During the playtesting sessions I’ve managed while working on MotoGP 08, my task was to test the difficulty balance of the “Challenges” – a game mode where players were asked to complete a lap of a specific circuit under certain constraints such as following an ideal trajectory, racing with a limited use of the brakes, racing without slowing down too much, etc. Thanks to the feedback provided by video recordings of playtesters’ gameplay and by their interviews I’ve been able to translate failures and their causes into numbers. One problematic challenge stood out against the others: the trajectory challenge implied players to keep the motorbike very close to a predetermined trajectory while racing. Going too far from the trajectory resulted in failure. The percentage of failure was nearly 100% and the reason behind this issue was that the predetermined trajectory was far from ideal and in certain turns it required players to steer the motorbike in a very unrealistic way. The design team fixed this problem by setting a new, more realistic, trajectory.
Masina, G. (2008). Milestone e playtesting: Pietro Guardini a colloquio con Gianluca Masina. The Games Machine, n. 240 (November 2008), p.135. Retrieved here: https://archive.org/details/the-games-machine-italia-240