VVVVVV has several development prototypes that have been made publically available. All differ from the final release of the game in various ways.
Early mechanics test
This is the earliest prototype of the game, developed in just a couple hours by Terry Cavanagh. It has early yet functional versions of several mechanics from the final game, including spikes, an enemy, and disappearing platforms, and some that ended up unused such as quicksand, one-way walls, and gravity tokens. These are spread across three rooms, titled "The first test room", "cor blimely" and "this is so cool". The rest of the map does not exist, therefore other rooms the player attempts to enter will use the fallback room. The fallback room in this build is a completely empty room, titled "Oh shit". This prototype has no audio implemented.
Although most of the graphics are early placeholders, the disappearing platforms and quicksand appear identically to the final build.
9 June 2009 prototype
This prototype features an early name for the game, VVVVVVVV. It consists of an early version of Space Station that features many differences from the final game. The level contains two trinkets, along with 78 golden coins that are not present in the finished game. The demo ends with Viridian falling endlessly, showing the message: "Prototype Complete / Congrats! More Info Soon!"
Placeholder music is used in this version; the beginning of the loader music from Driller/Space Station Oblivion for the title screen, and the main theme from Deliverance: Stormlord II for the main gameplay, both composed by Matt Gray.
An alternate version of this prototype was distributed via the GOG.com release of VVVVVV, which removes the Matt Gray music and credit, as well as featuring an acceleration debug switch usable with the 0-9 keys.
27 June 2009 prototype
This prototype is similar to the one prior, and is an early version of The Laboratory; however, it has solid-colour tiles as a placeholder for the Lab tileset, and all rooms are unnamed.
Gravity lines are introduced here, having a green colour that would not be changed until the final release. The coin counter is also present, but no coins can be found or collected. The level ends simply, with an empty room that cannot be escaped.
The same placeholder title screen music from the previous prototype is used here, but a different track was used for the gameplay: the Comic Bakery loading theme by Martin Galway.
November 2009 beta
The November 2009 beta has various minor differences from version 1.0, many of which involve tweaks to room layouts. Additionally, the intermissions, ending sequence and credits scroll are not implemented, and the secret lab does not yet exist. Some music tracks are unimplemented or unfinished, and controls like WASD to move or R to reset have not been added.
Both the 9th June and 27th June prototypes contain a site lock, which prevents them from being played locally or on unauthorised sites. When attempting to load the game outside of
flashgamelicense.com, the game will not load and the message "Sorry! This game can only by (sic) played on distractionware.com" will display. Site locks were a common anti-piracy method for Flash games, as they would prevent games from appearing on unauthorised websites.
It is possible to bypass the site lock by modifying the SWF files with a decompiler and manipulating the
sitelock() function, or by spoofing the website with a local server.
The November 2009 beta has no site lock or copyright protection of any kind, as this version was never meant to be publicly released and was originally available only to donors of Terry Cavanagh's who were on a specific patron list.