Playtesting Workshops sat down with Dave Miotke, a producer on The Sims 4, to discuss how he uses playtesting day-to-day, what it means to him, the differences between playtesting a base game and DLC, and how starting out in the industry as a tester has impacted his thought process.
What does playtesting mean to you?
To me it means the critical evaluation of consumer play (or at least a close approximation of of your consumer). It’s not testing the game so much as testing your expectations of how the game will be played/received by your target demographics. I cannot stress how important this is.
Have you ever loved something or someone so madly that you become blinded to all their imperfections, if only for a little while? Well, making games is just like that. It’s almost unavoidable that you’re not going to have an infatuation with your creation and that’s a good thing.
But that can also very easily lead to overconfidence, hubris, and in the end, flawed software. Maybe you’re features are compelling and deep, but undecipherable to your players. Maybe certain art styles aren’t resonating well and are distracting players from the core experience? Maybe you’ll find that the thing you thought was so great only kept the player’s interest for a short time; or perhaps they never even got to the cool thing, because they got distracted by some gameplay aspect you never even anticipated. Or perhaps you’ll even joyfully discover that all your expectations are being met and your game is as good as you know it is.