Capsized is game designed by Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney of Alientrap Games. Capsized was released on Steam in April 2011. Alientrap is an independent development group, and maker of the open source FPS game, Nexuiz. Capsized attempts to transfer the fast-paced action and twitch style of play, common in the FPS genre, into a 2D platformer. Combined with Jesse's unique art style, Capsized is shaping up to be an intense gameplay experience.

I was contracted as a User Experience Specialist where I provided insight into many areas of the game from usability to puzzle design. I also took on some of the testing responsibilities to help ensure that Capsized lived up to its commercial potential. I organized, and oversaw, a number of playtesting sessions. Participants were asked to play specific sections of the game so we could analyze certain gameplay elements. Each session ran between two and two and a half hours in length. Players spent about an hour and a half playing Capsized, then about an hour completing a survey and participating in a free-form open discussion about their experience. Audio recordings were made during the play sessions and participants were encouraged to use describe their in-game actions using the think-aloud technique. After the sessions had concluded I created a playtesting report summarizing the results from the evaluations.

Two experience metrics were calculated from the survey data. First, a modified System Usability Scale (SUS) score designed for video games. Second, the Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) which is designed to measure 7 key factors of gameplay experience (see graphic below).

In May 2010 I published a paper describing a usability inspection evaluation technique used in an earlier development cycle. The technique, which I call critic-proofing, uses a weighted priority system to create a priority list of usability problems found during a heuristic evaluation. The weights are calculated using work that previous analysed critical reviews of other games within video game genres. The paper is published in the proceedings of FuturePlay 2010.

If you would like more information about Capsized checkout the main site here.

Related Publications

Livingston, I. J., Mandryk, R. Stanley, K., Critic-Proofing: How Using Critic Reviews and Game Genres can Refine Heuristic Evaluations, In Proceedings of Future Play 2010, Vancouver, Canada. 72-79.