# Paper-based prototyping: simulating real time

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Hi guys,

I was messing around with this game idea where players race along a dangerous road in trucks to deliver their cargo. As they travel along the road (especially if they decide to go at speed) they will run into dangers: landslides where they must dodge/clear terrain, fog so they can't see the cliff sides etc.

I'd love to try this out 'on paper' first with some friends. However I'm not sure how to simulate a real time experience of driving the trucks at various speeds. The most simple solution I have come up with is rolling dice to move however many grid squares; wherever you land you roll again to see if a randomised disaster occurs. To measure speed I could add a modifier, such as if they're going an 'above average speed' they get a +1 to the amount of grid squares they cover but also a +1 to the chance of a disaster happening.

However, in a video game I'd be simulating acceleration (by holding down a key for example) and changing gear for speed. It also would not be turn based and they would have free control of the truck's movement and could accidentally plummet off the edge.

I guess the game can track when a player leaves and enter a new square in the grid and, after so many, roll to see if a disaster occurs. However, I don't think my current idea would really reflect the real time game experience/dynamics I'm trying to create in the video game. Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Many thanks

Edited by Mark Lock

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Maybe you can larp it instead.  Set up an obstacle course in your yard and let your friends control their walking, jogging, or running speed.

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hahaha, I'm loving that idea. Maybe simulate a driver's cab-view experience using cardboard boxes!

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I'm not entirely sure what you want to test with this. Is it the frequency of obstacles?

Depending on what exactly you're looking for, it might not actually be possible to prototype meaningfully on paper or in your back yard. I would suggest getting a different game or testing program (such as BeamNG) and simulating what would happen in your game in those. Something like having your friends run a race while you call out 'obstacles' they have to react to.

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Formula D might be worth a look. Its a racing board game and its pretty good. I think this is how it works. You can change gears and each gear has an associated die. So the higher gear has higher numbers that you can move. But each corner has a zone you must stop in which means you have to try drop gears in order to not over roll the position.

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You can use the paper-version as a brainstorm/inspiration to get ideas for the video-game, but you can't use it as prototype imo.

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However, I don't think my current idea would really reflect the real time game experience/dynamics I'm trying to create in the video game.

Well, yes. This would not really work at all.

If you really want to prototype your idea (good), try to get your hands on a multiplayer/openworld game with vehicles.E.g. battlefield4. Make a multiplayer session on proper map, discuss some goals (e.g. define a track, the first one who reached point A needs to wait 5 seconds to simulate an event etc.) and play the game how you imagine it.

The next step would be, to modify the game to get a better fitting prototype (e.g. make special racing track, change vehicle properties to resemble your vision etc.)

The last step: think about making a mod

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rolling dice to move however many grid squares; wherever you land you roll again to see if a randomised disaster occurs.

A common problem with board games, the fix is to use more dice and average the result.

To measure speed I could add a modifier, such as if they're going an 'above average speed' they get a +1 to the amount of grid squares they cover but also a +1 to the chance of a disaster happening.

I would advice the danger increased exponential. Fast: +1 Speed +2 Danger, Faster: +2 Speed +4 Danger, Fastest +3 Speed +8 Danger.

Like everyone said, speed and time doesn't translate from board games to real world at 1:1 scale.

I have a game called Soldiers, vehicles and aircraft; yes it is a RTS based on rock-paper-scissors. Soldiers > Vehicles > Aircraft > Soldiers

In the beginning I found players just used the same units so they could counter all units, we used speed to cause a unbalance. Soldiers 1 speed, Vehicles 2 speed and Aircraft 3 speed.

When we turned it into a real time game speed didn't matter, players went back to keeping equal amounts of all units. To counter this, we tested firing speed and range as new values on the board game, we had to keep decreasing the amount of units, to allow the new dice roles.

We learned time is more significant in turn based games than in real time, you would never allow a unit to miss a turn but in real time some units would stand around for whole minutes.

In the end we noticed, that the less units a player had the closer it was to the turn based game, we added range and more cover and unit grouping so players could command a few groups instead of single units.

What I am saying is that you can test the mechanic of speed and danger by doing a dice roll when players need to turn, the faster you drive the harder it is to turn. You can test the concept of racing and there are a lot of racing board games.

You can't test real time with turn based games, because in turn based games you exist in more than one place at a given time.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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I think you're probably better off just prototyping this in a free game engine, Unreal, Unity, or one of the various free 2d ones.  You can pretty easily make some cubes or squares that represent trucks, throw some basic controls on them and mock out some hazards.  That will give you a much closer approximation to a real time game, and you can see if it will be fun fairly quickly.

For example, in Unity, toss down some Planes, a couple of Cubes, add a rigidbody to each of them, add a simple script for turning and acceleration, add some obstacle cubes, and you should have yourself a rough prototype very quickly.

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I played a game a friend of me created once, that played out on gridded paper, without dice.
We first drew a race course, with various obstacles we just thought up on the fly, and decided on a starting location. The goal was to complete one lap first. So what we did for movement was that you kept track of you velocity in x and y directions. Then each turn, you could adjust either value by one notch, and then you moved the dot that was you.
So as an example. Your speed could be four up and two to the left. That means that last turn, that was how you moved. This turn, you can adjust one of this numbers by one in either direction, and move again.
This meant that you had to be very careful since you could only deaccelerate by one each round. One criteria is that you don't too much time thinking ahead :)
As for your game, you could have certain squares that you rolled dice when you drove over to see if an incident occured.
Another idea is to have a game master that has designed the course beforehand, and deaws in what the player(s) can see.

...but yeah. Just prototyping in an existing game or Unity could probably work the best for you c:

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