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Shelving the Prototype

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As an indie with a steady income, I have the ability to make prototypes and shelve them as needed.
Today is one of these times.

After spending some time to get Mercenaries running on Unity (2 Players + AI Skirmish mode) I find myself unsure whether the idea is worth pursuing altogether.

It's not a question of losing interest in the project, as a matter of fact, Trello is bleeding out with ideas I've been throwing up in the air about Mercenaries' future. I still have a lot of fun when I tinker with it to add features or improve performances. At this point, it's really a question of looking at the amount of work ahead and trying to determine whether it's the best use of my time (and money, for some of the assets).
There are a lot of directions I could go with Mercenaries at this point, but I feel that, as a responsible game developer, it is better that I validate whether the core gameplay mechanic is actually any fun before sinking months of work towards getting it to a level that makes sense.

Playtesting with a select few has revealed that the game had a lot of potential (I got some players that really wanted more but I wasn't sure whether it was just their competitive self refusing to let go, or the game that actually created this infatuation). I'd really like to get this game before an audience that I both understand and that is not poised to tell me it's good. In essence, that would be like asking to know how a stranger thinks but having no significant ties: unlikely to happen. The best judge for this game, in my opinion, would be me, assuming I wasn't so close to it.

The most recent video of the prototype

At this point, I feel that the best thing I can do is to shelve the concept and archive it for bit. The intent is to let it age a bit and get back to it in a few months and see whether I find it sufficiently fun to pursue, or spend my time on another project instead.

Mercenaries started out as a prototype for Grand Strategy: Space War's automated combat system and has grown into a very interesting arcade multiplayer local space combat game, so I feel it logical that I take a moment to think about it before continuing.

What about Grand Strategy: Space War you might ask? Well I'd like to think this project is still very much alive, but to a degree, it has suffered several severe design changes. A lot of the lore and underlying logic still applies, but I don't think it would even qualify as a 4X game at this point. That being said, it is a much smaller scope, when I feel confident I can achieve on my own in a tech I understand much better (Unity).

Stay tuned!
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The prototype reminds me a little bit of the combat bit of Star Control. If you don't know about that game, here is a brief description. It was a pretty simple strategy game where you claimed planets for resources, built specific ships and moved them around on the strategic map. If you moved onto an enemy, the ships would fight arcade style like your prototype. Each ship had unique shapes, stats, and attacks. It was a very dynamic game with lots of replayability. You might be able to find a Sega emulator if you want to give it a play. 


As for Grand Strategy: Space War, I'm always on the lookout for a cool 4x game. Stay motivated! :)


- Eck

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Hey, thanks for passing by!


Actually, I am familiar with Star Control, but I felt it was a bit too much.

I wanted to focus on something a bit more sandboxy but with a narrow scope.

I have shelved the prototype for now, but I intend on returning to this.


As for Grand Strategy, I've stripped it down into smaller games. Mercenaries is a real-time rendition of the combat simulator, turned into an actual game.

My newborn prototype is also an evolution of the original concept, but once again, with a much smaller scope.


Once I feel like I've made this game's parts into actual prototypes, assembling everything into a coherent 4X should be simpler (or so I feel).

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