Ostensibly this was for the purpose of promoting QCA and recruiting future students, but since we had game prototypes on display it turned into a prototype play-testing experiment. What I discovered was that the prototype for Horse elicited almost exactly the reactions that Henrik described in his initial pitch.
People would stop by and start playing with exclamations of 'oh, this is easy'. As soon as the mode changed, this quickly became 'what the fuck? Why am I not- I'm jumping?' And yet I rarely saw anyone walk away at this point. It seemed like the difficulty curve was just enough to challenge and entertain people, but not enough to frustrate them so that they stopped playing - they wanted to beat the game, but it didn't seem impossible.
There was one kid who came back at least three times in the morning and knelt down in front of the screen to play for 5-10 minutes with an expression of quiet concentration. I never actually said anything to him because I didn't want to break the spell, but it's probably fair to say that he was amused by it.
I also hacked in a few things over the weekend, just to see what people would do. They need to be cleaned up, but I will probably keep them all in some form:
- lives. At this point you start with three lives, and I rigged it so that that you get a new set every time the mode changes - for this context, I wanted people to be able to see all the modes before they ran out of lives
- a few seconds of invincibility when you respawn or start a new mode
- score bonuses when you skim very close to a block without hitting it (these were actually buggy, the bonus comes up but I forgot to have it add to the score. No-one seemed to notice)
- visual feedback on score subtraction when you die
- a brief instruction screen
- a game over screen which displayed your final score
Horse: The Supanova Build