How will the development of video games develop?

A computer game is created - from the idea to the fun of the game

published by Martin Lorber on October 10, 2011


1. Idea and concept development (two to four months)

2. Financing and budget (one to two months)

3. Production phase (one to two years)

3.1a levels and missions
Script (story and characters)

Game design (sketches, game concept and controls)

3.2a Artificial Intelligence
Graphics and physics engine (virtual environment)

Programming (game mechanics and controls)

3.3a ​​Creation of Figures and Objects

Pparallel to points 3.1a to 3.3a:

3b development features and download enhancements

3c marketing and PR (producer and developer videos, screenshots, news)

3d test phase and troubleshooting (six months)

3rd motion capturing and 3D head scanning (six months)

4. Manufacturing, advertising and sales (two months)

5. Released DLC, Patches, and Multiplayer Mode Updates (Online)

We now want this general process using the example of FIFA 12 imagine a little more precisely. For a game like FIFA 12, the development of new ones runs in a constant process regardless of the production phase outlined Features (e.g. two to three years development time for the "Player Impact Engine") and the Motion capturing.



We'll also look at the small differences between developing a completely new game and a title from the FIFA series.

1. Idea and concept development

The great journey for every new game begins with the idea of ​​one or more computer game designers. A team of developers finally turns this idea into a feasible one concept um - in the case of the FIFA series, the cornerstones of the game idea are already given by football, so that concept development year after year concentrates on further refining the numerous details and examining certain technical innovations in advance for feasibility. This first phase in the development of a video game is particularly important, as it is on the basis of this work that a decision is made as to whether the idea will be pursued further and the funding secured. It will also be pre-production ("Pre-production") called. In the FIFA series, this phase is usually between October and December.

2. Financing and budget

The concept is then presented to the publisher. Here, all the details from point 1 are carefully examined and it is discussed whether an investment is worthwhile. If a suitable cost plan is drawn up based on the decision, nothing stands in the way of actual development and production can begin. FIFA 12 also went through these points, whereby helpful empirical values ​​exist through the experiences of the previous parts of the series. For example, some of the costs for the FIFA series are due to those used in the game Licenses from football as a rule over the long term.

3. Production phase

As the FIFA series games appear in an annual cycle, the production phase is set to a time frame of 9 to 12 months. The majority of the features will be integrated into the game between January and June. For games that are not subject to a regular release interval, this phase can take one to two years, sometimes much longer. The following sections are part of this development - and in some cases even run in parallel. The challenge in developing a video game is to make parallel advances in order to gradually piece the results together into a whole

3.1a Screenwriter, level and game designer

The foundation stone for the development is laid by the level designers and scriptwriters, who play a major role in the creation of a computer game through their work. They are decisive for the atmosphere and the so-called Gameplay responsible. Only a well thought-out, exciting plot and varied missions in the various levels lay the foundation for a successful game. The game designer is ultimately responsible for that Sketch of the game concept and the control. In the case of FIFA 12, these include the Contents of the menus, the different Tournament forms, the Controller assignment, the Manager mode or the various Online functions. Incidentally, the script plays a rather subordinate role for FIFA 12 and other sports games, as reality serves as the default: The soccer field defines the virtual, physical framework, the rules of the game already exist and an action like in a role-playing game is missing in the sports games Rule. For the manager mode, for example, there is also a kind of script at FIFA, which is of course also dictated by reality to a certain extent due to the course of a typical season.

3.2a AI, virtual environments, programmers and graphic artists

Programmers and graphic designers are now implementing the specifications of the previous planning. Together they implement the implementation of the virtual environment and use a technical framework that is usually referred to as an "engine". So that the game environment is also filled, programmers are also working on artificial intelligence (AI) virtual characters - and put, for example, a Physics engine in order to be able to show the most realistic reactions possible to actions of a player. It is understandable that FIFA 12 attaches great importance to these two aspects, after all, a computer-controlled soccer team should be a worthy opponent - and the physics of the ball should look as realistic as possible on the virtual green. This focus rarely changes in the FIFA series, so parts of this programming can be reused and improved from year to year. At this point it is important to refer to the work on new technologies that is being carried out parallel to game development, which is responsible for a completely overhauled and even better look and for new game options in the FIFA series every few years.

3.3a ​​characters, objects, music, language and the user interface

In a further step, the characters and objects are created. In football simulation, for example, these are the team players who thanks Motion capturing and 3D head scanning recorded in great detail and later displayed in the game.

Also the Audio area The development of video games covers a broad field: In addition to the regular background music, the developers also integrate, for example, the ambient noises from the football stadiums that employees recorded on site. The musicplays a major role in this and contributes significantly to the atmosphere. This applies not only to games with a story, but to all genres. An extensive list of pieces of music by known and new artists is available for the players. In addition, there are of course the important recordings of the Commentators and voice actors added. After all, the recordings made in the recording studios should be played back later in the game at the appropriate points.

So that you can watch a video game in the fields too Difficulty level, controls, presentation and Game modes can be set individually, the titles are given a so-called user interface. In individual menus, players can, for example, save scores or change individual game parameters. So that such a user interface can be operated intuitively for both console and PC players, specialists are again at work in this area.

3b development features and download enhancements

During the entire production phase, certain developers are also working on future ones in parallel Download game add-ons or prepare these. A special feature of FIFA 12 is the development of new features. Since a new part appears every year and innovations cannot always be implemented within this time, developments such as the Player Impact Engine, which takes around three years to develop, are implemented independently of a specific part of the series. The situation is similar with the technical improvements in the areas of graphics or artificial intelligence.

3c marketing and PR (producer and developer videos, screenshots, news)

Even while working on the game, the marketing department is working on analyzing a future video game and planning a target group-specific campaign. New ones also help Screenshots or video interviews of Developers and producers. This way, fans of a video game series always stay up to date on new developments. In the case of brands that are not yet known, screenshots or videos can also help to make the title known in the relevant media.

3d testing and troubleshooting

One of the most important points during development is the test phase: around six months before the actual first day of sale, test video gamers begin to put the first playable versions of a new game through their paces. In doing so, attention is not only paid to whether and how the gameplay works, one also looks specifically for errors in the software so that the programmers can fix them in a later step. This test phase is usually carried out separately for each platform on which a game appears and repeated until no more critical program errors occur. In the last months of development, no new features at all will be added, but only bugs will be eliminated. For the FIFA series, the phase typically begins in July.

With the PC versions, additional testing is necessary so that the game works on the largest possible number of hardware configurations.

3rd motion capturing and 3D head scanning

So-called motion capturing records human movements and digitizes them. Since the effort for this is extremely high, this step must be completed very early in the production phase, after all, programmers must have enough time to fluidize the recorded movement data Football player animations to put together. The FIFA video game series is therefore continuously recorded throughout the year in order to expand and update the existing database of movements. For the first time, a new scanning technology called "3D Head Scanning" was used for FIFA 12. This could be used, for example, to scan the heads of the German national team in three dimensions so that they could be portrayed in the game as much as possible true to the original to represent. This technique will soon be used in other games as well.

4. Manufacturing, advertising and selling

After completion of the production phase, the completion immediately follows. All elements of the game are put together digitally - and as soon as the flawless version is ready, a so-called gold master is sent to the press shop. At the same time, the packaging of the game, the advertising for it, but also test versions for the trade press and advertisements will be completed.

In addition, the download versions of the game are being prepared.

5. Release of DLCs, patches and multiplayer mode updates (online)

After the start of sales, work on a video game is usually not over. In addition to eliminating errors and updating data, video game manufacturers also repeatedly offer additional game content for download. With these offers, fans can expand the digital game worlds in order to have fun with a title for even longer. The multiplayer area is also an important factor in this context, which enhances the gaming experience.

I hope that this has given you a basic idea of ​​how a video game is made. If you have any questions or additions, please send me a message at [email protected] I will try to update this post accordingly.

Further links on the topic:

Web: FIFA 12
Web: Electronic Arts