Playtesting interactive fiction is TOUGH!

The IF I’m working on currently clocks in at just over 3500 words, and I’ve been writing it in a linear fashion meaning the first part of the story became playable about a week ago. With typical ill-placed optimism I’ve spent the last week testing it out on various people and have come to the following conclusion: If you present someone with a fantasy setting and ask them “what would you like to do?”, they’re going to say something ridiculous 🙂 And we totally had a laugh too – between lying down in the mud, sitting on a plough in the rain and performing unspeakable acts on a roaming cat, it was a total hoot but it didn’t get me any closer to any decent feedback.

So this is an open plea to anyone who is interested: The first 10 minutes or so of the scarecrow is online now. If anyone would like the link, get in touch. Here are the things I could do with help on;

  • General feedback on the world, is it described well enough (or, too much).
  • General feedback on the system itself. Did you try examining things that weren’t there? Did you type in commands that the interpreter didn’t understand but that you thought were totally valid.
  • Help on ideas for puzzles and texture. Possibly involving a pub lunch / day to brainstorm.

The other thing: If you are genuinely interested in reading / playing through the story, you probably don’t want to be involved in playtesting. Basically, I do need the help, but having been working on this for a few weeks I am totally sick to death of reading the same sentences over and over! This is partly why I need assistance (I can’t tell what’s good or bad any more because I’m too close to it) but equally you should probably bear in mind that if you do help me test/develop, it’ll wreck it for you too.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to mull that over. Cheerio for now!


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