Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and he has been working in the industry for over 20 years. Zimmerman also plays the role of academic at NYU where he explores the theory and life behind the process of creating video games. In this article “Play as Research: The Iterative Design Process“published on July 8 2003, he explains, in three real cases, how the relationship between designer and player takes the game to its final prototype. As the word iterative indicates, this process is based on trying new things in the functionality of the game over and over again until we (as designers) and our target find it fun to play. This means the creation of multiple prototypes of the game throughout the design process. The designers working as a team would test, analyze and refine each one of them to take the game to the next level (and hopefully, to its final version). This means that the game is played all the time and I can imagine how fun this process must be for the designer, although I guess it might turn too repetitive sometimes (that would be time for a good rest/nap). Zimmerman explains the different faces of this design process in three computer games in which he had worked a few years before the publication of this article: SiSSYFiGHT 2000 (schoolgirls having a fight), Loop (another girl hunting butterflies) and LEGO Junkbot (Junkbot getting the junk thanks to your help and bricks). All of them seemed to be fun and I know that I would play, but it is not the best thing to do right now… or yes it is, it could be part of the iterative design process, right?
“Play as Research: The Iterative Design Process” Eric Zimmerman