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Forum » Mod statistics collection (AKA developer feedback)

Mod statistics collection (AKA developer feedback)

Amarth 6 years ago
On playing/testing the Trials of Darkness mod, I had the idea that, perhaps, it should be easy for modders to find out how their mod is being played, how people are making progress in it. Of course, there is only one way to truly find out: objective statistics tracking.

This would mean keeping track of where a player died, how much time he spend on certain parts, how many items he is carrying, what dialog choices he made, etc. And, apart from keeping track of these things, sending them over to the mod developer in some way.

This would massively ease the amount of work that playtesting entails, and it would give rise to higher quality mods. Players giving up in frustration after half an hour will be noted by the modder, and he will be able to see why and take corrective action, thereby giving a better experience for players.

Of course, there are some caveats. Anonymity should be guaranteed (I don't want people to know I struggled for ages trying to kill that measly wolf), perhaps even only aggregated statistics should be available (to avoid modders focusing on single playthroughs). People should be warned of and be able to opt out of statistics collecting. And it's a bit of work to implement I guess.

But I think it would be really, really insightful for the developers. To give an example, Valve is doing this all the time, and I believe their games are getting better for it.

What do you guys (and Ville) think?
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E_net4 6 years ago
I approve!

...And I haven't much to say apart from that.
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Anonymous1157 6 years ago
I approve as well! If there are enough spare cycles left over when the day is done, the game could even record demos all the time. A butt-load of games already do this, most notably racing games. After finishing the race, you get to watch the replay, and some games will even start playing it automatically behind the end-of-race statistics window. I'm not sure of how to actually use it for Driftmoon other than playing it back, but the idea's out there.
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Venom31 6 years ago
A built-in replay system is always better when you want to capture some gameplay moments or entire walkthrough. Notice: always better regardless of whether it can or cannot save video+audio into some media format, for example to share on the web. After all, if it can't, it's always more pleasant to turn on the recording utility of your choice after you've done all the job, if you oh so need that achievement on youTube or somewhere...

P.S. I can remember a guy's 40min fastest walkthrough of Deus Ex. And its description said that one of the most difficult missions FRAPS screwed without any notice during play (because of its crappity :twisted
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ville 6 years ago
I fully approve! I'm actually doing this at work, we're gathering all sorts of data of how our reading game is played and we're doing all sorts of research on the data.

Aggregate data might be useful if you really do have thousands of players, but I don't see that happening to most of our mods. Playthrough videos are good if you know you need to see something specific, but mostly that's not the case, you just need to know what sucked in the mod.

For Driftmoon I think the most important option would be for the player to be able to give direct feedback from within the game. Something like a button within the game to send feedback, along with a screen capture. That way if you're stuck you can tell what's bothering you, or if you spot a visual bug, you can show it.

When all that is said and done, there's really no substitute for real playtesting, being there when someone is playing. That's the method we use.
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Amarth 6 years ago
"ville" said:
For Driftmoon I think the most important option would be for the player to be able to give direct feedback from within the game. Something like a button within the game to send feedback, along with a screen capture. That way if you're stuck you can tell what's bothering you, or if you spot a visual bug, you can show it.
That's interesting. I like it.
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Pete 6 years ago
Personally Id be happy with just being able to set up checkpoints, to see how far people get/at which point people get bored.
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ville 6 years ago
That could work, it could get anonymous statistics on how many people have started the game and at which checkpoint they're at now.
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Forum » Mod statistics collection (AKA developer feedback)

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