Appreciating the weird beauty of game prototypes
As a game dev, what do your prototypes look like?
That was the premise of a question posed on Twitter last Friday by Vlambeer's Rami Ismail, and the responses which have accumulated since then offer a cornucopia of sample game/system prototypes for curious devs to study.
Pulling together this big pile of ideas that are on their way to being games also highlights how beautiful and striking seemingly simple mechanics or designs can be, and multiple devs chimed in on the thread with examples of basic prototypes that proved surprisingly engrossing.
Many were the product of game jams, of course, and most (though far from all) of them went on to be built out into larger, more robust games. We've taken the liberty of embedding the original tweet and a few choice replies below; you can (and should!) read the full thread over on Twitter.
And if you're looking for longer thoughts on the value of prototypes you might find some useful stuff in the Gamasutra archives, including this classic feature on how to prototype a game in seven days and this GDC 2017 talk about the value of rapid prototyping.
overland's first playable was fun for 30-40 minutes which was when we decided to greenlight it pic.twitter.com/e6IlzhKlDy— adam (@ADAMATOMIC) June 23, 2018
...and Overland now, or recently anyways... pic.twitter.com/wLy1uO3fqz— adam (@ADAMATOMIC) June 23, 2018
this was the very first prototype of Slam City Oracles! seems silly, but when even just doing this was fun, i was sold on developing the concept further pic.twitter.com/Bw0dVwJLy6— jane frie(n)dhoff (@JFriedhoff) June 23, 2018
that, of course, became this: pic.twitter.com/GF3MoN9JXS— jane frie(n)dhoff (@JFriedhoff) June 23, 2018
Here's my jam/prototype I guess :) Started out simple and stayed simple for the most part. pic.twitter.com/dQltpwi9mH— SpaceMyFriend (@SpaceMyFriend) June 23, 2018
And then I released it as this :) pic.twitter.com/cCDueSudBJ— SpaceMyFriend (@SpaceMyFriend) June 23, 2018
That prototype gradually turned into a new project, which I keep meaning to finish, but life keeps me busy. pic.twitter.com/CDoFoht3se— Keith Patch (@KeithPatch) June 23, 2018
The Surgeon Simulator prototype. Just a hand that could make funny gestures.— Luke Williams (@Eternz) June 22, 2018
We laughed and it was enough. pic.twitter.com/fCmxtONoDq
I was trying to build a lock-on system. pic.twitter.com/JomFY1guM7— Fenreliania (@Fenreliania) June 23, 2018
friendshapes -> Snipperclips pic.twitter.com/d0VzVWZTL6— Adam Vian (@SFBDim) June 23, 2018
Here's a couple videos of progress on a game jam prototype, originally going to be 100 player Bomberman but didn't work out that way pic.twitter.com/TMLKuIApa9— Alex Austin (@crypticsea) June 22, 2018
paper prototype, digital prototype, finished game pic.twitter.com/I00blWCJEe— v (@v21) June 23, 2018
Some gameplay of the prototype. pic.twitter.com/Z5VqJwDuBh— Shattered Realms (@shatteredbrawl) June 23, 2018