Iterative design extensions

This article is a draft. You can help by editing it or discussing in the comments

click here to edit!

If you already have basic knowledge of iterative game design you may find here some further ideas about the whole process, or its stages (Idea - Rules - Prototype - Playtest - Revision).

Loop dynamics

While the basic loop of iterative design goes through constant stages, with consecutive repeats there is development not only for the game you work on, but also within the process itself. Each time you run through the design cycle your goals and playtest contexts might be different. This is nicely presented in infographics from Eric A. Sunden:


Critical Play

In Critical Play (Flanagan 2009, 257-258) there's a detailed idea for additional considerations during the iterative design process, quoted below with some of the description left out. It's not intended as suitable for each and every use-case or gaming style.

  • Set a design goal/mission statement, and values goals. […]
  • Design rules and constraints that support values. […]
  • Design for many different playstyles. The designer could, for example, provide for a noncompetitive type of play alongside a competitive play scenario. The designer should design for subversion of the system and other means by which play can emerge.
  • Develop a playable prototype. […]
  • Play test with diverse audiences. Designers need to get out of the studio or laboratory and play test with a wide-ranging audience, making sure to play with nontraditional gamers. Various players test the game for dead ends and dull sections, and types and levels of task difficulty.
  • Verify values and revise goals. Designers evaluate the game through the play tests and player comments. They verify that the values goals emerge through play, and revise goals and add or drop options based on feedback to ensure an engaging game and support the project values.
  • Repeat.

Everybody's Toolbox

In a method similar to their game Generique, Everybody's Toolbox proposes to add some roleplay to your development process, specifically the playtesting phase.

Until the recent technical error on their site, Impersonation Game used to be described here: and the instruction went as follows:

You show a work to the people you would like to impersonate you (people you would like to expand notions of your work).
You can show it live or on video, but it should be a presentation of the work itself. After the showing you set up an after talk where you, the person who made the work is the interviewer, interviewing at least 3 persons who try to impersonate you.

If you think anything should be added to this text, please drop a hint or a link for future editors.

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. See licensing details