Friday, May 23

Version Control and Other Stories

In a comment on my last post, Mal wondered how I perform version control of my ever-changing prototypes.

The earliest versions of a prototype don't have properly written rules, they're just a series of scribbles in my notebook. I'll make an early prototype out of scraps of paper and pencil scribbles. It's not until I have something that's basically working that I make a more solid prototype using card, thick cardboard for tiles/boards and slightly more impressive artwork involving pen and pencil crayons. It's at this point where I start writing out the rules.

From there on, every time I make a change to the rules, I do a new version of the rulebook - with a new version number. I just save them as <game name>.<version number>.txt. I have lots of ideas, only those that I'm fairly convinced are worth trying or I've tested a few time make the rules, other than that they float around in my head until I've tested them.

That's the rules covered, what about the components? Honestly, I don't bother with them. If the components change between one version and the next (they might not) I store the old components and make new ones. There's no infomation about which version those components were used for. I can either work it out from the rules, or I can just recreate them. The earlier components tend to be fairly generic with just enough information on them to differentiate between the different types. As the rules change these can be re-purposed a lot of the time, only occasionally do they need to be re-created.

In other news, I received another prototype from an established designer yesterday, and having received an overview and a copy of the rules, I've now asked for a prototype.

Still nothing from the British manufacturer or from the artist yet. I've been concentrating on my prototypes and using my German course, in preparation for Essen.

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