Game developers are constantly seeking effective ways to improve their games and ensure that they meet the expectations of their target audience. One such method is automated playtesting, which offers numerous benefits over traditional manual playtesting. However, there are also some limitations to consider. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of automated playtesting for game developers and provide tips for better playtesting.
Automated playtesting can be beneficial for game developers as it provides a faster and more efficient way to test their games. Here are some reasons why game developers use automated playtesting:
Time-Saving: Manual playtesting can be a very lengthy process as designers have to wait for weeks, if not months, to receive feedback from external playtesters. Automated playtesting eliminates this issue by providing quick and consistent insights into gameplay mechanics, glitches, and bugs.
Cost-Effective: Manual playtesting requires numerous resources such as time, personnel, and equipment to set up the testing environment and provide valuable insights. Automated playtesting saves these costs by using software that generates detailed feedback during gameplay.
Consistency: Human error is common in manual playtesting. Different playtesters may experience different parts or scenarios of the game, leading to inconsistent feedback. Automated playtesting ensures consistency across all playtests, providing developers with accurate and reliable information.
Scalability: As game development teams grow, so does the need for more and diverse playtesters. Finding and managing all these playtesters manually is time-consuming and can be difficult. Automated playtesting helps scale up the testing by simulating large-scale scenarios with multiple playtesters at a time.
Efficiency: Automated playtesting can simulate thousands of players within minutes, generating sufficient data to identify potential issues, improving the game's balance, and user input response time. This approach helps developers quickly fine-tune the game mechanics leading to a better player experience.
In short, automated playtesting offers speed, cost savings, consistency, scalability, and efficiency to the playtesting phase, enabling game developers to create engaging, balanced, and successful games in a shorter amount of time.
Automated game testing is an increasingly popular method in game development nowadays, which uses virtual players to quickly test all aspects of the game to ensure the quality of the game content design and the user experience. Here are five benefits of automated game testing:
Improve test efficiency
Traditional manual game testing requires a lot of time and resources, but automated game testing can save a lot of time and energy. With automated testing, developers can skip the tedious process of traditional testing, thereby speeding up testing and enhancing product quality. In this way, you can deliver high-quality games faster, while also enabling a more cost effective testing process.
Implement game balance adjustments
Game balance is crucial to the player experience. As long as there are games, game evaluation and balancing will never end. Because traditional playtesting requires a long wait for player feedback, it often puts a lot of pressure on developers. However, automated game testing can quickly test different balance adjustments and make quick changes based on feedback from the results. With automated game testing, developers can complete a large number of game balance tests in a matter of seconds to significantly improve the user experience.
Improve game quality
A limited number of variables can be tested through automated game testing, making it easier for the development team to detect potential problems. Automated testing is an important tool to identify potential defects and bugs, thereby improving product quality and ensuring that customers enjoy a smooth gaming experience. This not only increases the efficiency of game development, but also increases the success rate in the process of producing really good games.
Support sustainable development
With the rapid development of the Internet and digital entertainment, the gaming market is experiencing amazing growth, and there is an increasing need for innovative business models. Automated game testing can provide immediate feedback on errors caused by aesthetics, performance, speed, and game balance. It enables code integration into daily work cycles, sustainable development and production processes, thus making testing more flexible, controllable, and reducing development costs.
Strengthen team communication
Automated game testing allows developers to receive immediate feedback and quickly fix problems. More importantly, it provides a platform for cross-functional teams at all levels to collaborate, ensuring that the entire team has a better understanding and shared goals during the evaluation process. This kind of effective team communication is crucial to optimizing the game experience.
One disadvantage of playtesting is that the testers may not accurately represent the game's target audience. Playtesters may have different preferences, playing styles, or skill levels than the intended players for the game. This can result in feedback that is not applicable to the majority of players.
Additionally, playtesting can be a resource-intensive process, requiring time, money and effort. Finding the right testers, setting up testing environments, and analyzing feedback can all be costly and time-consuming.
Another issue with playtesting is that it may be difficult to interpret the feedback received from testers. Players may provide feedback that is vague or contradictory, making it challenging to discern what changes are necessary to improve the game.
Finally, implementing too many changes based on tester feedback can lead to a loss of vision for the game. Merging too many varied feedback and ideas into the game can make it lose its uniqueness and coherence, leaving the game unattractive to its potential customers.
Overall, while playtesting can provide valuable feedback for game development, it also has its limitations and concerns that should be considered before placing the game for testing.
Here are some additional tips for better playtesting:
Diversify your testing group.
It's important to have a diverse range of testers with varying levels of experience and demographics to ensure that your game appeals to a wider audience and has a chance to become successful.
Use multiple methods.
In addition to conducting surveys, consider using other methods to gather feedback such as focus groups, interviews, or observation. Each method can provide unique insights into your game's performance.
Create a plan beforehand.
Outline your goals and objectives for the playtest before starting. This will help you stay organized, track progress, and make sure you're getting the information you need.
Consider alternative scenarios.
Don't just test under ideal conditions; try introducing variables that could negatively impact gameplay such as low battery, poor network coverage or playing in a noisy environment.
Don't ignore negative feedback.
Negative feedback may be hard to hear, but it is essential for improving gameplay. Make sure you're taking constructive criticism seriously and implementing changes accordingly.
Keep in mind target audience.
Always keep in mind who your intended audience is during playtesting. Testing with children is different than testing with adults so carefully choose your target audience.
Even after the official playtesting process is over, continue to gather feedback from players. This will help you catch potential issues early on and keep iterating on the game until it truly meets player expectations.
By following these tips, you'll be able to conduct thorough and effective playtests that ultimately lead to a better game experience for users.