What do Prototypes Prototype? (Miranda Diaz)

Questions that my game prototypes might answer:

  1. What would be the most fun for players: creating a character from scratch, choosing a character from a preset collection, or playing as themselves?
    • This is an important question to answer because choosing an approach will largely affect how a player experiences the game and how they feel as a part of the game’s narrative. Roleplaying a character can be very different from playing as yourself.
    • This would be a look and feel prototype because it focuses on the user’s sensational experience. It could be prototyped by getting three different players to test a short version of the game using one of the three approaches. After they play, you can ask the user about how immersed they felt while playing their character and how they think playing as that character influenced their enjoyment of the narrative.
    • I predict that people generally enjoy having more ways to customize their character and will opt to create their own character. This choice leans into the fun of fiction while giving player’s more control over who they want to pretend to be.
  2. Is adding story-related text on playable cards an effective way to convey narrative? Would players read the story text or not care?
    • This is an important question to answer because narrative is one way to make a game fun. Conveying narrative in an engaging way is essential to making sure the narrative gets conveyed at all.
    • This would be a role prototype because it focuses on the role that the text on the cards plays in building fun through narrative. A way to prototype this would be to create a short working prototype and let a group of people playtest it. You should pay attention to how they engage with the story text on the cards, if at all. You can also ask them questions about the narrative after the playtest is over to see what they remember from the cards.
    • I would predict that any text that isn’t directly relevant to the playable effect of the card won’t get much attention. I think people tend to only focus on the details that will help them get ahead in the game.
  3. How long should the game be? Is it better to give players 3 or 4 rounds between big events?
    • This is an important question because the answer will change how engaged users feel throughout the game and how much progress they are able to make between big events in the game.
    • This would be an implementation prototype, and it could also be tested by creating a short working prototype. You could have some players play with 3 rounds and others play with 4 rounds between big events. You should pay attention to how much fun the players are having and how that changes as time passes. You can also directly ask for the participants’ opinions on what number of rounds felt the most appropriate.
    • I would guess that having fewer rounds (3) would be better for most games because it can be difficult to keep players engaged in what is happening without the rounds becoming monotonous.

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