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  • Writer's pictureAnna Tookey

Research - GDO710 - Week 3

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Rapid ideation! The adventure continues! Next week we start our mini game jams. Let's see how it goes! I am looking forward to getting a theme and working on a small game, but I am VERY rusty when it comes to the engine.


  • Introduction to rapid ideation.

  • Introduction of rapid ideation

  • What is rapid ideation?

  • Game jams /hackathons

  • Types of prototypes

  • Wireframes

  • Paper prototypes

  • Video / clip-o-matic

  • Vertical slice

  • Slow movement approach

  • Prototype ideation technicques

  • Anchors (Mechanics, World, MDA)

  • Slow boil

  • IP (mitigates risk based on the licence)

  • Blue sky approach

  • Scheduling design tests

  • Wizard of Oz testing/paper prototyping.

  • Fail and fail fast!

  • IDEO template

  • Tools for prototyping

  • Sketching

  • Storyboarding

  • Paper prototyping

  • Physical modelling

  • White / grey boxing

  • Wireframes / Interactive wireframes

  • Game prototyping

  • Narrative prototyping

  • Wireflow

  • Roleplaying

  • Wizard of Oz testing

  • Challenge brief 3 (Reverse engineer)


Development of a working protoype in a limited time frame following a lose theme. (Rubino, 2022)

Part of the agile development philosophy states that "Working software > comprehensive documentation" (Beck, Beedle, et al. 2001). Rapid ideation is a way to enforce that way of thinking in a "low-stake" environment (depending on the situation).

One method of prototyping which relates to my field is Paper prototyping. I was reviewing the readings of this week and stumbled upon the article pertaining to paper prototyping written by Jakob Nielson. He stated that,

"Designers almost never use paper prototyping in real design projects" (Nielson, 2003)

However! I do not agree with this statement! The benefits of paper prototyping are immeasurable. I previously worked in a small Indie company called "High Ping Entertainment". They are a startup studio in the UAE looking to spread its wings. The only thing I am able to disclose is that the game was a platformer.

My job in the studio was level design, I would slave away, creating multiple different iterations of levels, introducing mechanics and trying to understand that emergent behaviour would come to life. That being said, the process of creating a tilemap design, exporting that to our development software, and converting that into something which is playable was a long and time-consuming process. Paper prototype was a tool that we utilized to quickly playtest new mechanics and dynamics, free of charge! (apart from the paper).

Here is an example of a cool paper prototype on youtube! This one is a bit... more detailed than the ones we would throw together in the industry:

(Leong, 2017)

Paper prototyping has SO many benefits to a design team:

No sunk costs & actual costs } (apart from the stationary) Team will be quickly iterating on levels on paper rather than implementing them into the engine. Reiterations and work cost money, doing everything on paper means that we can prioritize the programmer's time elsewhere.
No skill is needed! } (apart from motor skills and a possible design sensibility) The designer doesn't need to know any programming languages or technical language (Mignano, 2016). They can start prototyping quickly on paper. Plus! it's simple to understand when showing people that do not know the intricacies of game development.
Fast testing & Iteration } Designers can immediately get feedback on their work without waiting for QA / creative director breathing down your neck.
Easy to change } If something is wrong you can quickly make the desired changes without incurring the wrath of

your managers (Mignano, 2016).

Get information about UX } Understand the user experience as early as possible to influence the overall design (Nielsen, 2003).

(Rung, 2017)

Paper prototyping is an important step in the development life cycle, it can be used from the pre-production stage all the way towards the end of the project when you need some form of rapid iteration.

The next topic I decided I would explore is the concept of a "Vertical slice". This is a term which I am aware of and during my time in my previous jobs, I got to contribute to multiple Vertical slices.

It's me! (Tookey, 2021) Showcasing our first VS at the local indie game convention.

Essentially, a vertical slice is a small section of the project which is a demonstration of the finished product (to the best of the team's ability). This may be a working level with all the UI, programming and juice added. Each section needs to be refined and polished, it should end up representing what the entire game could be at the end.

(Cunningham, 2018)

The vertical slice:

acts as a proof of concept for stakeholders

Meaning that if your vertical slice is not up to specification then your project might get cancelled or red-lighted. This means the stakeholders can review what the entire project would look like if given funding and support.

Plus! It can set the benchmark for the rest of your game! This is what all your levels should be, this is what the art direction needs to stick to for consistency's sake.

Vertical slices are a great way to see what the team is capable of as well as demonstrating your work to either players or a client.


G. Rubino, (2022). Rapid Ideation. [Fallmouth university video]. Accessed 17th June, 2022.

Beck, Beedle, et al, (2001). The agile manifesto. Accessed 17th June, 2022.

F. Leong, (2017) Game Paper Prototype - The Secret of the Funfair. Accessed 17th June, 2022.

J. Nielsen, (2003). Paper Prototyping: Getting User Data Before You Code. Accessed 17th June, 2022

M. Mignano, (2016). Use Paper Prototyping to design your games. Accessed 17th June. 2022.

A. Rung, (2017). Paper prototype fidelity. Accessed 17th June, 2022.

J. Cunningham, (2018). Out with the Onion, in with Vertical Slices. Accessed 17th June, 2022.


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