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Ten Round Fight To Create a Game: Phases of Game Development

Tuesday, 24 Nov 2015

Every game development consists of ten phases that any developer is experiencing for himself. Program-Ace today wants to discuss these stages in a bit more detail.

Round 1: Brainstorm

Game developersA game jam is when all development-related individuals who are going to participate in a game life cycle gather to discuss every idea that pops out in their heads. Everyone expresses their opinion and then together they form a plan and construction of a future game. It's significant to answer the following questions to make idea finished:

  • Who is the perfect player?
  • Why would he want to interact with the game?
  • What in this game can surprise him?
  • Will player have fun playing this game?
  • What kind of experience will he have?
  • Will he pay for it?

Round 2: Concept

Game concept is an essential outline that contains a brief description of all features, technologies, goals and overall gameplay.

Usually, this document is divided into four blocks:

Mechanics

It is a set of principles of behavior. In other words, this is what player should do to achieve goals. For instance, the mechanism of famous Tetris game includes characterization of each block and their possible shapes, of moves and rotations every block can take, randomizer, circumstances under which horizontal rows disappear. There is no such thing as winning conditions in Tetris because the main goal of this game is to prevent blocks from reaching the top of a screen as long as possible, so basically users can play this game for months.

Setting (story & aesthetics)

The aesthetics represents the way the game looks and sounds inside it. The story is basically a description of the game world. The story explains what has happened before current events and what is going on while you're playing. In some abstract games the story is not obligatory.

Technology

This part contains an explanation about target devices, preferred programming language, chosen middleware and level of performance. The Technology block describes balance between creating understandable code and making incredible performance on devices you care about.

Interaction

In this block, you need to explain the way user interacts with the game, how he will use the screen and target device abilities.

Round 3: Proof of Concept

ConceptThis stage is about finding proof of concept that was just approved. Here it's important to make sure that team is qualified enough to perform these tasks. Choosing skilled developers is already 30% of future success. Graphic artists determine the next 20% because they create the general environment and atmosphere.

But the idea of a game is essential even more. On this stage, business owner needs to gather the whole team and discuss the project all over again. They talk over about every part of a game and ask each other questions about game capabilities, for instance:

  • Will the gameplay be engaging enough?
  • Are the controls intuitive?
  • Can the game be transferred to a paper prototype? Will it still be the same game?
  • Will target audience like the setting of an adventure?

Work only with a team you trust, contact Program-Ace manager to find out more about possible cooperation models.

Round 4: GDD (Game Design Document)

GDD is an extremely detailed living document of a future game. This document is created by developers and designers and can be changed as soon as team modifies the requirements. GDD serves to organize and coordinate the efforts of each person in a crew.

The purpose of GDD is to describe precisely all aspects of a game like target audience, gameplay, graphics, level, story (plot), characters, user interface, tools, and so on. This document is divided into separate parts so that every game developer and designer knows exactly what to do.

For example, document should contain comprehensive description of each character, including his type, appearance, health, possible movements, skills, behavior (what this person or creature does for a living, for example, saves the world, kills zombies, eats people, washes the floor, fights with other creatures, etc.), weapons and accessories (like cars or houses) and everything that is connected to this character. 

Round 5: Prototypes

Despite the fact that many mechanics have been already discussed (and possibly changed) during Round 3, now it's time to see the idea in action. In this round, the task is to create a playable prototype for all chosen platforms. It's not necessary to assign all possible features to the prototype, just select the main ones and include fundamental mechanics.

This simple move can show a lot of mistakes in game design and fix them before the development process. In addition, it can give insights about users' reaction and behavior. Often players perform entirely different actions from what team expects from them. This frequently leads to new ideas and a mass of improvements.

Round 6: Design

From huge experience we possess it can be concluded that many game features, functions or characters are changed significantly or even disappear during Round 5 or planning stage. Team comes to new solutions or finds new approaches, so the project now is not the one it was at first. And it could become different in the future, so it's important to develop flexible architectural solutions. Such architecture design based on module approach may seem hard to perform; however, it will solve a lot of problems that can arise as a result of different issues and misunderstandings. On this stage, designers create a 'silhouette of a game'.

Round 7: Development

This stage should not have problems because the prototype has already shown its operability and efficiency and system architects took care about an architectural part. Of course, no one can avoid bugs but if team won all previous rounds there will be no need to be scared of development itself.

Round 8: Testing

When the first playable version is available alpha and beta testing should be conducted. Alpha testing obviously comes first. During it, the game is distributed to a limited number of potential players in order to receive feedback about the gameplay and possible improvements. When all necessary changes are made the game undergoes beta testing to test performance and make last bettering. On this stage, the game should contain all content and features but not critical bugs.

Round 9: Release

Well, it's show time. As soon as beta-test is finished and definite improvements are made it's time to deliver The Game to the target audience. This step is not just about sending it to all app stores connected with target devices. It also includes sharing the news and links in social networks, promotion of the game through the articles, game reviews and so on. These actions should convince people to at least try The Game because they surely have other things to do and other games to play.

Round 10: Support

You think you've done everything you can when released the game, but you're wrong. Long-standing experience and a lot of research confirmed that updating of the game define growing of its audience, and company profit as a result. Experts state that it's best to release updates with new content and features every three-five weeks.

And now officially yes, you win!

Conclusion

This is a long way to go, and it's essential to find the right team to develop the game you've imagined. Program-Ace possesses many years of experience in game and application development using various search engines including Unity3D and Unreal Engine 4. We are the team of professionals and will be pleased to consult and help you to implement your ideas. Contact our manager to get a comprehensive consultation.


 
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Testimonials
Stuart Lewis-Smith

GSN Games is completely satisfied with Program-Ace's technical expertise and the quality of services they provide. We look forward to collaborating with Program-Ace again...

 
Stuart Lewis-Smith, Senior VP and General Manager, GSN Games
Scott Zerby

Program-Ace has completely dispelled my concerns. The online project management system is one of the best I have seen...

 
– Scott Zerby, Vice President at ValuSoft
Tim Ransom

If you're looking for a professional, dedicated, digital development partner, I highly recommend Program-Ace...

 
– Tim Ransom, President at Visual Thunder Media
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