Trials of Testing while Indie
We don’t have the money to hire a QA department to test Dadliest Catch for bugs and we at least didn’t think we had the resources to playtest it properly. When we started working on the game we used things we’d previously done with the first Octodad which mostly meant we reached out to friends and family to play the game. We still do this, but there’s a point where those resources either dry up in that they aren’t as interested or they aren’t as useful because at that point they’re too used to the game. At that point, like us, they’re likely unable to see the flaws we need people to point out.
There’s a time and a place for testers who are experienced and we bring them back to test new content/levels that it would make sense for them to play. However, we also need to be consistently finding new players to make sure the game still holds up from new perspectives. The game can’t become so hard that a new player becomes lost due to not having logged the same kind of hours a more experienced player has.
Hard in this case doesn’t always mean traditional difficulty. There’s the possible situation in which we get too used to communicating to a certain subset of player, one that’s highly experienced in our chosen way of communicating to them. If we get stuck in this position then we’re alienating any one who doesn’t think in the same way. Someone needs to be able to pick-up and play the game without any interference or help from us. This is pretty obvious, but it isn’t an easy thing to achieve. This is why we need as many new testers and eyes as we can get on the game. We can’t ship ourselves digitally with each purchase to help out if and when players get stuck.
More after the break.Read more