Prototyping- Slowly, Slowly Catchy Monkey

I have been writing about the difficulties surrounding my adventures with game design and now I find that something of a miracle has occurred!  Whilst developing my time travel theme last week, I thought about accessing different time zones via wormholes and I was going to incorporate this into my time travel theme.

Birth of the wormhole concept
More wormholes








In order to make this work, i was going to have the time ships (like the TARDIS but not) travelling through the wormholes to get to a parallel universe, dropping in there, collecting some universe saving object and then popping back to save everyone from extinction. It was making the brain cogs creak just thinking about it and then I encountered the concept of abstraction and it got me thinking about making everything simpler. The idea of simplifying stuff was very appealing and then it was suggested to me that I had the content for not one but two games. Suddenly all the pieces came together. There was the game about the wormholes as gateways to parallel universes and then there was a time travel game revolving around building time machines and then using them to go a mission to save something. Eureka!

First draft of the board

I was more attracted to the wormholes concept and decided that I would use this to develop as a prototype. I had the idea of a circular board, representing the earth, with the parallel universes located in the centre. I originally had drawn more than 20 different universes but settled on just 6, again trying to simplify things. The wormholes radiated out from these like rays and were made up of a series of steps which a player would have to navigate to get to the centre and unlock a parallel universe. One of my biggest hurdles is to create the mechanics that make the game come to life and now that I have decided on a theme I feel things will start to flow a little more easily. I need to make a puzzle for the player to solve but am not sure what it will be. I know I want the player to travel through the wormholes and the objective is to get to the centre and at this stage I think they will collect something that will  be crucial to saving planet earth, but what they are collecting and how they will transport it are as yet unknown. It is important to hold on to the concept of abstraction and use this to whittle down the elements of the game until just the bare essentials remain. 

My prototyping has been slow to evolve and as yet there are no rules. However, now that I have a basic concept I can start using materials to try and make it materialise. I have all the tools I need such as cards, cardboard, scissors, coloured post-it notes, glue, some suitable images, pencils and a willing participant who is going to playtest with me once everything is operational. I am hoping that the mechanics will develop as the board takes shape. That’s the plan at least! At this stage, I am feeling more confident that I can actually design something that resembles a playable game.

Prototype materials
Getting started on my prototype
Working on the layout for the board
Taking shape

I must remember that after all this – “I am a game designer”.


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