Prototyping a Video Game

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Here we look at different tools that are available for 3D video game prototyping.


Commercial Tools

  • Garage Games produces the "industry veteran" tool Torque, which includes everything you need for high-fidelity prototyping. It requires programming skills, but has a WYSIWYG editor for world design.
  • Virtools has a very feature-rich toolkit for building high-fidelity prototypes.
  • GameCore is a complete Suite designed specifically for Rapid Game Prototyping.
  • DarkBASIC is a tool that lets a user prototype 3D games in BASIC.
  • Blitz Research provides a tool centered around BASIC, but also has a similar proprietary language called Max3D.
  • GLBasic is a tool that uses BASIC but requires a little more programming skill that DarkBASIC or the Blitz tools, however you can do more types of things with it.
  • Unity is a Mac-based 3D environment editor.
  • Macromedia makes the well-known Flash and Director tools that can be used to build game prototypes. However they've recently been gobbled by Adobe.

3D Game Engines

If you have programming skills (most notably C++), you can use SDKs that are an all-in-one kit for game development:

  • Crystal Space 3D is an open-source 3D game toolkit that's about to get to version 1.0.
  • Genesis3D is another open-source 3D game toolkit.

A more comprehensive list is available here.

Engines from existing games

  • Article on using existing in-house proprietary games
  • Quake, Quake 2, Jake
  • Doom
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • All the open source ones
  • Wolfenstein
  • Cube is an open-source, very unconventional FPS that allows you to edit the world in the runtime engine.

Related Research

Some related fields have direct application to 3D game prototyping, mostly borrowing from RAD tools found in HCI and software engineering:

Programming by demonstration

  • Brad Myers built PERIDOT, which is a system for building user interfaces by demonstration.
  • Martin Frank built a programming-by-demonstration inference engine.
  • Allen Cypher has done a whole bunch of stuff on the subject, including editing a text book.
  • Margaret Burnett has done some nice stuff with visual programming languages.

Building virtual worlds

  • Alice is a tool designed to use 3D world creation as a means to attract young girls to computer programming.
  • ScriptEase is a tool for scripting character behaviors in a virtual world.

Interacting for "Fun"

  • Kori Inkpen has done some stuff with hybrid board/video games, and also lots of table top interfaces.
  • The Mixed Reality Lab has built a handful of games using augmented reality.
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