informa
3 min read
article

Feature: 'Practical Game Playtesting: A Wii-Based Case Study'

Sidhe Interactive's Gareth Griffiths discusses in depth how the GripShift developer's playtesting process and how they incorporated feedback into their Wii v
Despite the studio's assumption that users would immediately pick up on tilting the Wii Remote to control their cars in the game, Sidhe found that its playtesting group, made up of mostly 9 to 14 year olds, were often confused by the tutorial animation provided for the controls. The majority of players perceived this guide how to hold the controller from the top down, and so would control the car as if they were using the steering wheel of a pickup truck. As a result, their movements weren't being picked up, and the players were frustrated with the inaccurate controls "This went on for some time, and no matter how we adjusted the images or the animation, players were just not getting how to hold the Wiimote. This was getting to be a huge problem, because the game was effectively stuck in the water. Nobody could play it. The solution to the problem was actually incredibly simple. Observing people reading the instructions, I realized that while they had the animation and the images, they had no frame of reference to them. Each person would see and interpret them differently. Therefore, for the loading screen we put in a simple black and white image of a television screen, with the Wiimote in front of it. It was hoped that this image would act like a frame of reference for holding the Wiimote. And it worked! The next time we ran a playtesting session the players picked up the Wiimote and were able to instantly drive." To help users track their health in the game's early stages, the studio made it so that the the color of the flame coming from the car would change in relation to its health. For example, when the color was a deep red, the car was not far from exploding. Later stages, however, removed this indicator, hoping to provide more challenge to players as they'd have to be more aware of their car's status: "The first time we implemented this, players kept blowing up and, from their perspective, they had no idea why. The problem here was that players were becoming accustomed to the game informing them about their status, and when it no longer did this, instead of learning how to play the game without it, they just blew up. The first thing we did to try and solve this was to simply remove it altogether -- to force the player into learning how the UI worked. Unfortunately this approach completely backfired, with players simply blowing up all over the place. This was not a good turn of events. So, the only thing left was to put everything back in and make sure it flashed up whenever the player's health was low or when boost was available. This is actually an interesting situation, because it shows how much players rely on the game informing them about important states." You can read the full feature, which includes more examples of what issues Sidhe Interactive ran into while playtesting Speed Racer for Wii, and how the studio addressed those problems (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

Latest Jobs

Treyarch

Playa Vista, California
6.20.22
Audio Engineer

Digital Extremes

London, Ontario, Canada
6.20.22
Communications Director

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, California
6.20.22
Senior Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
6.20.22
Lead UI Programmer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more