First Impressions FAQ

Q. What are First Impressions (FIs) ?

Q. What's the point of First Impressions?

Q. How do I use First Impressions as a Developer?

Q. What are Video First Impressions (VFIs) ?

Q. How do I use First Impressions as a Sponsor?

Q. Who can see my First Impressions?

Q. How many First Impressions should I use at a time?

Q. What instructions do First Impressions reviewers get?

Q. Is this safe?

Q. Do I need to do anything before ordering First Impressions?

Q. What are these funny names given to the reviewers?

Q. The review scores for my game differ wildly between reviewers!

Q. How do I get even MORE data from my First Impressions?

Q. How do I become a First Impressions tester?

Q. I have another question!


Q. What are First Impressions (FIs) ?

A. First Impressions are an innovative way to get feedback about your game's initial play experience. We ask gamers with wildly different backgrounds to play your game for at least five minutes and then give you feedback about their experience.

Q. What's the point of First Impressions?

A. First Impressions are a fast, easy way to tweak your initial game experience. The first few minutes of gameplay are crucial -- they make or break your game. First Impressions let you get lots of users to try your game in a controlled environment, and give helpful feedback about how to make your game better.

You can use First Impressions just one time, or you can use it many times: improve the game, order more First Impressions, repeat until happy. Each time you order First Impressions for the game, you're guaranteed to get new fresh faces.

Q. How do I use First Impressions as a Developer?

A. You buy First Impressions from the First Impressions Shop. Once you've bought them, you can "spend" them on any game you have. Just click the "First Impressions" button next to any game on your "my games" page.

Once you've ordered First Impressions for a game, wait an hour or two and your responses will start to come in! Just return to the "First Impressions" page for that game to view them.

Q. What are Video First Impressions (VFIs) ?

A. You may choose to spend 5 First Impressions to purchase a Video First Impression, which involves having a FI player record their screen while they play at least 5 minutes of your game. This service can be extremely helpful in identifying potential issues near the beginning of the game and gives you the ability to visually analyze how the players are interacting with your game.

Q. How do I use First Impressions as a Sponsor?

A. You can't directly use First Impressions, but you can buy First Impressions from the First Impressions Shop and then give them to developers.

Q. Who can see my First Impressions?

A. By default, they are private -- only you the developer can read these First Impressions and see the scores that reviewers give you.However, if you have ordered ten or more First Impressions in a folder, you have the option of making them public. If you do, anyone can read you first impressions.

Typically, you wouldn't make your First Impressions public until you've gotten all the kinks out of your game. At that point, you might order 10 more First Impressions as a final adjustment phase. (Create a new folder for them, so that if you want to make them visible, only these new ones will be seen!) If the results come back largely positive, you might make that folder public to help sponsors get an idea of how users view your game.

Q. How many First Impressions should I use at a time?

A. We recommend using First Impressions in batches of 5 or more. You'll find that different people react very differently to your game, so it's good to get a number of reviews before you dive in and start adjusting your game based on the feedback.

Q. What instructions do First Impressions reviewers get?

A. They are asked to play your game for at least five minutes and then provide bug reports, suggestions for improvements, and overall comments. They also rate your game on three values: intuitiveness, graphics, and fun. They are asked to be open and honest with their comments.

They receive no game instruction besides what is built into your game. This helps mimic how users will react to your game "in the wild." You need to make sure that your game has adequate instruction built into it before you use First Impressions.

Q. Is this safe?

A. If you take the normal precautions we recommend, it's very safe. You should site-lock your game and encrypt it with a 3rd-party SWF encryption program in order to be confident of the game's safety.

When you order First Impressions, only the people who actually give you feedback will be able to see your game -- so you don't have to worry about it being over-exposed or leaked to the public.

Q. Do I need to do anything before ordering First Impressions?

A. Your game is probably already ready to go. Here's what's needed:

  • Your game needs to be at least 90% complete before you order First Impressions. If you were to order First Impressions before the game is mostly complete, you would just get unhelpful feedback, such as "the sound is missing" or other obvious problems that you probably already knew about.
  • Your game needs to have built-in instructions because the users will not be able to read your game's description text. Only the instructions in the game itself will be visible.
  • You should use a standard site-lock and SWF encryption to make sure your game is secured against (unlikely, but possible) theft.
  • Do not use a so-called "javascript site lock" which verifies that the game is not being played in an iframe, because First Impressions users will in fact be seeing the game from inside an iframe hosted on FlashGameLicense.com. (If this requirement sounds like gibberish to you, don't worry about it -- that means you aren't affected!)

Q. What are these funny names given to the reviewers?

A. First Impressions reviewers are anonymous. They are given randomly-generated usernames in order to help tell them apart. You can click on the name of a reviewer to see their average review scores. This helps you determine if the user tends to highball or lowball their scores, for instance.

Q. The review scores for my game differ wildly between reviewers!

A. This is typical when you order a small number of First Impressions (such as 5 or 10). You won't get a statistically meaningful value unless you order 30 or more. But even at small numbers, the users' review values help you interpret their feedback. (You can also look at each reviewer's review history to get a better idea of how they tend to review games.) Don't use the review numbers by themselves; use them as a tool to interpret the feedback and make improvements.

Q. How do I get even MORE data from my First Impressions?

A. Our new GameTracker API will do the trick. Integrate this simple API into your AS3 application and your First Impressions will automatically collect data such as high scores, gameplay lengths, and more.

Q. How do I become a First Impressions tester?

A. We aren't accepting First Impressions tester applications at this time, sorry!

Q. I have another question!

A. A FAQ can't possibly contain all possible answers, so please feel free to ask away on our forums. We (or someone from the community) will answer them as soon as possible!