Game Development Reference
someone else play it. He walked into the room. The enemy screamed and
ran at him. Since it was a puzzle level, the player had no weapons. So he
turned and ran out of the room to escape the enemy. I had to put unbreak-
able glass around the player to make him feel safe before he would stand
his ground and watch the scene play out.
Game designs are always uncertain. Every experienced designer has
numerous stories of game systems working and failing in unexpected
ways. It is impossible to know whether or how a design will work by read-
ing it on paper. It's that gap between assumed and real certainty that
causes missed deadlines, broken budgets, and crunch. When you assume
that plans are rock solid while they are in truth very uncertain, you'll over-
plan, and bad things will happen.
We can't not plan at all, but nor can we plan every detail to the end of the
project. We need a middle ground. We need to iterate .
ITERATION is the practice of making short-range plans, implementing
them, testing them, and repeating.
The traditional creative method is linear. One plans, then builds, then
tests to verify quality, and the product is finished.
Iteration is different. Instead, of running in a line, it runs in a loop.
This means we don't have to predict events deep into the future. We
need only plan as far as the end of the current loop. Each time we test
the game, we check our assumptions against reality. That reality check
provides reliable knowledge on which to base our plans for the next loop.
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