• • • THINKALOUD Playtest • • •


Big Boot Stoodts, an undergraduate capstone team at the University of Utah, wanted to conduct a thinkaloud playtest with one of the many participants that playtested their alpha at EAE Playday. The primary user researcher, S. Brian Zavala, selected a playtester and the two conducted an on-sight study on December 6th, 2019.

• Recruitment •

Of the many that played the Ballad of the Masked Bandits alpha, only one was selected to participate in the thinkaloud playtest. The strategy in selecting a participant was to select an individual who had prior experience in participating in a thinkaloud. The individual selected was a playtester who was previously involved in the observational study of the Untitled Goose Game.


The location of the study occurred at the University of Utah Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Game Studio on a single desktop computer. The investigator used OBS to record the gameplay footage of the participant and recorded any comments or facial reactions in a notebook. The playtest occurred on December 6th, 2019.
Before the thinkaloud occurred, the user researcher followed a guide which steps covered the following questions.
  1. What is the purpose of the study?
  2. Why am I taking notes of our thinkaloud?
  3. How will your footage (or data) be used?
  4. Do you still consent to participate in the study?
During the thinkaloud, the following questions below were asked in order to fill the gaps of silence in the playtest, and to fulfill the requirements for the study focus (some of the questions listed below may not be asked).
1. What do you think about the controls? How does the camera feel?
2. How does movement feel? Does jumping feel responsive?
3. How does moving in the stack feel? Does switching between characters feel satisfying?
4. Do you think each raccoon should have different movement speeds and jump heights?
5. What do you think about the AI? Are they challenging to avoid?
6. How do you feel about the current interaction system? Can you tell what is interactable and what isn't?


To ensure that the goal of the study was met, the user researcher followed specific steps necessary to conduct a successful thinkaloud playtest. The steps served as rules and were listed as followed.
  1. Follow the questionnaire guide informing the participant about the purpose of the study and how it will be conducted.
  2. Make sure to confirm the consent of the participant before conducting the playtest.
  3. Try not to agree or disagree with statements made by the playtester (this is done in order to avoid bias in data).
  4. Make sure to ask questions related to the focus of the study when the participant gets quiet (these are listed in the questionnaire above).
  5. Try to push the thinkaloud discussion towards the focus topic by asking questions provided in the questionnaire.
  6. Timing the playtest is unnecessary since the alpha can be finished in a timely manner. 


Click the icon above to download the playtest report and focus!

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