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How to track Fun?

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I've been noticing that each revision of my game has a varying feeling of fun.  I.e. It was more fun before I added the tire traction, or it seemed more fun before the terrain got smoothed out.  I've decided to start tracking this information, so at each play test, I'll write down if it feels the same, or more/less fun.  And ideas of why I think that might be.  

 

***  What I'm asking, is if anyone else does something like this, and if they have any advice for tracking it/measuring it  

 

I'm thinking it would be important for me to get external play testers to test between versions and tell me their thoughts on it as well.  

 

Any advice or ideas?  

 

 - Thanks!

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***  What I'm asking, is if anyone else does something like this, and if they have any advice for tracking it/measuring it  
 I'm thinking it would be important for me to get external play testers to test between versions and tell me their thoughts on it as well.  
 Any advice or ideas?


Of course others do play testing.

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Thanks, the video was insightful.  I wasn't entirely looking for a general overview of playtesting and who to use.  I was hoping for was how people track this information and how to organize it.  Particularly I'm looking for feed back from others who have been through this.  The video gave me a few more ideas on what to track, but I still feel disorganized.

 

For instance, I know that having more metrics earlier is better, but I don't necessarily know what to track.  For instance, "fun" is such a vague term,  which is why I plan on tracking it like "More Fun", "Same Fun" and "Less Fun", but I'm wondering what other metrics I should use, potential alternatives to clarify "fun" and any advice on organizing this into useful plans.

 

- Thanks!

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***  What I'm asking, is if anyone else does something like this, and if they have any advice for tracking it/measuring it  
 

 

typically, i wont make a change in the first place until i'm sure it a change for the better. 

 

but occasionally one adds a feature and it turns out to not be "all that".

 

usually, in those cases, i'll simply immediately turn it off, and move on to the next feature. maybe later i'll have an idea that might make it more fun, and then i can revisit the turned off code.

 

so there's no real need to track "more fun - less fun". everything should add fun/coolness (whatever your metric is), or its outta there! <g>.

 

i'd say don't over think the problem. go with your gut. if you implement a feature and your gut says "-eh- so so...", just turn it off, and chalk up the time spent to experience. next time, think harder about the dynamics that will result from implementing a new features and how that will affect the overall aesthetic (IE will it enhance it?) before you code.  skip the features you're less sure about until all the really cool ones are done.

 

i find that once you learn how to code games, the really hard part is figuring out what to code (what mechanics / game rules to implement), not how to implement it.  so its really about design.  code is just how you explain the rules of the game to the computer.

 

also remember that metrics are very difficult to apply to subjective things like "fun". that may be why a "go with your gut" approach tends to work well.

 

trust your inner gamer, it will steer you towards the fun.  anything you're unsure of, solicit the opinions of others, either through design discussions or via play testing.

 

for a more scientific approach, videotape play testers, and watch for body movement in sync with the game (IE they duck when the character should duck), and facial micro expressions which give away inner thoughts and emotions.    count the type and number of instances of each over a typical hour of gameplay or something like that. then you'll have some hard numbers in the way of metrics to play with.

 

but me personally - i'd just go with my gut. <g>.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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The video gave me a few more ideas on what to track, but I still feel disorganized.
 For instance, I know that having more metrics earlier is better, but I don't necessarily know what to track.  For instance, "fun" is such a vague term,  which is why I plan on tracking it like "More Fun", "Same Fun" and "Less Fun", but I'm wondering what other metrics I should use, potential alternatives to clarify "fun" and any advice on organizing this into useful plans.


Stop thinking of "overall fun" and start focusing on specific aspects. You must have some ideas about some aspects of the game being more fun than others. Maybe level 1 is enjoyable but level 2 is tedious. Maybe digging is tedious, and turning ore into money is too complicated, but what you can do with the money is fun. So ask questions like "what did you think of the digging?" and "what did you think of the ore marketplace?" and "what did you think of the shopping?"

As in so many things, it's about breaking things down into their component parts, and examining those individually. Edited by Tom Sloper

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While I can't help you with measuring fun, I can share the elements of fun I found on amazing site "Sources of Insight". I hope it may give you some ideas of what and how to measure :)

 

Elements of fun after http://sourcesofinsight.com/what-does-game-design-teach-us-about-fun/

  1. winning
  2. problem solving
  3. exploring
  4. chilling – lying on a beautiful beach
  5. teamwork – collaborating and cooperating
  6. recognition – someone else telling you you did a good job
  7. triumphing – similar to winning, you win and some loses.
  8. collecting – bringing things into collections (e.g. coins. in games), you can assemble a collection of things
  9. surprise – something you did not expect
  10. imagination – day-dreaming or creating with the mind
  11. sharing – altruism
  12. role playing – pretending we’re someone else
  13. customization – fun to choose your colors, design your own thing
  14. goofing off – letting it all hang out and just be silly
     

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