Your first playtest is always a special occasion. It's the time when you see the fruits of your labor tested in the real world, with a real person, giving you real feedback. But what should you expect? This might seem straightforward, but it's nice to know what to expect and what to keep your eyes peeled for.
In this article, we'll take a brief look at analyzing your first playtest. This includes:
- How to access your playtest
- What you can expect
- Understanding player feedback
Note: Check out our article all about setting up your first playtest if you haven't ordered a playtest with PlaytestCloud before.
Receiving your first playtest
Like any good news that comes through your inbox, it'll be clear what to do next. The subject line will read "Playtest results for (insert game title here)." Once you see that sitting in your inbox, it's time to open the email and check the result. These emails always arrive in your inbox as soon as the results are available, so there is no need to constantly check – you can simply wait for the results to come to you.
A tale of two links
You will see there are two links in the body of the email. The first link takes you directly to the section of your PlaytestCloud dashboard where your playtest results are accessible, editable, and notable. Here you have full access to watch the video and see any player feedback. You can also see all the annotations on the video, and have the ability to rate the video out of three stars.
The Private Share Link offers limited access to whoever you share it with – there is no need to sign-in when viewing a video through this link, which makes it ideal for sharing playtests with your team. The private share link offers access to all the annotation notes and allows whoever has the link to make annotations. However, it doesn't allow access to your full PlaytestCloud dashboard – which means they won't be able to see any other playtest other than the one available through the link. This link also doesn't allow the viewer to rate the video.
Note: Once your playtest is available for you to view, you can always find it again under the My Playtests section.
If the promised delivery time has passed and you still haven't received an email with your playtest results, please check your spam folder and adjust the spam filter settings for your future convenience.
If you clicked on one of the links, you will find your playtest. If you ordered more than one, they'll be organized by time of completion, with the newest videos listed at the top. If you click on My Playtests in the top menu bar from here, you'll be taken to an overview of all the games you've playtested, also in order of most recent at the top of the list.
There are a few things you can do from here, such as generate reports and order new playtests. There are a couple of things you'll see right away, one is that you can see how players rate your game. There are three primary measurements, as seen in the screenshot below:
You'll see this 5-star rating system per video, and also as a total for all your playtests, at the top of the page. You'll also see a small summary of tester demographics beneath the title of your playtest.
To begin watching your playtest, click on the thumbnail or the blue player name link – as seen in the screenshot below:
The video: What does it all mean?
Once you've clicked into the video player, you'll see that the screen is divided into three sections based on function. The video itself takes up most of the screen. You can begin the video by clicking within the player screen or by using the standard video controls on the video player toolbar beneath the video:
The video player toolbar consists of the following functions, from left to right:
- Play / Pause
- Time: 0:00 / 33:01 – the first number indicates your place within the video, the second indicates the total length of the video
- Skip 5 seconds: The two circular arrows allow you to skip +/– 5 seconds within the video
- Playback speed: 1x – this indicates the video is playing back at normal speed, which is the default. In addition, you can play the video back at 0.25x – which is slower, a quarter of the normal playback speed. If you'd prefer to watch the video quicker, you can speed it up to 1.5x – which is 50% faster than normal (note: the audio is also sped up). The remaining options are 1.75x, 2x or 5x. These higher speeds can be particularly helpful if you're trying to find a specific point in your video that you can recognize quickly with visual cues.
- Volume: You can mute the video by clicking on the speaker icon, or adjust the volume by moving the slider left or right (note: further right is louder).
- Toggle full-screen: Click the icon of the two arrows pointing away from each other to expand the video to full-screen.
Beneath the video is an audio timeline displaying the audio waveform. It is split in two because the player took a break from the game and then came back to play some more. We can see from the below screenshot that "Session 2" was shorter, and can verify the exact amount of time by hovering the cursor over the audio timeline.
On the right-hand side of the screen, you'll see the panel containing all the demographic information of the player. Here you can also access the player survey, export reports in PDF or CSV format – you can also download a copy of the video to your computer. You can add your own internal notes in the Summary tab.
The final section here is the annotations list. These annotation notes are different than the internal summary note because the annotations give you the ability to specify exactly the point of the video you would like to draw attention to. When you create a new annotation, you can leave notes at specific times with clickable links.
For example, if you want to make a note to check a particular point of the video again or to draw the attention of a colleague of yours – then you can leave notes with an annotation that will take them directly to that point of the video.
Video player scrubbing
One of the most loved features of the video player is that when you're hovering your mouse in the timeline section of the video player, a thumbnail showing an image of the what's happening at a separate point in the video will appear in the bottom left corner of the video player:
So if you're curious about what's going on at a later point in the video, you can scrub along the timeline while still watching and listening to the video.
What you do next is up to you! Of course, we hope that you learn a lot about the playability of your game from these videos and that you're eager to learn more.