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Iterative game design is the process by which a video game is repeatedly proposed, prototyped, play tested and reevaluated prior to working product release. Iterative game design operates on the following principle: It is unrealistic to create an ideal product on the first try.
By creating and testing working models on core criteria (such as fun), game designers are able to refine product on a gradual basis and increase market success potential.
Iterative design is applied in many fields but has had an outsized impact in gaming. Game designers use prototyping and play testing techniques to ensure game element functionality and expand or discover game concepts for increased user enjoyment. Many game studios have professional and volunteer play testing groups that test prototypes and provide vital feedback for subsequent prototypes.
Chess - a highly complex and innovative game with an unpredictable number of opponent moves - is a perfect working example of the iterative game design process. Chess programming is practically impossible because game development depends on user moves, which are learned by the central processing unit (CPU) during gameplay. The CPU utilizes moves as they are learned, allowing iterative game move development. This is known as Artificial Intelligence (AI).