Game development pipeline: from concept to store

Game development pipeline: If you are new to game development, you may be wondering where a  game idea comes from, and how is it possible to transform this idea into a real game. Let’s answer these questions, and see how to develop a game from concept to the store.

Game development pipeline: The game concept


We had this great idea, and now what? Now it’s time write down the idea and start to think about how we can shape that idea and make it into a game.

The original concept is just a game idea from where to start building the game. This can be one example of an idea:  “Make a game about colour matching”. As you can see, on this phase we didn’t find any game play, story, character etc etc. But we simply defined a phrase that describes the essence of the game.

For example, for our game DagAdvenures. We defined this idea: “A 2d platform game, with a fantasy and funny theme” that’s all. We had the base concept of how our game was going to be, no more no less.

If you take the workflow of game art outsourcing studio, there will be a different workflow, which is also necessary to understand.

Once you wrote down the concept you can also define:

  1. The market.
  2. The audience.
  3. The platforms where to publish the game.
  4. The competitor.

Pre production paese

Paper Prototyping

Ok you had your game idea, now is time to define all the details and came out with a solid “game concept”.

This is the case where you start to define the following points:

  • Define te story.
  • Create timelines.
  • Storyboards.
  • Create a paper prototipe of your game.
  • Level Design.
  • Gameplay mechanics.
  • Costs of the game (making and maintenance).
  • Create a game design document.

This phase of the game development pipeline is where your game start to have a shape. During the pre production phase, you define all the details of the game. It’s the most important phase and so try to put a lot of thoughts in this phase. If you are an indie team with no resources besides time, think really careful of what you can do based on the resources that you have.

Most of the time, people come with great ideas but often, these ideas are too big to develop for an indie team. Think carefully if  you have the resources to develop your great ideas, otherwise, it’s better to do something small but at least be sure to complete it.

Often on this phase you’re going to create a really quick game prototype, just to be sure that your game concept idea is going to work well.

At the end of this phase, it’s also important to know that your game is fun. Otherwise no one will play it and so, no one will buy it.

The production phase


On the pre production phase of the game development pipeline, we have defined every aspect of the game. Now it’s time to bring it to life. Here is where the designer, engineers, producers and basically all the members of the team will work together to bring the game to life.

It’s important to understand that making changes in this phase will cost a lot in terms of time and money to invest. Usually if something is wrong in your game, it’s much better to find it out in the pre-production phase, that’s why we build a prototype of the game.

The producers will work with the rest of the team to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that the schedule that they have created can be followed by the engineers, designers, artists, etc.

This is also the phase where you start to do marketing. You’ll probably have a lot of content to show and you want the world to know about it.

At the end of the production phase your team should have an Alpha version of the game. Now it’s time to do some internal testing and fixing all the main bugs until we have a stable and fully featured product.

After the testing of the Alpha, we’ll call it a beta version. At this phase the game is usually shipped to a large number of testers and we’ll listen to their feedback and fix all minor bugs that they report. At the end of this phase we should have a beta version of the game, which is: stable, fully featured and bugs free.

The only thing left to do is to ship the game to the store and hope to make some money.

The post production phase

Now is the time to get your game to an audience as large as possible. The marketing team  continue to work hard to get the game covered by magazines, blogs, youtubers etc etc.

This is also the phase where the developer will continue to improve the game in case new bugs will come out. Developers can also add new features to expand the game in order to increase the retention of the game.

Game development pipeline conclusion


All the phases are important but remember that costs of changes during the development phase is really high. So really spend all the time that you need on the pre production, and be sure that all the features that you want can be developed on schedule. Check twice before going to production, because at that point, the game is defined and making changes is really difficult.

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