Hey there,
After troublesome months (personal problems, broken servers and all the things that happen in the critical phase...) we are finally back in business. Sam the Sumbot takes form. All the game mechanics are implemented, artwork is done, Leaderboard and Achievements work, what's left are the final steps before releasing the game: Testing and enhancing the user experience.

Testing is important. No one knowns the game better than you: the developer. So you know how things run, how the controls have to be used, what buttons do and so on. But guess what, people who play your game don't! Let's look at a nice example from our first testsurvey.

Sam wants to get back to his homeplanet, his people need him (sounds familiar? :D ). So he has to do some calibrations to get his spaceship started. This is done by catching the right numbers to solve the given equation.

Ingame

So far the theory. Look at the image. What do you see? An equation on top, some numbers which are falling down and a cute looking robot. But what do you have to do? For most people it was clear that you move the robot to catch the numbers. But not for all of them. Oh no. It can also be understood that you have to press on the numbers to collect them (a lot of games have that kind of control). And if the controls can be misinterpreted they will be misinterpreted (remember Murphy's law?). So we had people who just pressed on the numbers and became frustrated that nothing happened. And that's no fun. And if the game is no fun, it will be faster deinstalled than you can say "E.T. phone home".

The problem is that you have the eyes of the developer. You would never guess that people will just try to touch the numbers. That's not how it's supposed to work, that's not how any of this is supposed to work! Okay enough of the memes now!

How to solve this issue? You can't just call every user stupid (okay I did it, but it won't solve the problem). You have to make the instructions clear!

instructions

We did that with a little intro animation which is shown before every level. The level starts when the player moves the robot. Only after that the numbers fall down. This way it becomes clear that you are in charge of moving the robot, that you have to take care for the robot. You see for him that he catches the right numbers to do the calibrations to get back home. And it's your job that the job gets done!

Cheers from the Master Engineer
@VoltarCH