Building a game from scratch is easier said than done, as it takes more than a brilliant idea to transform a concept into a product. Game development is a complex industry and the process per se takes time, commitment, dedication, and organizational skills. The production cycle of a game can be seamlessly crafted if the team involved collaborates efficiently.
In the lines below, we will discuss the 6 main phases of game development, and what it takes to design and develop a game from start to end.
#1 Pre-production phase
In the pre-production phase of developing a game, businesses get together with their chosen development provider and team to discuss the details of the project. In this stage, all stakeholders discuss planning, goals, KPIs, development approach, the timeline for development, and more.
It’s very important to not rush this phase because it serves as the foundation for the entire project. Details are critical as it ensures that everyone on the team knows and understands their duties. Some basic topics covered in pre-production:
- Estimated game budget
- Game type (e.g. 2D, 3D, midcore/hardcore 3D)
- Gaming platform (e.g. PC, mobile, console)
- Game genre (e.g. RPG, simulation, puzzle, sports)
- Game target audience
- Game mechanics
- Game monetization strategy
#2 Production phase
After everything has been set and everyone knows what they have to do, the 2nd phase is game production. It’s a dynamic and active stage where developers, designers, and testers collaborate to build the game in development. For production to happen smoothly, there are three main steps that need to be followed:
- Game design & graphics – all characters, visual effects, interface elements, and environments are created by 2D and 3D designers.
- Programming – this step is about using specific programming languages for gaming (e.g. Scala) to build the game’s backbone.
- Sound design – Sound effects and sound flow is created at this step. Clarifications with programmers and designers need to be made here to ensure gameplay accuracy.
#3 Testing phase
QA (quality assurance) is usually included in Phase #2. However, it’s worth mentioning separately because it’s the stage that requires time, attention, and patience. The timeline needs to be respected, but for that to happen clients must set priorities straight and clear. Game players can be ruthless, meaning that QA testers must quickly repair bugs and errors. Otherwise, the quality of the game will be impacted, thus diminishing its reputation.
The sooner bugs are fixed, the better chances the game has to get back live. For coders and programmers to implement user feedback, teamwork is vital. Before choosing a software development company or team to work with, make sure to check their portfolio. This way, you are sure that the people you’ll work with provide quality and adhere to their deadlines.
#4 Pre-launch phase
Pre-launch activities are often ignored by companies rushing to get their game released fast. However, if you require quality and efficiency, it’s worth going through this stage as well. It may include different activities, such as in-game commercial testing to ensure proper monetization, player notifications, reviews, and more.
Also, pre-launch often involves releasing the game for a limited amount of time just to make sure everything flows nicely and naturally. It’s a great time to prepare your marketing campaign, design a web page for your games, as well as connect it to different social channels to increase awareness.
#5 Launch phase
The launch of your game means releasing it to the market. It’s worth noting that minor additions and edits may still be required, but that’s perfectly normal as any game improves with time as gamers start to play it. Improving animations, and textures, and honing the overall user experience will be done after launch.
Ongoing game updates are important, too. Just because it’s out, it doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. It’s fierce competition out there, meaning that if your game doesn’t live up to the expectations of your users, sooner or later, they’ll switch for a better experience.
#6 Post-production phase
The difficult part of the game development process is complete. In time, as the game gains awareness and players begin to enjoy it, the team you’ve worked with will have to continue to improve the experience based on user feedback. Such feedback may include:
- Bug corrections
- Fixing errors
- Optimization for speed
- Adding more game levels or chapters
Regardless of the type of game your company is seeking to build, working with experts in game development is critical. To stay relevant and have a chance to compete with others in the market, your focus should be on interesting, fresh content that is constantly updated with the most recent market trends.