Digital Game Physical Prototype - Writeup
This assignment is due on Friday 5/11.
In class we will be making physical prototypes of our digital games. This will include a few days for construction, time for testing and refinement, then playtesting each other’s prototypes.
The idea behind physical prototyping is to:
- Start reasoning about tangible aspects of your game. Instead of saying that you will have e.g. enemies that inhibit the player, you must come up with examples of enemies you will have and how they will inhibit the player.
- Create the cheapest possible model that can inform your development process. Even if your game’s genre and medium is well known, (e.g. if you have 2D side-scrolling game) you still need to make decisions about player controls and camera movement. You can use the prototype to consider these (and other!) aspects before you sink time into the software prototype.
- Rapidly iterate on game features and rules. Let’s say you plan to have many features in your game including mines that detonate and hurt the player. Without a physical prototype, your game must be mostly developed before you can start experiencing how these features affect gameplay. If you decide that the mines are more of a nuisance than a fun game feature after playing your software prototype, you have already paid the development time cost for this feature. The most important thing to do with your prototype is add and remove game features, even if they are essential to your vision, so that you can evaluate what they add to the experience.
I do want to see some iteration in your design. This means adding features, trying them out, then removing them and trying different features. If your game has levels, you can do this by making different levels that utilize different features.
Your physical prototype doesn’t have to perfectly represent all the aspects of your game. Many video games are played in real-time, but it can be difficult to simulate this physically when the game level becomes complex. Making a turn-based version of your real-time game makes it a lot easier to implement your game rules while still allowing you to reason about the mechanics of your real-time game.
The same rule applies to dimensionality - it can be hard to represent a 3D game using a physical prototype. It may be worthwhile to prototype a 2D version.
I want each team to submit a writeup describing their physical prototype and the construction process. I’m looking for at least a few pages here. Be descriptive!
List of player experience goals for your digital game (see p. 10-11 in the book)
Description of prototype construction.
Description of foundational rules
Features/rules and Iteration
Formatting and spelling
I recommend using Google Docs or a similar platform so that everyone on the team can contribute easily.
Please send your writeup to me via email, or give me read access (share it) if it’s on a platform like Google Docs. Plain text, an attachment, or a link to the document are all fine.