Video game development is an intricate process. Be it the simple Disco Elysium or the complex multiplayer online game Black Desert Online, all video games become a reality after going through different stages of development.
7 Crucial Stages in Video Game Development:
The inevitable stages
Stage 1: The Planning process:
Once an idea for a game strikes, certain questions appear. They need convincing answers so that a clear course of action can be charted. Some of them are as follows:
❖ The genre of the video game.
❖ Availability of the game: 2D or 3D.
❖ Key characters.
❖ Levels and other detailing.
❖ The target audience.
❖ The ideal platforms.
Once you get convincing answers to the above questions, the most viable option is chosen by the game studio to convert it into a game.
This is necessary to generate the next batch of questions to be answered. Concept proofing acts as a reality check based on which ideas are transformed into successful games. It involves finding convincing answers to factors like:
➔ Estimated cost.
➔ Technological prowess.
➔ The team size.
➔ Need for a new engine.
➔ Length of the development time frame.
➔ Monetizing the game.
For those gaming studios opting to make a game under the patronage of a publisher, this stage is inevitable because the latter’s approval is necessary for budget, time, and marketing decisions.
For studios that are independent, things are flexible. Crowdfunding websites such as Fig and Kickstarter are a blessing for them to overcome the budget constraints. Shovel Knight and Pillars Of Eternity are popular video games that were built through the crowdfunding route.
Stage 2: Pre-production phase:
This stage is all about breathing life into the innumerable ideas laid out on paper in the planning stage. This is when collaboration goes on the floor. Many crucial departments cooperate to finalize the scope of the video game. The narrative structure of the story, main characters, and their backstories, the role of physics, probable audio inputs, type of costumes and weapons are all discussed. Freewheeling discussions between multiple departments will generate extraordinary ideas for creating a fun game.
Stage 3: Production:
The most time-consuming stage involved in the creation of video games is the production phase. A copious amount of effort, time, and resources go into the production stage. The challenges to overcome in this stage are numerous. The production stage is all about arriving at various decisions. Some of them are:
❖ Models of characters are designed, made, and remade until the right looks suitable for the story are churned out.
❖ The minute sounds made by the characters, the sounds which emanate when they make contact with various surfaces and objects in the game world are perfected by impeccable audio designing.
❖ Immersive, zestful, and suitable environments that are flexible to different kinds of playstyles are created by level designers.
❖ Large piles of scripts are read by voice actors to finally arrive at the correct timing, emotion, and tone which is perfect for a character in the game.
❖ Source code running beyond thousands of lines are composed by developers in order to bring all the in-game components to life.
Milestones and schedules are charted out by project leads. This will make sure that each and every department and the team members involved work with an intent to stay true to the plan. Accountability is necessary especially when a publisher scrutinizes the status of the project frequently.
The above-mentioned episodes which comprise the third stage do not end swiftly. Sometimes, years of painstaking iteration with unwavering dedication is required to create the ideal game. Mistakes need to be identified and suitable changes should be incorporated. The name of the game at this stage is: Staying alert.
Stage 4: Testing:
Quality control predominates at this stage. All the features and the mechanics in the game needs to go through grueling tests. A game lacking the necessary testing prerequisite can stop dreaming about an Alpha release. Hidden weaknesses come to the fore as a consequence of testing. Some of them are:
❖ Accessing the possibilities of breaking the game.
❖ The presence of bugs in the game.
❖ Presence of any features through which the game can be exploited.
❖ Ability to easily walk through many barriers and other incongruities.
❖ The chances of getting stuck forever in a spot in the game.
❖ The dialogues for characters, their suitability, and engagement levels.
Production companies employ various playtesters to check the above factors to access whether playing the game was a satisfying and enriching experience or not. Based on the findings and their feedback, timely modifications and additions can be made to increase the fun quotient of the game. The testing and production phases are complementary. After an elaborate testing phase, a late Alpha release or a Beta release is on the cards.
Stage 5: The Pre-Launch:
The stage before the release of the Beta copy of the game demands marketing. A video that combines the right proportion of cinematics and gameplay samples to generate attention and create a hype wave is ideally released during popular conventions and gaming fests like E3 Expo or PAX. Particularly, if the game is AAA.
Stage 6: Launch:
The countdown to the launch is spent ideally to destroy the backlogs of old and new bugs in the game. Beyond that, the developers will focus more on polishing the game to make it a future example of an epic, near-perfect game. Once the game is immaculate, the launching and distribution of the game take precedence.
Stage 7: Post-Launch:
Adding new levels, multiplayer modes, and storylines to the game will help sustain the enthusiasm even after the launch. Consistent software updates which range from new downloadable content to game balancing patches are also part of the post-launch phase. Updates enhance the replay value as well as the overall appeal of a game.
Video game development is a roller coaster ride. The key to creating a memorable game lies in grasping the demands of each stage and minimizing the mistakes committed. Juego Studios is a game development company offering affordable game development solutions adhering to the steps mentioned above. Juego Studios have created popular games like Treatanaut, Adventure Quest Battle Gems, and Pro Feel Golf. Visit their website, go through their portfolio, and contact them for more information.