Prototyping · Minimum Viable Product

MVP or Prototype for an iOS Unity3D Game Application ?


May 24th, 2015

I'm beginning to invest specifically into creating a "sample" of my iOS Game Application. This sample might be a prototype or MVP in which I'm unsure about ?. The focus of the investment will be for a few things, to acquire early users, testers and product recognition as well as investing. I'm under the assumption that a prototype will be rough animations, simple UI screens all created by a Tech Artist just to "get the idea" on paper. Then on the other side I was told that a MVP would be similar to the game with specific features to attract early adopters of the application. The game itself has attractive graphics and animations similar to you Despicable Me 2 and Subway Surfer with a Disney Style concept, in which leans me towards an MVP. 

I'm unsure if I should go for a prototype or MVP ?, also taking into consideration that I'm limited on the investing !

The product must solve a few requirements:
1) Attain and grow users / testers / adopters 
2) Attract investing 
3) Build brand recognition 
4) Be used as a foundation to build a solid team

Alexander Lau Lead Programmer/CEO of Robotic Potato Games

May 26th, 2015

Prototype the game to see if it's fun to play without the graphics, then move onto a fully graphically realized vertical slice.

If the game is fun to play with just squares and triangles, you know you have a winner.

Daniel Turner Available

May 25th, 2015

I don't know what a "Tech Artist" is, but the first things you really need to have before any coding are:
1. gameplay mechanics (this is hard, but you can't fake it or fix it in post)
2. narrative structure (what's the story? how are you telling it? Remember, even Pac-man had a story.)
3. voice

What are you reading or practicing about game design? Do you read case studies or postmortems on Gamasutra?

You don't need lush, fully realized animation to test whether your game mechanics and mood make sense. Look how even big-budget animated features do storyboards and animatronics. You could build test interactive animations (web-based in, say, Flux or Flash, or iOS ones in Pixate, etc.).

You note that I keep advising you to go back and think about what the thing is and why, before what you may think is "doing" anything. But trust me, plowing ahead without doing your homework is the road to shovelware. As a " Visionary Appreneur" (really?), I'm sure you've seen plenty of rushed-to-market also-rans.

Ryan Nobrega Product, Technology, Operations

May 24th, 2015

There are factors that could change this answer, but based on what you've written - focus on proving #1, in particular quantified user engagement, retention, revenue and how you will scale user acquisition (via viral hooks within the product) and 2-4 will naturally fall in to place. So, MVP.

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

May 25th, 2015

My ex got her masters in script writing,  directed various small productions and was a producer for one of the major animation studios.  So I'm basing my comments on discussions with her as well as folks who have taken gaming projects to profitable sale to EA.

  1. So you have a high level story outline?
  2. Do you have a detailed story script?
  3. Do you have a detailed scene breakdown?
  4. Do you have a storyboard for the scenes?
  5. Do you have art for the storyboards?
  6. Have you worked out production costs on a per scene basis?
    1. Animation costs
    2. coding costs
    3. Physics development costs
    4. music costs (most forget this one)
    5. Sound effects costs (most forget this one two)

Game development (for serious games vs. casual gaming) is more like movie or TV production.  And from your comment about "simple UI screens created by a tech artist ot get the idea on paper"  suggests to me you aren't even at Step 4. 

So its way too early to be talking about a "prototype" or "MVP"  .   It really sounds like you have a log of work to do before even #2


May 25th, 2015

Well Karl first of all thanks for your reply. I have created and done all those. I have been working on that for over a year now ( give or take a few months ) through oDesk (then, now up work ) and freelance, with some bitter yet disappointing contracts ( mostly is Asian countries ). I have a outline, script, scene breakdown, storyboard, the art ( I have ONE more character to finish due to copyright infringement that the freelancer has been putting me through but I'll soon be taking care of that :) )

I have also found the cost for the development of the Application, with management, it would be 60-70k without management it would be 10k less. I will be going with a project management ( I have a solid project manager / producer I've been working with).  This is in-house development companies ( I have a few companies I've been in discussion with). I'm not going overseas with this project for one, I had a bad previous contract ( as discussed earlier ) and two, I want to be involved 100% with my Application since its my business. 

Now I'm at a point that I need to "kick this thing" and start the ball rolling, in creating either a prototype or MVP version ?, another factor that goes into this, is that I'm financially limited but want to create something that emphasizes the concept and executes all four requirements as stated on my post !!

Chris Carruth VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

May 25th, 2015

My take only...and somewhat "counter culture" to gamers...

Figure out how the game will be compelling to play and addictive to return to FIRST.

 If you can't figure this out no amount of stunning and incredibly gorgeous art will make a difference in the long run, nor will an easy to navigate UI (and all other "ui" variations), crystal clear online tutorials, appealing in-game incentives, "play everywhere" cross-platform capabilities nor... and the list goes on. Your churn rate will be sky high and your marketing budget will be spent acquiring players versus retaining players, with the anticipated disastrous effects on cash flow and ultimately the company itself.

As they say in Texas, no amount of lipstick will make the pig pretty. Seen it happen...

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

May 26th, 2015

Good so Agron you are further along than at first it seemed.  I agree with Chris.  figure out what the addictive bit is.

Then do a full scene realization of that bit as  playable demo.  And use that to do a crowd funded campaign with pre-orders


June 3rd, 2015

Thanks for your replies gentlemen !!