In this article, I’ll be taking you through the main stages of game development and the best practices most of companies follow.
There are 4 Main Stages of Game Development
There are 4 main stages of game development. Well, there is scope to divide four stages into 7 stages. Down the article, we will take you through that stage also. First, let’s see the 4 main stages of game development.
- Planning Stage
- Preparation stage
- Bug testing and Deployment
It is still difficult for many people to understand that game development is an extremely difficult job that requires a serious team of professionals, knowledge and experience. That is because the gaming industry is evolving rapidly and game developers face a lot of competition as everyone aims to create something that would win the hearts of gamers. Therefore, game development can often take more than several years.
Developers of the games would say that these years may be described as a time of never-ending deadlines, changes, pressure from stakeholders, etc. But what does their work look like starting from the idea to the product?
Look at 5 Stages of Game Development
1. Planning Stage
The whole team will sit together during this stage and brainstorm many ideas. Once we think that an idea will actually work out, we then do a lot of brainstorming and we do a lot of research based on that idea. Once we are confident that the idea will work out, we ask ourselves these basic questions.
- What kind of a video game are we developing is it be for a 2D or 3D?
- What kind of platform are we going to develop
- Who are our target audience and one of the features is it’s gonna have?
Once you have the answers to these basic questions. Then we plan for the budget if we have the technological capabilities, the team size, and the engine will have to use the estimated time frame for the whole project and for most important, monetization.
The game developers’ team comprises professionals in design, art, and solution architecture. If necessary, each of these specialists must prepare decisions related to the area they represent – seek consensus that allows them to achieve the best results.
During this time, the main questions about the upcoming video game must be answered, including its type, plot, target audience, and types of resources. Also, the team must create the game’s rules and descriptions. These must include such information as mechanics’ description, metagame and customization design, game visual style and graphics requirements.
Furthermore, after covering all the topics mentioned above, the team of professionals has to answer such questions as – how long the game development may take. What will specialist help be needed in the development process? How should the budget be allocated to achieve the goals at hand?
How long does the pre-production stage last? Depending on the project budget, scope and resources, this stage last from one to three months. After all the procedures are ready, the team is ready for the second stage.
2. Preparation Stage
The next stage in game development is the preparation stage. In this stage, we develop even more ideas based on the initial idea that our writers and concept artists planned at the planning phase. We give out a visual guide of the general aspect of the game all the basic information established during the pre-production stage is noted down in a game design document. In short, a GPU is continuously updated and improved since many changes will occur during the game. We’re eating create a small prototype of the game just to understand if the main mechanics will actually work out or not. During this time, we also checked the game mechanics, how the art is going to work out etc
3. Production Stage
The next stage is the production stage. This is the stage where the idea will actually start gaining its shape. The art team will start creating their characters, the props the environments, and other and other details necessary or that need to be added in the game. The programmers will create thousands of lines of source code to bring life to the game, the sound engineers will create the background music for the SFX and the voiceovers the project leads will create milestones and sprints to ensure that the tasks are assigned properly to each department and each team, and we also ensure that each task is performed correctly in time
This stage is the most difficult and intensive because the team starts developing the game. They create characters, and environments, define game mechanics, pacing, balance, build game levels, etc.
Moreover, during the production stage, the team also has to create audio design and ensure that the sound appears in time and sounds authentic. The same applies to the scenes where characters speak.
Usually, the production stage consists of 6 parts: prototype, first playable, pre-alpha, alpha, beta, and release candidate. Each stage allows you to detect remaining errors and improve in different areas.
The larger the team, the more people can dedicate to a particular aspect of production, while a smaller one requires specialists to undertake multiple roles. Also, the more accurate a game’s representation of reality is, the longer it can take to develop a game. Depending on the game and its details, a production stage can last from a few months to a few years.
As mentioned before, the testing part is intertwined with the production stage. Every part of production is inseparable from testing. However, the main and most important testing is carried out after the game is recognized as a release candidate – it is time for detailed testing! The team’s goal is to determine whether there are any error areas left in the game. Is there any problem with moving the game’s characters, is everything rendering on the screen? Also, to test what could be a player’s reaction to this game? Will he or she be interested in the game or bored?
However, testing is not ordinary playing by the rules. As there are a lot of different tests, playtesters may get the craziest tasks such as running and hitting a wall or jumping off buildings, etc. Moreover, they might be asked to participate in surveys and interviews.
To determine whether the game’s developers successfully fulfilled the technical part of the game and to understand how engaging and interesting this game is for the players.
The release stage may be called a polishing stage. After the testing is finished and the errors found in it have been fixed, time is still allocated for other improvements in graphics, audio, movement and other improvements to achieve the best possible final result.
When the team members have no more comments or other observations to improve the quality of the game, the game is ready for release and distribution.
The final stage is the post-production stage. During this stage, the QA is the quality assurance, and the testers will ensure that the gain is of topmost quality and it’s bug-free at the same time, the game’s marketing will take place throughout the post-production stage till its effective release.
It is the stage that every member looks forward to from the beginning of game development. The long journey towards the set goal has ended, and its clear result can be seen. After launching the new game and spreading it worldwide, game players may find some minor bugs or batches. Their identification and squashing are also a part of the post-release stage.
In this stage, the team has to prepare software updates for the game it developed and give other related recommendations. For example, to use a Virtual Private Network when playing the game, etc. By the way, we recommend using them as well. That is the way to keep sensitive private information safe.
The player enjoying the game often has no idea about the course of its development, the team working on releasing it, and how long it took to make it. Probably game players do not necessarily need to know about it. Thus, this information is significant for those who would like to start making video games. The journey of a new game from idea to product is intense, exhausting, and often very long. And success is not guaranteed indeed.
However, those who are sure they have something to offer the world and the gaming industry will not be afraid of any challenges or difficulties but will consider them an opportunity to learn and improve.