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Testing CF3

Hello fellow Curvers,

I’ll be going through the process of what we’re doing in the office before and around our testing sessions. Since we’re working on CF3, which is a big project, I’ll be breaking it down.

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Step 1: The vision

The last couple of months we’ve been very busy defining what should become the next Curve Fever experience. Not only do we need to move away from Flash, we also want to make CF3 a bigger and better game. Therefore we’re focusing on the following aspects:

  • New technology and server infrastructure.
  • Better accessibility
  • More gameplay depth and variety
  • Personalization
  • Progression
  • Monetization

Step 2: Ideas

During this process we had brainstorms, lots of sketches and tons of ideas written down. A fraction of these ideas seemed realistic and something that would fit and actually make Curve Fever better. These ideas were realized in a CF3 gameplay prototype. This prototype has had a lot of iterations and improvements to be something that players can play and have a genuine opinion about.

Step 3: Testing

All of the ideas that are feasible need to be tested by a variety of players. That’s why we brought it to small game related gatherings, network lunches and most importantly, we invited our player-base to come and test with us. Since we had never done this last part before, it was a big experiment to see how the response would be.

So, we organized 2 test-days where players, all ages, were allowed to come and test our prototype.

By having people play the prototype we wanted to gather enough information about what works and what doesn’t and most importantly why.

From organizing these test-days we already learned a couple of things: - Most players don’t live anywhere close to us. - Ever more players don’t care about what’s going on behind the scenes. - Only a small group of players will show up. - There is a group that is very interested but can only join over the internet.

But that’s all fine and something I can understand. For me the most interesting thing was that it’s so much more valuable to have actual players test, compared to random players on an event. The feedback is just so drastically different.

Both sessions we had a very small amount of players (< 5) that visited us (or were able to come). However, these people weren’t just people. These were actual players that have played the game for hours and hours. These players are AWESOME! They know a lot about the game (arguably even more than me) and have gotten very good at playing it. This was way more interesting than all the small gatherings/events we’ve been at, so far. To be fair, they are also very valuable since they resemble a more 'newcomer experience' which is also something that's important. It's just different.

Events tell us if people like the game in general. These tests tell us if players liked or disliked a feature specifically, and why

Step 4a: Design accordingly

So, we gathered a lot of information from the sessions, as well as from the other small events and gatherings. Now it’s my task to process all of this information and use it to design a full fledged CF3 base experience.

But there’s more to the design part. I’m working together with an artist to define the art-style for CF3. There is also a lot of work to be done for creating all the wireframes and full fledged screens that will be used as blueprints for the final product. These wireframes can be used to discuss early on what features we want at what place. How navigation will work. And wireframes give us some flexibility to easily change things around, so we don’t have to constantly rebuild parts of the game.

Then we should combine the art-style with the wireframes to have a full representation of how we want the game to look in the end.

Step 4b: Build the online framework

In the meantime we’re switching from working on the prototype to building the actual foundation for the online components in our game. The framework and core of our online multiplayer networking. This will take us at least a couple of months.

Step 5: Make it all come together.

Like the title says. This will be a final step in finishing the game into a beta phase that can be tested, big time.

Until then we will still be testing out small ideas in the upcoming weeks (at small gatherings) and events. But, I can’t wait until we have an online version that can be used to test on a bigger scale with our online players!

Remember “Patience is a virtue.”

Martini

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