The Development Cycle of Online Games

We enjoy playing games, listening to music and watching movies. They’re fun experiences, yet not many of us actually know the process and hard work that goes into creating the product of movies, music or games. What about a process that combines all three (If you haven’t caught on yet I’m referring to game development)?

Let’s look at the lifeline of a game from idea to download.

You have an idea for a game. It’s going to be the next Halo or Mario. It’s not that easy. First a feasibility test needs to be done; it determines how realistic the idea is going to be. Part of the test will include market research to see if there’s a need for this idea. Is it something new that the market will like? Does it follow an already established product (example making a platforming game in response to Mario like Sega did) if so how will it compete? Decide on what type of game you want, is it an online game, puzzle game, word game or arcade game. Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll have to asses your resources and construct a budget (we’re looking at this through an independent commercial developer not a huge publisher so we’ll skip some steps) it’s critical to stay within the budget, sure the goal is to make great games, but you won’t be able to do that for long if your run out of money. Included in the budget will be the forum for which you’ll make your product available. It may be through traditional retail or an online game. In the latter case you’ll dramatically reduce your costs by offering it online, generally pc games will take the download games route. What will you charge for the game, will you be offering free download games or will charge people to play. Free games create revenue through advertising so it’s still possible to make a profit. After you’ve answered the business questions you can move onto the actual development.

When you’ve decided what type of game you want and have gotten approval to move forward, put together a team to create it. Programmers, artists, writers and producers are essential (it may sound daunting but for cheap costs multiple jobs may be held by single individuals). Map out the process, what the user interface will look like, a flowchart for how things will progress and a story arch. It’s important to focus on the main game play screen and core components. Create numerous designs for a main game screen and choose the most impressive one. How will it play? What’s unique about it? Why will people continue to play it after the credits roll? People play games for fun, no matter how ambitious your idea is if it’s no fun to play it’s useless. Once you have the core design for the entire game, let your producers and programmers create it.

After the game is created, get it into people’s hands and the best way now is to place is online for download. Download games like fresh air solitaire or cafĂ© Mahjong which are among the most popular type of media, so your reach will be much greater, also it’s simpler to create a website than convince a retailer with limited shelf space to take the risk of an untested product. Once this is done, continue to market the game. Marketing is vast and could include ads on websites, free trials and demos. Try to get as many people at least aware of your product. The lifeline of a game is an intricate process, which involves many facets and a lot of work. Yet once you’ve created the product it’s always worth it.

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