Prototyping — Why it is essential?

This is my 8th day in this journey. As I have mentioned before, I have completed some courses in Unity and Coursera before starting this journey. After completing these courses, I tried to make a game of my own. I knew it was a spiky road, but once I got onto it, I realized it was harder than I expected.

If you have somehow considered developing a game by yourself, you have probably dreamt a game with perfect assets for your game. You know, it does not look so hard, isn’t it? At least, I thought it was.

If I knew the importance of prototyping beforehand, I probably wouldn’t face most of the problems I have faced. So what makes prototyping important?

First of all, you have to accept that developing a game takes time, effort and money. Probably the most important one here is the time constraint. Whether you are working on your own or with a team, you have to make sure that you are using your time efficiently. In my opinion, the most crucial benefit of prototyping is regarding the time dimension. By prototyping a game idea, you will save tremendous amount of time.

The idea of prototyping is just developing a sketch of your game in the most basic way possible. Forget the art, forget the sound and every other aspect that is not relevant to observe your idea on a sketch. Think like an inventor’s brain: we need to build many prototypes before the final product, in order to make it as perfect as possible.

Imagine a scenario that you spend months to build your game and successfully finish it. You place it into the application store and realize that hardly anyone plays your game. What a devastation. But why? A probable answer to this question might be “it’s not fun to play”. Maybe, you thought that you really had a great idea and did not want to share your idea with anyone other than your close friends. It is probable that your family/friends may not want to hurt you with negative comments. Your game might offer some degree of challenge which is suitable to your friends but not for the majority. You can enlarge the list more…

In order to develop a successful game, we need to offer a fun gameplay or challenges that gathers the interest of players. It is important to communicate with people from different perspectives to test out your game, rather than just the people who are close to us.

In the space shooter game, we have started with basic cubes before placing the assets. Even without the assets, a person testing our game would understand the core mechanics of our game.

A prototype example

Briefly, prototypes allow us to demonstrate our game ideas in an easy way, without thinking regarding the art dimension of the game; while enabling us to fix mistakes at an early stage. By communicating our game to other people, we can gather general ideas about our game at the beginning. A game idea that is perfect for you may not gather the attention of the majority.

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