Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?
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by Mandy Rozana
8 hours ago

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Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.

by Weston Mitchell⛏️🐭
19 hours ago

nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?
17 November, 2015

Enigma Prison is a puzzle game, which lets you explore environments and solve complex puzzles. It’s created by a solo artist, who doesn’t do programming. The coolest thing about this game is a very fluid gameplay and great visuals. We’ve talked with Gustavo Rios, who described his production process and explained how Unreal Engine 4 helps him build the game.


My name is Gustavo Rios. I am a 3D artist and game developer from Brazil. I started studying programming to make 3D games, but I got frustrated because without 3D modeling I couldn’t do much. So I jumped into 3D and arts and fell in love with it. From time to time I felt like programming some game prototypes, but always as a hobby. I kept studying booth arts and programming for many years until now when I finally decided to build the game I always wanted to play.

Enigma Prison

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

Enigma Prison

Enigma Prison is a puzzle/exploration game. Obviously is not the first on this category, but I’ve seen in many games things that I love so much to play with but that could be explored deeper. So this is my take on some interesting mechanics.

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

I created most of the mechanics in this game through play testing. I sketch some prototype and play. Then I look around to see what I can do there and that’s when the ideas come. I made some serious research on how to explain mechanics of a game without a tutorial.

The mechanics will be introduced one by one while playing the levels and you will not be bored by the game feeding you controls or that sort of thing. I am working hard to make that as natural as possible.


Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

UE4 has many groundbreaking technologies, but the main reason I am using it is the Blueprints. It’s amazing how fast you can make things work. It’s an ideal solution for fixing in-game problems. Epic has a huge history in innovating and pushing boundaries of technology, I’m sure that many other engines and games got inspired by them.

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

I like to play the levels while I am creating. I use Unreal BSP and Blender to make adjustments if needed. BSP isn’t the best modeling tool in the world, but it have two big advantages: It’s inside the editor and everything is mapped and ready for the materials and bake lights.

I have so much fun modeling the levels while playing. If some idea does not work, I know right away and I just scrap it entirely.

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

When I started making Enigma Prison, I knew that working on it alone I would not have time to make complex and detailed 3d models or many complex shaders. But I wanted the game to have cool visuals.

Enigma Prison: How to Build a Game on Your Own?

I decided to use light to make the very simple and minimalistic levels look amazing. It took some time to find the style I wanted to follow. I started testing different colors on walls to see how the colors would interact with the temperature of the lights, then the tiles and so on. Cleaning up what didn’t work and keeping the good stuff.


I have built many prototypes on blender logic nodes and unity with JavaScript and C#. Blueprint felt really natural and fast to program and debug. Unreal has a tool called Session Frontend/Profiler which shows me exactly how expensive every actor is and what is running. I just make sure that everything is running the best way possible and only when it needs to run. Right now even in alpha the performance is very good.


Enigma Prison is expected to be released somewhere between end.2016 – 2017. I plan to release the game on Steam for Windows first and probably some other platforms later.

Gustavo Rios, Game Developer

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