Friday May 14th was a red-letter day around the Bible X office. For months we’d been researching, brainstorming, testing, learning, and working full swing on our game, and this was the day we’d finally be able to see the first version of it in action.
Our goal was to create a prototype, a so-called MVP (minimum viable product) that was relatively quick to get running, but still contained all the core functions of the game. This was so that we could get valuable feedback and experience that we needed both for ourselves in the process of carrying out the entire workflow, but also from the perspective of the users and target audience. We had a very specific deadline for testing day, so it was a sprint to the finish line, demanding our full focus and concentration for the last 1.5 months.
A few weeks before testing day, we put out an announcement to some gaming groups to look for testers and received around 40 applications! But in the end, we had to choose just two groups to play, both in our original target age group.
Finally on May 14 – it was time to let the games begin! There was a distinct atmosphere of excitement as we watched our game being tested for the first time! We followed the testing via Zoom and remote desktop app Parsec, and also took screen recordings and filmed the whole process, so we got really good insight into the impression the different scenes and gameplay made on the target group.
It was very exciting to test out what we’d been working on for so long for the first time! Watching the target group react just as we had imagined to various stages of the game was an absolute highlight.
Watch what we were doing behind the scenes (English subs):
Some lessons learned
We learned that language is a very important factor. We had one test group from Norway and one from Canada. It quickly became clear that the Norwegian team should have had subtitles in their own language, something that we’re going to implement. We also had some challenges with the server functionality, which meant we saw some limitations. And really, that was the goal of the test, to try it out in real life so that we could make the necessary adjustments and optimize the flow of the gameplay.
One thing we had really been looking forward to was seeing how our concept of playing in “units” would work out, as parts of our gaming experience are made with group play in mind. So, the units get together – live or remotely over Discord – with one person controlling the game itself, and the rest using their phones to play different aspects of the game.
We thought that it worked out well considering the stage the game and app were at, but we also saw the importance of not drawing attention away from the graphic experience and story with the use of the mobile app. Rather, the app should seamlessly blend with the rest of the game so that it all becomes a coherent experience involving the whole group.
In conclusion – the test went well. “Well” meaning that we were able to test what we’d been working on for so long and uncover some errors and omissions that we hadn’t seen before. We also got to see some positive reactions to the gameplay that we had hoped for, so all of this will be invaluable as we move forward with developing the final game.
Watch the prototype being tested: