For this play-test, I only wanted to test the mechanics of my game, such as moving around the physical space of the apartment and interacting with Dad. Specifically, I want to test the feasibility of:
- Dog actions, such as bite, bark, etc.
- Dog communication via the button pad with 10 initial words
- Puzzle solving with limited actions/communication
In class, I basically ran this like a mini D&D quest, where the only objective was to role-play Cappy and get food using basic actions. Two of the three players chose to interact with Dad to get food. The third broke into the kibble cabinet to get the food. No players explored the apartment first. It was noted that audio cues might be beneficial and contribute to the story. The player who made that comment also added that “your energy added a lot to the game” (referring to my role as the game master). Another player noted that “Eat” should be an action for the dog. Finally, after discussing with one of my play-testers, I decided it would be tonally inconsistent to make it possible to die as Cappy. That sends the wrong message about the nature of grief, I think.
All players appreciated using the “Charlie Brown Adult Voice” for Dad, except for words that Cappy would have been trained to know. All play-testers liked the idea of the story.
Going forward, I’ll focus on making the experience as “dog-oriented” as possible by keeping the Charlie Brown Speech and using the “Sniff” action to move the story along. I’ll add “Eat” to the list of actions. Finally, I’m going to do some reading/thinking on how to encapsulate the idea/emotion of a smell without explicitly saying what that smell is.