The new stage of game design to do first…

There is nothing new about Pretotyping except using the word.  At Gameloop Boston #gl11, during the Prototyping panel professional game designers discussed the various methods they use to prototype a game.  Flash, Game Maker, Unity are all the rage right now in big design companies to get their ideas down into a playable form before coding a new game.  And then there was one guy at the panel whose main prototyping experience was using a D&D dry erase battle mat before ever coding anything…  Yeah, that was me.

As an amateur game designer looking to turn pro you absolutely should take the time to pretotype before prototyping.  Before ever spending a dime on any kind of development play your game.  The point is to play it on paper before building any kind of code for the game.  Really think about the game play and base assumptions about the game before you ever even add a second member to your team.  This new step will make the stages of game design look like this:

  1. Pretotyping
  2. Prototype (digital)
  3. Alpha
  4. Beta
  5. Full Release

Chances are good that you have everything you need to start pretotyping right away.  A table top gamer will have pens, graph paper, and dice.  Dave from The Tap Lab built a binder of paper ‘screen shots’ of TapCity before the game was coded.  Then used those to play the game!  If you don’t find those ideas interesting there are plenty of other sources for D.I.Y. pretotyping.  Simple things like Lego can give you a basic .  Flea markets and yard sales can provide a cheap source of tons of pretotyping gear which you can paint, color, alter, and cut up to make your game.

After the pretotype stage move on to the prototype stages using some kind of popular software.  Things like Game Maker, Flash, or Unity.  Additionally consider modding an existing games like Minecraft, the Unreal Engine.  After that process is complete move on to putting the effort into creating a unique game engine.

Do you have any tips or stories from pretotyping?  Even if you never knew the word before?  Post your stories to the comments!

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