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Playtesters rights?

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Swiftshadow
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Joined: 04/02/2013

During playtesting sometimes people suggest changes. Of course this is very common and this is one of the reasons we do playtesting.

If someone suggests a change and we think its a good suggestion and change it, does that give the playtester and rights?

seo
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I would say no, it does not,

I would say no, it does not, but then, your playtesters might not agree.

If you are worried about any of your playtesters might feel cheated if you adopt their ideas and not pay royalties or written credit in the rulebook or whatever, maybe you could start your playtesting sessions by warning the players that whatever they suggest you might or might not adopt, and that all suggestions are going to be considered as ideas they give you permission to use freely in your game.

In general, experience tells me that it is the opposite you should worry about: playtesters feeling hurt if you do NOT accept their suggestions, especially if you are too quick to dismiss them (oftentimes they will suggest things you already thought and dismissed because they didn't work, or simply because you didn't want to go in that direction, but remember that playtesters are trying to help you, and they want to feel you value their input).

questccg
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One thing to remember

YOU are the designer of the game... That means you have invested a certain amount of hours in thinking up the game playtesters will be playing. That investment (in time) is what makes the difference between who is the owner of the intellectual property rights: and that is YOU.

Just because some playtester's suggest some areas to improve the game, remember you are ultimately the person who will decide if the suggestions are good for YOUR game.

YOU are the one who will decide what mechanics work for your game. And for the most part, a playtester will suggest ways to improve EXISTING mechanics... Once playtesters play the game - it is usually because you have tested the game yourself and are ready with a prototype that can be played with other people.

Remember you are in the driver's seat when it comes to your game. As suggested, you may not like the suggestions given by playtesters, you will determine what works best for your game. Just be open minded and see how the game could be given playtester suggestions.

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
I agree completely with seo.

I agree completely with seo.

The only testers I've ever had who asked for rights or royalties were close friends kidding. Most people are overjoyed with the knowledge that they helped make a better game.

I've had FAR more trouble with testers when I don't implement their ideas. People always see their own opinions as correct and sometimes react harshly. Just do your best not to offend anyone or make promises you don't intend to keep.

Finally, I'd recommend you reuse play-testers who do good work and avoid ones that cause trouble. While this won't make your current design any easier..., having a group you know and trust can help future designs. Playtesters will feel appreciated when you invite them back and you'll get a better design.

Swiftshadow
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Joined: 04/02/2013
Thank you for all the

Thank you for all the information.

Many of my playtesters give suggestions of ideas that have already been playtested and don't work. Some of them take offense when I say, I thought that would be a great idea too, but after playtesting it I found that it didnt work so well. It seems many don't realize all the time spent in creating and playtesting different ways and variations.

questccg
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Inform your playtesters!

Swiftshadow wrote:
Many of my playtesters give suggestions of ideas that have already been playtested and don't work. Some of them take offense when I say, I thought that would be a great idea too, but after playtesting it I found that it didnt work so well. It seems many don't realize all the time spent in creating and playtesting different ways and variations.

Well this is probably true if you do not present to them the facts about your game. For example, in my current game I am at the 6th prototype... When I playtest, I say that the game is in it's 6th version. By now we should be ironing out small details not changing mechanics.

But you need to explain to playtesters how mature a game is. This will give them a better understanding about the game.

And, an aside, if they suggest things that does not mean you can implement them within the framework of your current game (basically they just won't work). Your job is to convey how mature the product is (even if it is a prototype), such that playtesters know how much effort you have already put into the game itself.

KrisW
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Joined: 01/15/2013
Pre-Playtest Agreement

When I was running play tests commercially all participants signed off on non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements before being allowed to look at the materials. It was not a complex legal document, only a simple statement acknowledged having no rights to credit or financial awards and promised not to copy or distribute materials used in the test. That just the sort of thing best done before hand.

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