We've talked about our experiences with beta testing in the past, and that’s because we rely heavily on the feedback from our beta testers when defining next steps in game development. However, when Ontario began social distancing back in March, the feedback we’d received from our in-person play sessions suggested we’d drifted slightly off course. We were missing something and couldn’t hand the game off for remote play without having figured out what that “something” was.
While working from home we began implementing new approaches to the core game play. The team tried out tournaments, challenges, player defined objectives, new coding opportunities, new artwork and most importantly expanding from single to multiplayer. One-month later and the game was finally ready for re-release to a small group of remote beta testers. It had been weeks since anyone outside our team had been given access to Super Code Strike, and we were anxious to see how our changes had impacted player experience.
We began by reaching out to our existing list and asking who would be interested in testing remotely. From there, we added those people to our Discord server which is where we hope to build a sense of community for players. Our focus is on ensuring our beta testers want to – and are able to share their feedback honestly, and that we have some method of collecting that information and providing assistance when necessary.
This group is now playing single and multiplayer, communicating regularly through Discord and sharing their experiences and suggestions on a weekly video call. Overall, the response has been really positive. Kids are picking up the basics of block-based coding and incorporating that into their island designs. Multi player is a huge win, so are challenges and the new character selection options.
The feedback we continue to receive from players is incredibly valuable, and although it’s only been one week since we've reengaged, we have begun to incorporate their many ideas into future release plans. Social distancing forced us to pause and refocus our energy into building a game that aligned with what players were really asking for: an experience that was social, creative and personally challenging, which is what we have today. The future is bright as we continue to develop this mobile STEM game based on honest feedback and direction from those playing it.
Interested in becoming a beta tester for Super Code Strike? Sign up to participate here: SCS Beta Testing