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Phase 1: Concept

The genesis of all games that you see available on store shelves at your local
Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us or Electronics Boutique is a simple concept or
idea. If it's an original concept, it's typically derived from a source within the
company, albeit there are times that ideas from individuals outside the company
will be used.
In either case, the original concept is just a simple idea for what the game can be
about. For instance, a simple game concept could be to make a futuristic 3D
street racing game with hovercrafts with a setting akin to the current import tuner
street racing scene of today's world. It can also be something as simple as
making an action/adventure game where you're controlling a ninja.
The game's conception can also start as simply wanting to make a follow-up or
sequel to an existing title, a game based on an existing non-gaming characters,
stories or franchises - from other mediums such as television, comic books,
board games, movies, folklore, or history - or a game that's meant to simulate
some real world experience, such as the case with sports, flight, or driving
simulations. In these cases, the genesis of the game's development can simply
be the company deciding that it wants to make a game that simulates the real-life
sport of professional baseball or one that's based on the television series The
Sopranos.
Phase 2: Pre-Production
The next step that needs to be done in the game development process is
commonly referred to as the pre-production phase. This is where a preproduction team, which typically includes a varied number of producers, assistant
producers, designers, programmers, artists and writers, will work on things such
as writing the storyline, creating storyboards, and putting together a
comprehensive design document detailing the game's goals, level designs,
gameplay mechanics and overall blueprint.

rules. The storyline is a vastly important process as it defines the main characters. If a company is working on a game based on a Disney license. the creative freedom is often limited to what's acceptable within the realm of the franchise or real world event in question. While new characters. creating one is the first step. It can be as simple as coming up with the names of a cast of characters that are entering some fighting tournament or it can be a much most substantial undertaking that can include a full screenplay and tens of thousands words of dialog.The freedom that the pre-production team has in each of these areas is often limited to the type of game being made. Of course. artists and designers have free reign to craft whatever their imaginative minds desire with the sky being the limit within the realm of the technological limitations of the hardware the game's being developed on. The story and characters are only limited by the imaginations of the people on the pre-production team. if a simulation of professional hockey is being developed the designers are obliged to mimic the real-life rules and regulations of the sport. if what's being worked on is a simple simulation of backgammon and use of characters or a plot isn't being planned. regulations and look of the National Hockey League. and rules may be added. setting and overall theme. there'll often be restrictions with what the characters can do or say or what the storyline can encompass. In instances where the game being developed is based on a licensed franchise or a simulation of a real world event. if it's an NHL-licensed hockey simulation being developed it will have to have a foundation based on the real-life players. When a game's being created on a completely original concept. then this step and the next is typically omitted. There'll also typically be guidelines that stipulate precisely what the characters in the game must look like. Likewise. teams. . teams. if game being developed is of a genre that necessitates a storyline. Regardless of the creative freedom allowed by the game concept. plot. the story writers.

. what standards that the hardware manufacturer may require to be followed in order to be approved for release on the system. is the piecing together of a comprehensive design document for the game. what scripted events occurs. what can and cannot be interacted with. The third prominent aspect of the pre-production phase. The parties involved must also take into consideration the technical limitations of the platform that the game is being created on and. concept art. what the game's goal is. In addition to including the storyline and storyboards. the next step a company will execute is to attempt to piece together a storyboard for the game. and maps of the different worlds or levels within the game. in the case of consoles. This is more or less a visual representation of storyline that includes sketches. Moreover. and text to explain what happens in each section or scene of the game. and the rules for how you win/lose in the game. The storyboards may be done for scripted elements within the action portions of the gameplay and more often for the cinematic CG rendered or realtime cut-scenes that are often used to further along the story of the game in question. This is where the designers. the design document will also incorporate the designers overall blue print for exactly how the game will be played. things such as what exactly is in each world.Once the storyline is completed. which generally is done alongside the writing of the story and the crafting of the storyboards. must decide things such as what exactly happens on screen when a specific button or key or direction on an input device is pressed. and how the NPC (non-player controlled) characters react to what the player-controlled character does in the game must also be mapped out in enough detail for the programmers and artists to be able to know what needs to be coded and created. what each menu or screen in the game will look like. what the controls for the character or characters are. as well as the software engineers in many cases.

the game's designers still play a big role here as it's their job to make sure that the details of the designs are being properly implemented by the artists and the programmers.Phase 3: Production After the pre-production phase is complete and the game's overall blueprint has been finalized. whether an omission on the part of the designer or just something that couldn't be done due to technical limitations of the hardware that weren't able to be overcome or simply finding out early on that a designed idea just didn't work. the development of the game enters the production phase and now larger group of producers. characters and menus . they must be able to come up with solutions and/or new designs for what comes up. Those in production will also work with dealing with any licenses that the game uses and in making sure the company's marketing department knows what it needs to know about the title. artists and programmers are typically brought into the mix. art and programming teams to make sure everyone is working together as a well-oiled machine and that everyone's on the same page. albeit not always the case with many less organized developers. Programs such as Maya and 3D Studio Max will often be used to model all of the game's environments. making sure the schedules are adhered to.essentially everything you see in the game. Whilst the design document is typically completed by this phase. And in cases where holes in the design are found. In the cases where motion-captured . The main job for them is to create the schedules to be followed by the engineers and artists. objects. The artists during the production phase will be working on building all of the animations and art which you'll see in the game. and to ensure that the high-concept goals of the design are followed throughout the development of the game. The producer or producers will work with the design. designers. The art team will take care of creating all of the texture maps that are added to the 3D objects to give them more life and character and will also take care of animating any characters or objects that move in the game.

and artificial intelligence (AI). The AI is yet another important element of the game's software code and it's generally written by an individual AI programmer or a team of AI programmers. textures. there'll be a motion capture team that works with the artists to collect the data and solve it to work with the skeletons of the game characters so the movement of the in-game characters reflect what was motion-captured of the real-life actor. and movement of every single character and object in the game. They write the routines that specifically define what happens when a character interacts with other characters with objects and how the controllable characters respond to the game player's input on the control device. Once all of the base elements have been implemented by both the artists and programmers. which will be the base of all the company's games. There will also be a set of programmers responsible for creating the game's 2D or 3D engine. often using what's been delivered by the art staff. The library more often than not is something that has already been created for the company for use with all its games and is updated and constantly updated and tweaked in order to meet any new goals or expectations for the development of newer titles. which is an application that generates all of the polygons. collisions. lighting. engine. Decisions will have to be made as to whether to reduce polygon counts on objects or characters or eliminate or add new lighting or special effects in order to . often based in the C programming language. Many times the library team will be required to write its own custom programming code. interactions. the production team will then work on trying to optimize all the aspects of the game to get it to run well on the hardware being developed for. They work on all of the physics. They write the logic that make the characters and objects all act as per designed in the design document. At this time.data is used to help create more life-like movement. and special effects that you see in the game. the programming gurus are working on coding the game's library.

Once all of the bugs have been fixed and all of the standards have been determined to be met. Nintendo or Sony. This is when an alpha version of the game is created and is supplied to the game's test department to bang away at and find bugs and major flaws in the game that need to be changed whether by the artists or programmers. This is where the hardcore testing is done and every single bug regardless of how major or minor is documented and attempted to be fixed. a company will do whatever it can in order to keep the game running at a constant 60 frames per second by sacrificing visual effects or polygonal counts or just my optimizing the models. this is also the stage where the testers must make sure that the game abides by all of the "standards" that are determined by the manufacturer of console that must be followed in order for the game to be approved for release. textures. Phase 4: Post-Production The final stage of a game's development is the post-production stage. When developing a title for any of the consoles by companies such as Microsoft. This begins when the game is considered "feature complete" and all of the code has been written and art has been completed. It includes things such as the "B" button always having to be used to back out of menus on games developed for the Microsoft Xbox and the "A" button always having to be used to advance. One all of the bugs and major flaws are identified and addressed. a beta version of the game is then produced and once again sent to the test department to be picked through with a fine tooth comb. In some cases. while others are willing to sacrifice a consistent frame rate to throw in as much eye candy as they can muster. a final version of the game is made and. and AI codes to the fullest. with the major "A" type bugs the top priority with the "B's". in the case of the . "C's" and less important bugs addressed as time or company policy may dictate.get the game running at a frame rate that's deemed acceptable by the development team.

the production team will fix all of the problems in question. put it through their own test department again to ensure that everything was fixed and nothing new was broken. and then once again submit it for approval. If bugs are found or approval is not met. .consoles. is for the game to be manufactured and then distributed to stores where you can go out and buy them. is sent to the console maker to get tested and approved for release on the system in question. All that's left to do once the game is approved by the console manufacturer or just "finished" by the developer in the case of PC games.