Reading: How to prototype a game in under 7 days

This post had some extremely valuable takeaways for someone getting started in Game Development. It was written by Kyle Gabler, one of the graduate students at CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center. The group’s goal was to build 50 new experimental games in one semester. This is a post of their lessons learned. The author’s key points were:

  1. Rapid is a state of mind
  2. Structured brainstorming is a myth
  3. Nobody knows how you made it, and nobody cares
  4. It needs to be fun

Personally, my favorite lesson is something that I’ve already learned a lot in this course: “It needs to be fun”. You should be able to run the game over in your head, and think, “this is going to make people excited and here’s why”. The author of the article said he and his friends spent a ton of time in the brainstorming phase, listening to music and looking at art that inspired them. They would often spend 3-4 days out of the week doing this, and then spend the last 3-4 crunching down, doing development and sound design, and creating art. They said the creative ideation phase was actually the most valuable, and one of the best things you can do is think all the way through what makes your game “fun” before you write a line of code.

I also enjoyed what they said about structured brainstorming, even though I don’t always find it true. They said you can’t schedule time for creativity, and it just has to happen. Personally, I still think scheduled brainstorming is really valuable, though you definitely can’t force it.

Finally, I appreciated the mindset of “it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to work”. It’s easy to waste a lot of time getting caught up in the details of making something perfect, and never stop to think if it actually needs all the bells and whistles for a real reason. I loved this post, and I’ll be taking it to heart!