Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Play-testing the Game

It was the fourth week of working on our project and we were still unsure of the game’s ability to function. The fact that we weren’t able to develop an understandable yet involved set of rules was disheartening for our entire group. Even though every class would begin with us reaching a conclusion, towards the end we would end up doubting ourselves after Professor Parks made his commentary. I expected nothing more from this class but to leave disheartened and unsuccessful at developing a well functioning game. However, this week was different.

After making the necessary adjustments to all the flaws, it was time to test the functionality of the game. We were finally able to develop a system for scoring points that did not involve the player doing calculus, in a sense, or anything complicated. I was interested in seeing how this new system would work so I impatiently dealt the cards as required by the rules. As we played “R U Serious?” for the first time, the first round went surprisingly well. Everyone had to initially pick up a “Building card” followed by a decision of either choosing an “Action card” or two “RU Express” tokens, which was a form of currency. I liked knowing that this game didn’t completely revolve around luck and chance.

Play-testing this game allowed us to catch more flaws that we would not have noticed before. As we moved onto the third round of our game, we realized that we needed to add many more “Building cards” to the deck. We started running out of cards so we had to start all over again. I feel that my experience of play-testing the game would’ve been different had I known that there wasn’t a limitation on the amount of “Building cards”.  I ended up playing the game safely and conservatively rather than actually taking any risks. I was worried that we would run out of cards so I avoided doing anything that could potentially cause us to restart the entire game. As we played a few more rounds we continuously made adjustments to the rules. We realized that there should be a limitation on the amount of cards a player holds in their hand. We also realized that the majority of our “Action cards” consisted of negative consequences, which resulted in having everyone choosing the currency. Upon this realization we decided to add more positive “Action cards” that would actually benefit the player rather than just harm another player or potentially themselves.

Ultimately, the game was headed in a good direction. The rules were easy to comprehend and if a player was confused at first everything ended up falling into place after a few rounds. I was extremely nervous about Professor Parks visiting our table. I was secretly worried that he would catch a potential flaw that we were not able to. However, after going over the basis of the game with him, he completely understood everything and did not make any negative commentary. This uplifted all of our spirits and relieved us of all our built up stress from the previous weeks. We all left class that week as happy game developers!

-Pinal Patel

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