Homa Games has shared a helpful blog on how to do good and rapid prototyping. Prototyping is essential to be able to take your games to the highest level through trial and error. We’ve put together a few tips to help you navigate the process, not forget anything, and focus on what’s most important.
Whether you’re in a jam or just in your day-to-day game-making practice, building a functional, testable rapid prototype (made in a fast time frame) is essential. First, because you want to test your ideas before spending too much time and resources on them. Second, because in the fast-paced, highly competitive world of hyper-casual games, you don’t want to let the latest trends slip away. Or worse, seeing your ingenious concepts being us by your competitors.
When it comes to game design, elements like core game mechanics and dynamics should be present from the start, no matter how simple your prototype is. You will also want your games to be fun from the start, so the visual and reward aspects must be present before trying any test.
In addition, visual elements should be attractive and well readable at the prototyping stage so that the creatives understood in two seconds. Put, to make users want to try to play your project. Remember, your first test will give you a first impression of the game’s market appeal and its ability to scale. So make sure the visuals, gameplay, and overall experience are built from scratch and presented in the best possible way so that this translates into better CPI.
We agree on the benefits of rapid prototyping and the essential elements we want to include, but where to start?
1. Focus on the thrill of the game and the gameplay.
Make sure the gameplay reflects your ideas from the start, and focus on incorporating satisfying dynamics. A combination of pleasant and light sensations will delight players and provide a lot of fun.
2. Clarity of purpose for the player.
Make sure the goal of the game is intuitive. Hyper-casual games don’t need complicated basics tutorials. Otherwise, the probability of success is minimal.
3. Focus on the visuals of the game.
Hyper casual games are like bland food. First, they should be pleasing to the eye. Don’t overlook the game’s visuals in the early stages, and don’t forget to add elements such as VFX, confetti, or anything else that can provide visual feedback to the player. The visuals reflect input on the state of the game (such as receiving bonuses or taking damage), and adding too many of them just for the sake of juiciness can negatively impact CPI.
But remember that visuals need to support the gameplay, so don’t exaggerate.
4. Reward the player for every good action.
Again, the importance of feedback: give your players some love to keep coming back to your game for more. Add rewards in the form of gems, extra time, extra lives, or some form of improvement (and confetti! Lots of confetti!). The bonus will increase engagement.
5. Add variety early on in the game.
You want to show the potential of a concept, so items such as different environments, obstacles, collectables, bonuses, and the like are good ways to showcase an idea and generate interest.
6. Create a maximum of 5-10 levels, then play a loop or repeat the levels in random order.
Don’t waste time creating the entire structure of the levels — you can show where the game is going with just a few levels and reuse them to amplify the effect.
Last but not least…
Think ahead and get ready for creatives, as they allow you to showcase and test your game to understand its market potential better. The main thing is to save time and manage it correctly.
Creatives need to focus on readability and having more superficial characters, and environments in videos can help dramatically lower CPI without affecting in-game performance metrics.