Game Design and Paper Prototype



It was a really fun day for our incubees this week (even though we had to face a snowstorm!), as we revealed to each other the progress of everyone’s games! As we’re now halfway through the 6-week incubator, by now many of you may have added the first building blocks of your game in place, and your game can do some of the basic mechanics. Nothing’s as great as that feeling of suddenly being able to control the sprite that you made, that you coded yourself! Be proud! It might not seem like very much on screen, but just figuring that out is already half the battle. Maybe it also took you a long time to get to that point, so you’re worried about where to go next, and the work left to be done in the time remaining. To address that we have tons of advice for you, including from our star mentor this week, Nicole!


This week, we welcome Nicole Dolensky. In her presentation, she presents her journey full of learnings and touches on what is game design and a target audience.

For more information :
The session on game design from PGI5 where we touched on creativity and talked about the art of pitching your game.
The session on game design from PGI6 where we learned about balancing.


Because of the snowstorm and that many of us got to the session late, we did not have enough time to talk about everything we wanted. Nevertheless, here is the presentation that Maude prepared for this week. It tackles the question of scope in your game. If your head is full of ideas and you don’t know where to start, this wil certainly help!


When it comes to playtesting, it can be scary when you don’t have very much done. However, we know you’re brave — and letting someone else have a go at what you’re doing, even when it’s not finished, will really help you figure out where to go next and regain motivation to work on it!

  1. Give your players context when asking them to playtest. Tell them what your game is about, how it’s going to be shown, what the intentions are, it will let them see further and ‘get’ your game more even if your prototype is very barebones.
  1. Focus on specific features. If you’re testing a jumping mechanic, for instance, you might ask your players: “How did the jumping feel?” or “The controls felt responsive. Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree”. Try to formulate questions that can’t be answered by a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
  1. After giving your context, only help your tester very minimally. Be quiet and just observe, leave them alone. Your game might seem ‘easy’ to you, but without instructions, is it easy for another person to figure out? You can only find out if you let them struggle, and take note of when that happens, so you can decide if you want to (and maybe even how) to fix it.
  1. Playtest often. The more thoroughly you playtest and listen to player feedback, the greater opportunities you have to learn and grow your game! For more information on playtesting,, check out this previous Pixelles blog post .


We encourage you to go online to discuss (and ask questions!) on our Facebook Groups or on our Slack channels, but there’s still no substitute for face-to-face interactions. Thus we encourage you to meet with us again to ask questions, playtest, bug-fix or just for tea and biscuits!

When: Saturdays from January 12 to February 23 2019, inclusively
Time: 14h to 17h
Where: Gameplay Space, 1435 rue Saint-Alexandre, suite 140 (station Place-des-arts)


    • Write out your feature list – all the things that would be in your dream version of your game.
    • Highlight the minimum required features in your feature list to represent the core principles of your game.
    • Playtest your game – get a friend, your parents, your coworkers, whoever does not already know your game to play and give you a fresh perspective.
    • Keep working on your game! At this point, specific instructions will vary depending on what kind of game your working on. Keep paper prototyping new ideas too! If you’re stuck or need other people to talk to, don’t forget about the Saturday sessions and our Slack!

Don’t hesitate to send us any questions, ask for feedback, or bounce ideas. Use the FB Group or the Slack Workspace!

You can send us e-mails at
Next week: Narrative design!

Posted in Game Incubator, News, Pixelles Game Incubator 7
About Pixelles
Pixelles is a non-profit initiative committed to helping more people make and change games. We're based in Montreal, and have already succeeded in building a supportive community of game creators, both hobbyist and professional.

Twitter: @pixellesmtl
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