Dev Diary - Project 3: The Second Playtest

By the second playtest on Wednesday, the game had many improvements. The accomplice route was fixed/improved upon and many of the smaller bugs to do with guards and UI were fixed. For this playtest, we wanted to know if the planning phase had enough information and clarity for the player to know how to accomplice the level. 

Some of the improvements we added in from the first playtest were: tapping on distractions cause a radius of effect to pop up, and the entry/exit tiles "pop", to get the player's attention.

After the testers finished the level/s, they went to answer the questionnaire. It asked such things as: What elements did you observe during the planning phase? Do you feel that the planning phase prepared you enough for the execution phase? How clustered was the planning phase?

Overall, around 2/3 of the testers agreed that the planning phase prepared them enough for the execution phase, with the screen not being that clustered. One of the main concerns was the testers did not really remember the guard patrols and sitting there in the planning phase watching, was quite boring. So we added in a faint red line for each guard, displaying their patrol route. This game the testers more clarity of where exactly each guard moved and even if they're in range of distractions.

The problem though, is that the screen started to become to clustered. We were still planning on adding in a particle effect for the primary valuable since that is what's needed to complete the level, yet with that done, the planning phase looked like a mess. Guard vision cones/patrol lines, entry/exit tiles, distractions and now the primary valuable made the screen hard to read. An idea was that the guard vision cones were only visible when the player was holding down on that guard.

This was perfect. Not only did it reduce the screen cluster in the planning phase, but it gave the player something else to do in the execution phase. They now have to control both: tapping on distractions and tapping on guards to look at vision cones.

At the end of the day, the planning phase of the game changed. The screen became less clustered, guard movement became more precise visible to the player, and the execution phase was given a new mechanic for the player to play with.