I found a great blog post about game play testing: “Play testing a game design the low fidelity way“, written by Chris Khoo. It came at a good time for me because I was stuck last July, not making much progress on my Space War app. The reminder about play testing was good, but what helped me the most was the “low fidelity” part.
Chris Khoo’s situation was similar to mine. His goal was to “build a game which casual strategy fans could easily pick up”. The challenges he faced included a “cumbersome user interface” and the problem of “too many commands available to a user at any one point in time”. In his blog post, he describes how he began a redesign and started it with paper and pencil prototypes and old board game pieces.
Since low fidelity seemed to work for him, I thought I’d try it too. I did a bit of work on a chalkboard and then I moved to paper prototyping. Where am I today? Well, still not finished, but I have made a lot of progress. I have, I hope, greatly simplified the user interface, particularly at the introductory (novice) level of the game. At this point, I am ready to hold my first play testing session. It’s now a working Android app, but still low fidelity. The graphics certainly show that. Still I want to test the game mechanics and get a sense of the overall playability of the game.
If you are in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and would like to attend my presentation and play testing session on February 7, here is the link for the meetup: Play Testing session at Tridroid.
I will say more about the play testing session and my Space War app in future posts.
(Update – January 10, 2014. For the latest on the Starship app, see the recent post: Starship App Alpha Test.)