Design & Style, Sports & Gaming

Prototyping Case Study: Proxi

Will Wright

Lesson time 08:31 min

Will and his programmer reveal and iterate on prototypes they are developing for their new game, Proxi. Witness how collaboration and prototyping can influence design decisions.

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Topics include: Prototype One: Tangible Memories • Prototype Two: World View and Camera Controls


Inside of each of us, there's a subconscious. There's a whole region of who you are that is, in some sense, inaccessible to you, but drives your behavior. The game I'm working on now is called Proxi. And my core motivation there is, can I build a gameplay experience, an entertainment experience, where the computer is actively trying to gain a deeper understanding of the player? Primarily through the player's past experiences, through their memories, can I kind of interpret the memories of your life, the most important memories that made you who you are, and from that, come to some understanding of how you think? What makes you behave the way you behave. Why you connect these certain things in your mind that most people don't connect. What drives your interests. You know, how much can I get a computer to learn that about you, and then try to build a representational avatar of your id, of your subconscious, that you can now interact with. And as it learns more and more about you, it kind of, in some sense, comes to life and can now interact with other people's ids kind of asynchronously. It can go off in the world and interact with your friends or with, you know, real or historic or fictional characters, you know? How does your proxy get along with Homer Simpson's proxy or, you know, the pope's proxy, or Mother Teresa. I want to know, can we build a map of that? Can we start to understand it? Can we build, you know, a structural description of how this thing works and the connections it makes? And what makes you different from another person? How is your id different than that person's id? How does it make you behave in a situation differently than they behave? If we can start getting that level of understanding-- And we're-- you know, I think that analyzing memories and life experience is the path there. And I'm not sure about this. This is just kind of my-- my theory. But that's kind of what we're trying to do with Proxi. [MUSIC PLAYING] Today, we're going to walk through the process of creating a game prototype. Basically, we're always doing this to answer some specific question about the design that we're working on. I'm here with my programmer Zecmo, and we're working on this project here. And in this project, the user is creating memories that come into this world and basically turn into this kind of landscape. And this is what we have so far. We're trying to figure out how should these memories come into the world. Right now when I create a memory, it just kind of pops randomly into the world, right? - Yeah. Yeah. WILL WRIGHT: Yeah, it feels like it should be more tangible, though, like this world really should have more rules and more specific interactions. So I want to prototype something where we try different ways to bring new memories into the world here. I've been kind of thinking about the idea of maybe they come in on boats because it's mostly ocean here. - Yeah. And they can wander around and try to find ...

About the Instructor

Learn the art and science of game design with Will Wright, the mind behind SimCity and The Sims. In this game design class, Will teaches you how to create games that empower players and unleash their imagination. You’ll develop a tool set for understanding player psychology, as well as learn Will’s approach to generating and pitching ideas, prototyping, playtesting, and building a community.

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