After a year of development we just finished our pre-beta tests with several friends. We order those friends from less target customer to the most potential target. But from all of them we get really awesome feedback and very important conclusions:
- The player don't want to wait, maybe it's because the anxiety of this world we live, but none of the testers wanted to wait. Any puzzle built to make the player wait was a problem. All of them tend to do the things fast, push the button faster, take the most dangerous path or choice because it's shorter… they prefer to die a hundred times than wait. So if you are going to do a stealth game, be prepared for that.
- The average player doesn't have fear of death. They are pretty used to die in any kind of game and if they have a near autosave, they are really headstrong with some dangerous paths they take. They explore a lot, but never stop for a second to choose, or investigate the differences between paths. They only choose one and focus on beating it. Over and over. They can die like twenty times until they realize that, maybe they should choose the other path nearby. So, if you have autosave and different ways, or wrong ways to do it, be careful to highlight very well the wrong aspect of them.
- The player loves to explore. Sometimes they don’t want to be guided by the game, they reject the game narrative to explore in the way they want. Even with the main goal reached they still want to continue exploring. They don't usual stop for a second to think what are they exploring or how they could explore better, they just get lost several times even with tools designed to prevent that. So they love to explore, but they are not very focused. They can find a very secret item, and leave others that they have in front of his eyes. So be sure yo put several items.
- The average player reads too fast. Most of the players read so fast that even if you put something very clear in the text, they tend to forget it in the next text line. So you have to highlight a lot the important things, not only saying them but also creating a dialogue and a narrative situation for them. Also if you want to put two messages in the same conversation, be very careful, because it's really hard to put those two things in the player mind.
- Also one of the more important things is the look you have in the game, your style. For us, our top-down pixel style, reminds a lot to Zelda, so the people want that, they try to do that, and play the game as it was a Zelda. It’s really hard break that concept in his mind.
So after all this feedback we are now doing some corrections, adjustments, and adding new material to the game. After that we will start to do a beta test with some real customers.