What is PlayTesting? How to Get Good Feedback For Your Game?

Game Testing

Tuesday October 22, 2019

Gaming applications and software have become one of the most sought out categories of software. With the increasing expectations of the gamers, the gaming companies are looking out for new ways and improved quality check methods to ensure the best quality for the games. Playtesting is one of the testing techniques to ensure the best quality reviews by real gamers.
What is Playtesting?
play testing
Playtesting is a commonly used testing technique for games. This quality control method repeats itself at many points of the gaming application/software design process. A nominated group of players play on-going versions of a game to find failings in the game, and to discover bugs and gaming glitches. It also focuses on describing out the unclear points, increasing fun features or decreasing boredom, etc.
Playtesting is a very generic technique for testing gaming apps and software. It has become an important part of the gaming software’s designing phase. The expectations of the gamers have made the designers consider end-users feedback at every stage of designing. It helps to ensure that the final version of the game is as per the end user’s expectations.
What are the different types of playtesting?
Play tests are done at four points during the design process:

  • Gross Playtesting: It includes the group of testers test the most basic running model of the gaming app, they look out for the basic faults in the gameplay. The design team involved in the designing of the game itself play tests the game.
  • In-House Playtesting: it is carried out by contracted play testers or people of the company. To find more glitches in gameplay and formulate the game for broader testing, the In-House playtesting is done.
  • Blind Testing: the group of testers who have no prior experience with the game tests the app during blind testing. The testing by end users detects many faults that are often missed by the professionals.
  • Final Playtesting: it is the last phase of playtesting, and is done before the game launch. This playtesting version is close to the final version of the game.

The playtesters have an important role in improving the game, and hence they are paid for the work. And this pay is even higher when it is done in the earlier phases when the game is in ore technical stages.
Video games
In video games, playtesting introduces the game to the audiences during the development phase to collect their feedback and design flaws. It ensures that the game will be commercially feasible upon release. It is very different from Quality Assurance (QA) testing, which aims at finding software bugs and not to identify its commercial feasibility.
Role-playing games
Role-playing games focus on game’s mechanics and flow of the game. The feedback from players helps developers to adjust and alter the mechanics as per final audience’s expectations.
Other games
Playtesting plays an important role in all other types of games, in deciding over the mechanism, game flow, content and the visual appearance of the game. It helps in delivering the game as per user’s expectations so that the game is commercially viable when launched and does not end up being just a flop.
Playtesting can be carried out in either traditional manner or using automating techniques.
The Traditional Way of Playtesting 
Playtesting is conducted to recognize the player’s experience. A gaming process is categorized into three parts.

  1. Creation: designers use their imagination to create perfect graphics to justify the theme.
  2. Balancing: designers take help of other people or playtesting companies to ensure the game is challenging and modify their game and twist it to make it entertaining for everyone.
  3. Release: the game is released in the marketing.

Why do you need automated Playtest?
Balancing is a time-consuming process, where the designers have to wait for weeks to get playtesters reviews. After getting the reviews again days are spent to alter the game. It is hence a very time-consuming process. And there arose a need for automated play testing.
Benefits of Automated Playtesting
The main idea behind automated play testing is to let virtual playtesters test the game. By running them over the cloud and using the power of artificial intelligence the task that used to take weeks to be done could now be done within a few minutes. Virtual playtesting help in recurrent feedback reports.

Read also : Top 23 Gaming Glitches of All Times [Full-List with Video]

The playtesting had many benefits for the game designers, but automated playtesting increased these benefits even further. Some of the major benefits are:
Better Quality Content
Automated playtesting results in faster feedback, which assists the designers to do more revisions to the gaming content and hence ensuring better content at a much faster pace. It ensures that the final content users get is as per the end-users expectations.
More In-depth and Constant Playtest
With human playtesting, you might get confused with varied feedbacks. Due to the human factor, you are ought to get different feedback from different. This creates confusion for the designers and hence controlling the best alterations. In automated play testing, such situations are wisely taken care of.
A QA (Quality Assurance) Byproduct
The automated playtesting also assists to find bugs and ensure that new features do not hinder the remaining game. It increases games quality as a whole.
Tips For Better Playtesting

  • Do not discard suggestions and comments made by users just because it’s tough to do or might increase the budget of the game. Be open and humble!
  • It’s never too early to do playtesting. As soon as you have the prototype of the game you can let users play it and gain valuable suggestions and implement it on the go. Early testing also provides you with data that can be used as a validation tool when you develop the game further.
  • You might have a thing for the game you have designed. However, if a user is doubtful about any of the aspects of the game make sure that its thing among other users and do the needful.
  • You have it your mind about the core engagement factor of your game. What if a group of users finds other aspects of the game more engaging? Do not discard it! Not it down and save it for later
  • Do not indulge in a deep conversation with users as it will make them biased
  • Record user gestures while they are playing them. Their body language speaks a lot
  • Do a survey rather than writing down the points from users
  • Leave space for the user to discard the game if he/she gets bored. Do not make them play the game just because you have paid. If they find it boring make sure that you have asked them what’s wrong
  • Make sure that you include not just pro gamers in your team

Disadvantages of Playtesting
Playtesting has many benefits, but one of the biggest risks that come along with the play testing is the fear of its leak to the internet even before its release. Though there are ways to prevent this. If the game is not leaked, its details can still be leaked.
Though manual play testing is a very slow process and can delay the release date of the game. But it has been taken care of by introducing automated play testing which is comparatively faster. But being costly, automated play testing cannot be deployed by all the gaming agencies.

Play testing is an important process of gaming development; it focuses on altering the game as per the expectations of its end users. A designated group of end-users tests the game to find unclear points, increasing fun features or decreasing boredom, etc.
Play testing increases the chances of the game to be accepted by its end users and be liked by them. After play testing there are few chances that game will be disowned by its users.

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