Educational Game Design – Testing and Evaluating Your Game

Chocolate Chip Challenge by Juliak0610

Chocolate Chip Challenge by Juliak0610

Now that your final product is complete, it is time to see if your game addresses and solves the problem that you laid out in your Design Brief. Maybe you should take a moment to find your design brief and re-read what you wrote.

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The first step in this process is to design detailed testing methods that will generate appropriate data to help you measure the success of your game.

What does that mean?

There are two main groups that we will use to give us feedback (data) on our game. The first group is other game designers, i.e. your classmates. The second group is your intended audience, i.e. Kindergarten and/or Grade 1 students at YIS. This doesn’t mean you can’t include others in your tests, but you should definitely plan to include at least those two groups.

There are also two types of data that we can collect: qualitative and quantitative. You might gather qualitative data through surveys or interviews. This data tends to be subjective and can be converted to a numerical score. Tests that can be used to obtain qualitative data include:

  • using a questionnaire to find out if the target audience likes the look of a product
  • surveying students to find out which parts of a video game they found too easy and which were too difficult
  • interviewing an expert after he or she has interacted with a solution
  • performing a user trial by giving a toy to children to play with and observing reactions.

Quantitative data is more objective and is gathered through measurement rather than observation. Tests that can be used to obtain quantitative data include:

  • timing users who are tasked with finding a particular piece of information on a website
  • beta-testing your game to find bugs
  • counting the number of hits on a website over a set period of time.

Your first goal, before you ask anybody to officially test your game (and before you officially test anybody else’s game!), is to determine how you will collect data to evaluate the success of your game. In a new Google Document:

  • Create the testing methods you will use to collect qualitative and quantitative data from your fellow game designers.
  • Create the testing methods you will use to collect qualitative and quantitative data from your intended audience.
  • In both cases, think about how can you incorporate your design specifications into some of these testing methods.
  • Also discuss how many times you feel you will need to use each test in order to get useful results. How many people will you need to survey?

Once you have designed these tests you can start asking your fellow game designers to play your game and to give you feedback based on the tests you have created.  We will invite the Kindergarten and Grade 1 students to join us in one of our classes so you can collect data from them as well.

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