7 Stages of Game Development- the Games you knew, the Process you didn’t
Originally published at https://www.niit.com/india/
Game Development is the all-around method of creating a video game. There are many elements that help in creating a game, such as Story, Characters, Audio, Art, and Lighting, that finally merge to create a whole new world in a video game. It involves concept creation, design, build, test and release. While creating a game, it is essential to think about the game mechanics, rewards, player engagement, and level design.
Stages of game development
Video game development is technical; there are still structures and frameworks in place to keep studios running efficiently and projects on track to be completed. Let us now have a look at the different stages of game development:
1. Planning a video game
An idea for a video game has to begin before the writing, designing, and development. It is the initial part of the planning stage and the essence from which every video game will grow. It outlines important points like budget, target audience, whether the game will be 2D or 3D, who will be the identities, and on which setting the game will be.
Planning sets the standards for every worker involved with creating the game and gives publishers a high-level overview of what to expect. After that, it brings us to the next part of development — proofing a concept.
Proof of concept takes all the notions generated and checks their viability for the gaming studio to produce. For studios developing a game under the guidance of a publisher, proofing a concept is required before moving ahead with pre-production and may even require a vertical slice. This process is vital because the publisher will have to approve a grade for time, budget, and marketing.
For independent studios without publisher supervision, the functioning is a bit more flexible during this stage. The downside to independent publishing is establishing a development and marketing budget, although crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Fig are helpful.
Proof of concept is essential to the success of a game because it brings together ideas in the perspective of what is capable.
The second stage of game development is called pre-production. This stage is the collaborative stage as writers, artists, designers, developers, engineers, project leads, and other crucial departments collaborate to work further on the extent of the video game to fit the pieces of the puzzle.
For instance, project leaders meet with multiple departments to figure out the “fun factor” to identify until the testing stage. After this stage, it is common for studios to prototype characters, environments, interfaces, control schemes, and other in-game elements to check how different elements interact with one another.
Most of the work effort, time, and resources used on video game development are during the production stage. This stage is also one of the toughest and challenging stages of video game development. During the process, everyone is assigned work according to their skills.
• Character models are designed as instructed.
• Audio design works strenuously to assure that the game character’s every move has a desirable sound; whether it walks onto the sand, stones, or cement, it sounds genuine.
• Level designers create graphics for surroundings that are engaged, surreal, and suitable for every type of playset.
• To get the gamers involved, voice actors practice long scripts to create an engaging environment for emotions, timings, and tone.
• Developers formulate numerous sources of code to connect each piece of in-game content to life.
• Project leads guide and establish landmarks to ensure each department’s work and that the team members acknowledge responsibility.
Every detail in the game needs to be tested for quality control. A game that hasn’t been completely tested is a game that’s not even ready for a discharge. During this stage, a playtester may point out some points like:
Are there buggy areas or levels? Is everything generating successfully on the screen?
Can I walk through this barrier or a locked ground? Are there headlines I can use to alter the game? Does my individuality get forever glued in this zone? Is the conversation musty and boring?
Playtesters are of different types. They perform stress tests by running into walls hundreds, if not thousands of times to “break” the game. Other playtesters conduct “fun factor” trials to see if the game is too tough or too simple or finish the whole game to see if it was convincing enough. Without a “fun factor,” the game won’t sell many editions.
After testing and repeating for innumerable hours, the game should be ready for a late-Alpha or even Beta release, depending on how polished the in-game components are. This time the public will get their first hand at the game.
The pre-launch stage is a tense time for gaming studios. Questions of self-doubt may drip as you wonder how the public will acknowledge your first practical product.
“Will they understand our game? Are they going to uncover new bugs? What kind of media content are we going to get from this?” But before a formal Beta copy is disclosed, the game will expect some marketing. After all, how else will society understand it?
Publishers almost always want a hype video with a mix of cinematics and sample gameplay to drive interest. They may also plan a spot at one of the major gaming conventions, like E3 or PAX, for an exclusive preview of the game.
The luxury of ample marketing budgets is not always possible in independent studios to drive attention to their games. Fortunately, crowdfunding and publicity could be just as beneficial. Sending early-access Beta copies to top online gaming personalities to live stream for their audiences is a common method for independent studios.
The game’s predicted launch date is mostly spent compressing large backlogs of bugs — some old, some new found in the testing stage. For games with many bugs, a studio will create a network of bugs to crush. This structure will include “game-crashing” bugs near the top and minor bugs underneath.
In addition to bug squashing, developers will typically polish the game as much as possible before launching. Maybe that mountain range can be more profound. Probably the character’s leather belts can be wider. Let’s finally get around to making those trees swing in the wind. These types of changes, though insignificant, can be important for making a video game more immersive. When the deeper get spotless, it’s time to launch and publicize.
Post-launch is one of the most sensational times for any gaming studio. Years of hard work have finally paid up, and video game sales are (hopefully) pouring in. But still, there is a task that needs to be performed. Video games are launched with batches of minor bugs, and it’s common. The early months of the post-launch stage are generally spent spotting and crushing these bugs. Gaming studios also depend on players to submit bug reports or speak out about bugs in online discussions. All of these are a part of post-launch support. Regular software updates for the game are another part of post-launch. These updates range from game-balancing patches to new downloadable content or DLCs.
Disclosing fresh content is common in today’s gaming industry because it increases the replay value and attraction of a game. New levels, storylines, and multiplayer modes are just a few of the many DLC (downloadable content) options a gaming studio could explore.
A career in Game Development
NIIT’s Game Development Certification is an online program that trains learners in the intricacies of the Unity Game Engine. This 20-week program is built for gaming enthusiasts and is backed by placement assistance. Students go through hands-on learning in live, mentor-led classes and try their hands on cinemachine, blendtrees and Kinematics. Anybody having the basic knowledge of programming and C# can enrol and venture on a promising career.
Explore this option now and rejuvenate your professional life.