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Prototyping

Prototyping

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Prototyping

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  1. Prototyping CS 4730 – Computer Game Design Credit: Some slide material courtesy Walker White (Cornell)

  2. What is a Prototype? • In the simplest terms, it’s an incomplete model of your game • It usually has a reduced feature set • The selected features are usually the “most important” • The idea is to get an idea for what the basic gameplay will be like • Try out a mechanic • Tune some parameters 2

  3. What is a Prototype? • Types of prototypes • Throwaway • Evolutionary • Incremental • Extreme • Forms of prototypes • Physical • Digital (different system) • Digital (same system) 3

  4. Throwaway Prototype • With a throwaway prototype, you don’t intend to reuse any of the created “material” in the final product • This refers to the actual “things” created, not the knowledge gained • Thus, all non-digital prototypes are by definition throwaway • Your prototype due this week may or may not be throwaway (but probably will be) 4

  5. Why Throwaway? • Why spend the time to build something you know you’ll discard? • Usually, they are quick to create, quick to change • Good for getting basic ideas “down on paper” • Good for convincing others you have a good idea • Good for looking at “slower” aspects of the game (i.e. stepping through each part of a player turn) • Often helps you refine and fully envision exactly what it is you want to make • Can use other quick tools to build 5

  6. Evolutionary Prototypes • With an evolutionary prototype, you are building in the system you plan to build with • Think of this more as “build and iterate” • The initial prototype is only a prototype in that it comes first • Features are added for the next iteration of the prototype • Until you have a “finished” product that just needs polish • This is what you’ll do during your team project 6

  7. Why Digital Prototypes? • Paper can only do so much • Can test input methods better • Hard to test physics systems, networking systems, etc. without this • Can use real assets 7

  8. Physical Prototypes • We did a throwaway physical prototype earlier this year • The game lab the first week • Admittedly, some games are easier to make physical prototype than others… • Example: Thrones by Martin Kellogg 8

  9. Physical Prototype • What other things can you use to make a physical prototype? 9

  10. Physical Prototype 10

  11. Physical Prototype 11

  12. Physical Prototype 12

  13. Some Games are Easier to Prototype 13

  14. Goals From Physical Prototype • Explore the core mechanics in a controlled, slower-paced environment • Physically force you to consider different aspects of your game before coding them • Get the team to talk about core decisions • Encourage collaboration • Test out value of resources in economy 14

  15. Your Physical Prototype • I won’t FORCE you to make a physical prototype for your team project… • … but you’ll either do one or you’re going to storyboard the game • I will ask for SOME physical design aspect of the game outside of the design doc itself! 15

  16. Digital Prototype • Digital prototypes come in many different forms • Wireframing (UX mock-ups) sometimes has functionality (often faked) • Rapid prototyping tools/projects can be done by taking an existing project or demo and customizing it • Custom prototyping can be very powerful, but can also take a great deal of time 16

  17. Wireframing • Wireframing comes from the term/idea that you are looking at a scaffold drawing of an object • Often done in image editors with some scripting thrown in somehow to show transitions • Heck, it could even be Powerpoint 17

  18. Rapid Prototyping • Which leads us to rapid prototyping • Often done with a toolset of some kind • Many games come with modding tools or level editors • Custom map creation and modding is one of the first steps many people take in getting into the games business! • Could be throwaway or evolutionary • This is what you are doing for your pitches 18

  19. Rapid Prototyping • Is it worth the time? • Often it is! • You can test out a particular mechanic • Refine the code • Then import it over to your final project! 19

  20. Custom Prototyping • Can be a bit more intense • But allows for a lot more flexibility when testing and evaluating mechanics 20

  21. Tomb Raider 21

  22. BioWare 22

  23. Fez (Fezzer Level Editor) 23

  24. Super Mario World (Lunar Magic) 24

  25. Changing Values 25

  26. Custom Prototypes • Custom prototypes can be very powerful • Can take much longer to create • But can let you try TONS of “slider combinations” without restarting, rebuilding, republishing your program • So… tradeoffs… • You WILL have to code some aspects of this into your project • More info later! 26

  27. How would you prototype… • How would you build a physical prototype for • A dungeon crawler, like Diablo? • A soccer game? • A match-3 puzzle game? • A top-down view shmup? • Super Mario Bros 3? • A fighting game? 27