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October 28, 2015

Building a game from scratch? Bruce Shelley sheds light on the BonusXP process

Legendary game designer Bruce Shelley takes to the blog over at BonusXP, the topic at hand is talking about how video game ideas start out in their early stages. The Ensemble philosophy of play testing comes into throw here, even right at the start of a brand new game idea.

The method that we have seen work most successfully, beginning many years ago with board and paper games, is to build a prototype, start pushing around the pieces, and then rely on our instincts as gamers to feel what parts are working, not working, what new idea to try, etc. We call this design by playing.

Bruce shares a photograph taken from the BonusXP office of Dave Pottinger and Jacob Naasz from earlier this year, late August. In the photo we can see a paper based prototype being used to bounce around ideas. By working with paper it becomes very quick to build something that can be discussed in the detail at a design level without having to engage in digital development commitment at these very early stages.

The transition from paper to digital prototype (on the way to competitive commercial product) was the next step and where the impressive magic happens. With a lot of code and artwork already on hand, a digital version was assembled that was playable within two weeks. Very shortly thereafter one of our teammates living in Canada was playing another colleague living in Chile (South America). Within four weeks we were demonstrating the game in the office of a possible partner.

It will sure be interesting to see what comes of this paper based prototype. What we see on the table above could well become the next big hit from BonusXP! Check out Bruce’s blog to read more about the process on the BonusXP website.

http://bonusxp.com/2015/10/building-a-game-from-scratch/

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Related posts:

  1. Bruce Shelley on Game Designer Attributes
  2. Bruce Shelley to speak at the Europe GDC “Five Rules for Draft One of Your Game Design”
  3. BonusXP forges partnership with Stardock

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