Yet Another Paper Prototype

Moving fast forward from the previous post on User Experience and Prototyping, all the feedback from the Cultural Probe and other sources had been analysed, and I had gotten quite a nice bit of feedback from my muse to start working on the first part of the development process: The paper prototype. Rather than getting too much into which parts that inspired me, I am going to spend the post explaining the game concept, what changed when showcasing the game to my muse and, finally, quickly dip into what changes is to be expected when the game goes digital very soon™.

So far, very little should be known about the game to the reader of, save perhaps the facts that the graphics are based on the drawings I got my muse to create – and the “Münster Monster” name. From the talks with my muse, I also gathered that the only games she was really into, was in the category of “social competitive”, and would potentially be available in a smart phone or likewise format: Quick and easy to play.

With that in mind, I came up with an idea, but decided to do one last test with my muse. Seeing as it was late, and I had the idea in mind, but did not yet have it in a presentable form of a picture, drawing or otherwise – I left her with the following short description and let her think of what the game might be for the following day:

Candy Nightmare. The sweets have been stolen by the evil Birdman, the Münster Monster’s archenemy! They must be located before time runs out, and Birdman swoops in to eat them!

Might have been a cruel tactic, but it turned out to make some good changes to the game in the end. Now, to elaborate on the idea, I posted the following picture below, along with the vague descriptions of the rules, which was basically about finding the “piece of candy” at the top left first. The players were given the same challenge, with the fastest player winning. Birdman was basically to keep a top time-limit on each round, and there would be a time punishment for clicking the wrong place, so that the player would not just spam-click everywhere to find it.

My muse had the idea that it would be about gathering stuff, which was not really the case in that iteration. Luckily, applying that change was an easy task. Rather that only finding one piece, there would be an upper time-limit of 20 seconds, and a fixed number of candy-pieces to be found. All of them would be visible at the board at all times, but the order would be chosen at random (the order would still be the same for both players, so they would get the same challenge). That idea stuck, and became what I based the paper prototype on. Seen below is the result. The evil Birdman is visible on the lower left corner, warning the players of his impending arrival to snatch the candy-pieces from the hungry Münster Monsters.

Over this previous weekend, I had a sit-down with my muse to hear her more direct feedback on the actual game, as well as getting the rules and concept more elaborated. This turned out to be a very successful play-testing session, and no further changes were made to the game – giving me a good green light to start thinking about the digital version. The way the game works now will make it easily translatable into the digital version. To sum up, the rules are as follows:

  • The player have to locate the candy-pieces, shown in the top-left corner. They have to be located in an unknown random order, based on how the cards are stacked.
  • There is a timer going down, starting at 20 seconds.
  • If a player picks the wrong piece of candy, a penalty second is taken off.
  • The players take turns taking the same challenge – the one who finds the pieces first, or has found the most pieces once the time runs out is the winner.

Oh… and these Münster Monsters I have mentioned a few times? Yeah, they needed to be drawn as well. Would be silly to only have Birdman being represented, would it not? Thought so – and that is why the poor guy now turns incredibly frustrated, as the monsters attack him with four different moods.

Next time will, most likely, cover the very first looks at the digital prototype, some programming stuffs and – if time permits – a few pretty pictures as well.

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