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How to harvest honest player feedback and design better levels

What's the best way to harvest honest player feedback? Aside from relying on your playtesters, there are a few other tricks you can use to tap into a player's subconscious.

What's the best way to harvest honest player feedback? Aside from relying on your playtesters, there are a few other tricks you can use to tap into a player's subconscious. 

During a recent Gamasutra Twitch stream, level designer Robin Yann-Storm explained he records tester play sessions so he can scroll through them frame by frame and track their gaze and camera movements.

Why? Because it lets him figure out what players deemed most important on a subconscious level, in those moments where they're thinking fast during combat or deftly exploring the world around them. 

"If you let a player play though something then ask them what's the most important thing, they're never going to say what actually was the most important thing because it's completely subconscious," explained Yann-Storm.

"If you're looking through a level or you're in the middle of a firefight, you make subconscious decisions about what to attack. You don't go 'oh I need to do that thing.'

"So, if you record exactly what they're doing, and you go through it frame by frame and you see the movement of the targeting cursor or the camera, then you can really spot the things they're focusing on. But you have to go through it frame by frame to find out what that thing is, because they themselves don't actually know."

Be sure to check out the full livestream for even more level design tips and tricks. After that, why not subscribe to the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer insights and gameplay commentary.

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