Despite all the advances in 3D gaming and hyper-realistic graphics, 2D games continue to be extremely popular with both casual and serious gamers everywhere. With powerful storytelling, eye-catching graphics and stimulating gameplay 2D games can be highly engaging. 2d game development can also be easily optimized for a variety of mobile devices. Juego Studios designs and develops stunning games across all the platforms including smartphones, PCs, and tablets.
Gaming is always about entertaining the audiences. 2d games are highly engaging and even recently, there was a huge hit of some games like Stardew Valley and Undertale.
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Since 2D games are usually lightweight and can work easily on lower-end devices, they are extremely popular on mobile platforms. Mobile games enhanced with the introduction of Cocos 2D and Box 2D. The history of mobile games – Now reached the next level with Cocos2D and Box 2D.
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2D game development refers to creating and releasing games with an art and animation style of 2D. 2D art is distinct from 3D, based on two dimensions, without depth. The items on the screen (usually called sprites) can only move in two directions, left and right.
2D game development has existed since the beginning of video game history, as many games created in the initial years of gaming history were 2D games. Then, a few years later, once the hardware and software of gaming platforms improved, 3D games became popular and eventually started to dominate the sector.
However, 2D games are still popular. They are prevalent in web and mobile games. In addition, the unique aesthetics of 2D games have been proven to be more popular than on other platforms.
Even though there is a domination of 3D games in the market, you can’t say that 2D is obsolete. On the contrary, 2D games are still as popular as ever. For some audience segments, there is even a preference for it.
This popularity of 2D games is not mere happenstance. On the contrary, there are some excellent reasons for them. Below are some reasons:
1. 2D Games Are Easier to Play
Compared to 3D games, 2D games are easier to play. The mechanics of 2D games usually are more straightforward. There is not a wide range of options in terms of controls to choose from, and this makes gameplay accessible to a large segment of the audience.
And accessibility, most of the time, means popularity. Because the game mechanics are accessible, many players would be willing to try and stick to 2D games. Such a casual playing audience might not be intimidated by the complex controls and can enjoy the games without hassle.
2. Simpler to Make
Generally, in comparison to 3D games, 2D games are easier to make. The average time required is also far less.
One reason is that 3D game asset creation is a time-consuming process. For example, creating a 3D model with rich details takes far more time than a simple sprite.
Because of this, even smaller teams and individual developers can attempt 2D game development. A lot of them try as well. Hence, there are a lot of 2D games being released in the market each year.
3. Genre of the Game
Not all games translate well into a 3D experience. Some are plain better in 2D.
For example, consider a side-scrolling platform. If a game development company chooses to make a 3D version of this, the game might not work very well. But in 2D, the game would be a perfect fit because, like the requirements of a side-scrolling platformer, 2D also has movement in two directions.
Since many genres are better suited for 2D than 3D, the popularity of 2D games will remain for a long time.
4. Art Styles
Most 3D games stick to realism. Even though they have recognizable visual styles, the audience expects 3D games to be realistic.
Compare this to 2D. 2D games have no expectations of being realistic and have a wide range of art styles. Of course, most of us will already be aware of the pixel art style, which was born out of the limitations of gaming tech in the past. There is also vector art, monochrome art, and more.
Another good reason is that 2D is aesthetically pleasing to specific users. 2D has a lot of fans because of its distinctive visual appeal. This is one of the reasons even in the animation industry, despite all the advancements in 3D, 2D movies and TV shows are still widespread.
Many industry experts and top animators reject the categorization of 3D as an improvement over 3D. Some of them consider 3D as just another visual style. It is just another method of animation.
Also, the main reason 2D is still not dead. If 3D were an undoubted improvement over 2D, then 2D games would never exist in the present day.
No single software you can decide is the best 2D game development software. Because each 2D game engine has pros and cons, and the software that would be best for you would depend on multiple factors specific to your project’s requirements.
However, a few game engines are generally considered the best options for 2D game development. Below, we list a few of them:
Unity has an extensive feature set that is apt for 2D game development. It also has the added benefit of supporting a whole host of platforms. All the developers have to do is install the necessary development tools.
The game engine uses C# as its programming language. C# is a beginner-friendly language and a high-level language.
Unity Technologies also offers the game engine under multiple pricing models, including paid and free plans. The free plan is perfect for those who prefer to use the engine for personal projects, while the paid plans would be more apt for commercial intentions.
2. Cocos Creator
Cocos Creator is the successor to Cocos2d-X, a famed game engine behind many top 2D games. Cocos Creator has an exhaustive feature list that includes animation and physics editors, support for plug-ins, and more.
3. Unreal Unreal game development engine is renowned in the industry as a top 3D game development engine, but a lesser-known fact is that it has a complete feature set that supports 2D game development at the highest standards.
For instance, it has Paper2D, a sprite-based system that supports the creation of 2D games. It has support for TileMaps as well.
But before you select one game engine from this list for your 2D game development project, you have to make sure that you assess the game engine on the following metrics:
1. Feature-Set and Match with the Project
The first thing to look for is the features in the game engine to see if it matches your project expectations. For instance, if your project requires the implementation of a specific feature and the game engine you intend to use does not have the functionality to help you develop that particular feature, then you have to choose an alternative.
If you intend to release your game on multiple platforms, you must see if the game engine supports development for all the target platforms. Because if it doesn’t, and you want to release it on other platforms, then it is hard to do the same using different game engines.
If you have plans to port the game to other platforms in the future, you also have to check if the game engine supports easier porting.
3. Expertise of Developers
Check if your developers have experience using top 2D game development game engines. Because learning the basics of a new game engine and then creating a game using it is a lot harder than scaling up one’s skills in a game engine one is already an expert in.
So, if your developers have experience in a particular game engine, it would be best to opt for that.
You should also check if the price of the game engine matches your project budget. Some game engines are commercial and require paid licenses or subscriptions to use. Others, meanwhile, are free.
Finding the right 2D game development company needs a good strategy. Because if you are entrusting your project to the wrong team, your entire project plan can get derailed. On the contrary, if you opt for a good team, your project can exceed your expectations in terms of quality.
But to find the right team, you need to assess the team on multiple metrics before you hire them. Hiring them blindly is not an option. So, to help you in this, below are a few factors you should consider to hire the right 2D game development company:
The work that a company has done in the past is a good predictor of the quality that a team can deliver. It is the best predictor of quality.
Looking at a team’s portfolio lets you understand the team’s capability and if they can deliver your project in the quality you expect. So, before you hire a team, look at each prospective partner’s portfolio in-depth. Take a look at the work they have delivered in the past to see if they have delivered any projects similar to yours and if their output is up to the quality standards you expect.
2. Years in the Gaming Industry
Only top game companies can survive in the gaming industry for a long time because the industry is filled with competition. There is also the fact that technologies keep shifting every year, leading to the point that only the best can survive for a long time.
So, look at the years that the outsourcing company has been in the industry. If that number is higher, you can prospect them to see if they suit you and your project.
The clientele is crucial in assessing a 2D game development outsourcing company as it allows you to determine reliability.
For instance, if you look at a company’s clientele and see many prestigious companies and top brands, it means the company has a lot of goodwill backed by quality delivery. So, most of the time, such an outsourcing partner would be a good choice.
At the same time, you must also check if the company has also worked with other similar clients. For example, if you are from a small company, you can see if the company you are prospecting for has worked with similar clients. You can also look if the outsourcing partner has worked with clients from the same industry as yours.
4. Working Process
It would help if you also enquired how the collaborative process would be with the 2D game development company. You must understand how it would work from start to finish.
For instance, if you have a unique game idea, you must guard it under an NDA so that your project details do not get into the wrong hands. In such a case, you must check if the company you hire will sign an NDA before you start working with them.
Likewise, you need to understand the methodology the team will follow, how often they will take your feedback, the communication channels they will use, etc.
2D game development outsourcing is popular for game development companies and small-scale development teams. This is because of the multiple unique benefits that outsourcing provides. Below are some of them:
1. Save on Budget
2D game development outsourcing has become popular mainly because of its substantial cost savings.
Because when you do development in-house, you accrue a lot of additional costs, particularly in the form of operational costs. These costs can take a massive chunk of the overall budget you dedicate to your game development project.
On the other hand, if you outsource, the partner company you outsource the game project to will take care of the operational costs. Hence, you end up spending less money than you otherwise would.
2. Expert Opinions
Game development is often better when collaboration is involved. Because the exchange of ideas makes the ideas you have even better.
So, if you hire the services of a top 2D game development company, you receive the added benefit of getting their expert opinion. Because a company that has operated for years in the industry would have excellent knowledge of a wide variety of things to help you improve your game. The expert opinions of the team can become valuable assets that can help you make your game a success.
Outsourcing is also the best method to access specialists in specific domains, especially temporary requirements.
Consider your game requires a team of artists who are specialized in a particular art style. Hiring the same person in-house requires you to screen through many candidates, interview them, and then hire them. All this is time-consuming.
On the other hand, if you opt for a 2D game development company, you can receive the expertise of these artists quickly without having to jump through a lot of hassle.
4. Focus on Core Strengths
If you hire a top 2D game development company, you can focus on the areas where you are more expertise.
Because the company that you hire, you can trust all the specifics of your project. The team will handle all the project details per your requirements. You merely have to do some minimal oversight and provide timely feedback.
This, in turn, frees you up to focus on areas in which you have expertise. For example, if game development is not your forte and marketing is, you can concentrate on the marketing aspects of your game. This way, you and the partner company can combine your strengths to make your game a stellar success.
There is a misconception in the gaming industry that 2D games do not take a lot of time to develop. That 3D games are the only games that require a lot of time.
This is not true. Several classic 2D games have taken years to develop. There are, at the same time, games that just took a while to develop.
This is because numerous factors are involved in developing a 2D game that determines the time required. Below we are listing a few of these factors:
1. Number of Resources
There is an inverse correlation between the number of resources and the time required to develop a 2D game. Because the more the number of resources you have to execute your game project, the less time will take. Likewise, the lesser resources, the more time.
One reason is specialization. Specialists can deliver quality work at a lesser time. If a few people handle the game, then the time might increase because not everyone would be a specialist in the domain they are working at. On the contrary, if the team comprises numerous specialists, each member can focus on their domain expertise and complete the work more quickly.
2. Scale of the Game
Simple games with limited features and simpler mechanics need less time to develop.
However, the more enormous and complex your game gets, the more time your game needs for development. For example, let’s say your game has a big world with numerous locations. Then your team has to spend time creating the game world, which would take a lot of time due to the sheer number of assets required to develop.
Features also determine the complexity. The more the number of features, the more development, and testing is required. The complexity becomes even higher if the features are related to one another.
3. Change in Scope
Changing the scope in the middle of game development would be problematic. It can lead to a lot of waste in the effort that the team has put into it. It can even lead to scrapping some of the features that are near completion.
This does not mean scope changes are bad. On the contrary, sometimes these are inevitable and often even necessary. However, developers must ensure that the scope changes, if any, happen in the earlier stages rather than later ones.
4. Number of Target Platforms
The higher the number of platforms you plan to release your game, the more it might take to develop it for many reasons.
One is the optimization of performance. Because if you plan to release the game on multiple platforms, you must account for platform-specific changes. A lot of times, this issue is solved with the use of a cross-platform game engine. But even still, there would be things to take care of concerning each platform.
Also, the more platforms, the more testing needs to be done. This is because the testers have to check the game on each platform and on numerous devices under that platform to ensure users can easily play the game on all of them.
A final concern is the game’s release. Because it would involve the preparation of a lot of documentation and marketing materials. The more platforms, the more this has to be done.
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