Play My Code as a Rapid Prototyping Tool

Posted: by Seb under Game Development

PMC user Jayenkai (of A Game A Week/Socoder fame) has spent the past couple of weeks conducting a little experiment: knocking out small games in devastatingly quick succession, testing ideas and gameplay concepts. The experiment has been a resounding success: not only has he produced a cracking set of excellent games, he’s also demonstrated the effectiveness of Play My Code as a tool for rapid game prototyping.

Each game apparently took around an hour to make, a key factor towards this brevity-of-code being his having first written a framework which he has used as a foundation for each game (you will notice they’ve all got similar front ends, for instance). The results of this process demonstrate how easy and quick it can be to put a simple game together using Play My Code, leveraging the platform as a method of testing gameplay concepts. Doing this, one can test whether a game idea works (and by extension, is fun to play) while avoiding the potential pitfalls of spending a large amount of time creating rich assets or code for a title which ends up not really working gameplay-wise.

For those who are new to the concept of frameworks in software: at the most basic level a framework is a generic code template which can be re-used again and again to provide the basic foundation for software to be written upon. Most games will require similar (if not the same) code to manage things like game state, game input and resource loading (to name but a few), so writing a framework to handle these commonalities and building upon it can save countless hours of valuable programming time. For an example of a simple framework, have a look at the code for my Bombs ‘n’ Booty game. Strip out the game logic itself, and one ends up with a primitive game state manager which could be used as a basis for new titles- if you would like to use this as the basis for your own projects, then please do so.

Anyway, back to Jay’s games! Read on for a round-up of our favourites:

Space Battles

Embedded at the top of this post. A simple-yet-charming horizontal space shooter, Space Battles has the most accomplished feel of Jay’s recent minigames- a trait I would attribute to its superb soundtrack.

Chase the Block

My personal favourite, a maddeningly compulsive score-based reaction test built around an idea so simple that we smacked our collective foreheads for not having thought of it first.

Happy Meetings

Do not be deceived by the cuteness of the pixel menagerie this game presents: your multitasking abilities will be driven to hell and back by their unions, in this curious mash-up of colour-matching and rhythm-action.

If you’d like to play Jay’s other PMC games- and we would very much advise you do- check out his page on Play My Code.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *