How to Do Playtesting with FFWWDD (Acagamic Tip Tuesday #10)

the acagamic tip tuesday Apr 19, 2022
VR player with PS4 controllers.

Welcome back to The Acagamic Tip Tuesday.

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Each Tuesday, I will send you a tip from the world of UX Research & Design for games. At my website The Acagamic, I focus on training people to become better researchers and designers for games and beyond.

Each tip will only take a few minutes to read.

Game UX Tip of the Week

Playtesting with FFWWDD: When playtesting try the six Frustrating, Favourite, Wanted, Wand, Doing, Describe questions to find out what your players thought about the game session.

This technique comes from Schell Games, which uses six questions to identify how players felt and what they thought after a playtesting session. Try out these questions in your next playtesting session.

The weird acronym ffwwdd comes from the beginning letters of the six categories:

  1. Frustrating: What was the most frustrating moment or aspect of what you just played?
  2. Favourite: What was your favourite moment or aspect of what you just played?
  3. Wanted: Was there anything you wanted to do that you couldn’t?
  4. Wand: If you had a magic wand to wave, and you could change, add, or remove anything from the experience, what would it be?
  5. Doing: What were you doing in the experience?
  6. Describe: How would you describe this game to your friends and family?

The questions are ordered like this on purpose. It allows you to validate what the players are doing. See if you get the same answers for frustrating and wanted or different ones and start getting a glimpse into your players’ brains.

Specifically, the last question where participants have to describe the game makes them reflect on their experience and how they have come to understand the game, which is the perfect opportunity for you to check against your game’s design intentions.

The game Lost Recipes from Schell Games.

Three Game UX Tweets

Two Links

The Definitive Guide to Playtest Questions by Schell Games

The Beginners Guide to Playtesting Games by Alexia Mandeville

UX Games Research Tip of the Week

In this 2021 publication, the authors introduce partial automation, an accessibility technique that delegates control of inaccessible game inputs to an AI partner. Partial automation works with other approaches to improve games’ accessibility, including universal design, player balancing, and interface adaptation.

The AI system offers players the ability to control the inputs that they want or are able to control (like actions, directions) and then provides input control for the parts they do not want or cannot control. A system like this can also offer balancing opportunities in matches of players with asymmetric skills (going beyond a handicap).

They tested their system with 6 players (some of them with severe motor impairments, such as tetraplegia). Participants reported feeling both enabled to play (they felt rewarded for their experience, which made gameplay feel meaningful and the automation let them focus on the most important aspects of playing the games) and disabled (mainly past experience with inaccessible games influencing their expectations and believing that gameplay was better for other people with different abilities).

Other feedback was that participants felt that the partial automation made it confusing to understand what was under their control and what was not.

Even predictable AI can be difficult to play with and the input ambiguity can make input frustrating occasionally. Partial automation seems like an interesting approach to support the accessibility of games though.

Read the full study

Gabriele Cimolino, Sussan Askari, and T.C. Nicholas Graham. 2021. The Role of Partial Automation in Increasing the Accessibility of Digital Games. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CHI PLAY, Article 266 (September 2021), 30 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3474693

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