It’s time to create the game app you have been thinking about for a while now. The technology exists to make it a reality, regardless of your level of programming expertise. However, numerous considerations go into how to make a game app. Will it be a single or multiplayer game? Should you use 2D or 3D graphics? What game engine should you use? How will you design the levels?
It turns out that no matter how big or small a game is planned to be, successful creators follow the same proven development lifecycle to produce the best game possible. This lifecycle consists of a pre-development phase focused on design, an iterative development phase, and post-development activities that ensure your game reaches its target audience.
Follow These Steps to Create Your Game App
Design the core mechanic of your game.
The pre-development beginning of every great game starts with a great concept. In the gaming world, the basic design element is also known as the core mechanic. It is the fundamental building block upon which players experience the game. For example, players in Tetris slide and rotate a falling block shape with the goal of filling in as many rows at the bottom of the puzzle as possible.
This core concept is what differentiates the game and makes it a fun and unique user experience. A great core mechanic will grab players’ attention and cause your game to stand out in the crowd.
Next, choose the type of game and the target platform(s) it will run on. Graphics are a key contributor to these decisions. Use 2D graphics in platformer games and side scrollers. Alternatively, 3D graphics provide a much more realistic experience, such as those used in first-person shooters; however, this will add more complexity to the overall project.
Regardless, the graphics will influence the game design and underlying technology decisions. You must also determine whether your game runs on mobile devices, PCs, tablets, or video game consoles.
You’ve got your core concept and game mechanic in mind. The next step is to validate the idea. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Do some research and see what similar games are out in the marketplace.
- Play some existing games in the genre.
- Look for games with similar mechanics to find out what you like and don’t like about them.
- Survey the competition and gain insights into how big the potential market is for your game.
Another method is to get early feedback on your design from gamer friends and interested parties. Give them the elevator pitch for your concept and gauge their level of interest. Ask them what would make them want to play or what they find interesting about the idea.
These methods give you essential feedback you can use to refine your ideas. (See step 9 for more on feedback.)
Create a game design document
While it may be tempting to skip this step, there is no substitute for writing down your design. It forces you to think through all of the main elements of how to make a game the way you envision it.
The document also captures the research and validation you performed that led to this direction and offers helpful context to have later when fine-tuning. Include a brief project overview in your design document and important game details. Don’t forget to include a description of your target audience.
Select your development platform
Game development platforms provide most of the capabilities you need to build a game out of the box. Animations and collision detection between in-game objects are examples of standard game functions. The specific features in your game help drive the platform choice.