What Does It Take to Make a Video Game?
Gaming over the years has become a more profitable market and has grown immensely in popularity.
13:57 27 December 2020
Everyone is gaming as it is a more accessible experience with phones and casual games while still fully engaging for the hardcore fanbase. If you are considering jumping into the game development side of things, here are a few important aspects of a video game that you must consider.
Concept or IP
The first thing that you need when you are making a video game is establishing a concept or a unique IP, intellectual property. This will form the basis of everything, from your genre, style of play, the mechanics associated with the game, the narrative, and even impact your visuals and audio. Having a game that stands out from the rest in a competitive market typically starts and ends with a unique game concept that does something different than other games. Some of the most successful games ended up revolutionizing genres and sometimes creating their own. Music games stemming from the Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution types of games spurred many imitators and large success. The battle royale genre has been highly successful with many games flooding the market in recent years. This wasn’t a major concept prior and shooters were mainly predictable with their game modes. The best concepts and ideas can spur sequels that improve on their strengths, and even translate to entire franchises that will provide years of success.
Gameplay and Mechanics
After you have your basic game idea and the concepts around it, the next thing you need to have is the gameplay and mechanics established. This will form the true foundation of your video game experience. This medium is based on interactivity and how your game controls are crucial, as the presentation usually falls secondary importance when it comes to video games. You want to ensure that your mechanics and controls are as smooth as possible, as issues with controls can be gamebreaking. Conversely, incorporating innovative and intuitive controls can help boost your games positive experience for players. Providing unique controls as seen in peripheral games like music games or virtual reality incorporate different gameplay mechanics that help create a unique experience for the player as well. You will need programming skills and potentially a capable team, depending on the size of your game budget and time.
Once the game mechanics have been established, you will want to look into the presentation of your game. This will encompass everything that involves the visuals of your game. Your presentation will include both in-game designs such as character and environment, as well as user interface, menus, and concept artwork. Players can spend a lot of time with ingame menus, so designing a fluid and smooth experience even outside the mechanics of the game ensures your players remain engaged and not struggling with simply navigating through screens. The industry professionals of Gaming Logo Maker indicated that even the logo of the game is vital as this will represent your game and who you are as a business. Even if it is considered a secondary factor to the bones of your game in the gameplay, your visuals will play a significant role in creating a unique experience for players. This prioritization of a unique art style can help further differentiate your game from others, even if you share similar mechanics or genres. Design should also look to provide different backgrounds for characters to explore and different character models for players to interact with to make their worlds feel lived in and populated. Your team of designers needs to consider everything within the field of vision, as breaks, glitches and faults in design, even in the background can easily break immersion and remove the player from an otherwise enjoyable experience.
Similar to the visual concepts and designs, the audio will play a significant role in the presentation of your game. Audio not only helps provide an atmosphere for your players to enjoy and lose themselves in, but some games also incorporate varying degrees of audio into the gameplay itself. This would include things like audio cues like hit markers for shooter games, narrative assistance to the story, or other auditory mechanics that contribute to the overall experience. These may be subtle for the casual gamer or viewer to notice, but many hardcore gamers and industry professionals will understand the impact of good or bad audio. For newer game designers, you may be able to find audio packs to use in your games or get away with minimal audio to your game but as you progress in the industry, this aspect will play just as an important role as any other factor. When you consider narrative games or even games with a larger scope, you will want to look into voice acting and possible narration for your games. This provides extra depth that helps increase the success of a game.
Narrative And Story
Regardless of whether you are creating a world that is ever expansive and growing, or if you are limited to a small game, small environment, due to having a small team, the inclusion of a narrative can provide your game with the ability to draw in players. Narrative helps engage players and keep them invested, even if your mechanics or environment lack ingenuity or innovations. Storytelling is prevalent in many industries and mediums and this speaks to the success of this factor. Having a poor story will place all the weight and dependency of your game to other components and if they cannot hold up and carry your game, you will find your players losing interest quickly. Telling your story can be done through many ways, from interactive pieces in the background or even part of gameplay, to cutscenes and cinematics that remove the player from the experience to play a more passive role. There are many options that are effective, but it is up to the designing team to decide how best to fit the game as a whole. In order to accomplish your narrative and story, you will want to have writers and storyboard designers as part of your team to help facilitate good narrative practices and story structure. Even with a good idea, if it is not told in a way that makes sense easily, players will be left feeling confused and possibly worse off than if there was no story at all in the first place.
If you are looking at the most successful games these days on the market, you have to look at the numbers, as they speak volumes. Multiplayer games dominate the market and bring in the money, which is a key factor in determining the success of a game. When creating a multiplayer game, you have to consider all the previously mentioned factors, except maybe narrative. Narratives are typically associated with single player experiences, however, if your gameplay mechanics allow for it through a cooperative experience, you can combine the two. With multiplayer, the mechanics are at the forefront. However, there are other components to creating a successful multiplayer game. You have to ensure that there is balance between users. This will look different depending on the type of game. If you have different classes, races, loadouts and weapons to choose from, you want to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all users to attain them and utilize them, otherwise you have to balance different characters and unique abilities to have balanced strengths and weaknesses with others in the server. Speaking of servers, when it comes to multiplayer games, you want to ensure that your game is running on capable servers that can handle the load of many users connected at once. Multiplayer will provide the opportunity to expand a game’s lifespan, ensuring that players are playing your game for multiple seasons and years. This, in turn, can translate to a perfect platform for different marketing and financial strategies that differ from the usual yearly release strategy. This can be seen through free-to-play models or games that continue to provide content over time.
One of the many issues many gamers have with new games on the market is that they have been overhyped and a lot of attention has been associated with them even prior to release. This is a case when games showcase visuals that are not representative of the product they are offering, but painted with a high gloss coat to make the final game appear better than it will be. This can lead to the downfall of many games with high expectations. To prevent such a situation from occurring with any game and to maintain or encourage more public interest, it is always a good idea and good practice to playtest your games with not just your development team but with the public. Hosting open and closed betas to the public provides insight on your game and those players can give you constructive feedback that you can relay to your team members. If you have nothing to hide, and you believe your game is representative of your marketing campaigns and showcases, these betas can increase anticipation of your games, leading to even better reception, increased sales and positive reviews.
For many, gaming endpoint is the player experience. But if you are looking to become a game designer or developer, there are a handful of things that you need to understand to make a strong game. From there, you can continue to grow your skills and your knowledge.