All games go through a step-by-step process of creation and development. Whether a huge video game created by a big AAA studio team or a board game crafted by a single independent game maker, here are the steps a game goes through from idea to ready to download and play.
This is the phase when the game is still an idea.
In pre-production, you must determine your game's genre, main mechanic, and story. Is it analog or digital? If it's digital, what platform is it built for, and what are the controls? How does your player interact with the game? What is the world where the game takes place? Answering these questions will lead you to a game concept.
In some cases, a team will construct an experimental early prototype in Unity or using physical materials. This exploration helps determine if the game concept is fun.
Upon developing a game concept, many studio teams will deliver a Greenlight Presentation at the end of this phase. After witnessing this presentation, studio executives will give a green, yellow, or red light to the project. Green means the project is ready to enter production. Yellow or red means the team must improve upon their concept, and present again.
This is the phase when the game comes into being.
In production, you must create a prototype that fulfills the ideas in your game concept. It's time to actually make the game! This is the most intensive phase of game making, because the team must do the work of implementation, playtesting, and iteration.
As the prototype comes to life, the game concept may change to reflect technical realities. Most games in production move through the following stages of development.
This is the first time in production when the game is actually playable. In an analog game, it means we have completed a draft of the rules and created demo components. In a digital game, we have built key systems such as an avatar, a gameplay mechanic, and a win/lose condition.
This is a version of the game that the team feels comfortable testing internally. The team has implemented all of the systems outlined in the game concept, and is ready to start making them work well together.
The game is lacking major bugs, and is ready for external testing. It requires additional work, but is ready for intensive feedback from casual players.
The game has been polished and is ready to be released to the general public.
This is the phase when the game is available for download.
In post release, the team continues to improve the game through patches. As feedback comes in through the public, the team strives to improve the game even further. Adding additional gameplay, levels, visuals, or game systems is also possibility.
A game is never done. Game makers are always improving their work!