Tag Archives: Prototype

The Quick Joys of Prototyping

In a recent interview with Jared Bailey of NoCanWin, he stressed the importance of the prototyping stage for beginner game developers. His comments really struck a cord and I realised that I had to stop working on the look and style of my game ideas and simlply get them coded up in their most basic form to see if they ‘feel right’.

I researched into prototyping further and found some very interesting articles:

  1. How to ProtoType a Game in 7 Days – Gamasutra : An excellent read with numerous pointers by a group of indie dev’s who started the Experimental Gameplay Project.
  2. Prototyping for Games – Applicus
  3. Tear Down This Wall – Third Helix : A build to build break down of the prototyping process
  4. Prototyping 101 – #AltDevBlog : Excellent Overview of Prototyping

After soaking these ideas up for a day or two I have been getting deep into a prototype for a game I am currently calling ‘Let Me Fit In’ – a fast paced scroller with a back story of ‘an ugly duckling done good’.

Prototyping is a bit slower for me than most as I am learning a lot of scripting as I go – thank the lord for Unity Answers! I am very happy with the prototype, it is engaging but there is a lot that I need to recode and structure again if I were to flesh out the project but it’s working. I have hooked my Xbox Controller up and it feels great to test play with such a good controller, especially as my game is fast actioned.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 00.02.36
‘Let Me Fit in’ Gameplay Testing with Xbox Controller

I have found the following key points from the Experimental Gameplay Project, about prototyping really useful:

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!

Interview : Jared Bailey – Cubed Rally Racer

Jared Bailey
Jared Bailey

A game I am really enjoying at the moment is Cubed Rally Racer, it’s fun to pick-up and play but also engrossing and a rewarding ‘playful racer’. It’s creator Jared Bailey (the man behind NoCanWin) agreed to answer a few of my questions about game development and his game design process. I feel interviews with game developers will be a perfect way for me to learn the craft further and help add to the online community supporting new game developers as they make their baby-steps like me.

Indie Hood Games (IHG): How long have you been making games?

Jared Bailey: I’ve been making games for 12 years now. I’ve been at a couple studios, Presto Studios, Konami and Tetris Online, but I’ve been a full time indie for the past year.

IHG: What was your first real project (maybe unfinished, but the first one that you really got stuck into)?

The first game I ever made was a simple choose your own adventure game. I wrote it in basic on an Atari 400 when I was probably 10. My first professional project was Myst 3. I’ve done tons of small personal games, but the first one I got really into was Cubed Rally Racer.

Cubed Rally Racer

IHG: What software do you use to create you games?

Unity3d, Max, Visual Studio and I code in C#

IHG: Your games Cubed Rally Racing and Cubed Rally Redline have been released for a while, are you happy with their sales and reception?

I’m really happy with the reception both the games have gotten. People seem to really enjoy them. Sales are ok, enough to pay the bills.

IHG: Can you describe what you were thinking when you first came up with the idea of Cubed Rally? 

I was playing Dirt at the time and for some reason I thought combining rally racing with Marble Madness would be fun.

IHG: Which software/language did you use to create Cubed Rally? 

Unity3d, Max, C#

IHG: Do you have any early scribblings, artwork, screenshots that you could share with us?

Here’s a video of my Alpha Prototype of Cubed Rally Racer

** IHG ** Very similar to the feel of the real game, a remarkable early prototype! **

IHG: What do you think worked well in the games?

I think they have that “Just one more game” quality to them.

IHG: Your latest game Fist Face Fight is a very different game – which did you prefer making?

FFF was a struggle to make. The original idea was a little half baked, but I just kept prototyping until I had something I liked. The Cubed Rally games basically popped into my head fully formed and I loved my first prototype.

Fist Face Fight

IHG: What is the project you a working on now?

I’ve been making lots of failed prototypes, but I think I’ve found one that’ll work. Wish me luck!

IHG: Do you own an Ouya? Will you be releasing games on the Ouya?

I don’t. Not right now, but I’ve thought about it. It’s tempting.

IHG: How much do commercial pressures impact on your design process and creativity?

I’m making commercial products so the business side is something I do think about, but not in the beginning when I’m prototyping and trying to find an idea that excites me.

IHG: What game were you playing on your 12th Birthday?

It was probably Spy Hunter.

Spy Hunter

IHG: What is your favourite game of all time?

It’s a tie between Counter Strike: Source and Battle Field 1942 Wake Island Demo.

IHG: Is there any game designers that you particularly admire?

I really like what Vlambeer (@Vlambeer) is producing.

IHG: What would be your advice to people starting out their journey into game development?

Prototype, prototype, prototype. It’s easy to dream up and idea you’re excited about that day. It’s hard to find an idea that will keep you excited through a long development. Prototyping can help filter out those ideas that don’t have what it takes.

IHG: Thanks for your time and looking forward to seeing your next project soon, maybe even in prototype phase!