Playtest March 11th and Ubisoft

After the playtest on March 11th and Ubisoft we got a lot of further feedback on how we can improve our game and a lot of different things we’re going to have to discuss. Here is what people said:

For reference: ! in the text below means what they’ve actually said

PERSON 1:

  • D/n know which door to go through after getting out into the hallway
  • Walked towards the staircase in the start since it was open
  • Non-essential pickupable objects in the hallway are too distracting
  • ! “What’s my objective of this game”
  • Needing to break the lights was not obvious
  • Audio probably didn’t play (it didn’t)
  • Took 5 iterations through the portals to break the lights
  • ! “There needs to be a hint or something on what to do next”
  • Objective needs to be clearer (in the kitchen)
  • Trying the doors one by one after the bathroom
  • Microwave is too dark – can’t see the portal to return
  • ! “So you guys made a puzzle game ehhh?”
  • Things weren’t intuitive

PERSON 2:

  • Had to introduce movement buttons b/c no direction on the paintings
  • Need to distinguish b/w non-essential and essential items in the game (ex. hallways)
  • Crosshair ray might be a bit too narrow/short (?) (something about not being able to pick things up the way they wanted to)
  • CENTRALIZE BUTTONS -> people want to press ‘T’ to “use” since T was introduced as “drop”
  • Had to notify that “use” and “drop” were 2 different functions
  • Did not walk into the open pre-tutorial door as first instinct
  • Again, picking up non-essential items
  • Enterable doors in the hallways are really not obvious
  • TeleportTo for the bathroom pushes player inside the niche of the wall: when the player back up they hit the portal and teleports again
  • When exist to the hallway after bathroom -> head directly ACROSS the hall to the opposite door
  • Cookbook should show ingredients
  • Put things into the pot is not intuitive
  • Orb was not well lit enough to be known for pick up
  • Direction of guiding footsteps should probably change after pickup
  • Hard to convey there were 3 ingredients
  • Interact with pot was not obvious
  • ! “It was interesting!”

PERSON 3:

  • Pedestal in the pre-tutorial isn’t that well lit
  • Frustrated that he can’t drop things back ONTO the table (where he picked up)
  • Has to explain leading door candlelights
  • DOOR pushes player backwards
  • People think they can climb UP walls for some reason
  • Lock the room when they enter!
  • Kitchen is too dark overall
  • Show how footsteps changed between each element in the pot
  • Really need to highlight objects that are interactable
  • Pot isn’t well lit enough to see -> players often missed it

PERSON 4:

  • Did not first realize what a crosshair does
  • ALSO, pressed DROP for ‘USE’
  • Went immediately to hallways items (again)
  • Tries to inspect the first dining set WAY too closely
  • Do not follow the footsteps back to pot (after picking up ONE single item)
  • Drop the crown on the middle of her way back
  • Disorients self on a wall
  • Does not look at orb at all
  • Picks up objects but d/n not intuitively know to put them in the pot
  • Wrong order is sucky!!! (my footprint logic wasn’t fixed then)
  • Did not miss the necklace but missed the orb (again)
  • Did! figure out that we were in the microwave + the portal there (it was dark)
  • Seems to not follow footsteps, again

PERSON 5:

  • Climbing the initial slope is so difficult
  • Welp -> hallway items again
  • Goes to the staircase immediately again
  • Candles on top of door is REALLY not obvious
  • Should we make bathroom to kitchen linear? b/c now they can choose to enter any of the two
  • The player has no way of knowing where they will teleport to – they get confused by where they land after portals
  • Also, it seems hat players have no trouble getting themselves inside portals
  • ! “Is this normal” on looking at the two sides of the bathroom
  • Broke the light but the key drop is almost too quick for people to realize what happened
  • Could pick up the key on the toilet from the other side of the wall
  • Confused self with orientation of the portals
  • ! “Am I walking on the wall or what’s happening here?”
  • Went directly across the hall to try out next door
  • Went too close to the door and got pushed back when door opening
  • Only followed footsteps when told so
  • Lighting in the kitchen is hard to see + need to show footsteps changing paths
  • Most people either miss the orb or the necklace
  • ! “oh this one” (after) being told about the last item

PERSON 6:

  • Why is he insistent on holding the jug from the hallway???
  • How did he manage to drop the jug on the oven???
  • ! “Oh finally” (after exiting the microwave, couldn’t see the portal, but want to walk into the microwave door to exit)
  • Pressed T for use (again)
  • Slowly getting the hang as more and more items are retrieved
  • People not following the footsteps
  • ! “Ugh you kinda just walked right past it” (on the necklace)

PERSON 7:

  • Had to explicitly mention the stove and the pot on the kitchen (too dark to see)
  • D/N follow footsteps (again)
  • Necklace wasn’t obvious (again)
  • ! “Why am I so small… Why is the fork so big… ahhh!” (came to a sudden realization about the room after seeing the fork at the end of the kitchen)

PERSON 8:

  • Cannot see where the key fell to in the bathroom
  • Confused by the path because do not know where portals lead to
  • Unguided success!!! (in the bathroom)
  • Bubbling of the pot is too loud and too prevalent in game, gets annoying after a while
  • People like to go forward after grabbing an item and not head back to use it
  • Motion blur (due to fps) is disorientating and motion sickening

PERSON 9:

  • Had to explicitly say that hallway items are not used
  • Was interested in portals and was teleporting back and forth
  • ! “What, I’m on the wall now.” (after first teleport)
  • Should disable room after they complete
  • Had a friend sitting beside him – solved puzzles faster
  • Went to the door on the left of the bathroom for the next room
  • Bronze items look too much like gold and misleading
  • Yellow plate is also misleading
  • ! “Nice!” (After looking up at spoons and forks)
  • ! “Oh it’s upside down!”
  • ! “Oh it’s supposed to be like that!”
  • Could not see stove/pot
  • Like the super large fork at the end
  • Still can hear boiling from “any room” (thinks that different areas of the room are different rooms, as well as sound too loud)
  • WANT a shift button to increase walking speed
  • ! “This is the trippiest game I’ve ever played”
  • ! “You can pick up this big thing?”
  • ! “But actually the fork is big so you got smaller” (Upon realizing different scale with fork after talking with friend)

PERSON 10:

  • Cannot walk up the stairs in pre-tutorial
  • Camera 7 not rendering (?)
  • Door: can i run into this?
  • Finals in kitchen, “ah, the footsteps”
  • Can i break microwave glass?
  • Can i run aster?
  • No interact on frying pan
  • Boiling is annoying (sound)
  • Start to go to stairway

PERSON 11:

  • Sanitary earbuds please
  • Did not know what a crosshair is
  • Had a lot of questions during play through
  • Candles are way too faint even after mentioning
  • Key dropping sound plays at the beginning of the load, not the breaking of the glass
  • Putting portal right beside the bathroom wall did not encourage exploration/teleported player too quickly/on accident
  • Kitchen: how to direct attention away from the dining set at the front

PERSON 12:

  • Habit of pressing ‘SPACE’ to interact
  • ! “Why am I getting pushed back?” (on falling down the pre-tutorial ramp)
  • Immediately goes to try for the doors one by one
  • ! “That’s whack yo” (on looking at the bathroom ceiling)
  • Motion sick: spin is bad
  • ! “Oh so it’s like the 2 rooms are flipped”
  • Hard to illustrate that this is all of ONE room just different sides
  • Amazed on openable drawers
  • Proceeds to keep opening drawers
  • Expect to break kitchen light (a lot of them actually said this -> consistent introduction of mechanics?)
  • Did not infer the same footstep following mechanic as the bathroom though (d/n follow footsteps)
  • ! “I’m so lost” (completely ignoring footsteps)
  • ! “Do I wait for the boiling to finish and then melt [the other item]?”
  • Is very comfortable with portals + accustomed to them
  • Boiling gets annoying
  • Gold looks too much like bronze

PERSON 13:

  • Oh lol a box collider on the spoon wall was not big enough
  • Necklace is so hard to see
  • Jumped up in shock when shattering sound plays (not the first time someone was shocked either)
  • Walked towards the final staircase (again)

PERSON 14 (not on survey):

  • Tries to find fallen key in the laundry hamper and trash, not toilet (key fall is hard to see)
  • Chris already told him about the candlelight so opened bathroom fine, but did not see kitchen even though BEING TOLD about the light (wayyy too faint)
  • Thought the key unlocks the next door (not the first time)
  • Thought lights are all breakable (false familiar mechanic)
  • Thought footprints are where you have already BEEN, not where to lead you to go (worked out but not the right purpose)
  • Likes the maze aesthetic
  • Why is the orb squished when picked up?
  • Want a consistent visual cue to lead them to the next goal
  • Want an indicator for completed areas
  • Motion sickness exists
  • Lack of direction generally

— PLAYTEST: UBISOFT (Thursday) —

  • First person puzzle – puzzle?
  • 2nd room is wayyy too dark to see (the one with the 2 portals)
  • Ahhh the lag
  • Breaking a simple light doesn’t make you particularly less rich
  • The spoon looks a bit too reflexive
  • Collection is for melting -> not JUST collecting
  • Match narrative to gameplay
  • Maybe look around surrounding more (how to get players to)
  • Inventory items…?

ART:

  • Portal: a lot but too crush black
    o Spiral/Distortion/Wavy effect
    o Can sell more
  • Footsteps are cool but why are there 2 sets? Bring down to 1
    o Can be simplified
  • The main marble floor is good, but some parts of kitchen -> imbalance of details
    o Watch out for scale of things
    o Wall paper can be scaled up/or is scaled up too big
    o Img on wall is too big -> loses resolution
  • Can have more details ex. Door frames to sell room as a manor better
    o Little things that can be more effective
  • No shadows -> d/n look grounded

LEVEL DESIGN:

  • Immediate very first room: smash and break is consistent with lore
    o But! Egg on pedestal and portal came out of nowhere
  • Struggling to follow w/ puzzles to escape room
  • Make sure the players KNOWS about the 2 keys
  • Consistently remind the player the OBJECTIVE and how to get the key
  • Melting in kitchen: theme is correct, but couldn’t tell what the collection is about
  • Art can support design, highlighting, shadows, colours
    o Lit pedestal on dark room – focal point
  • Kitchen: is cool abstract but could use highlight and shadows to create path
  • Change scale when moving around -> need landmark to help the player orient themselves!
    o Inventory rotation was not obvious to them to keep track of the orientation
    o Also, you aren’t holding something all the time

AI:

  • Honestly don’t get reason to have portals
  • Prefer exploration > portals -> (but free cams can take away exploration?)
  • The gameplay mechanic is confusing
  • Was tripping out… emmm is that the desired effect?
  • Personally we aren’t clear of the objective
  • What are your 3’cs? Explorations? Are the portals necessary?
  • Portals may be hogging up budget
  • Smash glass -> one of the things would be satisfying to smash everything
  • Natural way to discover a house would be nice

LEVEL DESIGN:

  • Want to establish weirdness only after making the player feel like it’s a NORMAL house first
    o Looking up at the bathroom ceiling and discovering it was a duplicate was a good way to do so
    o Kitchen: too immediately weird w/ the giant cutlery
  • Kitchen:
    o Good that we highlight the pan
    o But cook book sprite is lacking to guide the player
    o Maybe put the microwave beside the pot to make the players SEE that we need to get into the microwave somehow
    o THEN just put roadblock to eliminate and let the player break the barriers

AI:

  • One thing that comes to mind
    o Don’t treat the first portal just as a DOOR
    o It doesn’t do anything if it doesn’t teleport you like the rest of the portals
  • Simplify other portals to get one SOLID portal mechanic that lead you weird places
  • More purposeful puzzles than just trial & error
  • Less black on portals to take things away

LEVEL DESIGN:

  • Seems like a walking simulator > puzzle
  • Problem: need to constraint the portals as a mechanic
    o Maybe to 1 or 2 GOOD ONES that have creative design to create a path for the player to get through the game
    o Let portals become a skill that is memorized
    o Want the players to KNOW when things CALL FOR portals

ART:

  • Can push lighting MUCH further
  • Emphasize things! Like a darkened room & putting spotlights
  • Don’t have an exterior blue to make it seem light out
  • Chandeliers!
  • Kitchen is too high -> can gradient to darker ceilings
    o Ex. Too much space above the cabinets
    o Use details! Such as murals/paintings to fill space
    o Classic: an old white man with a monocle
    o Things that only rich people would have

OVERALL: really cool

Q&A:
Level Design:

  • Think about the feeling of the players, you don’t want them to feel the climax before you introduce anything else that’s boring-er
  • Performance: path is limited, individual objects with expensive shaders are costly
  • Have a different kind of weirdness
    o Ex. Bathroom can be room duplicated up and down, and since it’s smaller it can rely on portals no problem

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