Some advice I had occasion to give to first-year MFAs today, but that I’m confident is right for everyone: if you’re a digital designer, learn and use some kind of version control. Use it for everything. That includes your prototypes, your quick projects, everything, without exception. It substantially improves your ability to recover from failed experiments (and, thus, your comfort with necessary experimentation) even if you never have to recover from a drastic loss.
Computers do all sorts of great things. Unfortunately, taking advantage of a computer’s unique capabilities–pathfinding, generating content mathematically, effortless line-of-sight evaluations, etc.–can involve getting through substantial technical barriers. If you’re being kept from your design goals by one of those walls, I strongly recommend taking a look at Red Blob Games.
Red Blob Games does two things that are very, very useful in providing code help. First, it has lots of examples. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it explains clearly how things work. The examples are all the more useful as a result, and it’s (relatively) easy to envision the changes needed to build the implementation you need for your particular project.
Some ideas hinge on a technical thing that must work. If your technical thing is on Red Blob Games’ pages, that’s a big head start. Give them a look.
When you’re trying to make an approachable game, even a little bit of theming works wonders.
Sometimes you have a great-looking prototype that sells itself.
Sometimes . . . you’ve got this.
This wasn’t required for the minimum viable product. If your game is about playing blackjack for your life against otherworldly forces, though, the card backs are an opportunity to sell the narrative.