Iterative design is based on a repetitive cycle that involves prototypes, testing, analyzing,and refining. The final project is rarely going to look like the first prototype due to all the adjustments that are made throughout the various steps that it takes to finalize it. When discussing video games specifically, the iterative design is defined as playtesting.
When creating a new game, it is played excessively as everyone who plays it comments and critiques on how to improve its concept and design. For example, one thing to analyze would be the play values of the game. These are the abstract principles that were embodied by the design of the game. Prototypes are also never going to be very aesthetically pleasing. The focus is more on the purpose of the game rather than its appearance. The main concern is on making sure the interactions of the game are accurate. It isn’t until all the movements of the game are figured out that the work begins to make the game more visually pleasing.
Another important thing to focus on would be the core mechanics of the game, mechanics that players will constantly and repeatedly use in the game. In analyzing the core mechanics of prototype, you determine what movements will become crucial to your game and will set the basic rules for creating better versions of the prototype.
The game LOOP is the result of a new core mechanic that was invented that allowed players to interact with the game in fluid gestures that were allowed to sweep instead of the traditional point-and-click or click-and-drag options that were currently available. Only after making sure the coding was correct did the developers focus on expanding the gameplay into multiple levels as well as coming up with multiple variables for it.
The game SiSSYFiGHT was a game that allowed for a new form of interaction, one that merged computer with real time where players chose how to interact with one another. It allowed for online multi-player gameplay but it still needed many improvements. Through questionnaires, testing sessions, and beta versions of the game, developers were able to discover how to improve the game and make it more appealing in its mechanics as well as its purpose. Beta tests revealed how the game’s actions were at times too predictable, or how players would prefer to not fight at all. Through more tweaks and fixes, the final game launch used all the information collected from all the multiple testings in order to create something that people were looking for.
The Lego Junkbot had the challenge of creating a virtual game out of objects that existed in reality while ensuring the game followed the rules of how the Legos could be manipulated in the real world. After ensuring the game held to the rules of real Legos, developers created shortcuts to facilitate gameplay, such as allowing Legos to be moved in groups rather than individually. Again, they relied on game testing to determine how complicated the game should be and if it was able to be understood by the players. Testing is crucial to every step of the process of gamemaking.