Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Making Games – Towards More Productive Iteration

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 24, 2015

I’m a firm believer in iterative design. I don’t practice it as well as I should, but I strongly believe in it. In games, it’s the ‘right thing.’

In my world, I usually start with a “paper prototype” – forcing myself to think about a concept methodically enough to describe it in a paragraph or ten, maybe with some added charts and whatnot. This helps me in lots of ways to focus on how I’d build my first playable prototype. I don’t always do this, but it’s useful.

The next step is the actual gameplay prototype, and from there until “alpha” is usually where I trip up. The idea is to create a minimal game that is playable – but certainly nowhere near “done” – and use that to hone in on the core of your game. You “find the fun” early and make sure it’s solid. You now have a simple but probably ugly and un-user-friendly version of your game.

Once you have that nailed down, you iterate on the design to add content and new ideas to what should be a solid core, turning it into what eventually looks like a game.

Sonny Bone illustrates this process extremely well in his article, “Bringing Your Game to Life in 10 Simple Steps.” His process and the exact steps may vary from project to project (an RTS or an RPG will be vastly different from a simple action game, but the basic idea remains sound), a point which he makes in the article. Seriously, he does such a good job I’d say that if I were running a school for indie game developers, I’d make this article required reading.

The best part is how he includes all 10 stages of the iterative development in a web-based playable game at the beginning of the article. Excellent stuff!

Bringing Your Game to Life in 10 Simple Steps, by Sonny Bone


Have fun!

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