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15. Rapid Prototyping Introduction

We are maybe familiar with rapid prototyping. Rapid Prototyping is a great way to develop a new idea into reality quickly. I use rapid prototyping all the time whether it be in AS3 or Javascript, a game or an application. Whilst game and application development are very different, the same rapid prototyping methods can be applied.

Lets examine a few points, please see following:

"Embrace the Possibility of Failure - it Encourages Creative Risk Taking"
This is the most crucial concept to grasp when rapid prototyping. Before I had a rather cautious view on development, I would constantly be thinking "I could also do it this way but I better do it the way i've seen before" when actually if i had prototyped a few examples i would probably have developed the end product faster and it would probably be more efficient.

"Simulate in Your Head - Pre-Prototype the Prototype"
Many developers will be thinking "Duh of course" every developer has an idea of how to develop an idea programatically. But the key here is to not limit yourself entirely to how your application or game will work, but to think of it as a whole, interface, animations, graphics and usability. I've applied this approach to Wuup's AIR apps (which were rapid prototypes though with extra polish :P ) Which was the first time i applied the prototyping technique. They both took approx and hour to think of and deploy.

"Build the Toy First"
This is my favorite point, because i write a lot of experimental apps and i've always built the fun part first. The reason you develop the toy first is that, if you don't, you might end up with a great UI, animation and efficiency but the main function of your application could be flawed.

"Build Toward a Well Defined Goal"
Many of you who have developed large applications know how important this statement is. You can work as long as you like o a project but without well defined goals your work could prove ultimately pointless.

Rapid prototyping isn't entirely a solitary experience, two programmers working very well together can achieve much in a short space of time. Both me and Alan have prototyped several pieces of software to much success. Though be prepared for many arguments about how things should and shouldn't be done.

In closing, Rapid prototyping can be your friend if you are of the right mindset. But be prepared for failure and never spend too long on a prototype.

Here are some samples we have done before, please kindly take a look:

Product design

Product design
Rapid prototyping

rapid prototyping

Plastic molds
Custom molds

Electronic product
design samples

rapid prototype

Plastic molds
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