Interactive Media 10: Tutorial Feedbacks & Beta Testing

Today is the last tutorial feedback and luckily I have managed to compile everything and the beta works smoothly enough. A day before, I send the prototype to my groupmates and some of my friends to get some feedbacks from them. With the help of many people helping to test the software, I manage to list and found out some coding errors or grammar mistakes along the way. This is one of the reasons I place importance on mass beta-testing, it really enables me to find out most problems within short period of time without having to play through the games so many times. I am grateful to all those who’s willing to take out some time to try my game and will probably credit them in the game itself as a token of appreciation.

The tutorial’s feeback is mostly positive, with the lecturers praising good use of images and sound and even simple effects like screen shaking due to ‘being punched’ etc. They like the character designs and backgrounds, and the music is said to be suitable and fit comfortably with the dark fairytale setting.  Use of well timed and appropriate sound effect is given recognition in most part too. Overall, they like the game very much and are suprised we have a fully working almost-completed prototype to show them a week before submission.

However, some criticism are given which I think it’s not really good suggestion, though some of them are valid and appropriate criticisms. Firstly, they want the text to be automatic and not to click to continue. However, taking account that modern games nowadays employ click-to-contiunue approach, this is actually one of the best method for this platform. By employing clicking method, the player can choose to go through the story at a faster rate or can just take their time playing at a slower rate. Sometimes player just wants to rush through the story to get to a certain point and clicking it helps them, rather than to force them rewatching the same dialogues at the same normal speed, which to them might seem painfully slow. Furthermore, as this app is playable on phone, clicking becomes the de facto method to play this game. Many games have become more fast-paced to accomodate modern gamers, which is used to doing things fast and have shorter attention span..  Thus employing automatic text will actually cause them to lose interest in the game itself.

There are several good suggestions though, one being the dialogues are pretty long winded. I agree to this partly as I have to rush the coding and did not place first priority on the dialogues. Some of them can be shortened or even deleted altogether for a more fast pace gameplay. For this issue, Alexandra will be helping me to check and edit the dialogues to ensure it is shorter and only necessary dialogues are retained.

Another issue is that they want the choices to appear much faster. This can probably be solved by shortening the dialogues but I am aware that this is almost unncessary. The main point of a visual story is the background story and dialogues between characters. Sometimes, adding an unncessary choices right at the beginning can pose problems for the script and the programmer. Alas, we are not creating a full game, which leaves us with so little time to explain the story to the player before they are allowed to make a choice that will affect the course of the game.

One last issue is the suggestion to continue showing the MagicBeans and Morality number meter till the end of the game. I understand that players may want to see how much they have earn or the number of morality at the end to keep score. However, due to this software being a prototype and much watered down version from the intended full game, the importance of magicBeans and morality will only last till the part when Gretel saves Hansel, at which point the game is almost over and those two numbers become unncessary. There’s no valid reason to let them be shown to the players when the game is ending. We don’t normally see money counter or life points during the game ending cutscenes for the reason that they are simply not needed anymore.

Later on, Lydia will be editing her video to reflect the changes from 1000 beans to 100 beans, which is the number of beans needed to rescue Hansel in the game. Petra will also be creating an official poster and logo for the Menu Screen of Sweet Hostage. If I have the time, I may try to animate the Menu Screen to make it more appealing and arouses interest for new players to try.

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