In recent years, the gaming industry has experienced considerable growth, with the total global value of the sector amounting to $178.73 billion in 2021 – a 15% increase from the previous year. This has resulted in video game creation companies being highly competitive in their attempts to capitalise on the booming gaming industry. Notable success stories include Sony, Microsoft, Tencent, Nintendo, Activision-Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft, and other leading video-game corporations. The future of the gaming sector looks particularly promising, with continued growth set to bring new opportunities for the companies involved.
Creating video games is an extensive process that typically involves multiple stages. To manufacture games that are worthy of awards, game development teams often need to dedicate prolonged periods of time to the endeavour. Consequently, it is essential for gaming organisations to have access to proficient personnel to ensure the success of a video game.
Here’s a quick guide to assisting gaming companies in building and hiring the greatest game development teams. Let’s get this party started.
What phases of game development are there?
If your gaming company is looking to develop a next-generation video game, it is essential to understand the steps involved in the video game creation process. Video game design firms typically use a structured methodology to ensure that the game creation process is efficient and successful. However, game developers may not follow a linear software development life cycle.
Agile software development methodologies, such as SCRUM, are increasingly being adopted by game developers to help facilitate the game design process. This process typically begins with a limited number of features and components. From there, game studios begin to build the gaming engine, adding functionality and components to various prototypes. Once a significant amount of progress has been made, video game programmers will assess the various prototypes and select the most reliable of the prototypes, which will then be iteratively developed, with game portions added in a progressive manner.
Unlike many other aspects of game development, software prototyping follows a systematic and sequential software development lifecycle. Software prototyping is an essential part of game design and is necessary for the production of interactive components and game elements. It allows for the successful implementation of creative ideas and ensures that the final product meets the desired requirements.
Let us examine the steps of the game creation process:
Pre-productionThe initial phase of game development, known as pre-production, is an important step in the process. During this stage, game developers set the groundwork for the game’s design and establish the sub-processes that will need to be completed. Pre-production involves the preparation and outlining of several components of a video game, including but not limited to: creating the game concept, constructing a design document, creating a budget, establishing the development team, and scheduling the production timeline. All of these tasks are necessary in order to ensure the successful creation of a quality video game.
HIgh concept:A ‘high concept’ is a brief one-line summary of the game.
Pitch:A video game ‘pitch,’ similar to a marketing pitch, addresses the question, “Why may this video game be profitable/popular?”
Concept:The concept of the game plan is to provide an in-depth analysis of the key elements of the game. This includes determining the genre, gameplay mechanics, features, narrative, intended audience, timeline, progression, game development team and hardware requirements. All of these aspects must be addressed and documented during the initial stages of the project.
Game design document (GDD):The game design document (GDD) outlines the gameplay components, game design, and concept art. During the GDD phase, the development team creates initial drawings for storyboarding and level design.
Paper Prototyping:During the paper prototyping stage, programmers and designers use testbed tools and Rapid Application Development (RAD) technologies to outline features and gameplay concepts through written prototypes. This process of prototyping is a key step in the development process, allowing the team to assess the feasibility of their ideas before committing to the development of a complete product.
ProductionThe Production phase is an integral part of game development, as this is when programmers create the necessary components to make the game functional. It involves the creation of the game’s content, such as 2D/3D models, sound effects and composition, level designs, game effects, and other elements. Furthermore, the source code for the game must be written during this phase. There are several sub-processes that comprise the Production phase, including but not limited to asset creation, coding, debugging, and testing. The culmination of these sub-processes ensures that the game is ready for its intended purpose.
Game design:Game design is a collaborative endeavour which entails the creation of a video game. It is a complex process where a visual component of art is integrated to give the game an aesthetic appeal, while a literary aspect is added to craft the plot and stages of the game. Moreover, a technical aspect is included to ensure the gameplay design is adequately implemented.
Programming:Video game development requires close collaboration between game programmers and game designers in order to build, execute, and test the game code that is compatible with popular game engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine, CryEngine, RAGE, and others. To ensure a smooth video game production process, it is recommended to hire experienced Unity programmers.
Game developers must possess a high level of proficiency in programming languages such as C++, C#, Java, Python and GPU-related programming platforms. Their responsibility includes making modifications to the game in order to ensure that it incorporates the gameplay criteria specified by game designers. Additionally, game developers are charged with the task of locating and eliminating any bugs that may be present in the game.
Level creation:Level makers work in collaboration with game designers to devise various components of video-game levels. As the video game progresses, more and more elements are added to the levels. Additionally, level designers provide critical feedback to the other departments of the game development firm.
Level designers are responsible for ensuring that the video game progresses logically, with difficulty levels increasing in difficulty as the player progresses. They collaborate with programmers and designers to manage various aspects of the game, such as difficulty levels, complexity, in-game elements, game progression, and outcomes. Level designers are highly knowledgeable of the game and its structure, and understand how to adjust levels to provide an enjoyable and challenging experience for players.
Game art design:During the production of artworks, graphic designers leverage 2D and 3D art development technologies. To construct aesthetically pleasing graphics for video games, game designers often employ technologies like Blender 3D, Adobe Photoshop, and Autodesk Maya. Employing Blender 3D artists could be advantageous for game companies, as the software is free of charge and open-source.
Audio Production:Audio production plays a crucial role in providing an immersive gaming experience. By creating, composing, and integrating sound effects, in-game music, and voice-overs into video games, audio producers are able to create an immersive atmosphere that can draw players into the game world. By effectively producing and integrating these audio elements, audio producers can enhance the gaming experience and help to create an immersive atmosphere that players will enjoy.
TestingAs part of the Quality Assurance process, video game testers are responsible for undertaking repetitive in-game activities in order to evaluate the gameplay components of the game and detect any potential issues, such as crashes, bugs, and errors. Automated testing is an effective way to expedite the testing process, while regression testing can help to prevent any problems that may be caused by changes to the codebase.
Post-productionWhen a video game has been completed, it enters into the post-production or maintenance stage. At this time, the end consumers who are using the game identify and report any potential bugs that they may find to the game studio. The game studio then collects these reports and works to eliminate any bugs that have been reported and produces updated versions of the game known as patches. In order to ensure that these patches are reliable and effectively address any in-game issues, mistakes, or faults, game programmers must make necessary modifications to the code of the game.
How do game companies find game developers?
Gaming companies are continuously looking for talented game developers and the strategies for recruiting them may vary in terms of effectiveness. Hiring managers have a variety of options when it comes to searching for game developers, including:
Game development communities:Individuals searching for employment opportunities within the video game development industry may find a wealth of resources on online forums such as r/gamedev, Kongregate, Develteam, TIGSource, Dream In Code, and IndieDB. These websites are frequented by game creators from all over the globe, providing a great platform for potential employers to reach out to prospective employees. However, it is important to note that using these sites to source game developers is not always a surefire success.
Freelancing websites:Online platforms such as Upwork.com and Freelance.com offer viable employment opportunities for video game creators. However, it is important to note that these platforms lack the necessary quality assurance, competence assessment, and profile verification processes to guarantee the quality of the individuals they employ. As such, it is important to take caution when utilising these services.
Hiring specialists:Companies that specialise in recruiting and evaluating developers, such as Works, can be a great place to begin a search for video game developers. Works utilises a rigorous verification process to ensure that businesses can recruit the cream of the crop when it comes to game developers with remarkable game development skills.
Remote game development teams are an excellent alternative to in-house game developers. However, recruiting remote employees can be a challenge for businesses in the gaming industry. To streamline the process and ensure success, it is beneficial to familiarise yourself with the common issues that arise when seeking remote employees. To learn more about how to tackle these obstacles, please take a look at our post on the difficulties of remote recruiting.
What are the responsibilities of game developers?
Businesses often look to recruit game developers to help fulfill a wide range of roles. Video game developers employed at a video game studio are typically responsible for a variety of tasks, such as:
DesignersA Game Designer is responsible for the development of all elements of a video game. This includes the creation of the game’s rules, story, scripting, gameplay, structure, user interface, characters, conversations, and aesthetics. They may be involved in the direct creation of these components, or they may be involved in the indirect decision-making process. In order to ensure the game is enjoyable for the player, a Game Designer will often work in tandem with Level Designers to personalise the levels of the game.
Autodesk Maya is the industry standard for creating 3D video game characters, levels, and animations.
ArtistsGame Artists are highly specialised Graphic Designers who are responsible for creating the visual art for video games. They oversee the look of the game, from the internal assets to the weaponry, automobiles, characters, and any other visual components. Through their work, they provide a visual foundation and reference point for Designers to use during the game development process.
Engineers of SoundSound engineering professionals are responsible for creating the audio effects that are featured throughout the different game instances. Additionally, musicians are also part of the crew, composing the music for the game. The sound engineers are also in charge of the soundbank, which holds all of the auditory materials, as well as the voice acting for the characters in the game.
Game DesignersVideo game programmers are highly skilled software professionals responsible for the coding and programming of video games. They are responsible for creating and implementing the code that enables the game to run, as well as for creating the game logic and functionality. Furthermore, game programmers are responsible for the design and maintenance of game engines and tools that allow for the creation of video games. Additionally, they are responsible for debugging, testing and troubleshooting the code to ensure a smooth, enjoyable gaming experience for all players.
- Processing of Input
- The User Interface
- Artificial Intelligence in video games
- Tools for game creation
- Integration of networks and clouds
- Physics in the game
Hiring managers are presented with a choice when it comes to developing a game: bringing on an in-house developer or outsourcing the programming. To help make an informed decision, we have created a guide for hiring in-house versus outsourcing developers. Our guide provides all the relevant information needed to make an educated choice.
What is the cost of hiring a game development team?The cost of creating a game development team is contingent upon a variety of factors, including the technology employed, the experience level of the developers, the quantity of personnel required, and more. All of these criteria must be taken into account in order to accurately determine the full cost of establishing a game development team.
What is the cost of hiring a game designer?The cost of recruiting game designers can vary depending on the level of expertise, seniority, location, coding technologies, and number of years of experience. Hiring remote game designers and developers may be a cost-efficient way for organisations to reduce their recruitment expenses. At Works, we offer the opportunity to employ remote game developers at competitive rates.
How do you go about finding a game development team?Before hiring a game development team, it is important to determine the amount of team members needed, the technologies and budgets required, and the schedules and other criteria that need to be met. To ensure a successful project, it is advisable to contact a recruiting expert, such as Works, to find the right professionals for the job. When assigning tasks to the contracted game development team, it is important to be realistic and set achievable targets and timetables.
What does it cost to start a game company?In order to establish a successful gaming firm, there are a variety of financial considerations that must be taken into account. This includes taxes, insurance, and salaries for game developers. Additionally, the cost of the computerised setup, registration fees, and other operational utility expenditures such as power bills, internet rates, and rent must be considered. Furthermore, businesses must budget for the cost of promoting gaming titles, recruiting game creators, and manufacturing video games. Generally, a mid-level gaming firm will require upwards of $1 million in initial funding to get started.
Markets for video game production in the future
The free-to-play gaming model has become increasingly popular in the video game industry, accounting for an estimated 80% of total revenue. It is estimated that in-game purchases will total over $65 million. As such, it is essential for video game businesses to provide players with a highly immersive gaming experience that includes exciting features, levels, modifications, and skins.
Due to the rapid expansion of the gaming industry, game studios must strive to keep up with the ever-increasing demands and expectations of their customers. If you are looking to recruit highly-skilled and experienced game developers, please visit our Recruit Developers page, where you will find a selection of pre-vetted candidates who are ready to take your project to the next level.