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Thinking Out Loud

Monday, February 13, 2006

High on Life >> The Prototype Buzz...

Ahh, nothing fill me with more pride, energy or zest for life than watching our three-year-old son blossom and grow before our eyes -- but having a successful session playtesting one of my prototypes is the closest thing to come in second.

After all, in a way these are my little babies, too. I feed them ideas, nurture them with creative input and try to pass along what I've learned about game design. But sooner or later, if I ever want them to succeed in life, I have to send them off into the world and just hope that I've prepared them well for what may come.

It can be a nervewracking experience to ask folks to playtest a prototype. Like sending a child off to school on his first day -- Will the other kids like me? What if they all think I look funny? What if nobody wants to play with me?

I invest a lot of time and energy into game designs. Many of them I know will never see the light of day, but that doesn't make me love them any less. There are several designs in my growing portfolio of prototypes, though, that I sincerely believe are "good enough" right now to make it in the big, bustling world of the gaming hobby.

I have a great group of gaming buddies here in the St. Louis area and abroad (via BGG and online communications) who have been very supportive and helpful in my quest to see my fledgling designs grow up big and strong.

While I appreciate the positive feedback (as any proud parent does), I'm equally grateful for the constructive criticisms and disagreements. I know everyone has different parenting skills, but I try to keep an open mind. Even though these are my babies, other people have experience in a broad range of skills and disciplines far wider than my own. By embracing this feedback and helping provide a better environment and framework for my children, they can only benefit in the long run.

But sometimes the short run can be harrowing. Like having your child sent home from school with a note from the teacher, I can't help but cringe and prepare for the worst when someone starts saying "It was okay, but..."

I just need to remain confident that I've shown my children the love, dedication, support and positive reinforcement necessary to become strong, responsible and solid citizens. And if my game designs never reach that stage, that's ok. I know one day our three-year old will!


  • I've made more than a few attempts at game design. Tough business. Most of my ideas only go so far until I deem them lackluster and they get filed away.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you might consider authoring a post about how you come up with your ideas and how you fashion them into your first working prototype. I'd be just as interested in hearing about failures as successes. What I'm getting at is I'd like to hear your thought process out loud.

    By Blogger Mario, at 6:12 PM  

  • I imagine it gets much easier "parenting" a game when you already have previous "children" published.

    By Blogger GDW, at 10:45 AM  

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