The video gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with many actors at different levels of development and distribution. Some of the most successful gaming personalities and publishers started small before expanding their way into big business and profitability. The video game development process can be long and winding as a result of factors such as resource availability and choice of development framework. Successful video game development is essentially a software development process that requires an innovative mind and total dedication. The main developmental procedures in game making are documenting, programming, testing and bug fixing.
In terms of skills and expertise, the team tasked with the role of creating video games includes producers, publishers, sound engineers, development team, designers, tester and programmers. The programmer is the principal software engineer. He undertakes critical functions that can make or break the video game development process such as scripting, management of graphical content utilization, mapping AI techniques and programming the game engine. This is in addition to integrating sounds, allocating memory, setting up network communication pathways and ensuring peripheral system integration.
If you want to create a game and you do not have essential coding or gaming development experience, there are several software development tools that you can use. These tools include; Unity (Linux/Windows/Mac OS), GameMaker (Windows/Mac OS X), Flixel (Open Source), RPG Maker for Windows and Stencyl (Linux/Windows/Mac OS). The other popular gaming software development tools include Construct (Windows) and Unreal Engine 4 (Windows/Linux and Mac OS). Since the video game development process requires proper planning, the following four main levels of development must be articulated:
I. Planning Phase
The planning stage is perhaps the most arduous because it is the foundation stage. During the planning stage, you will put together all the ideas you want to include in the game. Some of the critical areas of consideration include mapping the entire game, analyzing the outcomes and identifying the bugs and troubleshooting.
During the prototyping or design development stage, you will take time to test the core mechanisms and features of your game. The prototyping phase will also give you a better picture of what will work, before you begin coding. As a game designer or programmer, you can experiment with various usability scenarios and algorithms to determine what works well. This makes it the perfect time to make trade-offs, in order to come up with a great balance.
The key areas of focus during this stage include; developing the storyline, choosing the combat system and identifying the rewards and bonuses. The planning and prototyping levels can be performed interchanged, if you want to attain seamless results. Once your game has been planned and ironed out, you will get a clear picture of how it will start and finish.
III. Development Stage
The development stage is usually the most technical stage. The first thing to consider during the development stage is selecting the platform in which to base your game. Good examples of gaming platforms include web format and mobile app. The next step is selecting the programming language or development engine. The gaming platform you choose often determines the type of programming language you will use.
You can learn more about programming languages and development engines from a number of resources including free code libraries, existing gaming formats and gaming development sites. This stage of gaming development is usually fraught with lots discouragements, especially when you encounter issues that you cannot solve immediately. For this reason, it important to stay on course.
IV. Release and Maintenance
This is the final step in video game development. During this stage, the game enters the penultimate testing stage. One of the most critical game testing techniques in software development is the regression test. This test will help you determine whether everything is operating as it is intended, even after several months of releasing the game. You can easily test your game by getting a group of people including gaming experts to play the game and give you a feedback or a critic of the game. These feedbacks will help you make appropriate changes that will improve the user experience and make the game more fun.
If you intend to offer your game for sale, the next step after release is the maintenance phase. In some cases, a programmer may choose to collect bug reports and feedbacks over time in order to identify any emerging trends, before releasing the patches and other appropriate solutions. The level of maintenance demanded is generally determined by factors such as the gaming platform, types of bugs and software upgrades and compatibility issues. For example, MMOG games often require continuous maintenance as a result of the numerous changes and features that come into stream all the time.