- Add extra juice like fire, and weather
- Finish programming consequences and events, check level balancing and difficulty.
- Record and understand how players move through each ‘mode’ of my game.
- Iterate the game through rounds of playtesting for usability, engagement, difficulty and pacing.
- Iterate the game through rounds of quality assurance for bugs and playability.
- Write up results of experiments and analyse responses to Climate Change Reflection.
Polish, Animation and Juice
Fig 1. Masters 2022. Eudaimonia
Fig 2. Masters 2022. Eudaimonia Tutorial
Fig 3. Masters 2022. Eudaimonia Cards
- The world slowly hots up with a Fade Tween and Directional light with colour adjustments.
- There are now passing storms, from a weather system implemented from a previous project Flora Fatalis.
- Acid Rain and violent storms can be activated.
Playtesting & Iteration
Playtest 1: Usability
Players are enjoying the choice of leader, the shimmering water and especially love the green transport tram!
Timing & Difficulty
An in-depth playtest that was recorded showed me how far off my timing and difficulty pace were.
- Green policies would appear and by the time players had stopped reading, playing cards or building the next few policies had piled up! To fix this issue I paused the game while the player reads each policy.
The game is struggling with usability issues.
- I implemented a tutorial with a ‘help’ button
- End screen and number of days not working
- Some lag reported
- “Card mechanic didn’t always work for me, meaning sometimes I would get no new cards, or I would be unable to play a card that was showing as available. This meant I wasn’t able to build much during the demo.”
- “No results/ win/ lose screen when the game ended.”
Playtesting 2: Gameplay
Playtest 2 is designed to look at the game, and focus on how players feel about consequences. Consequences were programmed and implemented in Sprint 7. The results from playtesting reveal how to move forward with the iteration of the story and design.
“Bit random, except I wanted a nice house for myself (as leader) surrounded by trees and away from wind farms.”
“I just clicked things randomly. It wasn’t immediately obvious why I was building things.”
“I thought I was rather ‘nudged’ (or shamed) to do other than to go with the greenest policies. Not much hesitation is required. May I suggest more choices between competing green policies? (as I do not think this game would be attractive to climate deniers.”
“I did not like the counter being on 1 at the end – thought sb be 0 or the screen gradually to go in flames or red or with ‘armageddon’ flashing up. Could not distinguish (temperate?) bar at the side doing anything.”
“I was confused about the significance of where to put what when and the difference between the design and build. Why does the build bit have a countdown on the individual tiles? – in the end, I presumed to click on this enabled item to be built (?).”
“I suspect I missed something as the designing or building, whilst fun to do, did not seem to matter or were related to, the policies which seemed to pop up after some sort of interval regardless of whatever else was going on.”
Usability & Bugs
Playtesters also found more usability issues:
A few bugs were also reported:
Playtest: An Experiment in Consequences
Playtest: An Experiment in Evoking Emotion
Responding to Feedback, Playtesting and Iterating on the final Survey
Game Release: Exploring Anxiety and Hope for Climate Change Reflection
I posted the game on Twitter, LinkedIn and Discord to gather a range of responses. The game is also published on itch.io and available through search. I saw the most engagement from Twitter and just over one hundred impressions overall. Roughly 50% played the game, and of that 50%, around one-third completed the survey.
Overall I consider the release a success. I’ve gained insight into whether the design strategies are working, and while there were a few minor bugs found (a car drives off the pier in one version), nothing significant has been reported.
Responding to Feedback
Fig 4. Masters 2022. Populus Starve
I released the sprint with a stable build. Some minor bugs have been picked up and polished, but in the final sprint, I will be focusing on my research questions. The timescale felt quick this sprint, but I released the game on time, and I am on schedule with my planned timetable.
The game went through about four rounds of playtesting in the final sprint (several iterations were playtested in sprints 1 to 8) for usability, bug testing and general fun! In one playtesting round, I asked participants to record their play for me, so I could see exactly what they were doing, and this was incredibly helpful for fixing issues.
Survey: Exploring evoking emotion for climate change reflection
Opening the game to the feedback of Social Media is always nerve-wracking and draining. The feedback I’ve received is in the majority positive, with great and interesting suggestions for expansion and improvement (although this is not the aim of the final survey). One or two responses had to be deleted as malicious spam (nonsensical answers and personal attacks).
List of Figures
Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2022. Eudaimonia.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2022. Eudaimonia Tutorial.
Figure 3. Sarah MASTERS. 2022. Eudaimonia Cards.
Figure 4. Sarah MASTERS. 2022. Populus Starve.