Thread: [Discussion] The Game Process
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Old February 26th, 2013, 12:20 PM
Java's Missingno.'s Avatar
Java's Missingno.
The Electric Mayhem
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Lincoln, NE
Age: 20
Gender: Male
Nature: Quiet
Hey, I figured I'd try and spark this discussion mostly out of curiosity.

Being a student in a project-based game design program, our professors have two fairly structured timelines for game development.

The one my degree program uses:
  • Find a team(within the first 4 weeks) and create a game concept as a team, drafting a document which lists as many planned aspects of the game as possible.
  • Present that game concept to "sell" it to the professors. (Think like a pitch at a major company)
  • Within 2 weeks, create a prototype build or "engine proof" which demonstrates that the game can be made given the tools allowed for the semester, as well as a technical design document, which provides information on the game engine's necessary features.
  • Within the next 3 weeks, create an Alpha build of the game which demonstrates that the core mechanics work properly(or can be made to work with tweaks) and that the game can be built larger with few or minimal changes to the main concept.
  • Within the following 3 weeks, create a Beta build of the game which shows most of the supporting mechanics working and clearly demonstrates that the game is fun.
  • The final 3 weeks of the semester are devoted to a cycle of testing and tweaking, offering your game to playtest and modifying it based on feedback given.


On the other hand, the students in the art program at my school approach their game projects like so:
  • Within the first eight weeks, build a prototype which demonstrates that the game can be made given the tools given, and draft up a design document which explains what the creator envisions for this game. At the end of this milestone, the individual prototypes are displayed and teams of 4-5 form around projects they like, meaning that 3/4 of the games presented don't get past the prototype phase.
  • In a week, establish the team members' roles in the new project, and begin work.
  • Within the next 3 weeks, create a beta build which demonstrates most of the supporting mechanics and core mechanics working properly
  • The last 3 weeks once again are the testing/tweaking cycle I mentioned in the other timeline.
Of these two timelines, which do you believe is preferable? I can see the merits of establishing a team before the game concept has been fully fleshed out, but at the same time, having an eight-weeks-done prototype means that the game pitched at that point has made a LOT of progress, and then only the best of those students' games continue from there.


Times aside, given that we have as long as interest holds on our projects on this forum, what sort of process do you use in creating a game? Do you opt for a prototype before recruiting new team members, or do you prefer to get a team before showing your plans to the world?
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