User testing involves gathering feedback from a group of users to evaluate and improve the design of the game. In this blog post, we will look at the various steps of building an escape room and explore how user testing is relevant in each step.
Theme definition and story development
The first step in building an escape room is selecting a theme and developing a story that will be the backbone of your game. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your theme and story are engaging and interesting for your target audience. For example, if you are targeting families with young children, you might choose a theme like a magical forest with a story about finding a lost treasure. You could conduct user testing with a group of families with young children to get their feedback on the theme and story. Based on their feedback, you might adjust the story to make it more engaging or choose a different theme altogether.
Once you have your theme and story, the next step is designing the puzzles that will challenge your players and keep them engaged throughout the game. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your puzzles are solvable and not too difficult or too easy. For example, you could create a puzzle that involves using light sabers to cut a bunch of fruits, but after user testing, you realize that players ended up playing with the light sabers for the rest of the game, so you decided to use a less interesting cutting utensil for the fruit puzzle.
Clue and Hint System
The clue and hint system is an essential part of any escape room game. It helps players when they are stuck and keeps the game moving forward. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your clue and hint system is intuitive and helpful for your players. For example, you could create a clue that involves determining the altitude of an incoming missile, but after user testing, you realize that no one reads any clues so you looked into other ways to deliver your hint.
Prop Design and Set Design
The props and set design are crucial in creating an immersive experience for your players. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your props and set design are engaging and authentic. For example, if you are creating a game set in a prison, you might design a jail cell that looks realistic, but after user testing, you realize that the players don’t feel like they are really in a prison cell. You might adjust the set design to make it more authentic or add more props to create a more immersive experience.
Execution of Electronics, Coding, and Manufacturing
Once you have your puzzles, clues, and set design, it’s time to execute the electronics, coding, and manufacturing of the game. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your game is functioning correctly and that your players are not experiencing any technical difficulties. For example, you could create a puzzle that requires players to wear an optical heartbeat monitor, you realize that heartbeat input can be faked. You might need to change the type of monitor or remove it altogether to prevent brute forcing of the puzzle.
Testing and Adjusting Difficulty Levels
Finally, once you have completed all of the steps above, it’s time to test the game and adjust the difficulty levels based on the feedback you receive from your players. User testing is crucial in this step because it helps you ensure that your game is challenging enough to keep players engaged but not too difficult that them to become frustrated and give up. For example, you might have a puzzle that involves using a night vision goggle to find a hidden object, but after user testing, you realize that some players are having difficulty finding the object. You might adjust the difficulty level by making the object more visible or increasing the heat signature to help players find it.
User testing is a critical component in building a successful escape room game. It helps you ensure that your game is engaging, challenging, and free of technical difficulties. Without user testing, you risk building a game that may not meet the expectations of your target audience, leading to negative feedback and potentially hurting your reputation. User testing allows you to gather valuable feedback from your target audience and make adjustments to improve your game. By following the steps outlined above and incorporating user testing throughout the design and development process, you can create an immersive and unforgettable escape room experience for your players. If you are interested to learn more about the escape room business, check out this post, or feel free to reach out if you are in San Francisco.