Recently I had a chance to watch my colleaque to play Herculeum (preview version of 0.8). It was quickly apparent that what I had considered as a good set of controls, weren’t that good for him. As a result, I opened a new ticket and started modifying the program to support several different kinds of control schemes. Ultimately the game is designed to be played with XBox controller + XPadder combination, but it should be playable with keyboard only of course.
This was second time I was able to watch someone else playing the game and both times I got very valuable feedback. Especially with the user interface it is important to be able actually watch how the game is being played, because you can see a lot of little things that would be left out from forum posting.
This kind of testing complements automated testing very well. All those hundreds of tests are in place to ensure that the game works from technical point of view. They provide instant feedback for me when I’m creating something new or changing existing code. When an actual human starts testing the game, the basics of the system are in working condition and he can concentrate on more complex tests and explore the system without it malfunctioning all the time.