Digital Game Digital Prototype - Writeup

This assignment is due on Monday 5/21.

The digital prototype is Phase 2 of the prototyping process. Refer to Chapter 8 in your book for details on Digital Prototyping. It has a lot of examples and guidance that is much more in depth than this writeup.

However, some excerpts are included below for each section.

Below are a list of different types of digital prototypes you can do.

In addition to what the book has to say about Digital Prototypes, you should also follow the principles of rapid prototyping.

This is a good article to refer to on the concept of rapid prototyping games.

And this video covers project scoping and the concept of a “minimum viable product”.

Types of Digital Prototypes

Game Mechanics

Like physical prototypes, digital prototypes are made using only the elements needed to make them functional. They are not finished games, and if you spend too much time making them like finished games, you will defeat the purpose of prototyping at all. Generally, digital prototypes are made with minimal art or sound; even their gameplay is incomplete, focusing only on unanswered questions and parts of the design that need clarity.

Game mechanics are discrete features of the formal aspects of the game. The important thing to remember when you do this is to make it simple and focused on a particular question - do not try to integrate all of your questions about the game into a single prototype, at least not at first. Later you can prototype the integration of features, but when you are first starting out, you will want to start with your core mechanic.

These kind of prototypes should be playtested and iterated! Keep notes on how your design iterates.


Sometimes you have questions about aesthetic issues in your game that you need to test early on. For example, how will the character animation work with the combat system? Or how will a new interface solution work with the environments? Some simple ways to do this are with storyboards, concept art, animatics, interface prototypes, and audio sketches.

If you are only doing one prototype, it cannot be an aesthetic prototype.

Potential aesthetic prototypes to create:


The kinesthetics are the “feel” of the game, how the controls feel, how responsive the interface is, etc. Unlike gameplay and aesthetics, each of which can be tested using physical or analog methods before moving to a digital prototype, kinesthetics for a digital game are something that must be prototyped digitally. The feel of a digital game has a great deal to do with the type of controls you have available to use. A game designed for a keyboard and mouse will have a very different feel from a game designed for a Wii. It is important, when you are conceiving your gameplay, to keep in mind the controls that will be available on the final platform so that you can design with them in mind.

This kind of prototypes should be playtested and iterated! Keep notes on how your design iterates.


Technology prototypes are just what they sound like: models of all of the software that it will take to make the game work technically. This could include prototypes of the graphics capabilities for the game, the AI systems, the physics, or any number of problems specific to your game. It can also include a prototype of the production pipeline. Prototyping in this area is about testing and debugging the tools and the workflow for getting content into the game.

Considering the scope of this class and our use of Unity, we probably won’t have technology prototypes. A lot of our technology is already available within Unity. However if you feel this type of prototype is especially relevant and achievable, please talk to me.


In addition to an in-person demo of your prototypes, I want each team to submit a writeup describing their digital prototype. Your writeup should also include responses to some exercises from Chapter 8 in your book, as described below in the rubric. I’m looking for at least a few pages here. Be descriptive!


Points Content

Control Scheme

  • A control scheme for your game (See Exercise 8.2 in the book, pg. 231)

Viewpoint Choice

  • A choice of viewpoint for your game (See Exercise 8.3 in the book, pg. 234)


  • Some potential metaphors, or one solid choice of metaphor, for your game’s interface (See Exercise 8.4 in the book, pg. 237)

Feedback Types

  • A description of the types of feedback you game needs to communicate to the player (See Exercise 8.7 in the book, pg. 238)

Justification of prototype choice

  • A justification for why you chose to do the prototype(s) you did (See Exercise 8.1 in the book, pg. 219)

Demonstration of prototype iteration

  • Some information about the playtesting/iteration you employed in the creation of your prototype(s).

Digital Prototype (in-class demo) (average, if two)

Unity Game Mechanics

  • Demonstrates mechanic clearly
  • Mechanic is playable
  • Functionality beyond templates

Excel Game Mechanics

  • Deep demonstration of economy or other number crunching


  • Time and effort demonstrated


  • Demonstrates movement clearly
  • Functionality beyond templates


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.