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Game Development and Genres Influence

Samantha Maria Cabrera
Ivy Tech Community College




General Purpose: To inform

Specific Purpose: To inform the audience of the video game development cycle and how genre
plays a part in it.

By examining the development cycle of video games, the influences genre has

on the subject matter can be properly identified in the plot, gameplay and environment of the

I. Attention Material
A. What defines a genre?
1. A form of composition that shares similarities in style and representation in a
B. What are the main genres in video games?
1. Arcade
2. Adventure
3. RPG
4. Strategy
5. Fighting
II. Orienting Material
A. What is a video game?
1. Console vs PC game vs Mobile



2. Portability vs In Home Entertainment

B. Define aspects of design
1. Desired story
2. Type of gameplay
a. Refer back to genre
3. Graphics
4. Platform
5. Publisher
6. Developer influence
I. Concept to Paper
A. Pre-Production
B. Production Plan
C. Publishing
D. Revision or Scrap
II. Paper to Product
A. Production Stage
B. Game Designers
C. Level Design
D. Art Design
E. Audio Design
F. Testing
a. Alpha and Beta



G. Published
I. Summary
A. Through the development cycle of the video games design, genre influences graphics,
gameplay and story that the game will have.
II. Clincher
A. Video games are great!!!
B. Have a nice day.



This informative research paper focuses on video game development and how genre choice
effects influences the medium. The method used to display the effect is to showcase each step in
the life cycle of video game development. The scope of this analysis will range from a selection
of five genres; arcade, adventure, roleplaying, strategy, and fighting. From the methodology and
scope, the audience will have an understanding of video game development, what is considered
genre in games, and how genre effects games. Another observation that the audience might learn
through this paper is that video games are more complex and abstract than the label of being a
childs toy belies.



Game Development and Genres Influence:

Genre; a form or style of composition sharing similarities through representation and
interpretation, is used to define books, movies, music, and video games. Without the literary
term, categorization would be tedium and deny audiences a common ground to compare other
compositions with another. In this research essay, the video game development will be detailed
as well as how genre influences the creation of a video game. Of the genres tackled in this
medium, the arcade, adventure, roleplaying (RPG), strategy, and fighting genre will be explored
throughout varying portions of this paper.
As blogger and video game developer Gdev explains, arcade games are any game either
popularized in the 1980s (e.g. Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaga, etc.) or any game with an 8-bit color
scheme aesthetic. Roleplaying games have experience points and levels, strategy is composed of
top-down viewpoints and detailed gameplay mechanics that require much thought, fighting
games consist of usually two players being positioned at either side of the screen with health bars
situated above the player characters, and adventure games consist of either one or more of the
previous genres mixed together or otherwise (GDev 2014). While it is important to note that
there is no set rule to how detailed a games genre is classified, these genre tend to define a large
array of video games in one aspect or another.. But what is a video game?
A video game is any of various interactive games played using a specialized electronic
gaming device or a computer or mobile device and a television or other display screen, along
with a means to control graphic images (Dictionary, 2015). Although there are a few
circumstances that are grey areas of whether certain games are considered video games and not
just interactive visual novels, this paper will not touch upon that distinction.



Rather, it is important to note that video games have no set platform that they are played
on. Either be it a console such as the PS4 and Xbox One, a computer (PC or Mac), or a Smart
Phone or tablet, all these mediums can be used to play video games. Consoles and computers are
generally limited to the home whereas mobile games have access to be played anywhere
regardless. However, consoles and computers can handle much larger file sizes and more intense
graphics. Generally consoles and PC games are an open market to all genres and styles of video
games due to the ease of use for both player and developer and how common both mediums are
in day-to-day life. Smart phones are growing to a necessity for the modern person, but, the
primary function is still to keep in contact with others and social media with the occasional
Candy Crush or Angry Birds, not as much to play highly-detailed, tactical, espionage action such
as the PlayStation One classic Metal Gear Solid.
The other angles to inspect are the aspects of design that come into play when creating a
video game. Video games are not simply created out of a flourish of thin air. They (the good ones
at least) have a growing story, immersive gameplay, suitable graphics, and rules that players can
understand. Without a balance and time devoted to creating these intricacies, games are either
left to become scrapped or like Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma, become published as
unfinished projects without proper cohesion or direction. As such, it is important to go step-bystep through the life cycle of a video game.
From Concept to Paper
When a development company, a company that conceptualizes and develops video
games, embarks on a project, the very first step is to gather a team of designers, artists, producers
and engineers to focus on developing an idea or concept and produce the initial design
documents for the project. Generally the team sorts through various ideas and genre directions as



well as scrapped projects that they may be able to reuse for the new one. The action-horror title,
Until Dawn, for instance, went through several design thumbnails of getting the ideal
environment for a camp horror before the concept was solidified (Sony, 2015). This stage is
referred to as the pre-production or design phase. The goal of this phase is to create an
understandable documentation that displays all the tasks, timelines and budgets that the project
will need.
This paperwork, or production plan, is the developers proposal to publishers for funding
on the product. The publisher in the video game industry has the main duty of funding,
marketing, and publishing video games, though they sometimes have in-house development
teams within their company. Nintendo and Sony are two companies that act as development,
publishing and console marketers, for example. If a development company is lucky enough to
have an in-house publisher like Nintendo or Sony, they only need upper management approval.
Just like cinema, if the idea is not approved, it will either need revision, or a new project
entirely will have to be formed. When it is approved, a formal concept document is written. More
detailed than the production plan, the concept document contains all information about the game;
the genre, gameplay description, features, setting, story, audience, schedule, market analysis,
requirements, and risk analysis (Bates, 2004).
During this time frame, concept art and asset sketches are developed and prototypes
showcasing one or more of the projects features will be developed. The use of specific genre are
further conceptualized and drafted as the development team focuses on a strong production plan
that will remove the threat of delays in development early on.
Paper to Product



After figuring out the elements and schedules of the concept plan, the production stage
becomes the next focus. This stage is when assets and the source code for the game are produced.
Assets are the design materials used to create the sprites and character models within the game,
items and tools within the game are also considered assets. Source code is the main code that is
programmed in the game to run the set functions that the features are capable of. For instance,
the inputs to a fighting games moves as in Street Fighter and Skull Girls. Sound effects and the
music soundtrack along with levels and dialogue are also staples of the production phase.
Throughout, game designers work on the design of the project.
Game designers modify and implement the designs to reflect the vision of the project
(Brathwaite & Schreiber, 2009). Specific abilities and functions are commonly added or removed
and the aesthetic may change along with the backstory of the plot to suit a different perspective.
Perspectives in arcade games like Pac-Man are limited to appearing simple in design and
focusing on objectives like eat all the cherries without getting attacked where as strategy games
like Jagged Alliance offer more game objectives like lead the militia, ally with the townsfolk
for help, and find the ice cream truck to trick and ambush the enemies in it. In order to
experiment with those changes, programmers work to deliver prototypes of the features in the
game and fix any bugs that crop up during the development of levels and aspects of gameplay.
Level design is the development of several rooms in the video game that provide a unique
theme related to the games core theme with challenges and possible interactive segments.
Common level designs are snow, water or lava themed. Snow levels typically put an emphasis on
the characters movements on ice. Water levels either provide the player with a thematic change
of scenery or applies a game mechanic for swimming. Lava levels are most often used as the last
large enemy stage. These stages reoccur several times in the adventure games, Super Mario Bros.



In this way, the artistic style of the project is brought into fruition and the development
team can further implement the environment their characters will take shape in so that it suits
them properly.
Just like the art design, audio production is a key point in bringing the genre of the video
game to light and giving atmosphere to what would be a colorful yet empty playing environment.
Through the use of sound effects, effective tracks suited to in-game situations and conflict, and
(optionally) voiced characters, the project has a more cohesive sense of flow and ambience.
Strong rock music done at fast, energetic pace can be more suited toward an action sequence or
fighting game stage. Somber, haunting tunes played by cello can evoke the sense of loss when a
character faces a seemingly insurmountable challenge that they lack any ability to overcome like
in the strategy RPG Fire Emblem: Awakening. Even hip-hop can be used to convey a characters
attitude or the aesthetic choice of the game.
Even with all those finely tuned details meshed and molded together, the project still
requires quality assurance to make sure that the project can become a product. While testing has
been a titular role in development since the beginning, as the project draws to a close, several
testers are employed in order to test new features, remove faulty ones, give critique and point out
possible pitfalls. At times, during this crucial part of the project, entire lines of code and story
direction are removed due to either an inability to incorporate the material cohesively or lack of
funding to finish a detail to its fruition. In order to make sure that the video game is completed
by its deadline, each stage of development and testing has milestones which keep testers on track
of reporting what to keep and cut (Bates, 2004).
The video game goes through an alpha and beta stage before being released as one of the
milestones. Through those two stages, the very last testings are done and at times the alpha and



beta are released to the public for consultation from the fanbase. Many independently made
games have public alpha and beta releases.
Once the video game has been tested thoroughly, the developers hand the project off to
their publishing company and the game is finalized for shipment. PR handles any promotions for
the product and often releases trailers during production of the game. Soon the video game is on
retail shelves for several consumers to buy and critique.
Throughout this paper, the different steps taken to develop a video game have been
detailed. From the concept to publishing, genre has influenced the direction the design and
structure of the product. Without some direction and constant examination, a video game can not
come to fruition. And even in the rare cases where they do, more times than not, the product is
unable to create a market for itself or become popular.
It is important to understand that video games arent made as simply as Pick-Up-Sticks or
Hot Potato. The development of one video game can take anywhere from one year of production
to ten years, and some are never lucky enough to emerge from the development cycle. The one
ability that video games have that trumps books and movies is its ability to interact with the
player, and that isnt an experience easily created. Video games are great.

Bates, Bob (2004). Game Design (2nd ed.). Thomson Course Technology.



Brathwaite, Brenda; Schreiber, Ian (2009). Challenges for Game Designers. Charles River
GDev (2014) What makes features make a RPG? e.g. character creation, choice making etc.
Retrieved from
Sony Computer Entertainment. (2015). Until Dawn. [Playstation 4]. Surrey, UK: Supermassive
Video-game. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved from