After the first playtest, Jake and I read over our feedback we had written down and that play testers wrote in the questionnaire we provided to them. Overall, people seemed to like how the controls would change to random keys when the fail secure system kicked in,, so we kept it in for the second playtest. Well we were surprised when listening to feedback and reading the feedback given through the questionnaire, as we noticed the majority of people were now saying that they would much prefer if the controls would change to the same format as WASD, and were also suggesting that rotating the keys (W for right, D for down, S for left and A for up, etc.) would also be a good idea to think about. Their reasoning for this was that the finger positioning, most of the time, was not in a natural position, therefore would not feel ‘right’ and would be awkward. We initially thought this feeling of awkwardness was a good idea, but have reviewed the footage and some button placements were really interesting in the fact that they were so far from each other sometimes, giving very awkward finger positioning.
In the original pitch, we had stated that the controls were to change to different keys but keep the same format as WASD, with the possibility to rotate the keys, exactly like what the second playtest feedback majority was saying. This is really interesting as the playtesters in the first play test were so adamant that the controls were fine how they were and that they actually liked how it was. I suspect that in the first playtest, the feedback we received were from people who felt bad for us as it was a very incomplete game form, so they commented on how solid the only mechanic in the game was at the that time. It was a different story with the second playtest as we had more of a game to show off, so the game could be picked apart more and the mechanics that felt less solid were commented on, the main one being the movement control changes.
The movement adaption game mechanic will be changed in the game to be of a randomly chosen set of keys that have been predefined, that are in a WASD/Arrow-style-type format. In these predefined set of keys, will be random direction placement, so with IJKL, I could be left, J could be up, K could be down and then L would be right.This will hopefully satisfy the playtesters wanting an easier-to-achieve finger positioning for the movement controls, but also keep the random factor so that it is not just “lift fingers off previous set of keys, hover to new set of keys, place fingers down, and be set to go again”, but for there to be the randomised factor of which of the new set of keys moves the car in which direction.
Another common theme in the player feedback was that the level was too easy, therefore slightly boring, that the players could go to the trim of the city and use only the forward and left keys to traverse the outside of the city forever. This is really due to the fact that our other game levels were not complete by the time the second playtest came around, and that we had no mechanic stopping this from happening forever, but these are not good enough excuses. We realise this is a big issue, even after the other levels are implemented in, so I believe we should pivot towards creating a new mechanic that staying in one area for too long gives an advantage to the hacker NPC, being a disadvantage for the players.
It is a shame our game wasn’t more complete by the time the final playtest came around. We couldn’t test out how players felt in the other two levels, neither could we play test how the players felt in relation to crashing into cars to collect them mechanic, restarting in the garage scene, being able to select their newly collected car, with the end goal of collecting all the cars. All we can do is better the game from here, but this will be for another blog.
This is Daniel Jochem, signing out.