There are many things to consider when you start to think about building a game. No two games are alike, no two clients are alike, and no two game developers are alike. And the possibilities are, quite literally, endless. If you have the time and the budget – just about ANY kind of a game you can imagine can be built. Which brings us to this question; “How much time and money do you have?”
It’s fun to imagine the next new epic game in the market (really, really fun!). I personally spend way too much time imagining my dream game, myself. But in the real world, there are things called budgets and deadlines. So, how do you determine what those budgets and deadlines are? How do you actually get a great game created within those constraints?
Those are some of the questions I hope to help answer in this series. So, let’s get started.
What kind of game do you want?
One of the most important things your game programmer will need to know is what kind of a game you have in mind. And that’s not really as easy as it sounds. There is a huge difference in the way different types of games are planned and developed. From the technology used to the way the code is structured, this is something that needs to be decided before actual development can begin.
There are a LOT of different types of games and genres to choose from. And there are new ones popping up all the time! Most games are mixtures of two or three of the main game types. So when you start mixing and matching them together you can end up with a very unique game idea that might be hard to describe. So we have posted a short description of some of the most common types of games below to help you narrow down your thoughts in this regard.
First Person Shooter games
Simulation Game (Sim)
Massively Multiplayer Online
If you would like to do more research on the topic, this list on Wikepedia.org is a great place to start.
Another thing you need to decide in the beginning phase is what device you want to target for your game; such as a PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, Console, etc. Each one of these types require a different approach from how it’s coded, to what kind of user interface is required, what kind of art would be best and so on.
For instance; mobile games need to be, first and foremost, lightweight. Phones and tablets don’t have the computing power that a PC or a console does. You probably don’t want to use an art style that is resource intensive like 3D art with detailed textures. Mobile games don’t use keyboards or game controllers, they rely heavily on touch screen actions and/or utilizing the few button the device makes available. So, creating a game for both mobile AND a PC can become quite complex. Now you have TWO interfaces to deal with. TWO different input methods, etc.
Now I am not saying that you can’t have a game that is playable on a variety of devices. It can be done, and it is done. But it brings me back to the very first question asked in this article, “How much time and money do you have?”
In my opinion, you should first determine who is your target market for the game. Is your game geared towards teens and young adults? Then you might want to consider choosing a mobile device as your target device. If you want a giant open world with characters running around, then you’re likely targeting an older crowd who likes to become immersed in a game over the period of moths or even years. In that case, I would suggest a PC game. If your game is intended for marketing purposes, then your audience would be both PC and mobile so you can target as man types of people as possible.
In my opinion, and if you have a lower budget and/or a short deadline, you should select the ONE device that makes the most sense for who will be playing the game and concentrate on that one device, if possible. I realize that is not always possible but it is something that needs to be thought out first. Just keep in mind, that games, really good games, require a lot more time to develop than the average person is aware of.
However if you have a nice sized budget and lots of time before your game needs to be done, then telling your developer up front what your plans are in this regard can also be very important. If we know what you’re planning for the future, we can start coding with that in mind now. Don’t wait until a game you’re getting developed for a mobile device is almost done before telling your programmer that you also need it for a PC. While that CAN be done, it’s going to cost you a lot more money in the end. It might be a tad more expensive to add in some code now that will facilitate another device later, but it’s not even close to the costs that coming back later and trying to shoe-horn in code for another device. And you don’t want to get me started on bug testing a project that is planned in this manner. Really, you don’t.
So now that you have an idea of what kind of game you want and what kind of device you want to use, it’s time to get down into a few of the details. You don’t have to know all of the answers to the questions below. And it’s probably not a good idea to give everything away before an NDA is signed, but please try to fill in as many of these specifics as possible (and/or add your own notes) so that your developer can offer you as accurate of an estimate as possible.
- What genre will your game be? (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Modern, Steampunk, Horror, etc.)
- What level of art do you require? (16bit, isometric, 3D, etc.)
- What actually happens when you start to play your game? Are there different levels to choose from? Is there a character creator? Is there some kind of task to perform before actual game play begins, like building a race car? In other words, what does the player do first right after opening the game?
- How many levels or different areas/zones/scenes will your game have?
- Can you describe what each level/zone/scene might look like?
- What is the main objective of each level?
- Will there be side-quests, mini-puzzles, or similar tasks included?
- Will there be any reward given for quests/puzzles/tasks? If so, how will such rewards be presented to the player?
- Please list any and all thoughts about your game that are not covered above.
If you have taken the time to fill out this check list as thoroughly as possible, then you should be able to get a fairly accurate quote from a game developer, or at least enough to get started.
If you would like an estimate from Pace Computing Limited, please feel free to contact us here. I always recommend a phone conference to be scheduled after you have sent your check list. There is so much to discuss that trying to do it all via email can make it more cumbersome than it has to be. If you would like to schedule a phone conference to discuss your game with one of our developers, please call 719-200-9257. We’re here from 10am to 7pm (MT) Monday through Friday to take your call.
Good luck with the new game!