Rapid Prototyping

I recently came across an article on gamasutra.com about prototyping games in under seven days. It’s a highly interesting read, and also annoys the hell out of me. The reason for that is most likely because my engineering experience tells me some of the tips and tricks for rapid prototyping laid out in the article only work when you, well, prototype.

Here’s the list of bullet points the author(s) came up with at the end of their article. You should read the original article to fully understand these points.

Setup: Rapid is a State of Mind

  • Embrace the Possibility of Failure – it Encourages Creative Risk Taking
  • Enforce Short Development Cycles (More Time != More Quality)
  • Constrain Creativity to Make You Want it Even More
  • Gather a Kickass Team and an Objective Advisor – Mindset is as Important as Talent
  • Develop in Parallel for Maximum Splatter

Design: Creativity and the Myth of Brainstorming

  • Formal Brainstorming Has a 0% Success Rate
  • Gather Concept Art and Music to Create an Emotional Target
  • Simulate in Your Head – Pre-Prototype the Prototype

Development: Nobody Knows How You Made it, and Nobody Cares

  • Build the Toy First
  • If You Can Get Away With it, Fake it
  • Cut Your Losses and “Learn When to Shoot Your Baby in the Crib”
  • Heavy Theming Will Not Salvage Bad Design (or “You Can’t Polish a Turd”)
  • But Overall Aesthetic Matters! Apply a Healthy Spread of Art, Sound, and Music
  • Nobody Cares About Your Great Engineering

General Gameplay: Sensual Lessons in Juicy Fun

  • Complexity is Not Necessary for Fun
  • Create a Sense of Ownership to Keep ‘em Crawling Back for More
  • “Experimental” Does Not Mean “Complex”
  • Build Toward a Well Defined Goal
  • Make it Juicy!

The bullet point categories taken from the original article work well for the article, but I’ll lump them together differently: those points that I agree with, and those that I disagree with, possibly because they’re left unqualified.