Monday, September 5, 2011

Learning Players Desires Tip #2: The Questionnaire

Okay, so let's say you want to find out more about your player's desires but you don't think a face-to-face interview is appropriate (or you just can't arrange it). There is always the email questionnaire. The main thing to remember here is that your players probably haven't spent nearly as much time analysing their own desires in a game as you have. So assume they consciously know less about what they want than you do but subconsciously know all kinds of juicy tidbits that would really draw them into the game. What you have to do is tap into that.

Firstly, you could start off with some tick boxes like a survery and have them tick how much they agree or disagree with certain statements. Remember to swap the positive / negative on each sentence so that they have to pay attention. In other words, some of these statements should mean "I don't want this" and others should mean that "I do want this".

"There's nothing more fun than having a well-optimised character."

"Moral dilemmas really ruin a game for me."

Fill in the blanks can also be pretty helpful as they spur thoughts a lot better than asking them to write an essay based on something as ethereal as Likes / Dislikes in a Game. Also remember to let them distance their words from your own behaviors to encourage honesty. Refer to STs in general rather than yourself.

"I hate it when my ST..."

"The best thing my ST could do for me is..."

Expect a few humorous responses. That's all good. But look for the gems.

The other thing you can do is do a survey-style series of genres / sub-genres and have people tick their preferences. Just make sure you have a definition underneath them.

Police Procedural

(Tracing leads, interrogating suspects, finding witnesses in a lawful manner)

So yeah, I hope that helps. I'll do up an example one (that I can also force upon my players) and then list it up here. Beware ... the formatting will suck. Blogger may be good but the new Word lets us do so much more.

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