This past week has been a huge shift in the way we’re working here in the EAE program and I’m loving it! Tuesday of this week Roger and Bob talked to us about the different types of prototypes- vertical slice, 1st playable, and white box.
A vertical slice prototype is what most of the teams did in the last cycle, and it’s certainly how we handled Starving Artist; this is a prototype where you try to take one small segment of a game and polish it up nicely. So for instance we had just one working level on SA, but it looked nice and felt good. These prototypes are very useful for pitching to clients since they can visualize the game much easier, but they take a lot of work and time to get going.
1st playable prototypes are an approach where you try to get a game in a rudimentary playable state as soon as possible so you can start playing with and telling whether it’s FUN or not. This is hugely important as a fun idea and a fun game are totally different things. White box prototypes are similar in this idea, you get the mechanics of the game working well but leave almost all art out. Sets and characters can be represented very simply, even as “white boxes”, in an effort to focus development on mechanical aspects and make sure you have a satisfying product.
Since most if not all of our teams did vertical slice prototypes last time the professors gave us a new development method for this prototype in order to push us towards 1st playable prototypes and truly rapid development cycles. We are to take a retro game and improve upon it every week. So each Tuesday we need to have rebuilt a retro game and added something interesting to it. Then for the next week we take last weeks product and polish it even more, adding more features and art as we go.
It’s a super exciting way of approaching the development. My team has decided to build upon the original Donkey Kong game and flip the players’ interaction with the characters on it’s head. I’ll have more info as we go but we’re very excited with the new direction!
The puns about our new mechanic are abundant in that last paragraph, leave a comment if you think you figured it out (if you don’t already know that is!). I’m excited to be working with a new team consisting of myself, Christopher Cherrington, Nancy Newren, Swapnil Sawant and James Hulse (you’re ruining the alliterative names James!). Click the hyperlinks to check out their blogs and their other awesome work. I’m more and more convinced that everyone in this program is amazing, I’ve yet to meet a teammate that I haven’t been impressed by.
Thanks for reading, I know a lot of it was just me gushing about how great my teams are again! I’ve got to get better at this whole blog deal in the future, right?