Dev Day 27: Benefits of Prototyping without Assets

When taking an idea and building it into a reality, there can be many challenges along the way, and building a video game is no exception. Sometimes, the idea can be just a concept in theory, and other times the end goal can be clear and easy to visualize. However, just because an idea is easy to visualize, does not mean that the functionality and engineering needed to reach that finalized idea will be easily obtained. This is where prototyping comes into play.

A prototype is a primitive form of an idea that is used to test its functionality and determine its benefits before investing too much time and money. Problems can be addressed early on, as well as receiving early feedback from investors or consumers on whether further development is needed or if it is even worth pursuing. There can also be a lot of distractions when there is a clear picture of the finalized idea, as there can be a tendency to get distracted with visual designs and special effects before ever knowing if the idea will actually work.

For example, when creating a video game, there may a story developed, there may be a clear picture of what the characters might look like, or what the environment might look like, and it might be tempting to start gathering visual assets for the game right at the beginning of development. However, building a prototype of the game using primitive shapes as the characters and environments, not only provides an inexpensive way to test that the game mechanics within the game will work, but it also provides a very streamlined look without any distractions, allowing the developers to focus only on the tasks and/or problems at hand.

As with any venture, there is always a risk of failure, and prototyping allows for an inexpensive recovery without wasting huge amounts of time and resources.

Unity Developer