How does video game development work? – Game development explained

The majority of individuals who work in the video game industry will tell you that game development is never as attractive as it appears.

Upcoming deadlines, manufacturing constraints, video game publisher pressure, and never-ending workweeks are just a few of the numerous problems that emerge during the development phase.

The courageous few who enter the game production industry are aware of the culture and its proclivity for putting one’s mettle and resolve to the test, but the desire to create video games that look, feel, and play well is what keeps them alive.

Many people are unaware of the crazy cycle and its many stages, therefore we’re here to shed some light on game development.

While video game production is always unpredictable, rules and frameworks are in place to keep teams functioning smoothly and games on track to completion.

On average, each game development project includes nine different phases, which are explained in further detail below:

  1. Think of a game to play

When a game is described, the first thing that springs to mind is an image. The idea, on the other hand, isn’t complete until it can respond to the following questions:

  • Who is our main character?
  • What makes a gamer desire to play our game in the first place? What are the demands of the players that the game satisfies?
  • What type of adventure do we want the player to go on? What is the most important aspect of that experience?
  • Is the game entertaining? What aspects of it are enjoyable?
  • What will gamers be surprised with when they play our game? What type of twists and turns will the game throw at us?
  • What makes a game valuable? How does the value relate to the player’s inner motivations?
  • What type of problem-solving is included in the game?
  1. Create a concept

A game concept is a concise document that contains a brief game overview and a rudimentary depiction of each game’s four-building components.

Mechanics of the game. The game’s ruleset, or mechanics, explain the actions a player takes to attain the game’s objectives. The description of the board, the beginning position, and the list of movements each figure can make, for example, are all part of the mechanics of a chess game. The winning condition, of course, will be included.

Environment. The environment includes two essential elements: narrative and aesthetics. The tale depicts the gaming universe, past events, and current happenings. Aesthetics refers to the appearance and sound of your game. The environments are intimately connected. Both are critical to the user experience. For certain abstract games, the narrative might be eliminated.

Tech. What are the gadgets that are intended to be used as a target? What middleware will we use to make the game? For our target platform, which programming language is the greatest fit? In light of the aesthetics chosen, how much performance do we truly need? Finding a delicate balance between having easy-to-write and maintainable code and having enough performance on target devices is the challenge of choosing a technology. The first step is generally done by developing a complex code. Unfortunately, abstraction layers may be performance-draining at times.

Interaction. What is the game’s user interface like? How will we put the device’s and input methods’ benefits to good use? What are some creative ways to make use of screen real estate? When mobile devices are taken into account, this section is highly essential.

  1. Create a proof of concept for Game development

Some aspects of the idea paper must be validated right away. Consider the following scenario:

Is the tech capable of completing the job? You’ll need to make a fast and dirty implementation of essential functionalities to test this. If you’re making an Augmented Reality Shooter for mobile devices, for example, you’ll want to make sure the navigation accuracy is enough.

What appeals to the target audience in your setting? Are your artists talented or gifted enough to carry out the style? There’s a reason why there are so many 8-bit style games on the market, and it’s not just because of nostalgia.

Is the game fun to play? The majority of the games may be simplified to a paper or board game prototype and still function. Indeed, if your game isn’t physics-based yet fails as a paper prototype, it’s a fair bet it’ll fail once it’s written.

How about the controls you’ve selected? Do they function as planned? Are they logical enough? A lot of games put a lot of stress on the controls, and failing them means you’ll lose the game.

  1. Make a design document for the game (GDD)

A game design document is a long, thorough description of a game’s design. A GDD is a live document, which implies it is open to feedback. A GDD should be changed whenever the requirements alter. Typically, developers and designers collaborate to construct and edit a GDD, which is then used to manage the team’s activities.

The GDD covers the underlying specifics of realization, unlike the high-level concept paper.

The aim of the game is to penetrate enemy bases employing a small squad of highly skilled troops, for example, according to the mechanics’ description in the concept document for Commandos. The stealth strategy is predicted due to the imbalance in troops and weaponry. The majority of a player’s time will be spent learning patrol routes and watchmen positions, with the occasional use of quick and precise actions to take out unsuspecting enemies,” as per the GDD, which will include a full description of all opponent kinds, their health, movement speed, behaviors (patrolling, raising alarms, shooting, etc.) and their triggers, weapons, armor, the field of vision, and other information.

The GDD should include a player description in addition to the game description. What is his name? What does he make a living doing? What do you know about his interests? What is he motivated by? What is his age? What is his origin? What is his annual income? Games aimed at a broad audience typically lack distinguishing qualities and may look too superficial and unappealing to everybody.

  1. Make Prototypes

While the majority of the mechanics are verified during the proof-of-concept phase, it is critical to developing a playable prototype for your chosen platform. A prototype should have the majority of the game’s key elements and resemble significant portions of the game.

A simpler game engine would be the prototype for a game like Commandos (one level with placeholder art, one kind of highly functional enemies, and two commandos under player control). While developing an early prototype takes time, it is necessary in order to identify game design flaws. Players frequently act in ways that contradict the designers’ assumptions, controls appear to be non-intuitive, and certain technical tasks are excessively difficult to perform. Unexpected player behavior can occasionally lead to new ideas that are even more entertaining than the originals. The majority of the difficulties are simple to resolve early in the development process, and it’s crucial to remember that the prototype cost is a fraction of the expense of a late project pivot.

  1. Create an architectural design for Game development

During development, the majority of the game’s functionality and situations change. Almost no game looks or functions the same way it did when it was first defined in the GDD. New concepts emerge, technology evolves, and the project evolves. Because of the ever-changing nature of game production, modular architecture solutions are required. It may be difficult to create this type of architecture design, but it is the most crucial part of the game production process. Even the finest developers will struggle with a weak architecture framework. A team of average developers will have no trouble joining the development team if a fantastic architectural solution is already in place and provided to them.

  1. Development

The team should have no issues with the actual development because the architecture has already been developed and prototypes have been built. The agile technique should be employed due to the aforementioned unpredictable game needs. It is also critical to create a Minimum Viable Product as soon as feasible to keep the team motivated and to include a QA in the process. The creation/acquisition of necessary tools should be prioritized. For developing maintainable code, it’s crucial to have shared solutions for common tasks. The game designers and artists will begin working on the game setup (such as balancing, lighting, particles, and so on) as soon as the tools become available.

  1. Put the Game to the Test

QAs and beta testers should join the team as soon as the first playable versions are ready. When testing is complete, some teams like to work in a tik-tok fashion, with new feature development and bug repair sprints alternated. Delaying all bug solutions is both useless and hazardous since it decreases the efficacy of testing and may result in the buildup of difficult-to-solve issues.

The alpha and beta testing phases are necessary when a release is nearing. During alpha testing, an unfinished game is shown to a small group of potential players in order to obtain input on the game’s playability and behavior in the wild on a variety of platforms. There should be no serious problems during the beta-test, and the majority of the material should already be there. This phase is mostly used to evaluate performance, make final adjustments, and balance minor modifications. During the beta testing stage, adding new functionality is very improbable.

  1. Be a Game Supporter

A release is only the beginning of the journey for most mobile and web applications. Game updates are essential for maintaining a healthy user base and good retention rates! According to the research of current successful games, updates should be published every two to five weeks, with each update adding additional material to the game.

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