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College of Design

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Play Test

As a graphic design student, I don’t have a lot of experience with play testing. Usually, my schoolwork is critically evaluated by my peers, who will look at what I’ve made and give me feedback. It’s a very hands-off critique based on observation, and I like that! It’s what I’m used to by now after completing nearly all of the courses in the graphic design program. But this semester, things are a little different when it comes to my senior exhibition piece.

For my final project of my undergraduate career, I’m writing and designing a game that will be available to play at the graphic design senior showcase. It’s been a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work, bringing this game to life. It also involves a lot of coding... much more than I'm used to!

So much code.
Another part of this process that I hadn’t really considered at the start of the semester was play testing—having my classmates sit down and play my game in its rough stages to see how they navigate the program, while I sit to the side, watch, and take notes.

Like I mentioned earlier, normally in critiques people will just look at my work and talk about it. Play testing, though, involves actual player interaction. During my first round of play testing, I watched as my classmates made choices and read dialogue and navigated the user interface…and it was a lot more embarrassing than I thought it would be, honestly! I’m not used to having people interact with my designs this much, and it felt a lot more personal to see my classmates playing this game I had spent so much time creating (especially because it’s still a very rough design). Not only that, but the feedback I’ve gotten involves much more than the aesthetics of the game—I’m learning about how to fix the code and the written script of the game as well. There are a lot of facets to this project that I haven’t had in other projects before…which is intimidating, but also really fun! It’s awesome to take ownership of something and make it truly your own—but I definitely couldn’t do it all without the helpful insights that my classmates have to offer.

Until next time!

Jordan

Graphic Design