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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