Gaming applications and software have become one of the most sought out kinds of software. With the growing expectations of gamers, the gaming companies are looking out for new methods and improved quality check methods to assure the best quality for the games. Playtesting is one of the testing methods to assure the best quality reviews by real gamers.
What is Playtesting?
Playtesting is a commonly used testing method for games. This quality control method repeats itself at various points of the gaming application/software design process.
A designated group of players plays ongoing versions of a game to discover failings in the game and to find bugs and gaming glitches. It also concentrates on describing out the unclear points, enhancing fun features or decreasing boredom, etc.
Playtesting is a very generic method for testing gaming apps and software. It has become an important element of the gaming software’s designing phase. The expectations of the gamers have made the designers think end-users feedback at every stage of designing. It helps to assure that the final version of the game is as per the end user’s expectations.
What are the different types of playtesting?
Playtests are performed at four points during the design process:
- Gross Playtesting: It involves a group of testers tests the most basic running model of the gaming app, they look out for the basic defects in the gameplay. The design team included in the designing of the game itself playtests the game.
- In-House Playtesting: it is done by contracted playtesters or people of the company. To discover more glitches in gameplay and formulate the game for broader testing, In-House playtesting is done.
- Blind Testing: the group of testers who have no previous experience with the game tests the app through blind testing. The testing by end-users discovers many faults that are often missed by the professionals.
- Final Playtesting: it is the last phase of playtesting, and is performed before the game launch. This playtesting version is close to the ultimate version of the game.
The playtesters have an important role in enhancing the game, and hence they are paid for the work. And this pay is even higher when it is performed in the earlier phases when the game is in ore technical stages.
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In video games, playtesting introduces the game to the audiences through the development phase to assemble their feedback and design flaws. It assures that the game will be commercially feasible upon release. It is very different from Quality Assurance (QA) testing, which aims at detecting software bugs and not recognizing its commercial feasibility.
Role-playing games concentrate on the game’s mechanics and flow of the game. The feedback from players helps developers to modify and adjust the mechanics as per the final audience’s expectations.
Playtesting plays a vital role in all other kinds of games, in deciding over the mechanism, game flow, content, and the visual presentation of the game. It helps in delivering the game as per the user’s expectations so that the game is commercially viable when started and does not end up being just a flop.
Playtesting can be carried out in either a traditional manner or using automated methods.
Why do you need an automated Playtest?
Balancing is a time-consuming method, where the designers have to wait for weeks to get playtesters reviews. After receiving the reviews again days are spent modifying the game. It is hence a very time-consuming method. And there arose a requirement for automated playtesting.
Benefits of Automated Playtesting
The main thought behind automated playtesting is to allow virtual playtesters to test the game. By managing them over the cloud and using the power of artificial intelligence the task that used to take weeks to be performed could now be executed within a few minutes. Virtual playtesting helps in repeated feedback reports.
Playtesting had many advantages for game designers, but automated playtesting increased these advantages even further. Some of the major benefits are:
Better Quality Content
Automated playtesting results in quicker feedback, which assists the designers to do more changes to the gaming content and hence assuring better content at a much faster pace. It assures that the final content users get is as per the end-users expectations.
More In-depth and Constant Playtest
With human playtesting, you might get confused with different feedbacks. Due to the human factor, you are ought to get various feedback from different. This generates confusion for the designers and hence managing the best alterations. In automated playtesting, such situations are carefully taken care of.
A QA (Quality Assurance) Byproduct
The automated playtesting also assists to detect bugs and assure that new features do not hinder the remaining game. It improves games quality as a whole.
Tips For Better Playtesting
- Do not discard suggestions and comments developed by users just because it’s tough to do or might raise the budget of the game. Be open and humble!
- It’s never too early to do playtesting. As soon as you have the model of the game you can let users play it and obtain valuable suggestions and implement it on the go. Early testing also presents you with data that can be used as a validation tool when you develop the game further.
- You might have a thing for the game you have created. However, if a user is doubtful about any of the features of the game ensure that it’s a thing between other users and do the needful.
- You have it your thought about the core engagement element of your game. What if a group of users discovers other aspects of the game more appealing? Do not discard it! Note it down and save it for later
- Record user movements while they are playing them. Their body language says a lot
Disadvantages of Playtesting
Playtesting has many advantages, but one of the biggest risks that come along with playtesting is the terror of its leak to the internet even before its release. Though there are methods to prevent this. If the game is not leaked, its features can still be leaked.
Though manual playtesting is a very slow method and can delay the release date of the game. But it has been taken care of by adding automated play testing which is comparatively faster. But being costly, automated playtesting cannot be deployed by all gaming companies.
Playtesting is an essential method of gaming development; it focuses on modifying the game as per the expectations of its end users. A designated group of end-users tests the game to discover unclear points, enhancing fun features or decreasing boredom, etc.
Playtesting improves the chances of the game being accepted by its end users and be liked by them. After playtesting there are few opportunities that the game will be disowned by its users.
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