(We asked our sponsor Zigantic for their thoughts on getting the best right feedback from your testing)
Game testing is a part of every game developer’s path. Whether they begin testing their game during the beta stage or use App Store reviews to improve their games a few months after their first release, every game developer should include game testing as part of their path to success. In the status quo, game developers have little means of getting effective playtesting feedback—they can get input from friends and family (often filtered and dishonest), App Store reviews (small and potentially biased sample of users), or other ineffective methods. Getting input from actual potential customers—the actual people that would eventually consider buying your game—is the best way to know how to create the dream game for both you and your audience. At Zigantic, we’re here to help you shape the questions needed to obtain effective playtesting feedback and make your game revolutionary.
Using questions like these, developers can begin encouraging testers to provide real insights that will benefit the future of their games:
Did It Make Sense - What did you do first? After that? Did you know or understand what you had to do at the beginning? Throughout?
Questions like these help you understand the flow of the game, because as the game developer, you know your game best, and therefore don't truly understand exactly how the game would look to a first-time player. Use questions like the ones above to get a better understanding of your game from the eyes of beginners. If you didn’t ask a question like this, you wouldn’t be able to figure out if your game was easy for newcomers to use and if your UI was friendly and appealing. You also wouldn’t understand what most players attempt when they first open your game (Do they skip the tutorial? Do they immediately make purchases? Etc.).
Don’t directly ask questions involving overall quality, difficulty, etc. Be as specific as possible.
Ask for Specifics - Was the boss in the third level too easy? Too hard? Well designed? Was the UI of the menu and loading screens easy to navigate?
It is psychologically proven that without the right questions it is impossible to give completely unbiased, honest feedback—and this is especially true with game testing. For this reason, you must use questions that give the tester specific things to think about. If you ask for something “overall,” they’ll usually only keep a couple things in mind about their experience, but later experience a problem they had forgotten about that frustrates them. Instead, when they think about specific things, such as “the boss in level 3,” they think back to their specific experiences and can give you more constructive feedback.
Like the last question, come up with more ways to implement specificity:
Think back to a specific experience you had from levels 1-3 that frustrated you, or that you think helped engage you and made you more interested in the game. What was it, and how did it make you feel? What could be improved?
Questions like these are much more likely to give you a response that really helps you, rather than compliments or one-sided criticism. If you give the tester a task that encourages them to look back at and think about specific gameplay moments, they can thoroughly remember an experience that was significant to their time playing the game and can better express their emotions during those moments, which always serves as great feedback and gives you an opportunity to look for emotional patterns in feedback.
Objectivize - Finally, if you were to recommend this game to a friend, what would be the reason you give them for why you liked it?
Going step by step with your testers naturally gets them to be more specific and give more thorough answers. Coupling this with specific questions will give you very constructive feedback. Another benefit of them following step by step instructions means that you can ask slightly broader questions and still get detailed responses. If you do not provide a clear objective when asking a question, your testers will respond with broad or vague answers since there are many features of the game that your question can refer to, and you will not get valuable feedback.
Find Your Selling Point - Start level one, and after fully completing it, answer this question: did the tutorial give you enough information to finish level 1 without confusion?
A question like this helps not only close out the survey well but also tells you what makes your game unique. This question makes tester feel comfortable and at ease—they feel as if they are simply talking to a friend about a game and what they like about it. This is how you get the informal response that you need to understand what people like about your game, so you know how to emphasize your selling point.
This blog post is not meant to create your questions for you, but rather to help guide you by showing you the right types of questions and phrases that can maximize the insights you receive. Using these tips combined with Zigantic’s valuable services, you can multiply your user base and build a truly perfect game.