Everybody involved in the production and maintenance of video games understands that it is a complicated but essential process. This is why learning how to create a product that stands out is so important. However, only some companies can adequately build the workflow. This can lead to chaos and poor management.
You can optimize and organize your workflow if you know and follow the video game development process.
This article will discuss the critical stages of game development and their particularities. We’ll also share game development tips and how to find a trustworthy partner for custom game design.
What are the different stages of game development?
Game development typically involves five stages: preproduction to production, quality assurance, launch, and maintenance, as well as post-production.
Stage 1. Pre-production in game development
Each stage in the game creation process has an integral part. However, the first planning phase directly influences all subsequent steps. It is essential to begin the process of computer game development by gathering information about a product’s future, including technical requirements. Managers and product managers work together to determine the goals and business for the project and the core concept.
- Analysis of the market and competition. It is essential to determine which market is the most popular and what brings in the highest profit.
- The target audience. It is essential to know who your target audience will be to help you develop the game according to their preferences.
- Choose a platform. The popularity of the venue chosen is often based on the company’s coding skills.
Allocation of resources. It is essential to determine the number of needed specialists, equipment, and video game development timeline required to complete a project.
- Concept art. Concept artists design characters, environments, and props for games.
Type of monetization You can make money through ads, in-game purchases, or selling products at a fixed rate.
- Risk analysis. It involves calculating all possible risks ahead of time and determining the best methods for damage mitigation.
- Marketing strategy. Considering how the game can appeal to as many players as possible is essential.
Once all information and requirements are collected, a Game Design Document is created. In this document, more specific requirements for a particular game are listed. These include genre, plot, type, gameplay mechanics, level design, and environment.
Stage 2. Production
The production stage of a video game’s production pipeline is the most labor-intensive and extended phase. It can be divided into multiple stages.
The prototype stage is the first. It’s a playtest that demonstrates the main mechanics of the game. An example is the Swedish warship Vasa, built in the 17th Century.
It took hundreds of artisans to build it, and the final product was colossal. The ship quickly capsized at the first sail and eventually sank because of poor design. This is a reminder that even the best design ideas and expertise must be tested during the game design stage.
Visual content creation
Visual content can refer to all game elements, including characters, props, or environment. The format of the game (D/3D or 2D) can significantly impact the amount of time it takes to play.
2D games follow the same development pipeline as 3D. However, it takes less time and requires less complex technology. The flat visual content design involves drawing, coloring, and animation. The process is relatively straightforward and quick, but this also depends on the content.
3D games require more work and are often more complex to create. Artists need more advanced software and tools. 3D modeling is a complex process that requires more knowledge and skills to be successful.
Game-level design development
Level design is where specialists create the logic behind the game levels. Each genre has its own unique set of rules. This could be done after completing a linear quest. Or it can increase the difficulty of an open-world game.
A level designer is responsible for developing game mechanics, plot, and economy design, as also valuable details like hints that describe new mechanics and lead players through a game. They can also create transitions between levels.
Voice acting and audio design
Sound is an integral component of immersive game design. Sound experts create sound effects and soundtracks for games in various situations. A sound effect can also give the player signals about danger, victory, or defeat.
Natural sounds include character steps, sound effects like an explosion or shot, and water or wind. The voices of the characters must be recorded in addition to the music. With the help of voice actors, each monologue and line of characters is recorded and imported into the software.
Once all game elements have been created, developers create thousands of lines of code to link them together. Many times, game engines are used to do this. This task is difficult because a game must develop as a puzzle. It cannot have mutually exclusive mechanics and should function without failures and errors. Game developers must consider all technical aspects and create an enjoyable user experience.
Stage 3. Quality assurance
It must be tested to ensure that a game is error-free and bug-free. A single bug can severely impact the user experience and overall game experience. Functional testing, nonfunctional testing, and Alpha- and Beta testing are often performed.
Types of Functionality:
Interoperability game testing
Regression game testing
Localization game testing
Security access control games testing
Testing user acceptance
Types of non-functional testing:
Loading game testing
Volume game testing
Tests of usability
Installation game testing
Configuration game testing
Disaster recovery game testing
Learn more about the different types of game testing, their particularities, and game testing tips.
After functionality, performance, compatibility, and other features have been tested and all bugs fixed, it’s time to move on to the Alpha and Beta development stages. Alpha testing is the final testing of a game’s functionality and performance when QA engineers fix any remaining bugs. Sometimes it is followed by Beta Testing, which isn’t done by professionals but by people who imitate end users.
Stage 4. Launch
Everybody eagerly waits for the product launch. The launch is just the beginning. There are usually enough mistakes and flaws even before a game launches. So, in parallel to the launch, the team of game developers continues to make improvements and add more details. Developers will benefit from feedback from testers who provide valuable feedback.
Stage 5. Post-production
The game must be constantly monitored for fixes and improvements after it has been launched. Studios should release regular updates to meet the technical needs of platforms.
Companies often update the game’s content or add new features to keep gamers interested. This all requires quality maintenance and constant testing of new versions.
Game Development Tips to Make a Project Perfect
Professionals who have worked in game development for years know the importance of small details. We’ll share some tips and tricks that we have learned from our years of experience.
Guide your users
You can add visual clues for the non-obvious moments in gameplay, particularly the first game levels. As the creators and developers of Half-Life and Mirrors Edge suggest, you can highlight critical objects by using bright colors and sound prompts.
Find excellent references.
This is the most critical stage in collecting and studying references. Analyze your competitors, explore as many options as possible and highlight each connection’s best and most exciting features. This will allow you to bring the best into every game development stage.
Make your game unique.
While it’s helpful to look at competitors and learn from their successes, it is equally important to introduce unique features to your product to be different from others. You can analyze what is lacking in similar outcomes to create something that gamers will always remember.
Use game engines.
Unity and Unreal Engine have been created explicitly for full-cycle game development. You will find various tools to help you execute every stage of the development process, along with detailed instructions and tips. The engine can even be used to test the features of games.
Don’t hesitate to delegate.
The game development process is complex and large-scale. It cannot be easy to keep up with the deadlines without compromising quality. You can outsource a few, or all, of the processes to a professional developer.
Game Development Services will help you to create a fantastic product.
As shown, many steps are involved in creating a video game. Each step can be subdivided into different phases of game development. Many companies need more resources or expertise to complete full-cycle game development. Some may need help in a critical stage.
Game-Ace has a large development team that can assist you with any process, from concept art to coding, product testing, maintenance, and even product testing. Our portfolio includes many commercially successful games across various platforms, including mobile, PCs, consoles, VR headsets, and PCs.