Game testing insights

by Riin Tark & Jose Prieto @ 04.03.2018

Game testing insights

In the end of January we had another testing round of the game together with (former) pediatric cancer patients. Read on to see what we learned from this testing period.

Here is the summary of main insights from game testing, the pros and cons.

  • Motion controls’ are too sensitive for a smooth experience in moving around in the city
  • Visuals and characters are cool
  • Educational component is easily understood
  • A lot of nice ideas from kids: more minigames, more levels in the games, possibility to explore all the characters in greater detail and so on
  • Kids looking forward to the chat and play possibilities with other players

Read on for more detailed information.

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Here in Triumf, we highly value the process of co-creation and co-design of the game with true experts in the field - the kids themselves and their families, and the medical personnel supporting them on their chronic illness journey. Our first focus point has been children with cancer and in the second half of 2017 we tested the Android version of our game with (former) pediatric cancer patients and also with children without chronic illness. In the end of January this year, as we are constantly developing the game, we had another testing round with our young partners. This time all of them are or have been pediatric cancer patients with the youngest partner being 8 years old and the oldest ones 12 years old. Our young experts’ role was to explore around in the game and give free flow feedback. After a week of testing we had a feedback interview where we covered different topics: how was their experience, whether they got stuck, were there any bugs, did they like the graphics and characters, was the tutorial useful and clear, did they find the new features, was the game’s language clear, and so on.

Generally, in development and testing an early product, it is common to run into technical issues. In our case it was mainly related to the fact that each kid was testing the game with a different phone model – each one with different technical specifications, such as screen resolution size, memory, processing speed, Android version and so on. It is a big challenge to develop a game compatible with a wide range of devices and have decent performance (i.e. for the game to run smoothly) across all of them. This is our main technical objective for the next sprint. From the technical side we also keep in mind the game code structure that would enable the smooth and sustainable growing of the game when adding new content. One of the most recurrent feedback we have received is regarding the user experience on the controls (i.e. moving the character) – we have been constantly implementing and testing different approaches and have improved significantly but they still need improvements. We will test out our new ideas on the next version. From the positive side, children really like the visuals and the characters, and our latest addition to the city environment, the playground, was also received very well. They evaluated the content of the game (i.e. mainly the educational part about the illness) as well understood and we discussed what kind of information we could add there and why adding some information may not be a good idea. Children also had a lot of cool ideas what they would like to see in the game. For example, they would like to access more buildings in the city and play different games there or increase the difficulty of current games or they would like to see the disease monster’s, the one whom the superhero is fighting against, close-up. They are also looking forward when they could chat and play games with other players.

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It feels right to be working so closely with kids and with short iterations – it helps us to be on track and work closely on their needs and preferences and reflect them immediately on each next version. We are so pleased to see how eager and professional our young partners are in giving feedback and thinking together with us. We have stressed to them and will stress once again that their effort and contribution has a major impact in creating a game that children will benefit most from. We are also grateful for their patience and the courage to point out annoying parts through their serious attitude and thorough feedback.