Every project has a point where it is time to share it with others. In game design, you need to get it in front of play testers to see if things work how you intended. When writing, you need your beta readers to tackle the text and share their initial impressions. When the time comes to playtest, keep the following three things in mind:


The project is no longer about you. Not that it ever was. But now, more than ever, you need to remember and understand that your game, story, novel or other creative endeavour is about the end user. Whatever happens next isn’t about criticising you, or pulling apart your precious baby. It is about making it the best it possibly can be for your intended audience. So don’t let your ego get in the way, don’t be so arrogant as to think you have everything right. If that was the case you wouldn’t need playtesters or beta readers. Fresh eyes and fresh perspectives can provide new ideas and opportunities, spark previously unthinkable thoughts, and ultimately improve your work.


If you have asked someone to playtest your thing and provide feedback, listen to them! You don’t have to act upon everything they say, think or feel, but for goodness sake, give it all a fair hearing. Hopefully, you chose people you trust to provide some insight into your work-in-progress, so now heed what they say. Your feedback-givers have invested some time in your work and are passionate about what you are doing. Reciprocate their effort by putting as much into hearing, reading, analysing and investigating their comments.


By all means, listen to the playtest feedback, but also stay true to your own vision. Nobody knows your work as well as you do. Some feedback will be better than others, so it is part of your job to sort through it, grab the gems, and acknowledge the rest. Sometimes the most well-intentioned feedback is just wrong and in these instances, it’s totally okay to ignore it. The real trick is knowing which bits of feedback are which!

What do you think? Do you have any helpful advice regarding playtesting? Have you playtested a game and have advice for game designers? Share your thoughts!

This article was first published on April 3, 2015

This article originally appeared on my personal blog, under the title “3 Tips for Working With Feedback”. I have consolidated that material here in order to bring everything into one easy-to-find location.