GDC 2011 - Six Indie Principles to Live By
Several of the most successful indie developers there found that by developing prototypes rather than designing a fully-fledged game they often came up with a more fun production. Games like Super Meat Boy and Spelunky XBL were based on prior successful flash games. Although the originals were much smaller the fun was evident – so they built off their success with complete games.
Prototyping also sometimes yields unexpected results! Tetris Creator, Alexey Pajitnov, came up with the idea for Tetris while prototyping a “tetramino” type game and discovering that making the tiles fall was much more fun. Indie designer Jonathan Blow prototyped something he named “Oracle Billiards” in which you could see precisely where the balls would go once hit. He wanted to see what it would be like to view the future, and how this might change a game like billiards. The idea behind this prototype was what carried him into his award winning game, “Braid.”
Pocketwatch Games’ Andy Schatz developed a game called Monaco in 15 weeks which lead to him winning the Grand Prize for Excellence in Design. He originally intended to spend 3 days working on a prototype to take a break from developing a biome game he had been working on. Not only was he happier working on the prototype – but it turned out to be a much more fun game.