December 07, 2006

CST Beta Testing: A Little Detailed Developement

For our last project in EL405, we had the liberty to produce a project of any medium and subject matter. At this point, I was being bombarded by Interactive Fiction to the extent that I got ridiculously interested in it. Due to this, and the fact that I wanted to produce a finished product, I decided to extend project 1 and continue it for project 2. After I had reached a point of progress, I had Stormy beta test my game one day in class. To my surprise, she tried to interact with several small objects (a toothbrush, toothpaste) that I had included as part of a description. Of course, my game was still in the revision state, but it was good to see where I had to add stuff in order to either allow the player to interact or not interact with the objects. Stormy's interest in the small objects helped me to fine tune my game and it ended up helping me to be able to interact with the player more. I had to decide whether or not to let the player interact or if I wanted to get rid of the objects. I felt that they were necessary as part of the description, but knowing the player would interact with them, I made them obsolete. Instead of being able to take either of the objects, I have something happen. I made the actions trigger events in the game that I think make it a little bit more interactive for the player.

After I had taken Stormy's beta testing into account, I continued to work on my CST project, incorporating self-beta testing and fixing things as I went. I remember one day coming across some objects that I hadn't yet made interactive and thinking to myself about how I had to fix it. Well, I never got to that small detail. Later in the semester, I had Chris beta test my game in class. I wanted Chris to do it because I feel that he is very knowledgable about Inform 7. He tried to interact with the objects that I had forgotten to fix, which was a good thing because it put the thought back in my head to change them. Again, as I did the first time with Stormy's beta, I made the objects obsolete. They are there, but when the player tries to interact with them, I instead have the game interact with the player. Chris also helped me with some of my coding. There was an action I wanted to have in there, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to work, and Chris helped me to solve my problem.

Even though I beta test my own games, I am still relieved when someone else is willing to play. There are things that they are going to try to do that I wouldn't have ever thought of typing. It is good for a fresh pair of eyes to view my work, especially when those eyes belong to a person with different thoughts and levels of knowledge than myself. I feel that each time that I worked on my game, it developed a little bit. Each hour or two spent working with the coding was usually spent adding a small amount of coding and then detailing the crap out of it to provide the utmost level of interaction and understandability possible.

The beta testing aided the developmental process of my game and also aided in my own developing knowledge of the software. Even though I was initially anti-Interactive Fiction, after repeated exposure, I have come to truly enjoy working with it. I have also come to enjoy troubleshooting and solving error messages; this segment of enjoyment expands to a ridiculous extent. I am truly tickled by fighting with Inform 7 to get coding that works. As the semester progressed, I solved my own problems and spent time helping classmates solve theirs; it was a great feeling to finally understand the software, especially to an extent where I could help others understand it better.

Posted by Lori Rupert at December 7, 2006 12:06 AM
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