Is Your Game Functional?

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Before you can even think about completeness, you must have a functional game. By functional we mean the system is established to the point where someone who knows nothing about the game can sit down and play it. It doesn't mean the tester won't run into trouble or that the experience will be thoroughly satisfying, but it does mean that they can interact with the game unaided by you. In a paper prototype this means the players can play the game-following the rules and procedures properly-and not reach an impasse. In software prototypes it means players can use the controls and make the game progress. In both types of prototypes it means that the components of the system interact properly and a resolution can be achieved.

Beyond this, deciding your game is 'functional' is really a matter of judgment. If your players can make it through a session without help from the designer, let's call the game 'functional' and move on to more demanding questions.

Exercise 9.1: Testing for Functionality

start example

Take the original game prototype you developed in Exercise 7.9 and test it for functionality. Give the game to a group of people who have not played the game before with no verbal instructions-only the challenge to 'play the game.' See if they can play your game from start to finish without any input or assistance from you. If they can, your game is functional. If not, figure out what was missing, and revise the game to make it functional.

end example

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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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