Video games can be simple and fun, but they can also be incredibly complex, and take up a lot of space on our PC or console. Typically triple-A games have around 15-80 hours of gameplay, but they take years to make. The game development process is long, and even if you already have a lot of pre-made assets, it’s still very demanding work. Here we will go over the game development process, explain briefly what it includes, and why it takes so long for the games to be completed.
Building Models, Characters, and Environment
This is something that graphic designers do as part of game development, and there are a lot of tools that they are using to speed up this process. When we see vast virtual environments we don’t always assume they were randomly generated by software, but a lot of them are, and the designers then further edit those elements to make them look more unique.
We also have games that allow us to create our own character model, and the same randomization process can be used to generate lots of NPCs in the games that don’t need much work afterward. However, they still need to build the assets that allow us to generate those models, and that on its own takes a lot of time. Luckily, those can be used for sequels, and that speeds up the future development process.
Coding and Working with Game Engine
In order for everything to make sense and for the game world to have laws of physics, everything needs to be coded within a game engine. How characters and surfaces interact, actions that characters can do all need to have functions. Models can look very authentic, but if they don’t move and interact with the world in a realistic fashion it can all fall apart and harm the immersion. This is why coding takes a lot of time, and polishing bugs also includes a lot of coding. This is the heart and soul of any game, and certain mistakes can break the whole thing.
Story and Sound Effects
Almost all of the best games have some sort of story or narrative, and those that are narrative-driven tend to use real actors. In those instances, the in-game characters are not generated by software but through face capture technology, so that they can look like the actors that play them. These are way more expressive and really look amazing, but it also takes time to put that story together and to do all the shooting that is needed.
Additionally, there are lots of sound effects and background music that all need to work in sync. So, every interaction that needs to look authentic also needs to have a sound effect attached to it. Breathing, stepping, gripping, and all other possible sounds need to be added.
Once the initial product is complete, the game goes into the testing phase or quality assurance. Usually, there are a lot of bugs during the alpha, so the team needs to work fast to patch up as many of those problems as possible before the release.