6.3. Minimum Viable Product

Once you have an idea for a game, you may start coming up with all kinds of ideas for things you would like to incorporate. In all likely hood, you will have more ideas than you have time and ability to implement. You need to figure out which ones are the most essential to your game - what the core mechanics are - what the Extra Credits guys call finding your Minimum Viable Product:

Once you have the core gameplay, and it works and is fun, then you can add new features. The temptation at this point is to add everything you originally thought of. Resist this temptation. Instead, add one new feature, and playtest again until the new feature works, or you have decided that it doesn’t work and it needs to be abandoned.

Why not add everything at once? Because every new thing you add may have some problems with it. If you only add one new rule and the game starts behaving oddly, or crashes, or simply stops being fun, you know exactly where the problem is, because you only changed one thing. If you add ten new mechanics and something breaks, it’s harder to isolate which thing (or combination of rules) caused the problem.


In this class you will have deadlines to help keep you on track, but Extra Credits has some great advice on how to manage your time on projects of your own.

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)