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Feature: 'Post-GDC: Spore - Pre-Production Through Prototyping'

In another of today's main Gamasutra features, Maxis Senior Development Director Eric Todd gave a lecture at last week's GDC on the value of prototyping and creating expe...

Simon Carless

March 29, 2006

1 Min Read

In another of today's main Gamasutra features, Maxis Senior Development Director Eric Todd gave a lecture at last week's GDC on the value of prototyping and creating experimental models, with specific reference to the much-awaited Spore. In this extract, Todd talked about the specificity of prototyping: "Along similar lines, prototypes should be as focused as possible upon just the few things you need to demonstrate to someone; Todd warned strongly to integrate different prototypes or different elements to be prototyped only when absolutely necessary, as each time you start to combine things the prototype takes on a new dimension of complexity. He showed a sequence of prototypes where the Spore team effectively built the game before they built the game, to see how it would feel. They actually put some art design into the project. It was huge, it took forever to build and to compile, it was expensive, and ultimately was wasteful as none of the material that went into the prototype could actually be used in the final game. That is, of course, part of the point of a prototype: "When you are in pre-production, you're not making the game." If you forget that, and try to save effort by making sure everything you create is to a level that you can just dump it into the game later on, that creates a high-friction development environment." You can now read the Gamasutra report on the subject, including plenty more information on the development of the much-awaited Spore (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless

Blogger

Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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