So last class, we talked about the value of testing and feedback. I've always known that feedback and testing is a vital part of the creation or development of anything. Writing need to be reviewed and edited, shows need to be watched and improved upon, and games need to be tested and polished.
As such, testing is a big thing in the games industry as it actually allows developers to make sure their game is good and to improve on areas where it is weak. Large game companies test all the time. They have internal testers used to test preliminary builds, and then they may release it prior to release as a beta for the public to test. Finally, once the game is released they still have testing phases as the game is never truly "finished" now as patches can be made to the game through the Internet.
Mmm.. WoW Patch Days, when the servers lag for 3 days after release. (Kotaku)
As people know, I'm a pretty big Blizzard fanboy. One of the things that I feel Blizzard does pretty well is to monitor their games and make changes as necessary. They do this in pretty much all of the online games they create. They release the game for beta testing to iron out the bugs and to obtain feedback from the public, and then they constantly monitor the game and add content or fix issues.
Balance testing is one of the things I'm actually really interested in. I used to play World of Warcraft a lot, and then now I kind of moved onto StarCraft. Both of those games actually require a lot of balancing since both games have competitive environments. If the environments are unbalanced, then the game is no longer fun.
Balance. (Yahoo Memes)
For example, in the original World of Warcraft, there were many classes and combinations within classes that were useless. No one every had a DPS paladin in their group, they were always healers. No one ever had demonology warlocks, as they were garbage. Druids were almost always exclusively healers since all the other forms were meh.
But through expansions which completely changed the game, and through patches which edge the game in certain directions, eventually the classes were balanced out so they were all somewhat viable. Now, I haven't played in a long time, but when I still did it was normal to encounter ret paladins or demonology warlocks (Even I went demo at one point) or even cute Boomkins which wreck your face.
Ehhhh. Can't think of a comment.
For a game like StarCraft balance is even more essential since the game is played on a competitive level. If the game was imbalanced, it would quickly make the game not fun to watch and play competitively since a player who isless skilled could easily beat a player that is more skilled because their race is "imba". eSports would die if there was a huge imbalance between the races.
As such Blizzard constantly gathers data about the game and then analyzes it to figure out if anything needs to be changed. If the win rate between Protoss vs Zerg was 52:48, then that's actually pretty good. It's almost impossible to outright make it 50:50, so a small deviation like that is actually really good since there are so many other factors that come into play. However if the win rate was 60:40, then something is wrong and needs to be looked into.
Buff Zerg please. (SC2Statistics)
The feedback we accrue from testing also directly applies to us too. Last semester, we went and showed our GDW game to a bunch of people including Dr. Hogue. Everyone gave us feedback, and we all considered it and put a bunch of them in the game. Literally a week before our game's presentation, our game was completely different. But through feedback we were able to implement a lot of features and things into our game that made it feel a lot more polished and complete.
Yesterday we decided to do something similar by showing our game to Dr. Hogue and Dr. Nacke for feedback. Both of them gave us some pretty good feedback as to how we should improve our game. I was kind of scared at first since our game isn't at the point where I thought we should be at at this point in the semester, but they were both pretty gentle and said our game was fine.
We didn't show them the Spiderman version.
Naturally we still needed improvements though. Dr. Hogue told us things like to implement some more shader effects to make the game pop a bit more, and Dr. Nacke gave us a lot of general feedback about the feel and design of our game. We're planning on making as many changes as we feel we can and should based on the feedback we were given.
Last semester our game was made a lot better in the last 1 - 2 weeks through feedback and polish, here's hoping its the same this semester.