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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralWhere do you find testing/feedback help?
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flowerthief
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« on: May 08, 2023, 09:11:55 AM »

I posted a game in the Playtesting forum here a few weeks ago which only one person tried. (thank god for jbarrios)
The nature of the games I make is that they require LOTS playtesting; more than a typical game. But I don't know where to look. Last year I received good help by posting in various subreddits, but this year not so much. (perhaps because the pandemic ended? I don't know)

Or do you have to pay for playtesting these days? Kind of reluctant to do that, having given up on trying to make my games commercial. My games are for niche audiences so I always get stuck trying to find people who will try them. Where do you all look when you need testers?
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2023, 12:19:40 PM »

I'll play it if you send me a link.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2023, 08:18:14 AM »

Oh, thanks Michael. Though I expect only a certain type of audience to like it.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2023, 04:16:57 PM by flowerthief » Logged
DarkGran
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2023, 08:32:31 AM »

Hey man.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I had your game in my playtesting list. Because I tend to pick games without comments (usually not counting jbarrios epic work). But I got discouraged by, well, honestly, it's the girl's age. I marked the game as "so much not-for-me that I can't help" (removing it from my list) the moment I saw that jbarrios actually commented on that already.

I do want to try your game now, but I don't even have the privacy where I live now (for this and few more... moments) to put something like that on my screen, even though there is not actually anything... dirty... about it...

EDIT: As for the thread name - My only and therefore best testers are either irl friends or playtesters here. Wink
(Seems to me tho that it's generally not very easy to get more than 1 or 2 one-shot testers (which is fine for a prototype but not great for something more complete).)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2023, 08:45:36 AM by DarkGran » Logged
flowerthief
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2023, 09:07:08 AM »

@DarkGran

Even though she's been on the Earth for over 100 years?  Cheesy

Srsly, as I said, I don't expect that particular game to be up the alley of any given person. One thing you can do tho is play on your phone. However, if you do that, 1. the 3D model will be even grainier than it already is (wish I knew how to give it anti-aliasing), and 2. texting on a phone is slow and painful (for me at least).

Yeah, I presume everyone else is having the same problem. Not just here, but on reddit etc I don't see a lot of replies to everyone's playtesting requests. I wonder if offering 1 or 2 USD for a casual playtest makes sense.
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DarkGran
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2023, 10:31:04 AM »

I don't play on phone at all. (also until recently my phone's been Nokia 3310)

I hope I did not offend you in any way. Maybe look at it as a playtest. The thing I did - here it is: I was intruigued by the concept described in thread name. I clicked and I started reading - until the screenshot appeared on my screen as a result of me scrolling down. The screenshot startled me so much I immediately scrolled page away and made sure noone is watching me.

Honestly, I really think most will just look at the screenshot and judge that without reading anything. (sad ik, had to adjust myself)

EDIT: Now I'm determined to play the game, I'll just have to do that a bit later.

No need to pay me. Tongue Also I guess paying playtesters is fine if you've decided you'll be putting money in the project? Then again I would personally hope that if you make a indie game and publish it (= not just in playtesting, maybe even advertisement) with only the minimal testing that you've done yourself, then the "normal players" who think it's good will become your fans and your testers at the same time... (sounds like a dream, it does happen now that I think about it tho)

Of course this is great when you're just looking to bug-proof + some fresh ideas for future development, however it does require a lot of work because the project has to look at least a little polished (doesn't have to be the "final form") and have more content than a gameplay prototype would have I guess...
« Last Edit: May 09, 2023, 10:51:19 AM by DarkGran » Logged
michaelplzno
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2023, 11:25:16 AM »

I played for a bit, she told me she loved Pride and Prejudice, I asked her what it was about and she got confused. That seems to be par for the course when chatting in this world, so good on ya for making an accurate chat bot. She said she was from England, so I asked her about England and the coronation that just happened. She didn't have anything to say about that. Which is also typical.

I spent a lot of time talking to bots when I was dating on facebook, and sadly as a result I've developed a talking style that bots can't understand instinctively. I guess I'm supposed to just write long meandering paragraphs about my feelings and have the bot say "uh, huh, that's interesting."

If the girl in the app gets naked I'm not really interested in that, so I recommend you write a different path other than chat to get the girl to show you her panties.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2023, 11:43:24 AM »

I don't play on phone at all. (also until recently my phone's been Nokia 3310)

A Nokia 3310??  Shocked  Wow, you're even more old-fashioned than Cheree.

Nah, I'm not offended. All feedback is valuable, even first impressions.

Making your fans your testers is wonderful if you can achieve it, which I actually have achieved in the past with past projects. Lately, finding those fans hasn't happened. Where do all the people who like unconventional indie visual novels hang out anyway? I haven't figured it out.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2023, 11:47:13 AM »

I played for a bit, she told me she loved Pride and Prejudice, I asked her what it was about and she got confused.

Thanks for trying. Your chatting style seems normal. Tthe inputs she didn't have a good reply to are inputs she really SHOULD have a good reply to (especially Pride and Prejudice) so I can already make a few quick and easy improvements from that.

She doesn't ever get naked.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2023, 12:18:49 PM »

My conversation style is pretty basic: if someone drops a fact I try to either ask more about it, or say something that relates to me about it.

"Oh I'm from England"

"Did you go to the coronation?"

(This is something that is big news and also something I've been paying attention to.)

"I had my coffee today"

"Oh how do you take your coffee?"

(Sometimes its nice to get to know someone's preferences, and it gives them a chance to make a joke about how their coffee style suits their personality"

"Oh I just saw ...[movie name or book or something]"

"Did you like it? (If I'm not familiar with it, I'll ask for basic plot summary.)"

If someone said they love "The Count of Monte Cristo" I'd ask them if they have a desire to get revenge, since I know what that one is about, or if they just like the book.

Usually siblings are sort of weak small talk but I'll talk about it, its just usually pretty boring stuff. She brought up a brother and her father, I asked her more about both and she had very little to say.

Another technique she seems unable to do is answer and ask in the same go:

"How do you take your coffee?"

"Black, little cream, you?"

"Oh I like iced coffee like my cold black heart."

laughter.

"What's your favorite book?"

"The Great Gatsby, I love how pompous Gatsby is and then he dies at the end so I was happy. What about you?"

"Oh yeah, if I had known that Gatsby died at the end I might have finished the book, I'm a big fan of One flew over the cucu's nest because I've escaped no less than 6 different mental institutions"

laughter.

"Why are we laughing?"

Its pretty much common sense, but no one seems to want to do the dance any more these days.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2023, 02:46:53 PM »

Okay. I agree and I favor the same approach to conversation. I think you would be good at writing a chat AI, Michael, not that it's something you should necessarily want to do.

I'll keep improving the small talk, but really where the conversation failed is that it never got to the main story, or even to the first location. (when you were talking about dance and she said "I may not have a body any more, but I can show you what it looked like" she meant I can show you what my dance looked like; that misunderstanding must have been why you quit)

Because I realize that open-ended small talk is a losing battle--as it is no player will ever see even 1% of all the dialogue that's in the game and necessarily a lot of it is short and/or bland. I'm trying to think of strategies to get the player into the main story faster while at the same time not ignoring direct questions and small talk if the player wants to continue it. Sometimes she fields an input with a short reply followed by a scripted line that leads into the story. Maybe it needs more of that. She has a lot more to say later about her brother and father and other family members, too.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2023, 07:26:58 AM »

I'm not super interested in small talk, really, I would love to get to the main quest, but what is it? I don't really know and she doesn't assert "oh I'm a ghost, ask me about my murder" so I don't really know what to ask about.

If you talked to someone would you say "Are you a ghost?" I mean its kind of a weird question. Maybe I should ask that for more people.

She did her dance for me and I just felt like the experience was sort of absurd. She failed to seem human when I talked to her, then I got a notice that she was upset and I could recharge her by telling her to dance. It felt bizarre. So I gave up. I'm not interested in bossing around this AI girl and telling her to dance. It said I was too flirty already, I'm not sure what I did that was flirty, I was in no way interested in that character.
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flowerthief
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2023, 10:05:31 AM »

When you're not sure what to say you can just submit empty input and she'll say something (usually); either continuing with the current topic or launching a new one. The very first help screen explains this but it seems many players are spending too much time at the keyboard fretting about what to say when they don't need to say anything. So I decided today that in the next update she will talk on her own (thereby advancing the story) after a period of time of the player being idle. Maybe after a point she could say "Are you still there?" Which might also help her seem slightly more human. (not that I know of a game character in the history of games who wasn't obviously not human)

Michael, it wasn't the too flirty mood btw, it was the too many questions mood. I don't think you asked too many questions, so I'll make the meters more lenient. (perhaps re-evaluate whether to keep them at all)
Thanks. I knew you weren't the target audience for this, but your feedback gave me things to think about.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2023, 11:29:55 AM »

I guess if she just interjected some stuff she wanted to say, that would be a good thing, it doesn't have to be a timer thing, just

Me: "DUMB QUESTION?"
Her: "ANSWER TO QUESTION"
Her right away: "NEW STATEMENTS RELATED TO STORY"

Example:

Me: How are you?
Her (Answering me): I'm feeling a bit dead today.
Her (Advancing the story): I have memories of a graphic murder, do you want to know more?

This kind of thing would solve a lot of issues.

I'm interested in the project because games where you chat are interesting to me. (As opposed to killing bad guys) I'm not going to seduce the bot, of course, but I'd like to do some conversing if that's the game mechanic so to speak.

Let me know if you have a new version that I can try!
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flowerthief
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2023, 01:52:08 PM »

Yes, that is what I meant about short replies followed by scripted lines.

Sounds good.

Back to the original topic...
A strategy I started employing on reddit is to offer testing exchanges to people requesting testing help for games similar (at least a little bit) to mine. So far nobody has taken me up but somebody might....
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