Darren Torpey's Notes:

  • Some companies use GameMaker to prootype a game design that is then handed off to (hardcore, C++) programmer(s) to create in full
  • The value of prototyping
    • to programmers:
      • Get to see the big picture
      • Get to explore some of the key details
    • to designers:
    • test out the little details of a design
    • can focus a prototype on one key, risky design idea to test whether it's feasible
  • Shane: look at prototypes scientifically: test one thing and treat the process as a true experiment
  • Sandboxing: this is apparently a technique used at Bungie where they can "sandbox" out a part of the game engine to experiment. The code is easy to hack inside the sandbox, and "hacking" is embraced as a philosophy for such a project
  • "What kind of questions can we answer with a prototype?"
  • Technical question: e.g. will free-flowing water break our physics engine?
  • Design question: e.g. can players fall in love with a dog that's powered by modern AI techniques?
  • Often a prototype is best when it's designed to focus on the intersection of key technical and design questions. This allows a team to make informed decisions about whether to keep or cut big and/or fundamental features early on in a project.
  • Prototypes are good for UI experimentation (Microsoft and others have practically mastered the art of measuring UI usability)
  • Prototypes can be a very powerful communication mechanism: it can help get everyone on the same page and tease out differences in peoples' visions of the game
  • Prototypes can be great for helping team members learn about each others' jobs via cross-disciplinary groups. They can also help determine what role a new hire should take within a team (and see how they work with others).
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