Feedback vs Review

Posted by (twitter: @@Mr_Tedders)
December 17th, 2013 9:15 am

I’ve been trying to rate and comment on as many games as possible. I haven’t done a lot but I’m planning on doing more and more every day. However, as I go through these games it can commonly be seen that people say “great job” and then describe what they like, which is good don’t get me wrong. Encouragement means a lot to budding game developers, but in order to make us the best game developers that we can be we need to see what we overlooked. We need to understand what the player liked AND didn’t like. We need to know if the player thinks anything could have been done differently. Only by learning from our mistakes and improving ourselves will we be able to create games that captures the hearts and minds of everyone who plays our games.

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This also means that the game developers have to make sure not to take offence when people say they don’t like something that you may have been proud of. Try to understand where they are coming from and why they didn’t like it and what you could have done to improve their experience. You need to be able to read in between the lines, for example is someone says the game needs more power ups that doesn’t simply mean you should put in more power ups. Maybe the problem is your weapon is simply too weak, maybe the problem is that some effect that happens when you’re powered up is more interesting than normal mode and you should try focusing more on the powered up version. Try your best to see exactly where your player is coming from and how to come up with solutions in your own style.

Just a little thing to think about during this judging period. I hope you’ll take this to heart and become a better developer because of it!

Also shameless self promotion: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=29094


7 Responses to “Feedback vs Review”

  1. Hypermagical says:

    I always try to leave detailed comments on every game I rate. As a game-maker I think it’s more valuable than the actual ratings in a lot of ways. sometimes I don’t have a lot to say, but I always try to come up with something.

    And your point about not taking the specific complaint literally is a good one. Sometimes the players will complain about something that can be fixed by changing something completely different.

    –Gremlin

  2. Moosefly says:

    Excellent post! I’ll try out your game now and see if I can come up with something constructive.

    @ Hypermagical: I agree, I value the comments we receive very highly.

  3. SonnyBone says:

    I’m probably in the minority here but I disagree that every comment should contain something constructive.
    I agree that comments should be detailed and thoughtful and you should obviously spend some quality time with the game …

    … But finding something to say that you think could’ve been done better isn’t always necessary or wanted. We’re all game developers. We mostly know what we did right and what we did wrong. We have 48 hours to make something, and we rarely hit all of the points we set out to hit. There are shortcomings. Always.

    I know what would make my game better better than anyone else. I don’t like when people make a “constructive” comment about my game that goes against what my game was initially setting out to accomplish. Yes, my game could’ve been more interesting with more enemy types. I didn’t have time. Yes, my game would’ve been more interesting with aiming but I wasn’t going for that kind of experience. I wanted a very specific timing-based game with a very clear ‘solution’ for the best score, and that meant taking away as many variables as possible so that the solution could be reached by everyone with enough skill/practice.

    I’m not saying don’t leave constructive criticism, I’m just saying that not everyone is looking for ideas on how to make a ‘better’ game. We mostly know what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of time. Yes, there are some instances where a developer just totally misses something and it needs to be pointed out, but that isn’t all that common.

    All it takes is a little more thought and empathy before making a comment. It isn’t black or white, so you can’t just say ‘always do this’ or ‘never do this’. You have to take each game one at a time and try to comment as best you can on what IS there, not what is missing.

    So yes, tell me what you liked about my game. Tell me what you don’t like. But please, don’t tell me what’s ‘missing’ or what I should change to make it better because I will probably never touch this code again and I’m probably 100 percent more aware of those things than any player because I slaved over it for 2 days.

    • MrTedders says:

      okay yeah I can see where you coming from. Its unrealistic to expect every single person to give constructive feedback. Tho the point i was trying to make was to not take what people say about your game at face value. They say they want more enemy types, dont’t simply put in more enemies, figure out why they wanted more enemies in the first place. Think about if its actually more enemies they want or maybe more interesting ai in the current enemies will satisfy them.

      Basically what im trying to say is yes we all know what is wrong with our games and people tend to point that out over and over again. Its just important to make sure you try to understand and deliberate on where the player is coming from and how you can creatively address those problems. This was just a little food for thought going forward in your game development career.

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