2010-12 Play Test

The play-tests of the software prototype that were conducted consisted of game mastered play sessions. A game master (Marcus) guided three players through a number of scenarios, while a test leader (Mirjam) observed the process. In the prototype, the game play mechanics were fully implemented, but the content was limited to a starting area where players could be acquainted with the basic game play and the game interface by interacting with two NPCs and performing the task given to them by these NPCs. Because of this, the classical approach of using the Wizard of Oz method to simulate the system was not necessary, but game-mastering was, in order to create the content for the sessions, namely to provide a guiding through, and interaction in, the scenarios of the test.

Participants

In the play-test of the software prototype 25 players participated, the majority of them being undergraduate students at the Gotland University in Sweden. Their mean age was 23.4 with a standard deviation of 4.4. Fifteen participants were male and ten were female. All participants were residents of Gotland, Sweden. The majority of the participants had experience of playing MMORPGs.

Procedure

Nine sessions were conducted (see picture below). In cases where two players needed to cancel, the play-session was cancelled. In cases where one player of three had to cancel their participation a master’s student working on the project acted as a stand-in player. The data gathered from the stand-in player is not part of the data analyzed after the test. Each session took between one and two hours. The video materials gathered are approximately of 20 hours of video capturing players since two cameras were used, and approximately 30 hours of video capturing avatars on screen using the software Camtasia. The Camtasia recordings also include a recording of players' faces coming from web cameras mounted on the screens. Also players' utterances were captured via the headsets each player was equipped with. The log-files of the play sessions are also part of the test data, one log for each player and session. The logs capture each action performed in game by the player in text format. Prior to the tests, players were asked to enter the virtual world, create their avatar and play for a while. This was done in order to save time during the actual test, so that more focus could be set on the game play rather than on understanding the graphical interface of the game world client.
 

Playtesting
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