Sunday, May 24, 2009

June 2009: Prototyping

June 2009's topic, Prototyping, was submitted by game designer Sande Chen.

She writes:

During a visit to New York City's Morgan Library & Museum, I was enthralled by the collection of preparatory studies, sketches, and first drafts. Some were quickly drawn oil paintings, but still quite elaborate to the eye Others looked more like abstract, penciled doodles. It showed the inner workings of the artist, I thought. Some artists signed their sketches, perhaps realizing the future value, while others repeated the same study over and over without a care for posterity. Side by side, these sketches were displayed against photos of the finished works. One artist chose the most challenging part of his painting and concentrated on that in his draft. Another artist used his drafts to figure out the composition or layout. Still others used their sketches as a dry run, filling out the details in the grand masterpiece.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart reportedly wrote his music as if he could hear it in his mind. No second thoughts. But Ludwig van Beethoven's drafts are full of furious scribblings, cross-outs, and changes, indicative of his stormy music.

But what of the game designer? Do our game sketches or prototypes say anything about us?

Many times, a prototype is a functional demo, but at the same time, it's how a game designer's vision comes into view. As with the artist, the game designer may have several iterations before the final product.
  • Are there any guidelines or best practices for prototyping?
  • Are there different methodologies? What process do you take?
  • Do you prototype one aspect of the game, many aspects, or the entire game?
  • How do you use prototyping to better your designs?
  • Do you use non-digital/digital prototypes? What tools do you use?
  • Why is prototyping important?
Sande Chen is a writer and game designer whose work has spanned 10 years in the industry. Her credits include 1999 IGF winner Terminus, 2007 PC RPG of the Year The Witcher, and Wizard 101. She is one of the founding members of the IGDA Game Design SIG.


Post a Comment