Short Exercise: What do Prototypes Prototype?

  1. Are people willing to incorporate aspects of their real lives into a non-digital game?
    • This is important because the basis of our game is getting to know each other through a non-digital game, and it relates to the types of fun we aim for with expression and fellowship.
    • We can make a very simple non-digital prototype and see if people are willing to share about their real lives while playing
    • I might guess that people should be willing to share some level of information about their real lives even while playing games, especially given the existence of so many “get to know you” party games
  1. How do we find the best balance between real-life and game specific roles/rules?
    • This question is important because it relates to rules/procedures, and we want to incorporate roles with the game while still allowing people to get to know each other in real life
    • We can make a simple prototype that takes personal information about the player and combines it with a game-given special role. If we want to find the exact balance, we can create several different levels of real-life vs. game distributions.
    • If the main point of the game is to get to know each other, I might guess that we could make an emphasis on real-life work, while still incorporating a bit of game-specific roles to make it interesting.
  1. What form of non-digital game is best for people to get to know each other in a game setting?
    • This question is important because it relates to boundaries and resources. Players could feel different levels of engagement depending on what form we choose; different forms could lead to different conceptions about what kind of game we are making
    • We can make a prototype that compares simple aspects of a board game, card game, or verbal game. The board game would have a paper “board” with different “pieces,” while a card game would only have cards, and verbal nothing tangible at all.
    • A board game might be most interesting and engaging for people, as there is a tangible visual for what is going on in the game, but card games also have some level of visualization (and there have been successful getting to know you games as cards)
  1. How many people should we aim to have in a given “team,” if there are teams at all?
    • This question is important because it relates to the player interaction patterns, and different numbers of people could lead to very different dynamics (e.g. 1 or 2 people per team versus half the players, around 5). If we have teams, we would also need to figure out the purpose they are working toward and interactions they can have.
    • We might make a prototype where we have people complete a simple task related to the game in groups of 1, 2, or 5.
    • Having two teams seems like a popular choice to be able to create more bonding and spirit within teams, but since it is a get-to-know-you game, it might also make sense to keep it individual competition
  1. How do we want to incorporate the competitive element into the get-to-know-you game?
    • This question is important because it informs the objective and outcomes of the game, and it could make players more motivated/engaged in the game.
    • We could make a prototype that tests a point system, team win/lose (related to team question), race, and other objective models to see what works best with the get-to-know-you aspect.
    • The point system might be simplest to implement and keep track of, especially if we use questions as a part of the get-to-know-you game.

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