All posts tagged: prototyping techniques

Post-it note design docs

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I happen to fall into the artist-designer skill set, so I often find myself trying to prototype ideas on teams rich with programmers. As such, I’m always looking for better game development techniques that work well for this particular team mix. Here is a very lightweight prototyping process using Post-it notes that I quite enjoy. Initial idea: I sit down with an available programmer (and artist/UI designer depending on the system) and we chat about […]

Lessons about failure

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I happened across a wonderful nugget of design philosophy, while reading an interview with Clinton Keith, the head of High Moon Studios’ technical department. It bundles up lessons from Miyamoto, the joy of failing fast and the benefits of using Stage Gate-type processes in one delightfully juicy quote. “If you want someone to fail, you want them to fail fast, before they spend a lot of money. That’s how Nintendo was. When I was working […]

Cheap custom whiteboards for rapid game prototyping

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I started doodling with the Comicall prototype this weekend, but I needed a large number of custom shapes that I could draw on multiple times. I found some Post-It notes that were covered with a whiteboard-like material, but they cost $5 for a pack of four. That gets expensive rather quickly. Instead, I found a tip online that said you can use glossing contact paper, the sort typically used for covering drawers, to make anything […]

Article: “How to prototype a game in under 7 days” on Gamasutra

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Here’s a great little article on prototyping. It is rare that you see such a dedicated prototyping effort described in such detail. At times I feel like those who write about game design are anthropologists wandering deep in the Amazon looking for signs of some highly elusive tribe. Most activities are done in secret, under the cover of darkness. and when you actually get a chance to a design ritual in action, you should whip […]

Common Game Prototyping Pitfalls

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I’ve spent some time in previous posts describing the benefits and process of game prototyping. You’ll create more innovative game mechanics, weed out bad concepts early, and help ensure that your final product is highly addictive. As with any good technique, there are several notable pitfalls and drawbacks to prototyping that a savvy practitioner should be mindful of. How can you prototype successfully when… Your programmer tells you that he needs 8 months to implement […]

The Secret Life of Aliens: A Redesign

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How to make the stupidest game possible Several years ago I designed a casual game called The Secret Life of Aliens (SLOA). The player starred as an alien UFO whose job it was to explore earth and return with news about the natives. You could implant various alien probes and turn happy suburban dads into alien spies. Evil trench coat wearing Agents (modeled after Scully from the X-Files) were constantly snooping about trying to gather […]

Article: Usability Testing

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Gamasutra has a link up to an article on usability testing in games. This is a subject near and dear to my heart since major elements of games are basically “interfaces”. If you assume that games are made up of token, verbs and rules, the first two speak directly to the ‘interface’ of the game and have a major impact on the title’s playability. Registration is required, but who isn’t registered to Gamasutra? 🙂 Click […]