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What Is the Game Development Life Cycle?

by Juego Studios on 04/13/17 09:25:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Many developers have described the game development life cycle (GDLC) as a life cycle of software development with the objective to entertain the users. Comparing to software development life cycle, developers face many challenges while developing games and hence they follow a different approach for developing games which are known as GDLC. Though we cannot define the lifecycle of every successful game explicitly but we have mapped a common graph for developing games for mobiles or console. The model of GDLC follows few fundamental steps of seven stages.



Initiation: Initiation is the very first step of the game where the developers decide which type of game they are going to produce like target audience or players, the kind of game, the hero/ protagonist of the game, the theme of the game, etc. 

Team building: Deciding the category of the game, developers create the best team for developing the particular game. It consists of few steps as follow:
•    Hiring
•    Develop team structure
•    Defining the work for members

Feasible study: The motto of the feasible study is to access the feasibility of the game that helps to focus the requirements, the profitability of that particular game. The areas which need to be analyzed for this study, are requirements, pricing, and technical issues.   

Pre- production: Pre-production is one of the most important stages before jumping into the coding of the game where designers, artists, and programmers build the prototype of the game. Pre-production process follows few steps:

•    Developing the story/ script: In this stage, a designers and storytellers create the well-defined story of the game with a core theme for the specific audience. This story helps to ensure a seamless flow in between levels. Scripting the story needs a real imagination and creativity. 
•    Design the gameplay: Lead designers build the design of the game according to the storyline and create the storyboard. After the design is ready designers create the levels of the game. As soon as the design is ready, the artists work on the concept art of the game. This full storyboard provides the details of the gameplay mechanics. Importantly, designing consists of character design, background design and sets and props design. 
•    Game engine: After the design is ready, programmers decide the right mobile game development engine for the game. 
•    Prototype: With the outline of the game, concept art and levels of the game, designers build the prototype of the game compiling all the factors. 
•    Documentation: After the prototype is ready, documentation for art, the technical team needs to start working on the next step. 

Production:  Designers, artists, and programmers use the prototype made in pre-production process to develop the games. In this process, the blueprint of the game design transforms into coding. Artists create the models' textures and animations of characters, environments. On other side, programmers start with the coding. The steps of the production are as follow:
•    Coding
•    Layout design
•    Modeling
•    Texturing
•    Animation
•    Evaluate

Alpha version: In alpha version, the game is playable, but it is incomplete. And it consists of steps like alpha testing and bug fixing. The gameplay is completely fixed here in this step, and this step is basically used to check the errors. 

Beta version: In the beta version, the game is complete and final. The steps are beta testing, bug fixing, and balancing. 

Release version: The game is ready to launch in the release version. After development and testing the game is finally ready here to release in the market. 

Additional Reading Resources:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271548605_Game_development_life_cycle_guidelines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development#Development_process


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