a reliable artist (predictably enough people hesitate to work for free). So here is a new plan: we are preparing a demo version out of the assets we currently have and give it for you to play. We keep looking for an artist, and we hope this demo will prove that we are not giving up this game.

If you think this series could be interesting and have not yet subscribed to this blog – feel free to do so. Do not forget to share this post and comment on it, we really could use some publicity and feedback. Thanks!

Good bye and we’ll see what happens next!

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We are looking for a 2d artist who would help us determine the visual style of the game (our thoughts on this matter will be discussed in the next article) and aid in prepping crowdfunding campaign.

If interested, please, contact me!

Skype: arseny1987

Email: arseniyshved@gmail.com

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