By Juegostudio | Cross Platform Games & Apps, Game Design, Game Development, Gaming Industry | August 8th, 2014

The Fundamentals on porting Games

A games released in one platform were ported in the right way can experience success in other platforms. Since the gaming experience is similar in a lot of platforms for most types of games, audiences of one platform will be thrilled to try out a game that has tasted success in another platform.

To gain the maximum audience and maximum revenue, most game developers make sure that the games they make are released in multiple platforms right from the start itself. They choose a game engine that supports simultaneous development for multiple platforms and builds the game accordingly.

This approach has been a common practice among console and PC platforms. Usually, the game developers would release their game on the Xbox and PlayStation platforms at first. Then a few months later, they would port it to the PC.

And since smartphones became more powerful, game developers also started to port their classic console and PC games to the Android and iOS platforms. Several classic games like the original Doom, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the Bard’s Tale, all have smartphone ports now.

The same is now also prevalent between mobile platforms as well. Some game development companies release their game on either iOS or Android at first. Then, if the game got succeed in that particular platform, then they release it on the other platform a few months later.

But it is not easy to get all the advantages of porting. Especially if you haven’t planned for it right from the beginning itself. Even if you had planned it, and taken necessary steps like choosing a game engine that supports cross-platform game development, you’ll need to follow a few fundamentals to port games. Here are some of them:

Fundamentals to Port Games:

Design Elements

One of the first things you will need to take care of is the various design elements. This includes a range of visual elements like the UI screen.

Because the gaming experiences between platforms vary. Especially if one of them is a console platform, and the other one a smartphone platform. There will be certain things you’ll have to take into account.

One of them is the differences in screen sizes. Consoles and PC games are usually played on mid to big sized TV screens or monitors. Smartphones one the other hand use their small screens. So you will have to make certain UI elements bigger in proportion to the screen, on smartphones, when compared to consoles and PCs.

This becomes even more complicated when you consider that different smartphones that run on the same OS will have different screen sizes. Especially if the platform is Android.

So you must do a lot of strategic thinking to best implement certain design elements in your game’s new platform. Otherwise, your users will have trouble figuring out the intention behind certain UI elements.

Without doing accounting for these design elements, your port will not be able to capitalize on your newer user base.

Controls

Controls also will be entirely different from one platform to the next.

Consoles use their dedicated game controllers. In PCs, you’ll not only have to account for game controllers, but you also have to make the gameplay possible using a keyboard and mouse. While in smartphones, you’ll have to make the controls adapt for touchscreens and other elements like the gyroscope.

So to maximize the advantages of game porting, you must consider all these differences between your platforms, and work around them.

If your game is being ported from a console to a smartphone, for instance, you will have to make sure that your game can be played using the touchscreen without any trouble whatsoever. You will also have to take some additional steps like automating certain actions, so you can provide a similar gameplay experience on both platforms.

The same principles also apply if you are porting your game between console and PC platforms. For instance, to balance the advantage that the keyboard and mouse give in gameplay for FPS games, game developers add auto-aim features for the game’s console version.

Besides, doing these changes in controls, it also makes sense to add gamepad support for your game if you are porting it to a smartphone platform. Because almost all smartphones support gamepads nowadays. So by giving support to gamepads, you can allow your users to have a similar gameplay experience as they would have in PC and console platforms.

Performance

Performance is another thing that is important while porting. Because due to hardware and software variations, your game is unlikely to achieve the same performance across all platforms.

So while porting your game, you will have to go through a lot of optimization processes. You must make sure your game gives a good performance without sacrificing the visual quality. You may even have to lock the framerate to a certain threshold.

And for doing this process, you will need a team of developers who have experience and in-depth knowledge of game optimization, memory management, etc.

That does not mean that your developers will have to bottleneck your game’s performance for every device in a given platform. PC games allow users to select graphical and other settings most apt for their PC. The same can be done on smartphones as well. In low and mid-range smartphones, you can lock the performance. On the contrary, for users of high-end smartphones, you give the option to select a much higher visual setting.

Conclusion

There are several advantages to game porting. It will help maximize the potential of your game. It will also give you the chance to gain a wider audience and as a result, a wider source of revenue. All you have to do is port your game by bearing in mind the fundamentals of porting games, including the three mentioned above.

The best way to port your game from one platform to the next is, however, with the help of a top game development team with a multi-platform game development experience. We, at Juego Studio, have ported numerous games between platforms with success. By getting our help, you will be able to port your game from its current platform to as many platforms as you choose, without any hassle whatsoever.