Prototypes are the single most revealing aspects of game development. Between all the design, gameplay, and ideation, you must take the time to create prototypes to test your theories. When any game designer sits in front of their latest masterpiece, no matter how ugly, the brain see’s the project as a whole. You no longer focus on tiny bits of info or slight design flaws, you effectively look at your game as a player again. This opens the door to new thought patterns and fresh approaches. Therefor, create as many prototypes as you can along the way to final game completion to maximize your own perspective limitations.
Painting the picture of “The Game”
Prototypes are created with the very same mentality that any skilled tradesperson must use when carving out their latest work. Take your idea and come up with a rough outline, visually, verbally or otherwise. Then, dive into specific fun, or problem, areas that want exploring, often consuming a good deal of time. Then step back, to allow a new perspective. If you want to see how your adjustments effected the whole, that is. Prototypes help change your perspective from creator to player and back again, creating new variety in development. This affords you the opportunity to tap into your skills as a designer as well as a player.
A painter steps back from his work as often as possible to see the entire painting. Without this, the original message can be easily lost. Monet’s Water Lilies 1916 (as seen above) is one of his smaller works. At first glance it seems as though the painting is quite small, especially on the computer monitor. But, in reality, it is over 6 feet tall and wide. Do you think he was able to capture so much rich color and flow by shoving his nose into the work and obsessing over minute details? No, he took more time to step back and appreciate the piece as a whole. In fact, if you do get up close to any impressionist painters work, it looks like splotchy random colors. Only when you step back and take it in, as a whole, do you see the full picture.
Be a master and step back from your work!
So, do the same with your game development. Step back as often as possible to test out new prototypes that push your ideas and theories. You see more and learn more then any other method. Do not think you need anything fancy either, Bio-logic started with blank cards and scribbles. Eventually you will start to hone in on what you really wanted all along. All without getting lost in the details which can drain you of essential time and energy.
Remember to sign up for Gaia’s Guru’s and get a print and play version of the public prototype when we finish it in a week or two. Just email us as firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know, then your in.