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I'm finishing a HTML5 browser game, and I'd like to have some player feedback. I was planning to make players take a short survey at the end of the game. Is this the best approach? How long should it be? Should I just let them write about the game instead of answer questions?

What are good questions to ask and how?

For example, do I let them write about physics, do I let them just choose "GOOD" or "BAD" or do I have a scale from 1 to 10?

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1  
Not sure about the scale to use, but I'd sure ask questions about if they felt frustrated, and if so what was causing trouble. Frustration is the often the #1 problem. –  Laurent Couvidou Apr 18 '12 at 19:30
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It really depends on what information you're looking to extract. Are you testing specific features? Are you doing A/B testing? Do you have any automated logging for some of the more discrete data points (i.e. how far they got)? –  Tetrad Apr 18 '12 at 19:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This question is a bit case-specific (and vague at that), but an interesting topic.

In general, I think most players (esp. for a casual game) wouldn't really be able to pick out what is and is not physics in the game, much less give you any useful feedback on it. This probably holds true for most aspects of a game. Even if you were to ask them how much they like the graphics, how are you going to use that feedback constructively?

Lets use your example, and say you collect a thousand responses to a rating of 1-10 for physics, and that you get an average of 7.0. What would you do with this? The only conclusion you could really draw from that (and you'd be basing it on low quality information) would be that you should sort-of spend more time on your physics implementation.

I like what Realm of the Mad Gods does. After you play for a bit, it gives you a really simple popup that asks two things: rate how fun the game is on a scale from 1-5, and explain what you like least about the game. I think the average person would do a much better job assessing how much fun they had than assessing the quality of something they really don't understand. And asking specific, simple questions about things that stand out (what did you like the least?) does two things: (1) it gives you a chance to gauge the quality of the response, and (2) it points you in a specific direction with a specific purpose.

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Great, thanks! Although your point is valid, people probably know what physics is in a game. Terms like "engine", "physics engine" really do pop up a lot in the era of increasing open development. –  jco Apr 18 '12 at 20:15
    
Sure, they recognize the term, but that doesn't mean they really understand what it means well enough to give you high quality feedback. –  stephelton Apr 18 '12 at 20:44
    
@Bane it is highly likely that people only think of physics as the thing that makes thing X move some far, and then stop, and not that it has anything to do with having object1 collide with object2 –  gardian06 Apr 18 '12 at 20:45

Ideally I would recommend a video recording of both player's face and his gameplay. In my experience this tells much more than any survey.

But I guess that's impossible, I usually recommend 5(Very Bad, Bad, Normal/No opinion, Good, Very Good) or 3(Bad, Normal/No opinion, Good), 10 in my experience tend to confuse people unless they are professional gameplay/prototype/alpha testers.

Questions about technical aspects might be dangerous, since players don't always know what hooked them up to a game, so I wouldn't ask about things like physics unless it's a physics puzzle like Angry Birds game, but I wouldn't ask about physics in say racing game.

If testers aren't paid I would also recommend to make a list of 3-6 most important questions, and put everything else in "optional part".

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I think that I'll order the questions by importance, and let them answer anything they want. –  jco Apr 18 '12 at 20:16
    
@Bane remember that a question that is important to you the player might not be able to answer with any certainty –  gardian06 Apr 18 '12 at 20:36
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Never use an odd number of possible answer in a survey. In this case 5 was mentioned. Use 4 or 6 or 10 instead. The reason is that by not having a middle ground choice, you force the person answering the question to pick a side: bad or good. Otherwise you get a bunch of 'I don't want to think about this too much' answers, which is the middle one. –  ADB Apr 23 '12 at 17:48

I have done a fair amount of play-testing, and those surveys tend to ask general what do you think of the game, and then go into specific details about specific things they are probably concerned about.

if your concerned about what people think of the physics in a platformer then don't ask "how would you rate the physics" ask "what did you think of how the character jumped/fell"

you can use scale values, but the data needs to be usable. if you just ask about physics, or graphics it is likely that Sallies Mom doesn't know what your talking about, or what it affects, and even if your giving a scale question then put something for "didn't notice" "don't know" some times if some one doesn't notice something as odd they will just think it is normal, and wont even register it.

then by asking specific questions like "what do you think about X" if you get a high density of complaints then it is something you might want to take a serious look at.

though remember that art is primarily for the artist, and then for the customer.

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+1 for "didn't notice"/"don't know" –  Dan Neely Apr 18 '12 at 21:10

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