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BiggJay5

The process of creating a AAA title

6 posts in this topic

I've been looking all over the web for info on how the top developers approach the hard task of creating a AAA game title for commercial distribution. Do any one know the basic process of developing a next generation game? or even better where I could find information on the process of developing games such as Call of Duty 4, DOA 4, Grand theft Auto 4, etc... Any info would help.
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Get a subscription to Game Developer Magazine and start reading it. You can also generally find post mortems on Gamasutra and here on GameDev.net.
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The process, as a whole, can be summarized in a few short steps:

  1. Find money (this can come from your personal fortune, from investors or venture capitalists, from your parent company, or perhaps from your game development studio's bank accounts).

  2. Rent or buy office space, hire a development team, buy computers and tools, set up the work environment for everyone. Designate operational managers in each large operational area (programming, graphics, music, marketing, testing, QA, support), add a top-level director to manage the managers along with individual operational employees (game designer, writer, administrative assistant, legal services, system administrator). Any or all of these tasks may be outsourced either to external contractors or to a parent company (which might, for instance, handle the QA, support, marketing and legal services).

  3. Let the team work. Some of your employees should be experienced enough to know how to turn a game design into a game (if none are, then hire some). After a while, assuming that your employees are competent, a playable (but unfinished and unpolished) product should become available. Finish the product, then polish it.

  4. Sign contracts with retailers (your publisher or parent company, if you have one, might get this done for you) and cash in on the sales.


Do you have any specific questions about a part of this process?
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There are several books that mention the process in passing. From what I know, you generally want to get together a design document and a game brief. The game brief and design document I believe are part of the proposal that you use to give your pitch for your game.

Do a google search and scan this site for game proposal, game brief, and design document that should get you started.

Another thing you might consider is getting a prototype completed to help your proposal.

Once your proposal is accepted you'll establish a budget and start the "real" work on your game.

At this point, you'll have milestones to meet and deliverables to deliver at each of those milestones.

Eventually, you'll go through several iterations of your game and revise it time and time again. You'll go through an Alpha version of the game and then enter Beta testing. After you have all the bugs out(or at least the ones you can fix at that point), then I believe you get the game stamped into a gold master copy from which the publisher makes their copies.

That's the gist of the process from my research. Feel free to correct me as needed.
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There is no one single accepted method. Each company has it's own processes and even within one company, individual teams will have there own processes. These may even (probably) change between products.

Here's a basic outline about how it may go.

Design proposal
- green light process (get proposal agreed by publisher)

Overall game design
- review processes and further green light process

Technical breakdown
- identify required components
- scehduling and setting milestones
- review game design based on technical breakdown, reitterate as required
- Milestone breakdown

Detailed technical design phase

Asset creation and coding
- reviews at milestone points - redesign or respec as required.

Alpha Testing

Beta testing

Submissions to console manufacturers

Re-submissions if required.

Gold
- begin mastering

This is often called a waterfall method.
It's a lot more complicated than this though. I've only skimmed some of the process and others will do things differently.
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Quote:
Original post by BiggJay5
I've been looking all over the web for info on how the top developers approach the hard task of creating a AAA game title for commercial distribution. Do any one know the basic process of developing a next generation game?

FAQ 10

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I truly appreciate all the info from the members here. I'm now going to take out some time to read through and process all the information given.
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