Planning to build mobile game and want to follow best development practices? Either you are planning to outsource development or hire in-house team; we recommend “Agile” development methodology for developing mobile games. This model has been perfected over a decade and has resulted in impressive project success rate. That methods ensures high involvement of stakeholders and hence results in higher game quality.
The process is divided into following stages, Pre-Production, Production and Post Production.
During this stage, client approaches game developer with an idea that he wishes to develop. He works with game producer or subject matter experts.
Idea is the key to successful game development process
The process starts with a game idea. The game idea can be totally unique or may draw inspiration from other games. At times, simple description is enough to share the concept whereas at times it may require drawing sketches to effectively communicate game concept to developers. We recommend drawing sketches to ensure effective communication. You can get ballpark budget for the game at this stage.
Note: Though game mechanics can’t be patented but we sill recommend clients to sign NDA with game developers before engaging into discussions.
Usually termed as building storyline, it involves defining main character, plot setting and overall game theme. During this phase, we must identify game goals, controls and start sketching game art.
Remember, games are potential business and hence you must work on other ingredients of business plan, i.e. pricing strategy and marketing plan. The output of the stage is “Game Design Document” that describes various game elements as well as project plans for the development.
Production of a game
Once we have drafted game concept, its time to start developing the concept details required for building the game. During this phase, game producer assembles team of designers, programmers and professional QA.
Once the storyline is completed, the next step is to build a game storyboard. A game storyboard is visual representation of storyline depicted as sketches, concept art and text explaining what happens in each scene. Client must review storyboarding document to ensure this is what he likes to build. This becomes part of game design document.
We recommend various iterations of game development loop; design, develop, test to build high quality game. Each loop, commonly termed as sprint, shouldn’t exceed 2 weeks.
- Design – During this phase designer design’s game art based on desired theme. Depending upon the iteration, the art can involve designing main game play, levels, bosses, menus or promotional art.
- Develop – Programmers build game logic based on art designed for the iteration. Based on the iteration, this can be developing core game play, writing enemy AI or implementing UI/UX.
- Test- A team of qualified testers validate various scenario of game play to ensure higher quality of game. We recommend client to validate each build on target platforms i.e. iPhone, Android, Web or Xbox to provide feedback for next iteration.
While designing Iterations we recommend to start with core-game play validating game controls, and then moving to UI/UX and platform specific features like purchases, analytics, multiplayer etc.
After various builds, we recommend building Beta build, which is polished version to be shared with larger audience to get feedback. Client must request developers to upload build on App Stores to be shared with specific geographical audience and get initial feedback. After this the game is ready to be released globally.
Postproduction involves steps to prepare the game for global launch.
During this stage, the game is deployed at App store accounts using client’s credentials. If the game requires backend support, cloud servers are setup to handle scalability.
We must perform basic marketing steps like ASO, App Store Optimization, to optimize game discovery on app store.
Based on the game genre, there may be a need for reviewing game-analytics to review game performance, build user community or spend money on paid user acquisition. Changes are subject to game development loop again.