Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 Spring Semester Playtest Session 5

This week we actually playtested the Beta level with a larger audience, rather than just having specific people test the level. Players still thoroughly enjoy the game, but there is always room for improvement. While watching testers play the game I noticed that many had trouble with the flight controls.
Car turning axis depicted with white line.
The handling of the car was too responsive and rotated too quickly. Since the physics programmer was there he noticed it as well, and felt, as I do, that the flying controls should move towards a sweeping motion. Right now the car just rotates on its vertical axis when you move the left joystick right or left. Outside of the flying controls, testers wanted more feedback from the game, such as a completion meter for the track, and an indication of what tricks the player is doing. One tester mentioned that they wanted a point system for the tricks which should definitely be done as it just gives more feedback to the player. But if the trick point system was made then it would have to have a purpose, I wouldn't want there to be points that the player gathers and can do nothing with them. An answer to this could be done simply by having a high score system at the end of each track that rates the player on their speed, and tricks. I should also mention that the player only receives feedback on the trick that they are doing when they land it. The player should also be receiving some feedback before they land the trick as well so that they are fully aware of what they are doing.
Car trick system as it stands.
Testers also gave feedback on the HUD and had some interesting ideas. One tester mentioned that we may want to go for a HUD more like Split Second, where the HUD is actually displayed on the car rather than in the corners of the game screen. This is an interesting idea, and is plausible to do now since we have artists. I've already spoken to one of our artists about the idea and they are willing to create a few concepts for it. Another idea a tester mentioned was to allow the player to hit a button to slow down the car's rotations to have a better chance of landing a trick. This is a great idea and I will definitely be speaking with the physics programmer about getting this mechanic in as it is something to make landing tricks easier for the player. Beyond testing, our game still needs a tutorial and it also still needs controller hints for the player when they are upside-down or when they are getting close to going off of a jump. When I say controller hints I just mean that the button the player has to push would pop-up on the screen so that the player knows what they need to press in order to get the car to do what they want it to do.

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