People who design video games as an occupation know that it is a very tedious process. You’ve got to spend a lot of time and effort into making a project that could be the next biggest video game phenomenon.
Game development is never easy and deadlines, as well as the pressure from fans, will most likely play a factor in its overall success. Needless to say, we also want to appreciate game developers for their time and effort.
It takes true patience and a lot of sweat and tears from the team to create even a simple video game. With that in mind, here are the stages of video game development.
Everything starts with an idea. An idea can be born out of inspiration from its creator or a set of writers who have a similar goal. This inspiration may take form in a storyline first before the game is even perceived.
Planning is a key component of game development. This is the initial stage where developers, writers, designers, and many other members of the team begin to ask questions about what the game is about.
They learn how the game will be, which platform it is suitable for, and most importantly, the budget. This is also the stage where developers will have to ask one of the toughest questions – who is the core audience of the game.
During the planning stage, many ideas are floated around and some might even be the precursor to the game’s overall feel and gameplay. Take note that this stage may very well be years before the game is even launched.
Once everything has been planned out, pre-production begins. This is the time when writers start drafting the story of the game. Game designers begin to discuss the overall feel of the game as well as its main gameplay mechanics.
During pre-production, the team begins to create an early prototype of the game. The game looks vastly empty and skeletal at this point as designers and engineers build the foundations of the game through a game engine.
On the other side, management also begins to schedule all the milestones of game development to ensure that everything would be right on track towards release.
This is the stage where everything slowly comes together. Production begins when designers and creators start to render the models of the game. Many teams work together to bring the game into a cohesive whole.
This is also the time when companies hire voice actors and motion capture actors to render the models of the characters in the game. Level designers create different environments that are both immersive and suitable for the playstyle that they have agreed upon during the planning stage.
The production stage is usually the longest stage of game development. It can run from months to several years depending on how ambitious the game is. It may take a long while and some might not even see the light of testing if there are issues along the way.
Now that the foundations of the game have been built, it is time to test all the mechanics and the overall design of the game. Testing is done internally at first to ensure that the game is still in line with the goals mentioned during the planning stage.
Many questions from the planning stage are now being answered at this point. Developers usually test if the game is fun enough or if the characters do not have a stale or boring dialogue.
They would also be checking for any features or mechanics in the game that could be exploited easily by the players. Playtesters are also hired to test the game and provide an outsider’s input on the game.
It could result in successful testing where the game proceeds to the next stage or it could go back to the drawing board and enter production once again.
Pre-Launch and Launch
The pre-launch phase offers a wider testing audience to make sure that the game is heading in the right direction. Sometimes, developers tease the game through conventions. This could mean that the game is months away from being launched.
The launch happens when the game is fully available to play. Launch day is one of the most nerve-wracking days for any game developer. The months that lead up to this are difficult as developers clean bugs.
When the game is finally free of any bugs, it should be the best time to launch and distribute the game. There is still a chance that a wider group of people can experience bugs at this point as no product is perfect.
This is the time where developers are always ready to receive information about bugs and be ready to resolve them.
Post-launch is an exciting part of game development. This is the time when game developers will know if they have an overall successful product that would warrant either a sequel or additional content.
Sales and reception are just a few key factors to make such a decision. This is the stage where game developers can breathe a sigh of relief now that the fans of the game can now play the game they’ve been working hard for several years.
Their hard work has finally paid off and it could mean more work to come for the team. This is also the time when player support is officially launched to help maintain the player base as well as allow players to submit bug reports.
Developing a video game is not as simple as creating your school project. It entails a lot of people on teams and requires a lot of skill and effort to bring it all together into a cohesive whole.
Overall, the nature of video game development is about having the skill and the patience to work on a project for a long time. And that whole bıt is a lot easier to do if you find a fantastic idea in the planning stage.