The next major stage of production is necessarily focused on tools and pipelines. This post covers more design tools (instead of art) as these have a fundamentally different focus when building simulation-drive games. Art tools and pipeline problems may be just as important, but are better understood. Best practices from other types of game for them easily apply here.
In my first post I described why the vertical slice approach covered by the Cerny Method fails to produce the same results in simulation-driven games. Now I’ll detail more of the goals for the equivalent milestone in a production process geared towards these kinds of games.
This is the third part of a series on production practices for building simulation driven games.
The most important aspect of the concept phase is your isolated systems prototypes. Their sole purpose is for you to decide if you want each system in your game because they reinforce your aesthetic goals.
They are isolated prototypes in that each one is focused on a single system and its causes and effects within itself. We’ll look at examples of these single-system prototypes, and more pitfalls to avoid while building them.
This is the second part of a series on production practices for building simulation-driven games.
The concept phase of any game production is about exploring ideas and making decisions. These decisions are yet to be proven, but you need a way forward, otherwise you stall in blank-slate mode (a problem in any game production).
In all the post-mortems and production methodologies for game development, none really address the difficult problems of building a simulation-heavy game in a non-insane way.
With my experience working on Scarface, LMNO, game AI in general, and a side project I’m starting that delves heavily into crowd simulation, I wanted to formalize my thoughts on production processes for simulation driven games.
I mean to answer the question of how best to tackle creative and production challenges, in a way that will most quickly get you to a point where the game is compelling to play (and therefore also viable to pitch and market before being complete).