Most individuals who make video games for a job would tell you that it’s never a simple process. Game creators must maintain their fingers on the pulse of the business, which is constantly changing. For example, according to GlobalWebIndex, cloud gaming is on the increase; virtual reality is maturing, with PlayStation bringing the technology to mainstream gamers, and Valve recently published a AAA PC VR-exclusive project, which has sparked enormous attention in the market. However, what goes on behind the scenes of a well-crafted game? Burning deadlines, production bottlenecks and dependencies, stakeholder pressure, and constantly changing design and requirements are just a handful of developers’ numerous challenges. Most people are unaware of this crazy cycle and its many phases, so let’s understand the game development process.
Game Development Stages
Like any other endeavour, game development begins with a concept. The difficult aspect is turning this concept into a deliverable commodity. Here are the steps that are followed:
It’s the first stage in turning a concept into a game. The discovery stage determines the scope of a game and what is necessary to bring it to a release date. Depending on the project scope, resources required, and budget of the project, the discovery stage normally lasts a month or two. The Key team comprises only a few persons at this moment. A Solution Architect, Game Designer, and Art Director are normally on the Key Team. The discovery stage is an important part of the game development process, and it generally entails a wide range of actions, which are detailed below:
1. Game Design Documentation
Designers construct a single document that contains all of the game’s rules and explanations, such as:
- Description of game mechanics
- The flow of users’ UX graphs
- Design of personalization
- Designing a metagame
2. Concept Of The Art Style
Art Director and crew work on the visual style for the product, developing the aesthetics, look and feel in partnership with game designers and stakeholders.
- The theme of the game
- Background/environment, people, and some iconography concepts
- 3D models
- Animations in 3D
- VFX prototypes/concepts
- Graphics specifications
- Budget for polygons
- Resolution of texture
- Requirements for animation
3. Explanation of Technology Stack
The Solution Architect or Tech Lead determines the technological resources required for the development process at this phase.
- Determine whether the team can make use of an existing solution
- Developing a product utilising an accessible gaming engine is usually faster
- Developing a proprietary engine or platform makes sense
- Choose from a variety of engines
- Choose the finest engine for expressing your concept
- Define the architecture of the project
- Ascertain the product is developed with future growth and support in mind
When the team has completed the steps outlined above, we offer the following details:
- The group required to work on the game
- How long does it take to make a game?
- Deliverables that were created along the road
- Expense analysis
The true development begins at this point. Members of the team refine the plot, as well as the game’s equilibrium, tempo, and playability. They also design all assets (characters, monsters, objects, and environments), establish game rules, construct levels and scenarios, and write the coding. Each aspect of the game, from the fun and gameplay to the characters, settings, items, degree of difficulty, sceneries, and more, must be carefully considered. Since the initial concepts don’t often translate well in practice, game testing and enhancement continue after the game is published.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important video game development positions, keeping in mind that small teams sometimes take on many duties. A larger studio, on the other hand, will have more team members that specialise in a certain facet of game production.
Levels in Game Production Process
- A video game prototype is an unfinished test that looks at functionality, user experience, gameplay, mechanics, and art style. Iteration is the initial step in the production process, and it is used to see if the game concept is viable and worth pursuing. Many concepts fall flat at this point.
- The first playable gives us a better picture of how the game will appear. While the project is still far from completion, placeholders are being replaced with higher-quality pieces, and artwork is being added.
- The majority of the content is still in the pre-alpha stage of development. Some key decisions are made at this phase in the game production process. To improve playability, the material may be reduced or new elements may be added.
- A vertical slice is a completely playable version of the game that you can show to clients, studios, or investors. A vertical slice, which may last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, offers you a quick glimpse into the game.
- The game is fully functional at the Alpha level, which means it can be played from beginning to end. Some aspects, such as graphics, may still have to be included, yet controls and functionalities would operate well.
- The team should focus on improving rather than introducing new functions or features during the Beta stage because all of the content and assets are synchronised. The QA testers make sure everything is working well and report any issues.
- Finally, the game is ready to be delivered to a publisher and released to the general public.
Important Positions in the Game Development Process
- Delivery Managers / Producers are in charge of the project’s business aspects, such as expenditures and timelines. Producers are often in charge of the finances and marketing tactics for the product.
- Development managers ensure that game development proceeds well, those goals are met, risks are minimised, and colleagues execute their jobs.
- A project manager is frequently at the heart of communication between the development and design teams, as well as executives.
- Game developers create games by transforming design concepts into fully functional games. Game developers have extensive programming experience. To code ideas into dynamic graphics and music, developers should have a combination of imagination, arithmetic abilities, and patience.
- Game Designers are the game’s creative force and a link between authors and artists, with some programming skills. The creation of attention-grabbing storylines, characters, goals, rules, and problems that drive interactions between game elements is part of the game design process.
- Level designers are in charge of generating innovative and entertaining levels. The difficulty for a level designer is to maintain a player’s attention and achieve the goal while minimising the risk of misunderstanding. Level designers are also in charge of discovering player bottlenecks as they go through the game, such as slipping outside of bounds or being stuck and unable to escape.
- Concept artists, animators, 3D modellers, and FX artists are all examples of game artists. They frequently develop concept art and 2D components to give the play colour, motion, and life. While concept artists are engaged in the initial design of the game, they may also be involved later in the production process to add additional aspects.
- Characters, objects, props, and environments are created as 3D models, which may subsequently be textured and animated. 3D Modelers must be able to get and use high-quality reference materials, especially if they are duplicating real-world artefacts such as the Kalashnikov weapon.
- Animators give movement to figures and objects to make them more alive. They construct storyboards and sketch up crucial animation scenes that correspond to the game’s plot. Animators frequently do extensive studies on the items they must bring to life.
- Audio Engineers / Sound Designers generate genuine sound effects, record character voice conversations, and develop soundtracks to set the mood for players, such as opening music, menu pause music, and triumph music.
- In the game development process, QA testers are essential. These individuals test games for problems and ensure that they function smoothly and those player manuals are clear. In what’s known as a bug sheet, they submit issues to the developers.
For quality assurance, every feature and mechanism in the game must be tested. A game that hasn’t been thoroughly tested isn’t fit for an Alpha release. During this stage, a QA tester could ask the following questions:
- Are there any fault zones or levels?
- Is everything on the screen providing high quality?
- Is it possible for my character to pass through a wall?
- Does my character stay locked here indefinitely?
- Is the conversation between the characters monotonous?
Game testers are available in many forms and capacities. Some of them put themselves through stress tests by repeatedly wrecking the game and colliding with barriers. Other play-testers assess the game’s “fun factor” to determine whether it is too difficult or too simple and comfy. The game should be ready for Alpha or Beta release after several cycles of testing, depending on how developed the in-game elements are. The players have their first hands-on experience with the game at this phase.
The release date is approaching, and one can see the end of the road. The months running up to a deadline are usually devoted to troubleshooting faults discovered during the testing stage. Apart from bug patches, developers devote as much time as possible to the game before it goes live. Perhaps that rock has deeper depth. Maybe the character’s attire might have more texture, or those trees could finally swing in the breeze. These small adjustments may have a big impact on how immersive a video game is.
It’s time to publish and distribute the game after it’s perfect.
Post – Release
After the game is released, some team members continue to work on it, fixing problems, creating updates, bonuses, in-game events, or brand-new downloadable content. Others may move on to the sequel or the next project. Video games are notorious for releasing a slew of small glitches. Teams detect and eliminate issues throughout the first several months after the launch. Players are also expected to submit bug reports or speak up in online forums regarding issues. This is all part of the post-release support.
Understanding the game development process is crucial if you want to build video games. Regardless of where you fit into the pipeline, understanding the purpose and hierarchy of each department can help you work more effectively and avoid costly difficulties down the road. In today’s gaming business, releasing new material is typical since it boosts a game’s repeat value, retention, and attractiveness. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in creating a video game from the ground up or improving an existing one. Years of game development expertise enable the Arena team to provide competent and perfect products on time and within budget.
To know more about game development and various courses related to it call Arena Animations, at Park Street, Kolkata, today!