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New School Blues Dev. Diary #33: Playtesting Changes

By this point (February 5th, 2013) in New School Blues' development, we had sent the latest build out for playtesting and received quite a bit of feedback on things to change. This article details some of those changes.

Based on feedback from beta testing, we’ve recently made a few changes to NSB.  Most were cosmetic so while they weren’t too complicated, they  were at times time-consuming.  Some though, were directly tied with the game’s design and needed a slight overhaul.

For example, there’s a particular puzzle that players just found themselves scratching their heads a bit too much at during testing.  Things went from “challenging brain-teaser” to “exercise in frustration” over time.  This is the last thing you want as a game designer, so we knew we had work to do.

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Luckily we caught this before losing anymore laptops

Without getting into spoilers, the issue was players weren’t given enough clues to know what to do, and when the solution was known, most felt it was un-intuitive and illogical.  In other words, it didn’t make sense.  Players often said “how was I supposed to know that?” after solving the puzzle.

Our first solution was to change the environment cosmetically to give more hints as to where the player is supposed to do something and with what.  We hoped using color or composition to distinguish the area with a bit more detail would help draw the eye.  The result was now players knew to interact there, but they still didn’t understand the logic (i.e: “Ok I know that’s important/that worked, but why?”.

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“Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?!” - YoyoBolo Tester

This meant going back to the original design of the puzzle and making tweaks to improve intuitiveness.  The not so good part was that obviously took more time, but the good part was it was so worth it.  Since designing and implementing a more logical contextual cue, we haven’t received any negative comments about the puzzles.

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes adjustments on NSB!

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