How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days

23 Dec 2008 - 4:49pm
5 years ago
3 replies
657 reads
.pauric
2006

This article of Game Design & Rapid prototyping is worth a read,
especially around the topic of inspiring creativity & ideation.

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20051026/gabler_pfv.htm

3. Development: Nobody Knows How You Made it, and Nobody Cares

Nobody Cares About Your Great Engineering

Again, it's worth noting that a great engineer does not necessarily
make a great prototyper. "Correct" or "reusable" solutions are often
not what we look for in quick throwaway code. For every problem, you
should be able to come up with a large handful of solutions and be
prepared to pick the one that gets the job done – fast. The end user
will never see your great engineering, and they don't care.

I recommend checking out the game 'World of Goo' the visual &
gameplay design are top notch. The Confirmation Dialog in the tower
of Goo subgame is genius.
http://2dboy.com/2008/10/15/demo-of-world-of-goo-available/

/pauric

Comments

24 Dec 2008 - 11:56am
jet
2008

[thinking out loud...]

> Again, it's worth noting that a great engineer does not necessarily
> make a great prototyper. "Correct" or "reusable" solutions are often
> not what we look for in quick throwaway code. For every problem, you
> should be able to come up with a large handful of solutions and be
> prepared to pick the one that gets the job done – fast. The end user
> will never see your great engineering, and they don't care.

Which is kinda like telling a designer that craft doesn't matter, you're
just going to delete the presentation after you give it. So why stay up
late tweaking it to make it look good? Just use a default powerpoint
theme and be done with it. I mean, most of your audience isn't
design-aware, they're not going to even notice that you picked a
non-standard font and used a nice color pallete!

I would agree that in general engineers shouldn't be asked to prototype,
however, I would also argue that there are many excellent engineers
capable of prototyping. Thinking of people I've worked with over the
years, many of my good prototyper coworkers were seen as bad engineers
by other engineers and ended up leaving engineering at some point.
Others learned to switch between "prototype" and "good code" and used
the right one at the right time. In any case, having someone crank out
a bunch of code knowing that someone else will rewrite all of it doesn't
go over well with engineering and project managers.

My thinking is that design/marketing people need to have their own
engineers, just like sales teams often have their own engineers. Call
it "design support engineering" or something, and find engineers who are
into cranking out demos and one-offs, not working their way up the
engineering/architect/principal tree.

--
J. Eric "jet" Townsend, CMU Master of Tangible Interaction Design '09

design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

24 Dec 2008 - 2:17pm
Troy Gardner
2008

Great article, and some great quotes:

'prototyping is a way of life'. - totally! I even demarcate goals for
myself as incarnations, iterating areas I don't know will work.

"you cannot schedule creativity"

regarding meetings to improve rather than brainstorm: "Everyone is a better
critic than a creator, right?"

Great interactive prototypers are a rare breed being rather
interdisciplinary. But as an engineer, I do think that the value of a
solid engineer to prototype, there are complex tools and technologies that
allow some prototypes to either be developed faster, or some features which
can't be be hacked. The article talks about experimental game play, but
that puts a natural bound on the life of a prototype, in some applications a
prototype is the blueprint for the real thing and it needs to be bullet
proof.

On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 1:49 PM, pauric <pauric at pauric.net> wrote:

> This article of Game Design & Rapid prototyping is worth a read,
> especially around the topic of inspiring creativity & ideation.
>
> http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20051026/gabler_pfv.htm
>
> 3. Development: Nobody Knows How You Made it, and Nobody Cares
>
> Nobody Cares About Your Great Engineering
>
> Again, it's worth noting that a great engineer does not necessarily
> make a great prototyper. "Correct" or "reusable" solutions are often
> not what we look for in quick throwaway code. For every problem, you
> should be able to come up with a large handful of solutions and be
> prepared to pick the one that gets the job done – fast. The end user
> will never see your great engineering, and they don't care.
>
> I recommend checking out the game 'World of Goo' the visual &
> gameplay design are top notch. The Confirmation Dialog in the tower
> of Goo subgame is genius.
> http://2dboy.com/2008/10/15/demo-of-world-of-goo-available/
>
> /pauric
> ________________________________________________________________
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25 Dec 2008 - 11:04am
DampeS8N
2008

The problem with prototypes is they are often conscripted into being the basis of the real product. "What, you need to code it from scratch again? But I see it now, just pretty up the graphics and we'll launch it."

Sort of like if an architecture firm made a foam model of a building and the builder decided to use it as the foundation.

Only, in that example, the general public can see the size difference. And why you wouldn't ever ever want to do that.

It is almost better to not prototype if you are working for a group of people prone to not understanding garbage code.

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