Game Development Stages: A Step-by-step Guide

December 16, 2020
Game Development Stages: A Step-by-step Guide

Game development can involve one individual or a dozen dispersed teams spread worldwide. For the easier and smooth running of the game development process, developers follow a well-defined guide that takes the development team through various stages. This article will take you through a step-by-step guide that will demonstrate game development stages right from the planning stage to the post-launching stage.  

Step 1: Planning 

planning game development project

Planning involves conceptualizing on paper how the game will be like before the design and development process. Plan on the type of game you want to develop, come up with the general outlook of the game, and know your target audience, major game mechanics, a form of the game (2D or 3D), players and their key features. The gaming idea is the backbone of the game development process as it sets standards for the team and gives publishers outlook on the expected outcome. 

Step 2: Providing proof 

Get to know whether the ideas created are viable in the game development process. At this game development stage find out: 

  • Estimated cost 
  • Technical capabilities to build the game 
  • Whether you will need a new gaming engine 
  • Number of team members needed 
  • Need to hire external voice actors and writers 
  • The estimated time frame for the game development process to be completed 

Game development stages must have a well-structured timeline indicating what should be done at every stage. Create timelines and give room for adjustments but ensure that you inform everyone whenever you decide to adjust the schedules or whenever priorities change.  

Step 3: Pre-production

The next game development stage involves bringing to life the ideas cultivated during planning. All staff, including scriptwriters and game designers, should work together during this stage to set up the pace for the game development journey. Writers should work hand in hand with project leads for a robust storyline. Engineers should work with writers to resolve challenges relating to technology while artists should team up with designers to produce the desired art styles and visuals, so you need to manage your game development team. In the pre-production phase of the game development stage, game producers begin creating a budget and formulating the marketing plan. Concept artists, on the other hand, sketch a visual guide showcasing the game development process flowchart. Also, during this stage, the producers should run a market test as this is of uttermost importance to publishers. Game publishers rely on advertising metrics and early-stage engagement metrics to decide whether to publish the game or not.  

Step 4: Prototype testing 

Game Development Stages

Game development stages involve Prototypes that should accomplish particular goals and answer questions like: which color is favorable for the majority of testers? Do your characters appeal to your audience? Game designers, programmers, artists, and level designers are responsible for creating the game’s features. Prototype testing game development stage is crucial as it determines if the project continues to other game development stages flowchart or it fails. This stage allows developers to know if the game functions properly. At this stage, the developers measure user experience, art direction and mechanics of the game. Some of the vital prototype tests you should consider include: 

  • Playtesting  

Here, you are interested in testing the playability of the game. Conduct refined testing for issues related to user experience and the game’s intuitiveness. If you come across bugs or loopholes define the causes, analyze them and resolve.  

  • Alpha Testing  

This is a deep analysis of the game development process meant to detect and identify bugs. It involves both white and black box testing by internal members where no outsiders are involved. Alpha test is instrumental in assessing the quality of the game. 

  • Beta Testing  

This testing process makes use of black-box testing and is carried out by outsiders to find out if the game is secure, reliable and robust.  You can use closed beta testing where only invited individuals to attend the testing or open beta where anyone can do the testing. Results will determine if your game development process flowchart proceeds to the production game development stage or it requires more refinement. Testing in game development stages analyses game function features like feature factors to ensure it works as required. Feedback collected from users can be put to practice in future versions of the game or can be dealt with immediately.  

Step 5: Recordkeeping 

Every activity in game development stages should be documented chronologically to make it easily accessible and to save on time. Record the information in a game design document (GDD) for easy guidance and reference throughout the game development stages. Records enable effective quality assurance procedures. GDD gives all information on the game, what it involves, what players do, and core-mechanics. A good game design document sells the game to investors. The documentation gives you an idea of risks, facilitates evidence-based decision making, and keeps your employees focused throughout the game development stages.  

Step 6: Production 

The production stage in game development stages is the most significant and challenging phase of the development process. This game development stage is critical as it brings to life every ideation and iteration process from step one to step five. The production process involves cording, programming, story development, editing, character-defining and sound productions. In this stage, the producers build the characters to be an exact representation of who they will be in the story. Producers have to ensure authenticity in audio production and ensure relevant emotions and facial expressions on characters are expressed correctly. Project leads will build milestones and schedules during this game development stage. 

Step 7: Pre-Launching 

Once production is over, prepare to pre-launch the game. At this game development phase, you may doubt whether the game will work and whether the players will love it. In this stage, you should run various tests to remove any bugs.  

Choose the media to market your game wisely and lay down a robust feedback system that will give you information crucial in editing the game. To attract potential publishers, you should produce sample gameplays and hype videos with a mix of cinematics. 

Step 8: Release 

planning game development project

Before you decide to release the game, ensure you remove bugs and polish up every aspect of the game. In this game development stage, you can release your game on steam, your personal official website or a third-party digital store. Release involves launching, project documentation, knowledge sharing and planning for the future development of the game.  

Step 9: Post-launching 

This is the final step in the game development process and it involves maintaining and upgrading the game. Maintenance will help you solve bug problems and edit the game to suit the market needs.  Ensure that you market the game even after releasing it to motivate and convince more people to purchase the game. For large video game production, you can market it right at the production stage to create hype among the fans. A good post- launching should provide for time to time software updates like game balancing patches and new DLCs. Some of the DLCs you can employ are: new level storylines and multi-player modes. This adds value to your game and makes it more appealing thus selling possibilities are also high.

These game development stages can consume time and resources. If you want the development process to go faster, offshore teams give you affordable and flexible game development outsourcing options. At Israel IT, we have developed dozens of games across all genres and we are set to help you in your next project. Contact us via email or social media handles for any questions.  

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