Our General Methodology
At Gigantic Mechanic, we go through a specific process to make sure we build engaging and effective games and experiences for the target audience. To do this we break down development into three main phases:
Research & Concepting
During this phase, we work closely with the client to gain a full understanding of the intended audience and the goals of the project. We want to answer questions like:
- Who do we want to play?
- How long do we want them to play?
- Where will they play?
- What else will be competing for their attention?
- What do we want players to take away from the game?
- And — perhaps most importantly — What will it feel like to play? What is the experiential goal?
From the answers to these questions, and others specifically geared toward the project, we develop several high-level concepts and refine them alongside the client. At the end of this phase, we pick a direction to explore in the Prototyping phase.
During the Prototyping phase, we build the quickest, roughest version of the game possible, in order to test out the concept and the specific mechanics. This usually means building paper prototypes and quickly iterating on the design to make it more engaging and effective. If we can test the idea and understand the experience using painter’s tape on the ground, a few posters taped to the wall, and a few hands of playing cards, awesome. If we need to build a small tech prototype to test the controls, great. The goal is to test out the thrust of the experience as quickly as possible, to make sure it’s engaging players in the right way.
Along the way, the client attends and participates in playtests with us and members of their target audience, to ensure the game meets their goals. By the end of the Prototyping phase, we have a clear design to build out in the Full Development stage.
During Full Development, the production team swings into action and transforms the paper prototype into a full game, working out the user interface, art and programming. We use an Agile development methodology, breaking development into short sprints. At the end of each sprint, the team and client has the chance to review the game and make adjustments to the direction of the development. The development phase is punctuated at key moments by audience-facing playtests, to ensure that we are still engaging the most important people — the players. At the end of the development phase, we deliver a final working version of the game.