A Playful Production Process


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Amy Hennig xv
Introduction 1
1 How to Begin 9
2 Blue Sky Thinking 11
3 Research 17
4 Game Prototyping: An Overview 21
5 Making a Digital Game Prototype 31
6 Communication as a Game Design Skill 43
7 Project Goals 53
8 The End of Ideation 67
9 Gaining Control of the Process 71
10 What Is a Vertical Slice? 77
11 Building a Vertical Slice 91
12 Playtesting 103
13 Concentric Development 119
14 Preproduction Deliverable-The Vertical Slice 133
15 Against Crunch 135
16 Story Structure for Game Designers 141
17 Preproduction Deliverable-The Game Design Macro 151
18 Writing a Game Design Macro Chart 167
19 Scheduling 181
20 Milestone Reviews 199
21 The Challenge of Preproduction 211
22 The Character of Full Production 217
23 Types of Testing 229
24 Preparing for a Formal Playtest 237
25 Running a Formal Playtest 253
26 Game Metrics 267
27 The Alpha Phase and Bug Tracking 277
28 The Alpha Milestone 285
29 Stubbing Things In 297
30 Reaching the Audience for Our Game 303
31 The Beta Milestone 309
32 The Postproduction Phase 319
33 The Release Candidate Milestone 329
34 The Certification Process 333
35 Unexpected Game Design 339
36 After We've Finished 343
Epilogue 349
Appendix A: The Four Phases, Milestones, and Deliverables of the Playful Production Process 353
Appendix B: Transcription of Figure 7.1 355
Appendix C: Game Design Macro for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (detail) from Figure 18.2 357
Acknowledgments 361
References 365
Index 371

About the Author

Richard Lemarchand, a game designer who worked in the videogame industry for more than twenty years, is Associate Professor in the USC Games program at the University of Southern California. Among many other projects, he led or co-led the design of all three games in the PlayStation 3 Uncharted series, including the award-winning Uncharted 2- Among Thieves.

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