Supporting Pre-Productionin Game Development : Process Mapping and Principles for a Procedural Prototyping Tool
Abstract: Game development involves both traditional software activities combined with creative work. As a result, game design practices are characterized by an extensive process of iterative development and evaluation, where prototyping is a major component to test and evaluate the player experience. Content creation for the virtual world the players inhabit is one of the most time-consuming aspects of production. This experimental research study focuses on analyzing and formulating challenges and desired properties in a prototyping tool based on Procedural Content Generation to assist game designers in their early ideation process. To investigate this, a proof of concept was iteratively developed based on information gathered from interviews and evaluations with world designers during a conceptual and design study. The final user study assessed the tool’s functionalities and indicated its potential utility in enhancing the designers’ content exploration and risk management during pre-production activities. Key guidelines for the tool’s architecture can be distilled into: (1) A modular design approach supports balance between content controllability and creativity. (2) Design levels and feature representation should combine and range between Micro (specific) to Macro (high-level, abstract). The result revealed challenges in combining exploration of the design space with optimization and refinement of content. However, the thesis specifically concentrated on one specific type of content city generation, to represent world design content generation. To fully understand the generalizable aspects different types of game content types of game content would need to be covered in further research.
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