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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralInterpreting Feedback from Friends
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jeb
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« on: July 01, 2007, 04:45:33 PM »

Have you ever sent a beta version of your game to a friend and asking her to play it? Have she said, "fun game, here's some constructive critisism, keep up the good work"? What does she mean with "fun game"? Well, what I have learned is that your friends will be friends, so they can't be trusted Wink

What you should look for, in my experience, are the magic words, "hey, I played your game again last night". If your friend has double-clicked your game's icon without you asking for it, then you have a winner! If your friend never does that, but only plays the game every time you increase the version number, then you should probably re-think your game design (assuming that your friend is a part of the potential target audience).

Of course, in linear or story-based games, it's more important to see if your friends play it all the way to the end than if they play it many times. My point is that you should pay more attention to what your friends do rather than what they say.

Your thoughts?
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ChrisFranklin
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2007, 07:28:19 PM »

This is a slightly different take, but I find that more often than not friends who play games make for awful beta testers because they have a tendency to try an co-opt the design.  Sticking your grandmother or a complete stranger in front of a game gives you feedback on whether the interface is suitable and whether the objectives are clear.  Sticking a gamer friend in front of your game leads to "Well, I think what this game really needs is a flame thrower weapon, and then if an enemy on fire touches another enemy they'd catch fire too!  Also, it'd be totally awesome if there was a level inspired by Dante's Inferno, because that would look sooo cool!"

Helpful responses about game design come more from people genuinely interested in the medium instead of people who design by the paradigm of "What is Bad Ass,"  which is why I think something like the feedback forum here is so important - user tests can ensure difficulty for various user types are fair and that your interface is usable, but good design feedback can really only be sought by those who have an understanding of the underpinnings of how games work.
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ptoing
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 01:09:08 AM »

All depends on the friends. With really good friends I think you should be able to be dead honest. I have quite a few friends like that. If I think something they did is shit I will tell them, and tell them why. And the same goes the other way round.

You could always ask what exactly was fun and what perhaps not so much. Dig deeper.
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jeb
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 03:23:14 AM »

Nah, that's not what I meant. Like I said, it's easy to get constructive critisism that will improve the game. I didn't mean that people/friends are cowards, I mean it's difficult to imagine how good the game really is. Would they have played it if I didn't ask them to? That sort of question.

However, as ChrisFranklin said, it's a lot more interesting to see people that you don't know playing the game. It's a very good way of checking the game's useability and learning curve... you just have to try to keep your mouth shut when they get stuck, hehe. It's so easy to be "too helpful" and explain game rules etc.
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ptoing
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 05:27:37 AM »

Hehe, yeh that is true. I guess the "would they have played the game if you would not have shown them" is something which can not be really checked on easily. Especially if they are not into indiegames in the first place.
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fish
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 07:27:00 AM »

all my friends are game designers.
they give brutal feedback.
brutal, i say.
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PoV
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 10:39:52 PM »

What's better than merely sending it to them is watching them play.  I've had a few friends over lately, and it really helped prove how important a tutorial is.  I got to see everywhere they tripped, even if they didn't notice.
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Mike Kasprzak | Sykhronics Entertainment - Smiles (HD), PuffBOMB, towlr, Ludum Dare - Blog
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