Paper prototyping and video game design
Tyler Sigman describes a good account about how using paper prototypes in video game design:
This article is meant to be a small collection of learned experiences from the paper prototyping process; it's a mix of tips, advice, and also a modicum of philosophy regarding the benefits of paper prototyping to assist with digital game design. The first part is about why paper prototyping is useful; the middle bit is about how to construct said prototypes; the end is a crash course overview of playtesting concerns.
understand that paper prototyping can save your project TIME and MONEY. (...) The reason paper prototyping can save time and money is because you are able to start examining the gameplay of your game well in advance of large-scale coding and art asset production. You can do a creative and functional “check-up” to see if you are on the right track. I (...) You can also find dreaded “problems.” Any problems in design cascade to the rest of the team. (...) One of the most straightforward reasons to make a prototype is to test out the overall game mechanics. You put the wheels on your game and give it a spin, so to speak. (...) Similar to #2. In addition to “kicking the tires” of your game, you can also start putting the wax on--balancing. (...) a paper prototype can help test for good flow—after all, you are still playing the game even if it is in a different format.
The most interesting part is certainly the 'Make stuff' section:
If you've got a game collection, pop open the boxes and look for tokens, dice, markers, and other pieces that might serve a need. (...) A great source for spare parts is your local thrift store. There are usually many board games to be had for only a buck or two each. (...) A last note about scrounging: don't stop at games. There are a surprising number of household items that can serve as game components. Stores like Pier 1 and the like usually have a good selection of potential game parts, too - decorative items like glass beads, polished rocks... whatever. (...) When it comes down to it, you often can't avoid some actual layout and assembly time because you will need very specific items for your game. The most common - “the big hitters” - are cards, tokens/counters, and gameboards.
Why do I blog this? first because I like prototypes stuff, alpha or beta-version and the mix of games/cards/board is appealing to me. Second because I find that it's a good idea to test game designe ideas.