My favorite session from the GDC this year was from a developer at DoubleFine studios. He spoke about their company-saving approach to prototyping game ideas. Their prototyping sessions are 2 week long production cycles consisting of small teams that include the entire skill set represented by the firm: programmers, artists and sound designers.

The talk outlined how they prepare for the sessions, what constraints they adhere to and what they set for goals. Here is are the slides from that talk. It’s chock full of good ideas.

For me the key takeaway from this talk was the way that he isolated the goals of different stretches of work. During that 2 week production cycle, they are solely focused on producing a playable prototype. This is not the time for learning a new technology or building tools; it is about creating a playable game that didn’t exist before.

Having just finished a submission to Ludum Dare 23 This has never felt more appropriate. I rolled my own everything for this submission, and was feeling the crunch.

Now I did manage to complete my primary goal of an infinitely scrolling world. I may have just gotten lucky. That sort of thing is best done outside of a time crunch.