First game testing

This Saturday I went to a game play meetup with some friends and aquaintances. Usually it is mostly board games and card games that gets played, so it was a perfect time to test my rough paper protoype with other persons.

It turned out to go quite well, and we had a good time playing it. The feedback was quite scarce though so I eagerly tried to collect it all. Some pointed out that it felt hard to collect the reputation points and that the game was quite “tight” and got a suggestion to try to loosen it up a little and perhaps raise the points needed to win. I also noticed several cards that was unbalanced or simply just confusing.

Next step will be to incorporate these findings in a second version and try to test it with another gang of gamers.

Continued prototyping

This is post is part of my game design diary, which I make as a part of the course game design.

After have playing the game a little I fine-tuned some of the rules, like how many cards you draw and when. I also changed the drafts of the entities. Heris is the first and second draft of the values.

First values
First values

There is nothing exciting about this, it is purely a mathematic exercise. Of course later on, there will be a need to turn the values into meaning.

 

Second values
Second values

These iterations are very quick and dramatically increase playability. To get some inspiration for graphic styles I looked on several different card games, a sample is in the picture below.

Various existing cards
Various existing cards

My main concern now is how I should transfer the card mechanics into the computer. I am thinking of either keeping it as a card game, or to try to get rid of all that connotations and make it into a smoother experience. However for testing it I will continue using it as such since it is easy to use paper prototyping.

So after thinking a little bit, I developed a template for cards. I downloaded a lot of images from openclipart.org and started designing. I made up a complete deck and started playing. Below is a picture of how it looked.

Continued prototyping
Continued prototyping

 

After playing a while I started tweaking the cards. During play I wrote notes on the cards and later I updated my templates. I also noticed some adjustments that could be made which made the play even smoother. First the number of cards needed to be increased so that the player had more options. Also the number of characters needed to be lowered to not swamp the gameplay. I also introduced ways to get rid of characters and equipment to increase the action.

So it seems like the game mechanics are falling into place. Now I still need to ponder on how to port this into the digital realm.

Game design course

Since January I am studying a course in Game design at Luleå technical university. In the second part, which has started now, I am supposed to develop a game concept. I will use an old idea, since 2004 I think, that I then thought of as a card game. But now I am going to see if it can be made into a computer game. I even aim to make it useable on smartphones. My idea and all work on the game that I present in this blog will be under a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non Commercial licence. That means that you are allowed to fork it and continue developing it, but that you cannot make it for-profit and you have to attribute me properly.

So here goes, this will be a game design diary that will complement the rest of my assignments at the course (and that is why I blog in English now). I will blog about it both to motivate myself, but also to open up to feedback, or perhaps even find someone that will halp me make this game come true.

2012-04-01

Thinking more about the game itself

Idea: the player has characters with different levels in different skills (Breaking, Locking, Popping) and are supposed to out dance the other player. This is done by (at maximum one time each turn) calling to a circle. The player chooses one of his character and dance style and the opponent chooses one of his characters. Some modifications may be played (like favourite song, good mood and stuff like that) that will increase or decrease the characters abilities. In special cases styles and characters may be switched. At the end of the circle the current characters compare their levels in the current style with all modification. The winner gets points (called reputation) based on the diff. To win the game you need to get to a certain amount of reputation. There will be different objects or entities in the game, characters, equipment, moves and specials.

2012-04-06

Protoyping

Today I made a paper prototype of my game concept.

I created a spreadsheet where I draw up some characters, moves and equipment, by only using their values. Then I created some basic (and universal) special cards. This I did just to see if my reasoning of the points system works. And it seems to do that. The next step will be to storify the values, and perhaps by associating to the real world activities I can come up with new entities to use.

Testing of the prototype
Testing of the prototype. Image license: CC-BY-NC-3.0