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Shattering The Boundaries: Sidhe's Big User Testing Gains

Gamasutra: Brick-breaking games have been around for years, on pretty much every platform you can think of. Many have tried to take this classic genre to the next level in the past but added little, so taking on this challenge with our PlayStation Network game Shatter was somewhat daunting.

From my perspective, as the user experience expert at Sidhe, I was interested in how the whole user experience would be affected by anything we implemented. It would be easy to say, "Hey, it's just a brick-breaking game -- what is there that can affect the experience anyway?"

Well, if we simply set out to recreate a brick-breaking game "as-is" then sure, there's not much to it; move the bat, hit the ball, problem solved.

But we wanted to take it much further by stripping the genre back to its base elements and testing fundamental assumptions, then rebuilding from the ground up adding physics and boss battles along the way. With so many elements under examination and new elements being brought to the table, you potentially introduce a whole heap of new problems.

In this piece I'm going to talk about the game from the user-perspective and highlight a number of challenges we encountered and what we did to solve them.

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