This week I am prototyping a new narrative system for a puzzle-renovation game like Lily’s Garden. I generated lots of ideas and then I selected the best ones. Now it’s time to translate those ideas to a prototype.
Goals and features
Before of starting sketching a flowchart for our Twine prototype, it’s important to understand why to prepare a prototype in first place. A prototype is not something ready to go out. It is not a product. A prototype is useful to:
- Persuade the stakeholders that this step is necessary and invite them to think in its ROI
- Align the vision of all the team members that will work on the feature
- State all the assumptions, useful to prove with data and analytics the feature’s success
- Inspire roadmap updates to fix the feature’s development in the pipeline.
I have very few time to do a proper prototype, I am doing this exercise for “ikigai” (= to do something I enjoy for the sake of it). I need to put some limitations, so that my prototype will feature:
- Only 1 event to show how the Player’s journey changes meaningfully thanks to the feature
- Player’s development across the journey
- Maximum 3 valuable binary choices, in order to avoid too many outcomes. In fact with 3 choices we will get 2^3=8 endings.
- The prototype should not be minimum. I am against minimum viable things. The prototype should show all that’s necessary to truly unleash potential, instead! That is why I will use the main idea and the two secondary ones described previously.
Important for this kind of games is to keep things very linear and straight. Those are not RPG games full of options. The only options that the Player has at every moment is either to start a new task or play a new level.
- Lilys: the new feature will be called Lilys. Lilys are a resource that the Player accumulates based on creating special tiles (combining 4+ tiles) and/or getting and using power-ups, which are special tiles at the end of the day.
- Lily Branches: every Day has a set of choices. Some choice are cosmetic, those are already present in the game. Some other choice can be meaningful story branches. In order to take some of the options, the Player should use Lilys.
- Choice Points: Every time the Player makes a choice gets Choice Points which are useful to unlock extra rewards at the end of the day.
- Variable Rewards: every time the Player completes one Lilys branch, there is the chance of getting a power-up. Variable rewards are useful to foster engagement. The Players in this way will have reasons to make Lilys Choices.
- The Player can choose to Play a level or start a Task
- During the Level, the Player will get and use power-ups
- At the end of the Level the power-ups and special tiles will be counted and converted in Lilys
- During a task, the Player will have to make a meaningful choice
- One of the branches will involve the use of Lilys
- All the branches will give choice points, useful for the end of the Day to get extra rewards
- if the Player uses Lilys, a random reward will pop-out: 30 minutes infinite lives. It is important that the Player feel that there is a random factor there.
Now I can proceed in developing the proper prototype!