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  • The Game Design Process

    - Game Design Ed


    Once you have some good ideas coming out of your brainstorming, then you need to start prototyping.

    Prototyping is the stage where you make a quick-and-dirty version of your game to see how and whether or not it actually works.

    Don't get too invested in only one idea. Make various quick-and-dirty prototypes.

    And don't worry about making the prototypes the best version of game possible. Make it quick!

    My game design process subscribes to what is called rapid prototyping in which you get to a prototype of your game as quickly as you can to see how it works. Then you test it, find the problems, and make improvements through iteration.

    And don't wait for a better way to build your prototype. Build it now!

    If you're making a video game and you can't code, for example, that doesn't mean you can't make a prototype.

    Make a paper prototype.

    Use some dice or cards.

    Whatever you have on hand is good enough to make a prototype.

    This is an early stage of experimentation. And you need to make many rapid prototypes.


    So you've made a prototype of your game, now you need to test that prototype. Play it yourself. Invite some friends and family to play your prototype.

    This stage of the game design process is called playtesting. This is where you actually test your prototypes to see what works and what doesn't.

    And be sure to always get feedback.

    What did they like? What did they dislike?

    But also watch them play.

    Where did they get stuck? Where did they have fun?

    Always playtest your prototypes. That's what they are for. To test and get feedback and then to improve through iteration.

    5. ITERATE

    You've received some feedback, data, and analytics from playtesting your prototypes.

    Now you need to integrate some of this feedback and update your prototypes.

    This is the iteration stage of the design process.

    What can be changed? What should be changed? What sort of changes will you make and test?

    This brings us back to the prototype stage where you build another prototype that improves upon your previous prototypes based on the feedback you've received in playtesting.

    And then you playtest your new prototype.

    And then iterate again.

    And then back to the prototype stage where you'll be cutting different prototypes that don't work out. And cutting features that don't work. And adding new features to test. And cutting features that used to work, but now don't.

    And eventually you'll begin to focus on one prototype.

    And you'll keep iterating on it.

    And eventually make a wireframe.

    And a first playable demo.

    And an alpha build.

    And a beta build.

    And then eventually after enough cycles through the prototype, playtest, and iteration stages you'll eventually get to the stage of implementation.

    Iteration is something we do in all areas of life, not just in game design. We try something and then change it based on the feedback we get.


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