Failing at Prototyping


Hi, it’s been a while since I did something about a game project. I confess I haven’t really been working on anything in over month; the break/moving made me very lazy :P. But now I have some things I’d like to try out.

Yesterday I wanted to try creating a couple of prototypes but just trying to get one idea setup somehow took all afternoon & I still wasn’t able to play it :(. I did this using components from boardgames I have & anything else that works.

First I should explain what the idea was that took so long. You play as an ‘alien critter’ in a randomized subterranean world inhabited by other critters. Gameplay would comprise of skittering & digging your way through the world, eating resources, & fight various types of critters, each with their abilities you can earn by eating enough of them. Every critter has a single hit point, including you, & you’ll need to lay eggs to respawn when you die. Depending on how well I make this, I may include other features like growing resources in crops & spawning allies via eggs.

I was hoping that I could flesh the idea out more by getting a makeshift prototype together but… I lacked good tokens. You see I wanted to use a decent sized board that was 26 x 19 spaces large & I wanted the majority of it to be covered in ‘solid rock’ tokens. Thing is 26 multiplied by 19 equals 494 spaces!

At first I tried to use a single kind of token from the board games I had but that was no where near enough. Adding the other components that represent resources & critters made the map look too sparse & showed that I’d need to use a mix of different tokens for solid rock.

I eventually just used random tokens & said to myself that the round ones would be diggable whilst the square ones were impassable, except this now made things unclear since the board was scattered with random tokens. It was hard to see the dug out spaces, & I still needed something to represent other things (ugh).

I realize in hindsight that I could have used the tokens to mark dug out tiles instead.

It wasn’t all a waste though. As I was doing this it made me consider some things, like what order should I generate things on the map, should some rock tiles be impassable or even hazardous, how close to other critters is too close for the player to spawn at, etc. These are all things I’ve made a note about.

Still wished I could have played it though. I’ll probably try again tomorrow; it’s a public holiday for me so… yay three day weekend.


4 thoughts on “Failing at Prototyping

    • I probably could but it would feel very skewed & short. I see the game taking place in a large map, like 50×50 or even 100×100 tiles. I know its impractical to do this with a physical board so the one I have feels like its enough for a proper test.

  1. It sounds like an interesting game. One I’d even play! I see your problem and trying to represent a video game in the physical world definitely has challenges. I’ve designed a few boardgames and was trying to come up with a solution but the only thing I can think of at the moment would be to use pieces of colored paper with symbols drawn on them… not a very creative solution 😉 Cheers.

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