There's nothing worse than the smell of burnt toast - when it's
coming from one of your tester's craniums. Testing is obviously vital
to your game's success as the public and media will tear you to pieces
if your game is found to be buggy. It is important, therefore, to keep
your testing schedule light and varied in order to prevent the burnout
of your testers. When they look at the same levels over and over for
days on end they're bound to become lax and miss a bug or two.
it up. If you have any other games in development give your testers a
variety of tasks. You must destroy the assembly-line feel of testing
since it numbs the mind - the very thing you need at peak performance
for effectiveness. If your game has a multiplayer option, use it as a
reward for your testers, let them test the multiplayer after a hard day
in the trenches. Keep the balance between multiplayer and single player
testing appropriate, however. If your game is mainly a single player
offering with multiplayer as a bonus, ensure that the single player
aspects are sufficiently emphasized.
Bring in testers from outside your development group to test the
playability and fun factor of your game. Let the tester play the game
uninterrupted and unaided to see where he has the easiest time, where
he gets killed too quickly, and where he gets stuck. If you have
allowed enough variability in your engine and your tools, you should be
able to tweak and tweak and tweak until you make the levels fun. If
your engine was too rigid to begin with you may find that your game
isn't fun no matter what you do, so beware.
observations you may notice that a puzzle or course of action that
seems completely obvious to you will be anything but obvious to an
outside entity. Ever try opening one of those childproof bottles, and
fail? That is what your testers may feel like, so be sure to nip it in
the bud before it's passed on to the consumer. Nobody likes to feel
like an idiot.
Be conscious during your design to provide 'fun'
at a steady pace. It should never be a breeze, nor should it be
impossibly hard. You should, additionally, allow the player to go at
his own pace. As seen in FPS games, you go into a room, kill some
monsters (fun) and when you're ready for more 'fun' you venture forth
once again. Don't fluster the player with a deluge of monsters and
action at all times, give them a chance to dictate the flow of the
game. Testing is imperative in getting this right, it simply isn't
something that you can predict with any accuracy during the design
When people run out of 'fun' they stop caring about the
game world and start trying weird things. They shoot at their wingmen
and try throwing fireballs at villagers. You don't want this sort of
thing to happen, so take the feedback from your testers seriously. When
you are told repeatedly that something isn't fun or that something else
is, you should listen. You are likely too involved in the game to see
the truth of the matter.