The ruinous mistake of newbies in game dev

  • Tutorial
Before starting any business, it is necessary to make a plan, make “attempts at writing”, in one word - a draft. It helps to determine the starting point and understand the direction of motion.
Want to make faster and better quality than others? Do not want to waste tons of effort?

Make a prototype of game mechanics. 90% of novice developers do not (!)
What is it? What for? And what is it eaten with?
The game prototype is needed to test the mechanics and gameplay of the game, based on it you can build all further work and have a good reference point for the entire project.

When people come to game development or try / start making games, they are not aware of most of the problems they will have to face.

The main problem is how to understand how interesting it is to play my game?
It is very important to do this as quickly as possible. How?
Make a game prototype and make it right.

With what “there is” a gaming prototype, I will not say, but reading tea definitely doesn’t hurt.

Tips for creating the right (in my humble opinion) prototype you learn from this article, it can be a great help.

In no case do I claim to be the ultimate truth, but I have experience and want to share it.

Let's start with the rules

We use only primitives:

  • No visual effects, or imitation in the form of primitives
  • No sounds (if they are not tied with gameplay elements)
  • No huge locations and thousands of monsters
  • The level for the prototype should be typical (if the RPG is open world, then a small location), if the corridor shooter is a maze with 2-3 large rooms
  • menu, inventory, etc. - optional. The prototype should include basic gameplay elements and mechanics.


You have a ready-made asset for the interface / trees / enemy / effect / weapon, etc.
Use it if necessary.

In the prototype should be

  • basic gameplay on which the whole game will be built
  • mechanics - the speed of movement of players and opponents, their health and other parameters
  • simple gameplay levels
  • proper organization of the project

All the core of the game can be easily assembled at this stage, test, improve and start making the visual part, beautiful and other joys.

The goal is to understand how interesting the idea is and bring it to mind.

Do not be lazy and collect a focus group / make a closed test, ten testers are the best that can be in your development at this stage.

Next, consider what should be in the game prototypes for example.

Example 1

We do an open-world first-person RPG (like a Morrowind)

Our environment:

  • trees - cylinders
  • large rocks - cubes
  • the world is a simple terra

Our opponents:

  • orc - yellow ball
  • spider - black ball
  • dragon - big red ball


  • sword - cube-based figure
  • shield - supersphere / sphere / cube-based figure
  • hands - 2 balls


  • opponents deal damage (orc 25, spider 15, dragon 50) to their hp 50, 30 and 200, respectively.
  • the player grows in level and gains experience for opponents (if we enter it now, balancing will be easier)
  • the player can run, jump, walk slowly, beat, block enemy shield attacks.
  • player deals 5 damage with each hit
  • hp player - 250 units

In the worst case, it will take you 2 weeks to enter it. No saving, transitions between locations, sounds, effects, loot, leveling skills and other things.
Only naked gameplay with rubilov, the task is to feel the game, its essence. Appearance is not important, it is important to feel.

Example 2

We make a side shooter in tight spaces with vertical gameplay.

What do we need?

machine - cubes gathered together (well, it's machine) and bullets (red rays)
opponents - blue balls and let them shoot blue bullets

Player mechanics - runs, jumps, has a super jump (hold space, every 5 seconds) shoots, crouches.

Indicators - all 100 hp and shots cause 25 damage.

Level, dwell on it in more detail.

Levels in shooters are extremely important, they must be clear, interesting and replayable, with many paths and secrets.

We will create a maze and 2 rooms. 1 room will be 3-level, we have to jump and kill all opponents. 2 room will be in the center of the maze, 5 levels, on the top of the exit and win the game. It remains to properly arrange opponents and test, test, test.

You will learn about how to do this in the level design materials.
I specifically designed examples in different ways, each project is unique, each needs its own approach, but the rules must be followed, without them you will start to do a bunch of useless things, videos, effects, everything will turn into long-term construction.

How to properly draw out the TOR to create a prototype?

It is necessary to correctly describe the mechanics, conceived figures of damage / hp, etc., scale. You can make it as detailed as you want, but the main thing is to convey the essence. Try to do without fanaticism.


Do not make all the objects in the game of the same color. For surroundings and land I recommend taking medium gray shades (RGB 80 80 80). For opponents - bright and aggressive colors (red, orange). Green is great for active elements. The sky is bright, you can use the default skybox or Fill RGB 15 15 15.


Seriously, this is very important, use shades of gray, shades of colors that you use yourself. Give them meaning and enter the information in the table.

About the importance of Google docks

You just have to lead the table, I understand that you didn’t plan to do this when you decided to make games. And yet, knowledge is power. The table with the parameters of monsters, player, color legend, simplifies the work and understanding for all participants in the development. It is vital.

Create versions, keep statistics and track the changes of EVERY parameter in your game, it is hard, but you will be grateful to yourself during the testing and debugging phase.

Debugging and creating a balance are the most difficult tasks; the sooner you start to perform them, the sooner you will get a quality result.


The correct prototype is the basis for good design, the rules help not to be distracted by the superfluous and convey the essence of the game. The prototype is not a pity to change, redo and improve, where it is more offensive to do it before the release of the game. It is in the prototype stage that cool ideas come up and unique pieces are created for the game. (Not a feature bug)

Testing at the prototype stage inside the team and using private tests is the best thing you can do for your game.

The correct prototype reduces development time several (!) Times. Do not believe? Check it out.

Thanks for reading! I hope the material was useful.

Sathya on the topic “how to assemble a team and organize work”

UPD Interesting comments

I want to add one more point to the importance of prototypes: they sober the expectations of developers, especially beginners.
After the novice spends a lot of time developing the working primitives, he will be able to more realistically assess how much time it will take for the final development? And it will save him from the eternal unfinished alpha. - qnok

All right, this is the goal.

Computer games are not only a set of rules, it is primarily a design (including a narrative). Often games do not have an interesting gameplay, but the design makes it sit there for hours. The presence and variety of content also greatly influences.
There are a lot of “tanchiki / airplanes / ships”, but I was interested only in one, while the differences at the level of error were among all.
At the same time, there are games that completely neglect the graphic and plot component - the Kerbal Space Program, but there is the same geymplay, but in the KSP it pulls to play, but not the analogs.
Therefore, not everything is as simple as you described, if we consider the success and vitality of the game. But when creating the approach is very appropriate (but mine is obvious).
- Scrayer

One does not exclude the other, but the design is secondary. The game itself and the gameplay is more important.

We tried on prototypes, but right-brain creatives and artists became disheartened by planes and cylinders. They, you see, for each of the next step you need a spiritual picture and the opportunity to play around with their creations created in the previous step. And techies who can come up with something right in the formulas and code are very limited in their creative potential. There is a chance only with a competent architect / leader / technologist who will distribute tasks and will carefully monitor the execution time. - Dentarg

The right organization and leader is always needed, the process of creating a prototype forms a team and its work is more than anything else.

I think the author simply didn’t list enough examples ... If the game is about the igromechanika, this igromechanika should be included in the MVP If your game is about narrative - the artist can include in the MVP the outline of the future style. If the game is a visual novel, you should jot down a couple of plot scenes with text and pictures. All this does not negate the fact that you need to make a kernel with a gameplay, simply depending on what your project focuses on - you need to include some additional things in the MVP. In any case, in order to evaluate concept art in a prototype, you need a mechanism that allows you to “drive the camera”, and it is desirable that it correspond to how the player will do it. - wladyspb

It seems to me that people still incorrectly perceive prototypes.
Examples include games about narrative or with a strong visuals.
It may well be that for them the prototypes should be dialogues, pictures or sets of effects (if the game is about the visual range or any special features, for example, building gameplay from music).
This is all not easy, and, perhaps, for a complex game like a witcher, it must be several prototypes or a rather complex prototype.
The board is designed for beginners - often the game can not be played, but for it, third-rate, but interesting features are already being made into graphics. Prototypes help focus.
The prototypes for Skyrim most likely were fashions based on Oblivion, new prototypes of graphics and bohs, and not just gray squares. -SadOcean
Thank you, the comments perfectly complement the material.

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