Prototyping a Game - Learning From Failure

Posted on October 4, 2013

Sometimes game mechanics don’t seem to translate too well from your head to paper. After a few tries at putting this idea I had down onto paper I feel I can say that the idea I had wasn’t well suited to a game.

This doesn’t mean that we scrap the idea. Something that my grandfather says to me quite often is to never stop learning. Learning from your failures is the best thing you can do to in this situation. In this post I will briefly go over a few of the things I learned in this attempt.

The Simpler the Better

Sometimes when I read posts on the gamedev subreddit there will be people like me who are new to making games that ask “How do I find a good game mechanic?”. Frequently you will see things like “Make it as simple as possible” or “Boil it down to the most basic or fundamental mechanic of the game”. This was an issue throughout making this prototype. I didn’t have a good idea of what the fundamental mechanic was. When I tried out a few, I found that none of them were really that fun, and that the idea was too complex

Huzzah for Prototyping!

One of the more successful things about this project was the fact that I didn’t go all out from the beginning. By testing with a simpler version of the game I could see where it was going to head to and could end the project much easier when I saw the game was no good.

Keep the Idea

One of the other things I often hear is to always remember these kind of failures. Just because I failed to make a good game this time doesn’t mean the whole idea was bad. Maybe I can try out something different while salvaging other parts. Just like how you should reuse old code you’ve written, reuse bits and pieces of your ideas.

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