In any form of work criticism is extremely important. This is because when you create something you may be blind to the faults in your creation. For example if you are writing a book you may not see some obvious plot deficiencies in your work. If you give your work to a peer they will be able to spot these faults and help you improve your writing overall. In game design this is equally if not more important. That is because play testing not only helps iron out rough game mechanics but it can also help you find bugs.
Personally I playtest every level I design at least 200 times and document how each session went. This allows me to look back at each playtesting session and document each aspect of the level. The aspects I look at are difficulty, game flow, game feel, and mechanics. I then make sure they are up to standard before giving them out to play-testers to give me feedback on the game. If you don’t have designated playtests I recommend giving your game out to family and friends to playtest. You also want to get a good range of experienced and non experienced gamers. This allows you to get a varied opinion on the difficulty and flow of your game. This will help you with design because you can implement these changes and then retest your own level another 200 times. This allows you to get a near perfect level and create a high standard level of work. Now if this is your first game you are ever creating i wouldn’t go too crazy with playtesting. I would focus more on making it as fun and accessible as possible. That is because With every game you create you get better. Playtesting your level is still important but you don’t have to test it 200 times. Because if you do that you will never release that game, and you want to get as many games with unique ideas finished as quickly as possible. This is how you can speed up your development of game design. Next week I’ll be making a blog post about that aspect. For now just make quality games and have fun testing out and playing your own games. Remember that if you’re not having fun testing out your own game that means the game itself is not fun. Therefore you need to change core mechanics or the whole design of your game. Game design is all about creating fun and enjoyable experiences for others.