Research Paper- The Game Development Process

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  1. LyricLyricandmoreLyric

    LyricLyricandmoreLyric Astral Cartographer

    This is a Research Paper by me on the general process of game development, if this is not the right place for it, oh well, someone will move it, enjoy
    Everything is in MLA format.​

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    Lyric,Lyric, And More Lyric

    Gabe Newell

    Nerdyness I

    14 May 2017​

    The Game Development Process​
    Game development is a long and expensive process, usually taking three years for AAA titles to release, and costing anywhere from 5-50 million dollars to produce, and can still fail to earn revenue if they don’t compete well with other games, demonstrated by the case of Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning, which was overtaken by the mmo Star Wars: The Old Republic, released at about the same time, as explained in a GameSpot article by Connor Sheridan:”But EA MMO game Star Wars: The Old Republic's colder-than-expected subscriber retention over the winter put a serious damper on the developer's efforts to attract investors to its own game. ‘I honestly think if 38 Studios had moved to get financing months earlier they would have been fine,’ Pachter said. ‘Had they been out in the market in December I think they would have been fine.”(Sheridan) This might seem like a lot of money and time wasted, but it takes more to make a game than to create gfx, sfx, and storylines. The game must go through several stages of development before reaching the shelves. There are three general stages to game development: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production, which each consist of many steps and sub-processes.

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    Pre-Production is the foundation of all game development projects. A game starts with creativity, a small spark of ingenuity, an idea, created by the game designer. Once that idea is made, the high concept is created, which is in short, the resume of a video game. It is meant to quickly and effectively convey the overall concept of the game and to elaborate it in order to catch a producer’s attention. Once the project is approved by the producer, a pitch may be made to gather funds to make the game. The pitch is much like an improved version of the high concept, meant to better attract investors in the project. After interest and funds are secured, the game’s design is further worked by a game developer, who wrings out all the details of a game’s mechanics, and other details. Once basic aspects of a game are set in, the game design document is made, which serves as the basis for all other development for the game. Lastly, a game prototype, a very bare bones demo of the game, is made to ensure the gameplay makes sense, and is acceptable. After all this is done and the project is not cancelled, the team moves on to the Production stage.

    The Production stage is the stage where the most work is done and the team is fully staffed. Before any serious work is done on the project though, the developer must acquire a team of skilled level designers, artists, sound engineers, programmers, and writers to assist in the making of the game. The ability of the project leader to pick and choose who to employ for these positions is very important in this stage, as firing an artist or programmer mid-game can destroy the morale of the group and cost the developer thousands, as David K Williams states after performing a survey on the consequences of a bad hire:”In short, we noted that of nearly 2,700 employers surveyed, 41% estimate a single bad hire cost $25,000,” and that,”A hire that is going​

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    the wrong direction is bad for everybody involved. A dismissal is bad for the morale of the entire team. It’s even worse for the morale and future of the person you fire, who faces one of the most stressful events in human experience.”(Williams) After a dependable team is assembled, development moves on to the creation of the game’s assets. Artists draw models/sprites of each object in the game and animations for them, sound engineers compose bgm and sfx, writers create dialogue for characters, narrators, and item descriptions, and programmers write code and scripted events for the game. Once most of the assets are created, level designers begin work on the first level, which, according to Wikipedia,”...takes the longest to develop. As level designers and artists use the tools for level building, they request features and changes to the in-house tools that allow for quicker and higher quality development.”(Video Game Development) Once most of the work is finished, the developer takes it to the companies of the systems the game is to be released on, and check to make sure it meets all of the milestones, which are requirements that need to be met before the game is approved to be released on that console; however, meeting the milestones may come after the first playable version, the alpha, or even the beta are created. After they’ve made the milestones or gone back to change things in order to meet them, the first playable version of the game is put together, sometimes also referred to as the pre-alpha. This version is the first that can be played to have implemented key elements of gameplay, and may sometimes be based on the prototype made before production. After the first playable version is created, it is worked on until the game is feature complete, and becomes the alpha. The alpha version is also the first version to be tested, and in the alpha stage, new, small features are added based on the testers’ responses and suggestions. After all assets, features, and mechanics are

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    finalized, the project experiences a code freeze where no new code is created, and enters the beta stage. In the beta version, no new content is added, and all testing is only done to find and remove bugs which can hinder the progress of players and ruin the gameplay experience. Once most noticeable bugs are fixed, the game’s final version is sent to the manufacturer and undergoes stricter testing that is meant to measure performance and make certain that everything is up to par, as stated by Ralph Edwards on IGN:”...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. 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.”(Edwards) Finally, the gold master version of the game is finished and ready to be used as a basis for which all copies of the game are made from. Now the production of the game ends and enters the final stage: post production.

    After the game is completely finished, post-production begins, and the project slowly dwindles down, but it is not over yet. The game still has to sell and produce copies. Firstly, the game must be advertised before the game is finished, and then again at stores when the game is produced and shipped out for consumer purchase, or else a great game could go unnoticed. Many different methods of advertising may be used to attract consumers’ attention such as posters, television advertisements, social media, Youtube, demos, conventions, and even promoting the company making the game in the content of previous games, as shown in Digital Advertising:​

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    Theory and Research, by Shelly Rodgers and Esther Thorson,”Early studies in this area illustrated that simply playing a game with embedded brand messaging is enough to impact

    simple recall of that brand…”(Rodgers, 12) If word doesn’t get out to consumers, the company that made the game will suffer from little to no profit, regardless of the quality. Next the manufacturer will have to estimate how many copies of the game to produce, based on supply/demand and how much needs to be sold to gain profit. After that, the product is shipped to stores, and sometimes negotiations are made in order to get special mention in that store (playable demos in-store, vendors, game specific stands, etc.) Finally, the company that was in charge of making the game may still need to perform maintenance on the game, fixing bugs found by players, glitches, or for mmo’s, adding periodic new content or disciplining malevolent players.

    Lastly, after years of toil and hard work, the game is finally finished, and the process is over. The company now gets to reap the rewards of its labor, and may continue on to make new games, or sit idly and reflect on the game it just made. In conclusion, three stages of development can lead a company to success or destroy it: pre-production, production, and post-production.​

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    Works Cited​

    "Video Game Development." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 May 2017. 18 May 2017. <>.

    Rodgers, Shelly, and Esther Thorson. Digital Advertising: Theory and Research. London: Routledge, 2017. Print.

    Edwards, Ralph. "The Game Production Pipeline: Concept to Completion." IGN. IGN, 16 Mar. 2006. Web. 18 May 2017. <>.

    Williams, David K. "Dealing With A Bad Hire? The Case To Teach And Adapt, Rather Than Fire." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 05 Dec. 2014. 18 May 2017. <>.

    Sheridan, Connors. "38 Studios Spent $133 Million before Bankruptcy." GameSpot. 18 May 2017. <>.
  2. Pangaea

    Pangaea Cosmic Narwhal

    Definitely needs some work. What's the purpose of this? Did you just do it for fun or was there some other reason?
  3. Bonabopn

    Bonabopn Fluffiest Squirrel

    Hmm... needs more lyric.

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