Making The Physical Prototype Better

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The prototype you’ve created may or may not be very playable. Parts may be out of balance and rules may conflict. Your game may also feel slow or disjointed. Many designers panic at this point and throw out everything. They feel that their game is hopeless and the only solution is to start from scratch with a new game idea concept.

This may be true, but before you take such drastic measures, it’s good to go back to your core game mechanics. Strip away all the additional rules and then reintroduce them one by one in an attempt to isolate the problem. Doing this, you’ll come to understand how each rule and feature actually fits into the system. Some features and rules may seem innocuous at first, but as you add and remove them, it will become apparent how they can throw the whole system out of whack.

Think of yourself as a doctor hunting for the source of an ailment. Your game, like the human body, is a complex system, and specific elements may interact with others to produce a result that’s unexpected. Your job is to systematically diagnose an ill game and then prescribe treatment. Sometimes this can be a painstaking process, as you rip apart rules and rebuild them over and over again, but it’s the only way to truly figure out what part of your game is actually broken.

When you get to the point where you are absolutely certain that your prototype is both playable and fun, then you’re ready to start all over again.

Yes, that’s right. Just because your game is good doesn’t mean it’s brilliant. Before you move on to the next stage, you want a great game. And even if it’s great, there may be a way to make it better.

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Game Design Workshop. Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games
Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, & Playtesting Games (Gama Network Series)
ISBN: 1578202221
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 162

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