Whenever we think about entertainment and games, we mostly focus on the fun part – playing the game. However, we rarely stop to think about all the things that go into the game production and development process. And one may assume that this process isn’t lacking fun either.
But the reality is that, although quite interesting and engaging, designing any type of game is hard work that usually doesn’t always go according to plan. That being said, here are 7 stages of creating a game explained, from the initial concept down to the finished product.
Before any team that works on developing a game begins their work, there needs to be a general idea about the type of game that’s being created. Here, some of the most common questions that need to be answered include the type of video game that’s going to be made; the type of technology that’s going to be used; who will be the target audience; who are the main characters and what’s the story about. This process usually involves a lot of brainstorming and playing around with different ideas. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, this is arguably the most difficult part of creating a video game.
In this next stage of game production various teams and departments get together to come up with ways to bring everything from the previous step in life. So, writers, engineers, various artists, game developers and project leader all get together to discuss the next steps. Here, they all work together to come up with the most optimal ways to bring the entire project to fruition. During this process, studios usually create prototypes of characters, environments and interfaces. This is also usually the time that the team is getting entirely familiar with the project they’ll be working on.
The production stage is arguably the costliest part of this entire process, money, time and effort-wise. During this process, character models are being designed and rendered. The audio part is being developed to fit the entire setting of the game. Developers choose various software solutions that will assist them in this process. And this is not only applied to video games that fit the genre of MMOs, RPGs and similar style-games. Instead, even the casino industry is going through the similar process. In the world of iGaming, developers choose the best type of casino software to base their games on. Knowing all of this, it becomes quite obvious why this part of the process is probably the most important one.
After the production process, it’s time to test the game before it ever reaches the audience. Some gaming companies run the testing phase alongside production phase, while others do these two things separately. Either way, during the testing phase, game developers need to ensure that everything’s running smoothly and that there are no game-breaking bugs. Of course, it’s quite normal to come across various issues during this phase, which is the whole point – so that they can be easily eliminated in a timely manner.
The pre-launch part takes place after the game designers and developers feel like they’ve created a functional product. Usually, many game companies offer exclusive access to the game to interested players, even before the game is officially launched. No matter how smoothly the testing phase went, chances are that there will be a plethora of new issues and bugs the testing team simply didn’t mange to catch. On top of that, this pre-launch phase enables the team to see what are the general thoughts and perception about the game they’ve created. That’s one of the reasons why most game developers and other people working on creating a game find this phase to be the most nerve-wracking.
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Now we’re finally nearing the end – but we’re still not quite there yet. The launch date is most commonly pre-determined way in advance. So, as the launch date is drawing near, the team spends the rest of their time perfecting the game and dealing with any potential bugs left. When it happens – and it happens more often than you think – that the game has more bugs than can be dealt with in the time-frame leading to the launch, the studio will create sort of a hierarchy of bugs. What this means is that bigger issues and game-breaking bugs will be the top priority but there will also be some bugs left that the studio will deal with later on, even after the launch date. It’s also important to mention that a good practice is to give your audience a heads-up about any potential bugs if you know you’re launching a game that’s still not perfect.
And now we’ve finally reached the end of your journey! Now that the game is finally out there and the audience is (hopefully) responding well, you can finally see the fruit of your hard labor. But for the entire team working on the said title, it’s still not the end of the road. As mentioned earlier, games are quite commonly launched with some (hopefully) minor bugs that still need to be fixed. On top of that, the studio will need to ensure that they provide their audience with regular software update, stellar customer support and anything else their audience may need. Finally, it’s time to start working on new content – in form of DLCs – that will continue to make the game fun and engaging.
Of course, it’s also important to note that not all games are created equal. Depending on the type of the game that’s being created, some will require either more or less work and engagement. But these are just the top 7 phases of game development almost every single title goes through