When developer Insomniac Games started to work on the third chapter in the Resistance series, they bravely decided to start from zero and implement a completely new shooting system – a risky move, since the first two titles received much praise. Obviously, it’s crucial to get the shooting system right for a first-person shooter. No matter how good the rest of the game is, an FPS with bad shooting mechanics is doomed. During the development period (2009-2011) dozens of user tests were carried out to investigate the usability of the new shooting system as well as the rest of the game. Researchers had to define what constituted good aiming and later compare their definition with the feedback collected from playtesting sessions and finally implement changes. How tight or loose should the rose of bullets be? How sensitive should the controls be? How was it possible to avoid the terrible situation in which players swung between over-aiming to the left and then over-aiming to the right?
In particular, a method called “grey box testing” was employed: players had to shoot targets in an empty environment – no textures (which is where “grey box” comes from) and no distracting objects except enemies appearing in different positions ready to be shot.
Murray, D. (2012). What You Don’t Know Is Hurting You: How Aggressive User Research Improved Resistance 3. Proceedings of the Game Developer Conference 2012. Retrieved here: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015805/What-You-Don-t-Know (GDC Vault free content)