How to set up in-game tasks

Grab the player's attention and give them guided instructions

Christian Ress avatar
Written by Christian Ress
Updated over a week ago

Tasks are used when you want players to follow step-by-step instructions during your playtest. While they can be extremely helpful, we only recommend guiding players with tasks if you’re testing only a specific area of the game or if players must follow specific instructions to play the game properly.

  • Players will see the tasks in-game, one at a time. If they can’t complete all tasks within the required amount of playtime, they are free to leave the game.

  • Tasks appear as an overlay, a small circle which appears in the corner of the screen like this:

How to set up in-game tasks

Setting up tasks is part of the playtest ordering process. When setting up a playtest you'll need to select Step-by-step playtest under the Optional: In-game tasks menu.

Note: Natural gameplay is selected by default, as that's the preferred style for most playtests.

Use case examples:

Example 1: Focus feedback on specific areas

  1. Complete level 1.

  2. Comment about the boss battle. Did you find it too hard?

  3. Complete levels 2-5.

  4. Please explain in your own words what the 'magic wand' item does.

Example 2: Stopgap for a missing tutorial

  1. Tap the ground to move.

  2. Click the attack button in the lower right to attack.

  3. Tap and hold to dash.

Example 3: If your game is an early prototype

  1. Go to the settings menu.

  2. Select the server "Development Server North America."

  3. Save your settings.

  4. Bring down the console by swiping down with two fingers.

  5. Enter "mode 2" (without the quotes and with a space between mode and 2) and press enter.

Example 4: Asking the players questions to answer out loud

For tasks in this situation we recommend telling the player that the questions should be answered out loud before the question and during it.

  1. Play for 25 minutes and answer the following questions out loud.

  2. Once you've played for 25 minutes answer these questions orally.

  3. What did you think of the character X (answer out loud)

  4. What did you think of the character Y (answer out loud)

What happens now?

The tasks you've entered will now appear during the playtest of the player, as they play your game.

The tasks are shown to the player before they start to play the game, if you would prefer that the tasks are only shown to the player as they are playing your game; please let us know via the special requests at the bottom of the order form.

Beyond adding tasks, the rest of the playtest setup is the same as any other playtest setup.

How many tasks should I use?

A word of advice, playtests with too many tasks can cause problems: both for players and for the data that you receive.

For example, in the past we have seen a 30-minute single-session playtest include 25 tasks. This can completely change the nature of the game experience for the players, since now instead of getting footage of them playing your game in an unmoderated, natural replication of real world gameplay, you are holding their hands as they play.

When playtesting a game, one of the most common challenges is trusting players enough to provide the critical distance needed to look at the data objectively.

If your game is at a stage of development where you can let players play naturally, then a lot of times not using tasks is the right option. Just step back and just allow the playtest happen on its own. Check out our blog post on the subject to learn more.

Next steps

Questions? Reach out to us by opening the chat bubble in the lower right corner of your screen.

Happy playtesting!

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