Prototyping a Game - Starting Out

Posted on September 23, 2013

Recently I have had an idea in my head of a game that revolves around hacking networks, and the hacker culture in general. The idea developed in my head to the point where I wanted to see if it may be fun, and one of the best ways to test that is making quick prototypes. I feel (though admittedly haven’t checked) that I don’t see a lot regarding this step in the process for creating software, so I thought I’d try to express this trial and error process with some quick posts.

Starting Out

First shot of the prototype

First shot of the prototype

The very beginning of the prototyping. Here I have set up a very simple grid which I can detect what tile I press on in the grid.

Difficulties at This Point

By the far the most difficult part of this step for me was the choosing of what tools to use for prototyping. I initially thought python, but my head got bogged down with the idea of trying to get either using one of the two graphics libraries I know: pygame and pyglet in python 3. Choosing pygame meant rooting through a very scary webpage for documentation, and pyglet meant alpha release software. In the end I chose to use Löve2D for the simplicity of installation and codebase. If this prototype ends up being fun I cannot say I will want to write the actual game with this, but for now it works very nicely.

Narrowing down what you want to be the main game mechanic is a pretty hard challenge too. In my head I have all these ideas of how I want the game to have RPG elements in it, or what the story might be. At this step these things don’t matter. What matters is that the main part of the game is fun. There are many different ways to define fun, the hard part is narrowing it down to a single thing. For me, I want there to be some kind of turn based game of conquering territory. It’s very easy to describe with words, but implementing is a whole different matter.

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