Player Research, like most other businesses, was put into ‘lockdown’ this year.
6 months on, and life is slowly returning to the UK’s highstreets and industrial sectors. With careful planning we’ve now resumed in-person user testing, inviting players into our Brighton, UK research labs. To do so we have adopted a host of new precautions against COVID-19.
The project to resume playtesting took 7 weeks between the start of response planning and the first playtest with new precautions.
Here’s what we learned and what we changed.
Our aim throughout this process was to run lab-based research, while going above-and-beyond on safety measures. …
One of the quintessential hallmarks of a ‘work in progress’ game is debug text. Floating gibberish flickering in the foreground of gameplay, occasionally catching your eye with an <ERROR> or a ‘Missing_Texture’.
Thinking about the design of debug UI seems like misspent time. It is, by its nature, only to be used by our development team, and never to be seen by our eventual players.
Why spend more than a single moment considering practicality, or utility, or legibility of UI destined for the trash?
And so, when in a recent UI design workshop I proposed a re-thinking of a prototype’s debug text, it raised a lot of eyebrows. …
Control’s final months of development in mid-2019 saw extended bursts of iteration and change. Behind closed doors in the playtest lab, Control was being played by the general public. And in the room next door, in a soundproof observation space, Researchers studied the players’ behaviour, carefully tracking all 12 playtesters, seeking evidence of their misunderstanding or misbehaviour in Control’s unsettling world.
User research sessions like these had been a staple of Control’s development, with Remedy even building a playtesting lab in their Espoo offices. …