Playtesting and the importance of revision cycles.

Here’s your weekly game dev productivity newsletter focusing on improving development workflow, efficiency, quality, and mindset of game developers.

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” -Babe Ruth

Image for post

Failure is a large part of the game development process, especially during playtesting.

Leaders in creative industries always seem to be fanatical about receiving feedback, and more importantly, seeking out criticism. Pixar understands the value in feedback and creates an environment where it is listened to and appreciated from anyone in the company, regardless of title.

They claim that even though they have a track record for extremely high quality work, it never starts out that way and takes many reworks of the original concept to get it right. I feel like they might know a thing or two about creating successful releases.

Co-founder Ed Catmull even said “…early on, all of our movies suck.”

Think about how incredible their movies are (and how much money they make) and just remember that it always starts out bad. So don’t be discouraged when someone says your game sucks, as you are right on track to an amazing game if you approach it with the right mindset.

Free Game Assets

Image for post

As you may have seen in recent updates over the last 2 weeks, I have been converting standard unity particle effects into HDRP.

Between the two .unitypackage files, there are Shader Graph VFX prefabs for explosions, fog, steam, rocket trails, and energy bombs. Here is a link to download them.

What I’m Reading This Week: Finding More Playtesters

Image for post

Recently I have been brainstorming and looking into getting my prototypes and alpha builds to as many playtesters as possible.

I’ve stumbled upon a few articles regarding the subject, and even though they aren’t new articles, each of the articles below provided some valuable piece of information about playtesting:

Design 101: Playtesting — The concept of “Scattershot Testing” caught my attention.

“A Scattershot Test involves putting in a whole bunch of different mechanics into that faction all at once. While the final mechanic might be intended to show up on 20 different cards, try five mechanics that each show up on four different cards. Then you can figure out which of the mechanics were the brightest spots in gameplay.”

The Defin­i­tive Guide to Playtest Questions — A short list of valuable questions to ask playtesters.

Interview Questions

Extra Credits — Entertaining Short Video On How To Get Good Feedback

Unity Plugins For Productivity

Bolt Super Units (free)

Image for post

If somehow you haven’t heard, bolt is free.

A brand new plugin just released August 26th adds a bunch of useful modules for Bolt.

I know.. a lot of devs would rather code everything themselves, but Bolt can be really useful to add small or simple classes faster than creating a new script. Game development takes a lot of time, so anything to speed up the process is can be beneficial.

This enhances the effectiveness of Bolt, and it’s free.

Rainbow Hierarchy 2 (paid)

Image for post

This may seem like just a basic little feature addition(it is) but it has increased my productivity in a big way.

Adding color and symbols to the hierarchy has led me to find assets much quicker and over time adds up to significant amounts. $15 is a small price to pay for a boost in efficiency.

Hold alt and click anything in the hierarchy, then change the color or symbol. That’s it.


Image for post

There is a new docuseries on different aspects of the video game industry that you can find on Netflix. Each episode covers a different topic from NES to Role Playing Games all the way to the origin story of shooters. Check it out for sure. Watch the trailer here.

That’s everything for this week. Follow me on twitter for more interesting game development stuff. @BigRookGames

-Jake Jameson
Founder | Lead Developer