On Tuesday, 31 October, we spent our time together working through one of several possible rapid-prototype game development scenarios. I’ve asked you to compile your notes from that session, dump them into a single PDF file, and forward them to me. I’ve also asked you to pick another one of the scenarios, below, and work through the exercise a second time (again, sending me your notes on the session when finished).
Compressed Rapid-Prototyping Game Dev Sessions
Note that following each phase is a lightning note-making phase; the notes you make during this phase are important to carrying through on ideas conceived under pressure.
Brainstorm (mental & physical)
Evaluate problem, consider approaches
Outline specifics of your approach
Identify mechanics you will draw on
Identify the “argument” the game will be making
Identify how that argument is made
Copy ideas that you’re keeping to “next phase” poster
Rapid prototyping 1 (physical)
Situate your ideas on a board;
Instantiate concepts via material means;
Sketch out more clearly how play will proceed (best done from Player’s point of view).
From the point of view of the game itself: Work through the game from start to finish. You will have to skip over repetitions of action, multiple rounds, etc.
Designers should demand, repeatedly: But why would a player do this? But what is the motivation to do so?
Advocate for the player, always. Be Skeptical.
Rapid prototyping 2
Working from these notes, try to identify and eliminate at least two major issues;If there is time, commit to writing out the rules for a new player.
One member of the group should play the game “naively,” as if she were unaware of the rules. Members of the group should “instruct her” as the game progresses.
Once player knows the rules, make a good-faith effort to follow them;
Make careful notes about confusion, impasses, etc.
Rapid prototype 3
Work from your notes to eliminate glitches;
From previous rounds’ experience, work to streamline the game; (e.g., eliminate at least one mechanic, at least one set of choices, etc.)
Advocate for players. Ask about motivation.
Final in-group play-through
Clean things up for presentation to others. Look for unexpected glitches.
Your final report to me (or to your CEO, etc.) should include the following (particulars matter here, as does confidence. If you don’t know some of these particulars, you should invent them with conviction).
Physical appearance of game
Sketch of gameboard;
Dimensions of game components. If you are using cards, for example, provide at least 5 “typical” text blocks from each set of cards, etc.
Draft of instructions to player — these should be as SHORT as possible, but as EXPLICIT as you can manage. Write, re-write, cut-down, economize, streamline, and then shorten even more. Ideally? Ideally your instructions will fit on a single 3×5 index card. One side.
Show us where the rules reside (on the cards, on the board, etc.)