share your unfinished prototypes and half baked ideas

Since it seems like there‘s a decent number of people who make games on here, I thought it would be fun to make a thread where people can show off whatever unfinished nonsense and aborted ideas they might have sitting on their hard drive. The idea here is everything will be lousy to some degree, so you shouldn’t worry about judgement. In my case, I enjoy prototyping a lot more than actually finishing things, so I have a whole bunch of things to show that I'll most likely never do anything with.

I'll start off with an idea I tried out two years ago, but never really went anywhere with:

Hopefully this will work on whatever browser you're using. You might have to click in the playfield in order for the controls to register. Right moves you clockwise, left moves you counter-clockwise, and down makes you squat. Letting go of down will make you jump. You can't accelerate when squatting, so you'll have to get a running start before you do any jumps that aren't just straight upwards (relative to wherever you are on the planet).

Basically, I thought it would be fun to have a Mario Galaxy-ish 2d planetary platformer where you use your momentum to chain rotations around planets at high speeds (that is what the first area is supposed to show off). I also wanted to try making jumping a more dramatic action than it is in Mario, so that's where the squat system came from. Has this kind of squat jump appeared in other games? It's ended up becoming one of my favorite things, and I've used it in a bunch of my later prototypes.

I really enjoy this, but it seems like it is really difficult for other people to figure out how to play it the way I intended it to be played. I also only ever made this one level, which was just meant to sketch out the various ideas I had at the time, so the level design is a little funky. I'd like to someday actually try turning this into a real thing, but who knows when that will ever happen. I will probably be using that same sentence to describe all the other prototypes I put on here!

So, with that, let's see what the rest of you have.

I wrote something about this subject in 2016 and ONE of these games is finished now! Jeez

@exodus#11589 It's cool reading about this from the perspective of a studio, instead of just one-man projects, which is all I have experience with. Number 3 especially looks fantastic!

I had this idea for a game that‘s half Digimon virtual pet and half King of the Monsters style city destruction game. Basically, you’d raise a monster, getting a different one based on how you cared for it and the different monsters would have different stats for destroying the city. I started putting it together in pico-8 and never got around to finishing it. Right now you can feed the monster 5 times and watch its stats change, and you can play a little minigame that I intend to reward prizes or stats depending on how you score. During the 5 minute care period, the monster grows up and changes at predetermined times.

If you have pico-8, download the cart and check it out!


This concept is so neat. I love the momentum you can build up as you're flinging yourself from orb to orb. I'd love to see this finished in one way or another someday!

I think the big ones for me are a game I called “Perfect Turbo” which was supposed to be a proc gen cross country racing game. I got far enough making a procedural endless terrain and I spent far too long trying to build a strip of road for it and AI to follow that road.

Building of that "tech" I wanted to make something of a cross country road trip game, where you'd have a bunch of NPCs who you'd follow around and you'd stay in dingy hotels as you drove across country. This also didn't get very far but I did release a prototype

Neither of these got off the ground because they were so hacked together to begin with and Unity's default vehicle physics are so dreadful that I couldn't continue.

Next is the stupid fucking game I've been working on since 2016. It's a combination of a proc gen dungeon crawler but where you have to find and mine crystals, fend off attackers, and bring it back to the surface. I have like 80% of the game complete, including a dialog system and written dialog as well as story stuff. I paused working on it for secret reasons but I am overwhelmingly tired of it taking up headspace while also wanting to finish it more than I want to start a new project.


Last is a game that currently occupies my head as a fucking E3 Trailer and a barebones demo, as well as a hastily put together pitch deck. It's a combination of Wipeout's movement system with Euro Truck simulator. You fly soviet-era ground effects craft while delivering cargo, but there's a butt-ton of boring lore and character arcs that I don't want to put here. I want to make this next, more than anything. It means I need to figure out how to make a Elder Scrolls Daggerfall sized world for these things to fly around in. It also means I need to finish my last game so I know what it's like to take a long term project over the finish line, at last.


@saddleblasters#11586 I’ll start off with an idea I tried out two years ago, but never really went anywhere with:

I really like this prototype! Especially the minimalist art, I like the squash and bounce animations.


@exodus#11589 I wrote something about this subject in 2016 and ONE of these games is finished now! Jeez

These are pretty interesting, especially the elaborate tactics RPG that everyone wants to make. I'm sad I don't think I can get Oh Deer! anywhere because the link on the humble store goes to the front page. Hoping someday it makes it out of beta.

I wanna make a JRPG where your party is a dance crew, and the combat is just dance battling, but menu based like a JRPG. It would be so tight. The story would be about battling rival crews and a corporation that's trying to exploit the spirit of hiphop for their own manufactured greed.

I also want to make another JRPG called D.O.G.R.P.G. It's a game about dogs. Like, cute actual dogs, and not that anthropomorphic shit. But they can still do things like talk, use weapons, and cast magic. They are also hanging out and going on adventures that will ultimately have them confronting the final boss. I have an idea for the story, and I think it's a pretty cool idea.

Unfortunately I do not know how to make games lol

@marlfuchs2 I like all these ideas! your last one almost feels like death stranding meets that upcoming game JETT.

@saddleblasters this is a good one! You could probably polish this up and release it somewhere - it gives me Orbital vibes, not sure if that's what you were going for:

but doing this motion quickly through a space is a fun mechanic.

Oh also - that "big tactics rpg" is actually what we've been working on for the last 2 years, so... it's coming!!!

I had a fun dinner date with the creator of Undertale a few years before they would go on to release the Undertale demo. We had a lot of similar ideas for our modern take on what RPGs are / could be. Including action/puzzle elements into the battle menus was one of the shared ideas we had. A last boss that‘s more a symbol, just like Giygas in EB, was another.

A significant part of what I think made Mother so great was Itoi’s prior life experience. He was a runaway as a teen, got involved in gangs and stuff. Similar to Taiyo Matsumoto, they hung out would unsavory sorts, drawing their portrait to make them look “bad ass”. Soon after playing Earthbound for the first time I too would run away and experience all sorts of stuff. Still am, every day that I live outside. Stuff that made me realize that maybe I don't want to become famous, or make video games at all.

Still, the ideas come. I think about video games all the time. I write stuff down, it gets lost, I throw it away, whatever.
Maybe one day, when I'm old as shit, I'll make my magnum opus of a video game. At this point in my life it would manifest as some kind of nonviolent overhead JRPG about the human condition. Something that would organically assemble into what would look like a Mother fangame to anyone familiar with the series.

Or, I mean, I've designed piddly little 4-way top down shooters, horror games, zelda-likes, as well. That's a video game. That's good stuff.

Somewhere along the line, "Idea Guy" became a toxic affinity. I'm here to say Shigesato Itoi is the premiere Ideas Guy. He is credited in early smash bros. games for "Ideas". Ideas are important. A lot of people make games for no reason but self promotion, social climbing, or to prove their own self worth. Some people are just especially gifted with wild ideas that work and are always spot-on and relevant, even when no one else sees it. Not everyone has the time or education to learn programming from an early age. No one will ever be as epic as Satoru Iwata when it comes to programming games from the ground up in assembly. I'm an ideas guy. I've lived multiple lives. I'm worldly. I'm here, on the ground, living like a monk of video games, in extreme poverty. Playing video games and living.

I like the idea of games making the world a better place. Undertale accomplished that somewhat, bringing an emotional, maybe spiritual experience to zoomers during an age where everyone was being sapped by social media.

If you have access to a computer with internet or just living in the united states, that makes you among the more privileged class of the world.

In the early 2000's when Katamari Damacy came out and changed a lot of things in the gaming scene, I was thirsty for any interviews with Keita Takahashi in english. There was like two in 2008. (my thirst has since been quenched, tenfold.) One thing that he was talking about that I think was on the right track was what he could do to bring world peace through video games. It came from a sense of awareness of the human condition that most games industry folk, in their high towers of excess, never become aware of.

Edit: deleted the section criticizing specific indie games creators. I'm disclosing a lot of personal info and I'm re evaluating how comfortable I am doing that.



It’s a combination of Wipeout’s movement system with Euro Truck simulator.

i love this idea!! floating across vast landscapes to make deliveries sounds real meditative. would love to play with the ag physics of a wipeout game without being restricted by a small circuit

if you haven't looked into RPG Maker already, it was intuitive enough for kid-me to figure out how to put stuff in the world and show text boxes. I've thought about picking it up again, since I played yume nikki recently for the first time and it got my brain going.

uhhh, ok. my ideas. here's a couple things I made in Unity:
^ platform game! left stick moves on X axis, right stick points the spring character. right trigger coils him up, and releasing bounces them both if the spring hits something. once i actually set out to make levels though i hit a wall and prototyped a basic multiplayer - you'd try to push each other off. my roommates played for a bit and had a good time, and that felt good!
^ as far as I got with an idea i have for a yume-nikki-dream-emulator style game. ideally, at first, not every door has a knob: you go into different rooms and solve simple surrealist item puzzles to get more doorknobs and eventually escape?
spent an embarrassing amount of time getting that head-bob-step to work the way i wanted.

ideas i can't reasonably realize in the near future:
||-first person sci-fi taxicab sim where you have spoken conversations with your clients, who you mostly see through your rear-view mirror when you aren't navigating your blade-runner-vtol-car through impossibly tall buildings (I should play Cloudpunk, I know)||

||-phone game which puts you in command of a team of colonists stranded on a faraway planet, they send you text updates in real time (e.g. you send them out to investigate a cave, 2-4 realtime hrs later they send a message back with a choice the player can make)||

||-virtual reality hoverboarding simulator which uses a tony hawk: ride controller that's still sitting in my closet damnit... i guess i could do this huh||

I tried creating the Petal Crash engine in mega drive. ROM link:

it's almost all the way there - took me a while to work out chaining.

I have a cousin about to graduate from a game design program, and they‘re adamant that we’re gonna make this game I kept workshopping in my head at some point. Here's the elevator pitch (OC DO NOT STEAL):

A narrative driven turn based strategy professional wrestling RPG, with a Megaman Battle Network style card based action system, with Persona/Monster Rancher style character building and gameplay loops, set in space with weird wacky alien wrestlers

I really like natural history/prehistoric life and once thought it would be a cool idea to make a shmup in which you play as a creature trying to survive an extinction event. That idea grew into playing as various creatures from different geological eras, culminating in extinction events that are kind of like boss fights.

I‘d have liked to make the playable character as coherant a branch on the evolutionary tree as possible rather than transforming to totally unrelated animals (eg as the game progresses, your dimetrodon might become a therapsid and later a mammal but it won’t become a dinosaur). I wanted to have different playable classes that would change into different creatures with different attacks as the game progresses, so you might start with a homing attack that in another level becomes a spread shot, which becomes a straight-shot, which goes to a different spread, etc.

But for as much as I wanted it to be grounded in actual paleobiology, I also wanted to have some ridiculous sci-fi concepts in there, like ancient aliens killing the dinosaurs.

I never really got further than noting down ideas like that!


Ummm I'd play that. Make it please.

@milo#14495 As I said, my cousin is adamant that we will! They just messaged me something about it right now


Dude seriously it sounds so wacky and neat. You could really channel an ultraman or ultimate muscle thing with it. Keep us posted!!

As a long time recreational body surfer I stand by the opinion that there has never been an ocean sports game that actually captures what is fun about real world ocean sports.

Every surfing game is almost entirely about the act of riding a wave (because that's the "exciting" part), when every experienced surfer knows that riding the wave is in actuality something you're only doing 2% of the time you are "out surfing".

There is so much else about learning how to predict what waves are "good", and which ones are "catchable" due to your positioning. Having to get "outside" past the break. Watching for sets. Checking the weather. Chosing a location. The "social" aspect of being on a line-up out on the water and dealing with the "right of way".

I'd love to see a game get this right. I think you'd have to do it like one of thoses snowboarding games that has a full mountain with real time weather effects.

But once you actually built a system where it's fun to play in the ocean outside of when you are strictly surfing on a wave, you could do something interesting and mark out a football field sized chunk of shorline/ocean and put a goal on each end and a ball in play. Or other such silliness. Power ups to summon a wave or a set at a particular moment,orother ways to tamper with the realism or the probability of the wave mechanics, perhaps.

It could be fun! I spent a good amount of time last summer body surfing, and as I was waiting for a nice wave sometimes I tried to think about what I liked about body surfing in "game mechanics" terms. It was an interesting exercise that I might one day talk about in more detail.

@Moon#14559 that sounds awesome.

Not that it's a good game, but this reminded me of Surfing H3O, known in Japan as Surfroid: Densetsu no Surfer.

I'm no game-man, so I don't have anything to contribute to this topic, but I might look at reviving the [Underused game systems/mechanics thread.](

In 2009 I visited my grandparents in the British seaside town where, as a kid, I spent most of my summers. I played mini golf with my then girlfriend (now wife) and we took photos of all the holes with no particular project in mind.

A year or two later the course was demolished and I had the idea of making an archaeological mini golf game using the photos. I’d build geometry for each hole but only use it for collisions, obscuring the ball and receiving the ball shadow. The camera would be matched to the angle in the photos and locked. It would be photoreal!

It’s an extremely dull mini golf course although I had fun playing on it as a kid. This picture is hole 1 and they don’t get much more interesting. Sometimes less interesting. I want to capture a specific boring British seaside vibe with the sound effects and menus. Very little bells and whistles. I’ve never made a game in anything other than Warioware DIY before but It seemed like something I could do. I figured out the shader and camera matching but I've struggled to find a unity mini golf tutorial that works for me. I try again every year or so but I think It’s time I actually finished it.


@Dunkr#14591 If you do end up trying again and have any questions about Unity, feel free to ask! I (and I‘m sure lots of other people on this forum) wouldn’t mind helping out.