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Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller

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7. Playtesting Methods

Speech is silver, silence is gold.

—URSULA K. LE GUIN, THE LATHE OF HEAVEN

The best practices for running a playtest are remarkably straightforward. Success is more about resisting making mistakes than following any particular process.

In the previous chapter, I talked about finding helpful playtesters—folks who give honest feedback without sugar-coating (friends/family) or being hypercritical (hardcore gamers). Now I’m going to talk about how to get the best, most reliable feedback from your playtesters. How do you prepare the environment? How do you prepare your testers? What methods of testing can you use? If you do not manage these elements successfully, you may receive suboptimal feedback from your playtesting sessions. ...

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