The gaming industry has been dominating over a majority of the sectors in the market. As per a PwC report, the industry is projected to reach $321 billion by 2026. Mobile games constitute the biggest share of this revenue, and during and post-pandemic, while other industries were declining, gaming app development was on a winning streak with a worth of $300 billion.
Game apps are expanding their laurels, and that’s why it has become a resort of investment for many. According to the latest Statista report, 3.24 billion people play mobile games worldwide, and the industry will develop at a compound yearly growth rate of 11%, with the overall expected revenue to be $116.4 billion by 2024.
As much as you enjoy accessing your favourite games, have you ever wondered what all goes behind successfully building that game you’re playing on your rectangles? It’s a huge team of engineers, designers, sketchers, writers, technicians, or, rather, what we would call a huge team of multiple artists!
Now, let’s shed some light on the different stages of gaming app development.
Table of Contents
6 Different Stages of Gaming App Development
Before we began writing this article, we naturally went through all the necessary points we will cover. That’s what planning is!
Planning is thinking in advance about what to do, what not to do, and how to do it. It is the mandate step before any and every big or small project. Before developing any gaming app, the developers have some questions in mind. The questions look like the following:
- What will the game be about?
- Does the game have scope in the market?
- Who will be the target audience?
- What is the suitable platform for the game?
- Who will be the characters?
- What will be the key features?
Chalking out the perfect plan is the most underrated step of this development journey. But, in reality, it’s the step that screws up your mind the most and requires a lot of drudgery. However, with efficient planning, one can easily find answers to the above questions.
Once you get a rough idea of what you actually want to bring to life, the next step is to figure out how you want your game to look like. This rough visual may give rise to a set of more questions. These questions look like this:
- Who will be the source of the funds?
- Will we get investors?
- What new or existing technologies will we need?
- What will be the expected revenue?
- How many professionals do we need in our team?
About the last question, it is to be noted that at the planning stage, you may not have a team of full-fledged professionals, and it might be only YOU doing all the drudgery.
Therefore, the planning stage is all about giving birth to new questions and finding solutions, but what will keep you going is the drive and vision you’ve set in your mind to bring the dream to life.
The next step of this journey is Pre-production, which is the step of “elimination.” Yes, you read that right!
We’ve got enough ideas, questions (and likely answers to most of them), and opinions from the planning stage, and now it’s time to keep the best ideas that will help the developer proceed ahead. All of which are not required will be eliminated, and the ones which are not eliminated are the takeaways from the first step on which we will begin working.
The pre-production stage also requires different Directly Responsible Individuals (DRIs) to collaborate to share their part of working and then collectively work on it. The association between different DRIs can look like the below-mentioned instances:
- The app developer collaborates with the technical person to discuss the functioning and user needs of the game.
- Sketchers of the app can collaborate with graphic designers to discuss and work on the game design patterns.
- Writers, skechers, and designers can collaborate to discuss how to build characters’ looks and other props.
Once the collaboration is done, it gives the DRIs a bigger picture, leading us to have a GDD – Game Design Document. A GDD gives the developer an insight into what exactly he needs to work on. It brings the picture into perspective, and the document may include the following:
- Plot and plot twists
- Characters and props
- Different levels
- User Interface
- Environment design
- Game controls
- Revenue generation methods
At this stage, you have understood your game from the core and, from every character to all the elements, no confusion in the game’s working is left. This gives us rise to the third stage, which is production.
This is the step where “Real work” starts to get done, when we get to implement everything we’ve been planning since the first stage. Among these 6 stages of gaming app development, the third step is the most crucial in the entire journey because it requires most of the time, resources, and effort. All the professionals use the best practices for gaming app development and work to complete their tasks, which they have decided through collaboration in the pre-production stage. The instances of their work may look like this:
- Developers start writing codes to bring each piece of in-game content to life.
- Designers start designing the characters with different colours and visuals that will be intact in the game.
- Audio designers work on creating the right pitch and audio design that needs to be put at different steps of the game.
- Technicians decide on the technology that is to be introduced and work on the tech niche in its entirety.
- Team and project leaders of different departments guide, motivate, and supervise their subordinates at every step and help them overcome obstacles if any.
- This step usually is the most time-taking and may take years.
Although there is another step that is thoroughly connoted for Testing, that doesn’t mean no testing is done at the production stage. While the game is being prepared, minor testing can be done simultaneously to avoid starting everything from scratch.
Now that we have mentioned testing, this takes us to another step, which is carrying out a thorough testing of the game.
4. Testing and Pre-launch
A game without testing is an article without editing and proofreading.
The game’s features, mechanics, and levels are tested before the market launch. It is usually done by SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) or Technical Testers, who are solely responsible for building automated test cases and frameworks. They also check whether it is secure for the users to play the game or not. A game tester may look for the following things while doing his job:
- Is it safe for the user to play this game?
- Is the app bug-free?
- Is the audio effect good?
- Are the colours and visuals going with the theme?
- Is the game fun to play?
In order to find answers to these questions, a game tester carries out the following two types of tests:
- Glitch and Security Test
- “Fun-factor” Test
The first is related to glitches and security, which deals with whether the app has some glitches or not, or whether it is safe for the user to play the game without exploitation. The other is the “Fun-factor” Test, wherein the tester checks the satisfaction and the intensity of fun associated with the game.
Once you’re done with testing, in case of any modification, you need to make the required changes and proceed with the Pre-launch.
Pre-launch is the night before the exam- full of adrenaline rush and anxiety. It is the time to research your audience, create marketing content, design marketing strategies for the gaming app, and find relevant influencers for marketing campaigns. If done with this, it’s the anticipated moment which takes us to the next step.
The campaigns and marketing is over, and the finish line is here!
Launching a game means providing it to the stores and exposing it to the world. It’s finally the time to see the fruitful results and the hard work of years paying off. No edits can be made in the game at this point because the world has seen it now. However, it is impossible not to leave any mark of error through these crucial stages.
This takes us to the next step, which is Post-launch.
Now that the world has access to your game and everyone has played it, you may get constructive or destructive criticism for your product, but as they say, criticisms always help you grow, and that’s what the post-launch step is for!
Gaming studios rely on players to submit bug errors if any, so they can report them to the developer’s team to rectify them. This comes down to the fact that minor alterations and changes are made in the game even after the launch, as felt and suggested by the audience.
Another part of post-launch is to provide regular software updates for the game. These updates range from game balancing patches to new Downloadable Content (DLC).
There goes so much behind a fascinating game that is a boredom killer for millions. The smallest element in the game, from the streets your character is running on to the scoring board, every element and feature you see is a deal of significant time and effort. We hope the aforementioned different stages of gaming app development helped you understand the complexity involved in the process.
So, if you’re someone who’s looking to get a gaming app made, now you know the complexities involved in the development process. Expand My Business hopes that you build beyond reality!
We are Team EMB the voice behind this insightful blog.