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Alessandro Canossa Mark Nelson Game Development – Process Spring 2010

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1 Alessandro Canossa Mark Nelson Game Development – Process Spring 2010

2 Game development is primarily an act of communication, the limits of your language are the limits of your world. Ludvig Wittengstein

3 Game development is a process by which a video game is produced. Development of games is undertaken by a developer, which may range from a single person to a large business. Typically, large-scale commercial games are created by development teams within a company specializing in computer or console games. Development is normally funded by a publisher. In the early era of home computers and video game consoles in the early 1980s, a single programmer could handle almost all the tasks of developing a game. However, the requirements of modern commercial games far exceed the capabilities of a single developer and require the splitting of responsibilities. GAME DEVELOPMENT

4 If you have with your game some goals (e.g. Make the best selling iPhone game), you should know about your competitors, know the market, trends etc. In this phase you should analyse and plan everything. This phase is really important if you want to success! There's nothing worse than developing X years a game and then get to know that there's practically nobody to play it. CONCEPTUALIZATION

5 Create a game design concept, then the game design document where you can define all game mechanisms and principles. In this phase the only tool for many developers is paper and pencil - don't hesitate to make sketches along with your concept and try to prove as early as possible whether your concept is really working as a game. You can save a lot of time here! PRE-PRODUCTION

6 With a game design document in your hand you can start with the real game development, involving programmers, graphic artists and all other members of the team. In this phase you have to stick to your game design document although small changes are still in order. PRODUCTION 1: DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

7 Testing is the link that closes the circle between Design and Development - you should test every piece of code you made on your game. Not just bug testing but also experience testing. Phenomenological debugging. PRODUCTION 2: DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING

8 Stages ->ConceptualisationPre-productionProduction 1 Production 2 Alpha, Beta, and Post Production Goal (what) An idea. The initial idea can come from anywhere. Whether it is a setting, a character or a game mechanic this idea will form the basis for a game design. The next stage is to ask questions about how the game will be implemented, filling the blanks and eviscerating the details. The first phase of production consists of tackling potentially risky features, establishing pipelines The second production phase takes the lessons learnt in the first part and uses them to actually put all the assets together into a finished form Finishing the game, bug-tracking and fixing, play-testing (and metrics analysis) Stake holders (who) Game designer: high Producer: High (feasibility) 2D artist: high (concept) 3D artist: medium Programmers: medium (feasibility) Sound/music: low QA/User Research: Low Level designer: low Game designer: high Producer: medium 2D artist: high 3D artist: high Programmers: medium (prototypes) Sound/music: medium (soundscapes) QA/User Research: medium (focus groups) Level designer: medium Game designer: medium Producer: High (procedures) 2D artist: medium (interface) 3D artist: high Programmers: high (design) Sound/music: high (design) QA/User Research: medium (RITE, tests) Level designer: high Game designer: low Producer: medium (maintenance) 2D artist: low 3D artist: medium Programmers: high (implementation) Sound/music: high (implementation) QA/User Research: high (metrics, tests) Level designer: high Game designer: low Producer: high (bugs) 2D artist: low 3D artist: low Programmers: medium (hopefully) Sound/music: low QA/User Research: high (metrics, tests, bugs) Level designer: medium

9 Stages -> Activities (how) Pitch: a brief outline of the basic idea, not more than 3 min to read High concept document: Describing a game in absolutely as few words as possible (removing all of the "the's," "and's" and other non-essential words) use design parameters. USP / hook: spark of innovation that makes it special when compared to other games One-sentence Description Art bible Mood boards Character sheets Treatment:10 pages Full Design Document: Design document: story, camera, controls, weapons or items, characters, movement speeds, individual mission structure, interface, menu system, high details, reference vision Spatial archetypes (templates) Soundscapes Demo: Vertical Slices: Prototypes: small applications prototyping crucial features. Playable versions of different sections of the game Completed game Timeline (when) From 1st of February to 1st of March From 1st of March to 15th of March From 15th of March to 15th of April From 15th of April to 15th of May From 15th of May to 30th of May GL1 GL2GL3GL4 GL Pm

10 Implement Evaluate Understand Study Design Determine staffing needs Set up participant recruitment pipeline Determine workflow, schedules, deliverables Understand dev team/franchise needs and wants Perform research Get feedback from dev/management stakeholders Ongoing implementation process User Research and QA Track findings Determine research methodology needs






16 The game's title (and subtitle) with an appropriate cover image Company contact information The game's High Concept, Hook, and One-Sentence Marketing Description A bullet-point listing of the game's key features A brief description of the game's Setup A succinct narrative description of actual gameplay A brief description of the game's Victory Conditions Plenty of good concept art and screen shots (or at least screen mock-ups) A controller diagram (if one is used) All set in a unique binding (to set it apart from other Vision Documents) that itself helps convey the essence of the game. Vision document

17 Design Parameters 1.Media: Digital or Analog 2.Genre: Category (ontology) 3.Epoch: Setting (fiction, non fiction) 4.Scope: how much time / space are covered by the game? (battle or campaign) 5.Scale: level of closeness to objects (soldier or army) 6.Perspective: point of view

18 1 Title Page (and a short tagline to indicate what it’s about) 2 Executive Summary (bulletpoints) 3 Game Overview High Concept Genre Hooks (USPs) License (if any) Gameplay Highlights Technology Highlights Art and Audio Highlights Hardware 4 Production Details Current Status Development Team Budget Schedule Competition Treatment (10/30 pages) 5 Game World Backstory Objective Characters Mission or Story Progression

19 Daily tasks Challenges Rewards Workflow People you report to People that report to you Role changing during development What you neet to start your work What you deliver when you are finished Tools, pipeline and processes Maintain a developer’s diary Diary will make up 50% of the exam Documentation of your tasks in developement You should be able to give talks and presentations (as your guests will)

20 Questions?

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