Yesterday, I set up to paper-prototype the game. This is a record of the experience:
There are two main reasons for choosing paper (meaning non-digital) over GameMaker (the free version) or any other digital easy-to-use-so-good-for-prototyping tools.
1.- It’s quick. It took me about an hour of work to create two playable copies of the game.
Now, I do realize that my game translated especially well to paper (being it a puzzle, and not requiring much action), but I think that most games can be translated to non-digital quite well. Read this article if you won’t believe that Halo can be paper-prototyped.
Related to that, paper-prototyping being quick allows for earlier (and thus more frecuent) playtest sessions, which isn othing but good news for newbie designers like me.
2.- It gives solid ground to work on.
This is only a feeling, but I think that having the prototype makes development much, much easier or, at least, better organized. Now that I’ve designed a couple levels, I know exactly what resurces I will need, what are the implementation challenges I’m going to face, and so on and so forth.
I think that the best way to describe it is that, now that I have a playable game, I just have to do a digital port of it, instead of designing at the same time I code it.
The building of the prototype.
All I had to do is draw a 10×6 square grid (actually it’s just a table) with my text editor tool, print two copies of it and paste them into cardboard sheets. Then I covered them with adhesive cover plastic paper, so that I could draw in them with whiteboard markers and easily design levels. Then I printed smaller copies of the grids to store the designed levels permanently. And that was all. A full tabletop game developed in one hour. That is amazing.
This allowed me to create the first 10 levels in under two hours. They are neither good nor challenging enough, but they are entertaining (I’ve got playtest data to back it), and I believe that it makes for a good start.
Following the challenge rules, I have posted the documents that I used to prototype the game and create the first 10 levels. The first page is the grid I pasted on the cardboard, and the second one is what I print, reduced (8 times per paper sheet) to keep levels stored.
If there are a request, I will also post the levels I made.
As always, stay tuned, there is some stuff coming up.
P.S.: I have a new twitter account. I will be used for development stuff only, so I will mainly post things bout the game that don’t deserve an entire post to be explained. Please follow if you’re interested. The account is (at)KerithDev