Playtesting Report

Our playtesting report is a culmination of a few different weeks blogs:

March 7th playtesting with charts:

March 11th playtesting with charts:

Overall playtest feedback:

We opted for posting links to the individual blog posts instead of completely posting it all again here.


Overall Playtesting Feedback

Problem 1:

Problem: Lack of guidance in the hallway
Candle that illuminates the doors that open are too high up to be seen
Players try out doors one by one / often go to the wrong door

Solution: Bring candles down to the ground level so the player can see which doors can be accessed
More candles around the doors

Problem 2:

Problem: Materials such as the floor have too much roughness and the tile size is too big on certain objects.
The shininess of metallic and wood materials are costly and interfering with being able to see the portals clearly. (bathroom/kitchen)
Portal texture maybe too costly and does not necessarily help players direct themselves to the next portal

Solution: Toning down the intensity of material normal/roughness/smoothness.
Adjusting shiny objects to be less shiny near the portals. Portals ripple effect helps them stand out.
On high spec mode the portals reflects where the players will end up teleporting to, so they indicate to the player where they will be.

Problem 3:

Problem: Hard to distinguish between essential object and general interactable objects (bathroom)

Solution: Essential objects now have glimmer effects and highlights when you walk near them to indicate that they can be picked up

Problem 4:

Problem: Confused by where the portal takes them and what the portals do.

Solution: Added a secondary tutorial room that teaches player what the portal is

Problem 5:

Problem: Sometimes essential items are harder to see under certain lighting

Solution: Kitchen scenes like the cauldron are now illuminated with a spotlight. More items will be clearly illuminated against a darker background

Problem 6:

Problem: Inventory could only use one item at a time, but can hold both things at once, so they had to drop an item to use the other item (kitchen)

Solution: Now inventory can only hold one thing at once
The player also knows which next item to find (in order)

Problem 7:

Problem: Players sometimes walk into a room and leaves before they complete the objective since the doors are open.
Players need something to guide them to their objective in game (hallway/bathroom)

Solution: Locking the players in
Voice/visual cues to tell the player again what they need to accomplish before leaving

Problem 8:

Problem: Players often disorient themselves after teleporting from portal to portal

Solution: A cube that is a HUD (on the top right) to showcase which surface the player is on.

Problem 9:

Problem: Sometimes the player will experience one second of delay as the room loads when they open the door.
Door sometimes knocks player back if they are too close (hallway)

Solution: Player root first load a simple room without details and then replace with actual room when fully loaded
Door opens the other way

Problem 10:

Problem: Players want to walk directly to the ending staircase (hallway)

Solution: Ending staircase will be unlocked after player collecting all keys

Problem 11:

Problem: Players always want to pick up and interact with the items in the hallway
Players likes explore and interact with all things in their environment
Players want to play around with non-essential items
Breaking objects are integrative to the narrative of destroying the manor’s valuables.

Solution: All non-essential items should not be pick-up-able, but should only be able to be shattered upon interact. Most items in the bathroom are currently breakable, but the hallway interactables and the kitchen interactables still need to break
Cabinets and drawers are all openable when the players interact with them

Here is a demo of what we currently had for the demo:

Beta playtesting demo

Openable Doors and Drawers!

Through our playtesting sessions so far, we discovered that our testers really love being able to open doors and drawers. As a designer with programming experience, I created a few tools to lighten the load on our dedicated programmers while making it easier for our artists to set up scenes with more interactions without needing to create dozens of different animations.

A demo of what the ‘drawer-opening’ script is capable of.
The ‘door-opening’ module in action!
Setting up colliders for the half-circle table.
Tables in the Hallway scene.

Floor Design Template

Just wanted to share a demo of this floor design template I made for our team to use when creating floor tiles and sections. It’s a triangular grid that simplifies the process of lining up the geometry and making sure all parts are symmetrical.

Demo of the tileable “Floor Design” template made in Illustrator
Early prototypes of some tiles I designed with my tile template.

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


  • 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


  • 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!”


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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…?


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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

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

Playtest March 7th

We’ve finally got our game into the hands of players to truly understand how they played it and what they thought of it.

We got a lot of great feedback that will help us iterate before the Ubisoft demo next week.

The feedback:

-players look around the room without prompting
-trouble walking up the centre platform because it requires player to hold and walk up onto it but almost everyone just gave up and thought they couldnt go on the platform
-circles the room atleast once before noticing the portal. believes the door should open instead
-does not always recognize the portal as a space to walk through (a more dramatic cue may be needed)
-skull is difficult to pick up
-skull button prompt does not always show up
-portal out of room sometimes is white or black
-Sometimes do not notice the key

-Majority checks the items on tables (attracted to shiney things)
-Everyone did not know which door to go to
-Half of players walked to end of hall believing that was the next area due to the open space shown
-players did not know to use interact button on door to open it
-someone requested the next available door to have a spotlight on it
-candle not obvious enough

-When entering the bathroom, player rises a little bit off the ground
-Lag in bathroom and lag continues when leaving room
-Footsteps helpful guide as to where to go
-Players got very motion sick (due to low fps)
-Players got sick from motion blur (due to low fps)
-Confused by looking up in the bathroom
-Cannot find the key after returning to floor
-Cannot make distinction between ceiling and floor
-Foot steps caused confusion when on the wall (may be due to low fps)

General Comments/Observations
-Level Up is LOUD. Do not rely on subtle audio clues
-Unsure what to do next when did not hear audio prompts clearly
-More visual indicators to the next step
-Headphones > earbuds at Level Up
-Confused by the crosshair and object hold location on screen (however, this was only Erika)
-Object that player is holding grows in size when pressed against the target area it is supposed to be placed in (model size actually changes. This occurs in tutorial and kitchen)
-Object highlight needed on objects that can be picked up
-particle effect needed on key
-game feels boring when there are no instructions or when player misses the instruction
-game feels boring when what they think can be picked up in non-interactable
-want to pick up shiny objects
-when teleporting between floor and walls, the two require clear distinction in the material
-motivated to play the game because of aesthetics

This gives us a lot of information for us to work with and in our group meeting on Friday we planned accordingly.

For starters, we’re going to re-vamp the tutorial room so that things like walking up the ramp are much easier and also fine tuning everything so the player knows exactly what they’re doing at all times.

Next, in the bathroom, we’re going to implement optimizations so that the players no longer face lag and making sure that players know which floor side they are on at all times by differentiating them in some way.

After that, we’ve taken into account some of the general observations/feedback the players gave. We’re going to look into better visual cues whether that be an object outline or better indication of where to go, independent of the voice. Next, we want to add more interaction to the rooms. Cabinets in the kitchen should be openable, drawers in the hallway should be openable etc.

Team Progress Update – March 5th

Currently, our team is preparing for the playtest Thursday so I just wanted to make a brief update in regards to what we are all working on and trying to get ready.

Recently, we decided that our bathroom tutorial room wasn’t good enough. It didn’t introduce picking up objects or going through portals, you just sort of had to find out how to do that. Instead of the bathroom as the tutorial room, we’ve decided to create a room that happens before the bathroom. In order to make sure the playtesters fully understand how to play the game without having our help this new tutorial room will have voice lines depicting what to do as well as a very clear guide on how to proceed to get out of the tutorial. This should help players easily pick up our game.

Planning of the new ‘room before the bathroom’ secondary tutorial room
Where the new secondary tutorial room will be located
Modelling the new room

Next, we’ve decided to revamp the bathroom itself to amplify some of the weirdness of the manor. We did this by increasing all the dimensions of the room and increasing the bathroom ceiling height to comical proportions. This will allow us to further show that this isn’t some normal manor with a simple ghost training grounds.

The new bathroom layout is much taller.

After that, we’ve decided to fix the kitchen puzzle by using portals to allow yourself to move into objects (such as the fridge) and onto the walls/roof to solve puzzles. One thing we didn’t previously do enough of is using our really cool portal mechanic to play the game. It was previously only done once in the bathroom and there was a massive disconnect between the puzzle in the bathroom and the kitchen.

Prototyping the new Kitchen scene layout.

Lastly, we’re working on bringing together the narration with the overall story and connecting those with the puzzles to make our game feel more cohesive.

At the Alpha

As we’ve progressed through the reading week we’ve been able to create a demo showcasing quite a few different things about our game. There are two main things we wanted to be done for the alpha. First, we’d really like to have three rooms: the hallway, the bathroom, and the kitchen fully worked out in regards to puzzles and wall/roof walking. Second, we want different rooms to be able to connect in a NON RANDOM way.

We know that we’re a bit behind in development because we ended up switching our concept but we were able to make quite a bit of progress:

Alpha version of Aimless Manor

After the presentation on Feb 25th we got a few comments:

2 puzzles completed?
– wasn’t clear that we showed both puzzles
initially when you are presenting the concept w/o dictating the game
– need to explicitly define what the game is
– what are you really doing
– what is your main feature
– no friction with first time user: keep in mind of small window space to engage your audience
– “gratifying???” first time user experience
– if you have to explain to them, a lot won’t even listen
– people won’t even listen @ level up just even due to being audio queues
– if you put it in someone’s hand + don’t say anything, they should figure out what to do on their own
– like being going upside down, but what is the benefit
– how can you complete the game with it? b/c it seems like it’s not NECESSARY right now
– rendering: first pass? or use different lighting + shaders

Considered what the brand is going to look like?
– The identity
– Brand
– Logo mark
– Before trying to even engage in the game, that’s important
Stars on everything that’s interactive
– What is the challenge if all are lead the player through?
– Promote exploration a bit more

2nd puzzle: go up in difficulty from tutorial
– currently have a lot of steps
– you can make a lot in that room interactable in the future
– ease player into it
– might have subtleties
Instead of stars on walls, footsteps
– clear transition whent hat happens? in a different mode
– looks like instantaneous now
– so why do you have to get on the ceiling if you can interact on the floor
– establish constraint

? How to hook with tutorial
– Usually put the player on “rails”
– Walk though them for first “place” so they understand rationale
– What is my objective = so they can either get off the rail or stay on it
– small visual cues to EASE person into game
– either audio cues or small dialogue
– PRESENT the audience the opportunity to dismiss or learn from the game
– need to have handholding
– if use audio cues, bring GOOD HEADPHONES
– if stove has red light = red light = cannot use, but how can i make this usable?
– SHOW what they can use and they cannot
– have symbols (ex) on door
– whatever is A PUZZLE in an escape room – made CLEAR that you know it’s a part of the puzzle
– a part of the immersion
– Particle effects do take you out of the immersion

When the person is actually collecting the keys
– they need engagement so they can get more
– when you play “candy crush” – positive engagement
– Significance of combining the three items?
– Hitchhiker’s guide to the galay’s level of arbitrariness of the combining

STEVE: you had that interesting thing to travel between portals
– understand why portals work in the first room, but didn’t use in the second room
– cool if you did more to explore more sides of the room to solve the puzzle
– (basically implement portals in every room)
– need more exploration than arbitrary experience

EMMA: How do you get the pleasure to the player as quickly as possible
– quick PAY OFF
– emphasize PLEASURE + visually
– provide motivation + measurement of “win”
– don’t do slow-burner which takes more attention to detail and time which players may not have

– Reinforcement: HAVE A STORY TO IT
– no reason to find the keys right now
– story hoooooooook
– too late to the saying the story
– lead in to your game so first thing to say to understand situation
– nothing in the game that makes it feel like your story (ghost)
– like maybe 3rd person perspective to see why you are ghost
– first person can see, point, click, and thus have no point to interact
make it so that users can appreciate the mechanics

Now that we have some feedback on our alpha we know there’s a lot of things we are going to need to focus on.

This week specifically we will work on making our tutorial better and create better kitchen puzzles so that when we give it to playtesters its more fun to play.

Early Kitchen scene
Early materials & reflectivity testing

Towards the Alpha

As the alpha approaches, there are a few things we need to have prepared. First, we’d really like to have three rooms: the hallway, the bathroom, and the kitchen fully worked out in regards to puzzles and wall/roof walking. Second, we want different rooms to be able to connect in a NON RANDOM way.

As of the current state of the game, we’re able to have the player going through paintings in order to switch from one room orientation to the other. Since this is a core mechanic for our games pivot we wanted to make sure this got done early in the week. As of today, this is the current state of that:

In this video, we are showcasing going through a painting on the ground and ending up on the wall

From here, we can start to build out our game a bit more. By Friday we’d like to have a rough demo of our starting hallway, the bathroom, and the kitchen.