Total Eclipse

Game Development & Consulting

Usability

Monster Snack – What It Is and How It Came to Be!

Those of you following up with our news on Facebook and Twitter, may have already heard about our upcoming iOS game, Monster Snack.

Monster Snack - What it is and how it came to be!

Soon after the release of Fashion Getaway, we decided to take a break from long development cycles. Thus came to be the idea of a fast-paced, rather unforgiving, endless runner. And we were going to finish it in just 1 month, from conception to App Store submission!

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Game Usability Testing for Indies: It’s Easier than you Might Think! (Part 2)

This is the second in a three-part series of articles detailing how we designed and deployed usability testing for our latest iOS game, A Clockwork Brain.

The research, design, and deployment of usability testing took one month from start to finish. Prior to this, none of us had any experience with designing formal usability testing. I, myself, have had some experience in questionnaire design and facilitation of experiments, based on previous work in university research.

The first article explained our choice of hardware and software and detailed the set-up costs. This article examines the game itself and explains its usability testing procedure.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Knowing your game.
  • What kind of players we wanted to invite and how we recruited them.
  • Discovering what to test.
  • Designing the first (of the two) usability scenarios.
  • Using the iGEQ questionnaire and open-ended questions, during testing.

Let’s begin!

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Game Usability Testing for Indies: It’s Easier than you Might Think! (Part 1)

As some of you may know, Total Eclipse is a small studio, with a core team of five. Even though we’re small, we consider usability testing very important.

In the past, for three of our largest productions we had a publishing agreement. The publisher had been in charge of doing usability & beta testing for our games, with camera recordings, questionnaires, targeted player groups, the whole lot. We used to get the videos and watch them as a team afterwards. I’ve got to tell you, especially during the usability, those videos were most of times heart-breaking and not in a good way. That taught us how important usability is and how crucial it is to test things outside our core team.

In our studio, we also tested our games with friends and family but in a much more informal setting – them playing, and us, behind their backs watching and keeping notes. However, for the last two years we’ve turned to self-publishing; we no longer have access to a publisher’s usability perks. As a result, for our latest iOS game, A Clockwork Brain, we decided to design the usability session from scratch. Read More

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