Game Dev Insights: Benefits of Prototyping without Assets

Simon Pham
2 min readJun 27, 2023

Prototyping is a crucial step in game development that lets game designers and developers experiment, test mechanics, and gather valuable feedback. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the benefits of prototyping without assets when creating games in Unity.

What exactly is Prototyping?

Prototyping in game development means creating a simplified version or representation of a game to test and evaluate its mechanics, gameplay, and overall experience. It’s all about building functional gameplay systems, controls, and interactions using temporary assets or basic placeholders. Check out this prototype of a 2D Galaxy Shooter game:

Why Skip the Fancy Assets in Prototyping?

There are a few solid reasons why prototyping without assets can be a game-changer:

  1. Get Down to Core Mechanics:

By skipping the fancy visuals, developers can focus on nailing the fundamental gameplay mechanics and interactions. It means they can spend time and effort on experimenting, tweaking, and enhancing the gameplay experience. This way, they make sure the core mechanics are engaging and fun before diving into asset creation.

2. Rapid Iteration and Flexibility:

Creating polished assets takes time; therefore, prototyping without assets allows for quick iterations, so developers can test and tweak different ideas and gameplay systems on the fly. It gives them the flexibility to make changes, try out alternative approaches, and fine-tune game mechanics without being held back by finalized assets’ limitations.

3. Cost and Resource Efficiency:

Creating assets can be a real money and resource drain. By holding off on asset production until the core mechanics are solid, developers can keep upfront costs low and optimize resource allocation.

4. Collaborate and Collect Feedback

Sharing playable prototypes with stakeholders, playtesters, and potential investors early on is key to refining game design. When presenting prototypes without assets, the focus stays on the gameplay mechanics and user experience. This leads to better collaboration and more targeted feedback, paving the way for iterative improvements and aligning expectations before committing to final asset production.

Conclusion

Using assets in game prototyping can make things visually stunning, but going asset-free during prototyping brings some serious perks. You get to focus on core mechanics, iterate faster, save some dough, and gather valuable feedback. It’s all about perfecting the gameplay, making smart use of resources, and gathering insights before investing in assets.

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