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Dr. Michael Garbade

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  1. Dr. Michael Garbade

    10 Biggest Hurdles That Affect Game Development

    Game development is a challenging trade. It is full of possibilities, but also comes at a cost. The rapid growth of game development means more challenges and hurdles for the industry as a whole. The post aims to go through the hurdles that are affecting game development. RamonDev, a game developer from Argentina, has also pointed out that game development has become more challenging than ever. According to him, it is always tough for game developers to bring their ideas to production. Other challenges that he talks about includes performance and game monetization. Let’s discuss the biggest hurdles affecting game development below. 10 Biggest Hurdles That Affect Game Development 1. Getting your ideas to production The number one challenge that game developers go through is to get their ideas into production. Games are all about unique ideas. But getting an idea through all the workflow, modifications, and production is hard. Additionally, game developers have to get things “right” the very first time. But in reality, an idea needs to be tested several times before it becomes part of the game. Even then, many ideas are scraped during production -- making it an expensive way of losing work hours. 2. Game performance Game performance is another big hurdle in game development. Game developers need to optimize their game throughout the project. On top of that, if the game is multi-platform, they have to take extra steps to ensure optimal performance. One such example is the AAA games ports including Doom and Wolfenstein on Nintendo Switch. Nintendo Switch is a portable console and hence comes with limited power. Panic Button, the team behind the port, has to sacrifice a lot of visual fidelity to ensure that it provides optimal performance throughout the game. And, now, we are on the verge of witnessing one of the best games, Witcher 3 release on Nintendo Switch. The trailers give away on the downgraded version, but that’s needed to be done to make the game “playable.” It is handled by Saber Interactive. Digital Foundry, an established YouTube channel released a great analysis on the Witcher 3 Trailer. You should check it out to learn how Panic Button aims to do it. 3. Game Monetization Game monetization models have changed due to the high-risk investment nature of the sector. It is common for game development companies to utilize the microtransaction business model to ensure long-term profitability. However, it is not welcomed by gamers across the world. That’s makes it an ethical dilemma for the developers. To overcome it, they need to find a balance between incorporating microtransactions. The balance is subtle and can easily tip off on the wrong side, making it one of the biggest challenges in the current game development industry. 4. Understanding what drives players We have seen games that are ambitious but fall apart after they release. Majority of the game failure is attributed to their inability to connect with the player. For developers, it means finding the formula that can help them truly understand the needs of the player. What makes them engaging? Or better, what makes them come back to the game? It is easy to miss this fundamental question. Also, there is no straightforward answer to what makes players engaged. However, the best way to find out is to get proper feedback from your target audience. Fiddling with data can also reveal player habits and decisions. 5. Project estimation There is no right approach to project estimation, and that makes it one of the hardest things to do, especially when it comes to making games. The game industry is fast-paced, which result in a change in technology and methodology. To make a project successful, the team needs to work on schedule. It is also common for projects to take longer than usual as old ideas are scrapped instead of new ones. Getting the project estimation right is tough. If done right, it can yield a lot of benefits to the company as they can utilize their budget, time, and effort in upcoming projects. 6. Prototyping Prototyping is a never-ending process for many in-development games. It mostly starts at the beginning of a project where the team just cannot decide if a feature should be there or not. To get past the un-decision, the pros and cons need to be weighed. Asking questions whether the feature adds value to the project or not. The decisions need to be made relatively quickly as late decision means you will lose a lot of work. In general, game developers get better at prototyping with experience. 7. Choosing the right technology Choosing the right technology can be seen as one of the biggest hurdles in game development. There is a plethora of game development engines and programming language that you can choose for your next game. But is it the right choice? Even established game development firms have their own way of using tech. They either use an established engine developed in-house or borrow an established engine in the market. Indie game developers, on the other hand, suffer from the hurdle more. The choice should depend on the development speed, platform support, flexibility, performance, low initial investment, good ecosystem, and diverse OS support. 8. Maintaining enthusiasm during the game development process It is a common complaint among the developers that they start losing enthusiasm after the initial stage of the project passes. Any project starts with a lot of excitement, and that can be seen from work done by developers. But soon the “new” phase fades away and the crunch hours starts to kick in. The management should take extra care in helping developers maintain their enthusiasm. 9. Completing the project Project completion still remains the number one issue in game development. Game projects are complex, and with time, they grow very complicated. The complexity hinders its completion. Some projects lose the goal and end up with a completely different project. Other projects use all their budget and left with no money left to complete. To ensure that it doesn’t happen, game development companies need to check the health of the project through well-trusted methods regularly. 10. Marketing the project The last hurdle that most projects suffer from is lack of marketing. Most of the time, the game company lacks a clear marketing plan. And, even when they do, they do not execute it properly. Not reaching the intended audience can impact profoundly the sales of the game -- which in return can hamper their growth and eventually their next project. Conclusion Game development has changed drastically in the last decade. With the advancement in technology and a radical change in how consumers behave, it is important for developed to embrace the change quickly. It is also essential for developers to continually reach out to their audience through different platforms. One such way is to create interesting projects for other developers. This way, you can sharpen your skills and also stay motivated. So, what do you think about the hurdles? Comment below and let us know.
  2. Are you considering developing a mobile game? If you want to be successful, you should avoid making the most common mistakes. Trying to build a game without figuring out the right approach is a recipe for disaster. There are experienced developers like MyIsaak from Sweden, an expert in C# and Unity game development who frequently livestreams his Diablo III Board game development process. The more you learn from professionals like him, who have gone through the processes, the faster you can avoid making the common game development mistakes. Here are the top 5 game developments mistakes to avoid. 1. Ignoring the target group Creating a game without properly studying your target group is a huge barrier that will keep it from being downloaded and played. Who are you building the game for? What are their main interests? What activities do they like participating in? Can the target group afford the gaming app? Does your target audience use iOS or Android operating system? Seeking answers to the above questions and others can assist in correctly identifying your target group. Consequently, you can design its functionalities around their preferences. Just like an ice cream vendor is likely to set up shop at the beach during summer, you should focus on consumers whose behaviors are likely to motivate them to play your game. For example, if you want to create a gun shooting game, you can target college-educated men in their 20s and 30s, while targeting other demographic groups secondarily. 2. Failure to study the competitors To create a successful game that will increase positive reviews and retention, you should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Studying your competition will allow you to understand your capabilities to match or surpass the consumer demand for your mobile or web-based game. If you fail to do it, you will miss the opportunity to fill the actual needs in the gaming industry and correct the mistakes made by the developers in your niche. You should ask questions like “What is their target audience?” “How many downloads do their gaming app receive per month?” “What resources do they have?”. Answering such questions will give you a good idea of the abilities of your competition, the feasibility of competing with them, and the kind of strategies to adopt to out-compete them. Importantly, instead of copying the strategies of your competitors, develop a game that is unique and provides an added value to users. 3. Design failure When building a mobile or a web-based game, it’s essential that you employ a unique art style and visually appealing design—without any unnecessary sophistication. People are attracted to games based on the user interface design and intuitiveness. So, instead of spending a lot of time trying to write elegant and complicated lines of code, take your time to provide a better design. No one will download a game because its code is beautiful. People download games to play them. And, the design of the game plays a critical part in assisting them to make the download decision. 4. Trying to do everything If you try to code, develop 3D models, create animations, do voice-overs—all by yourself—then you are likely to create an unsuccessful game. The secret to succeeding is to complete tasks that align with your core competencies and outsource the rest of the work. Learn how to divide your work to other experts and save yourself the headaches. You should also avoid trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead of trying to do everything by yourself, go for robust tools available out there that can make your life easier. Trying to build something that is already provided in the open source community will consume a lot of your development time and make you feel frustrated. Furthermore, do not be the beta tester of your own game. If you request someone else to do the beta testing, you’ll get useful outside perspective that will assist in discovering some hidden issues. 5. Having unrealistic expectations Unrealistic expectations are very dangerous because they set your game development career up for failure. Do not put your expectations so high such that you force somethings to work your way. For example, dreaming too big can make you include too many rewards in your game. As much as rewards are pivotal for improving engagement and keeping users motivated, gamers will not take you seriously if you incorporate rewards in every little achievement they make. Instead, you should select specific rewards for specific checkpoints; this way, the players will feel that they’ve made major milestones. Conclusion The mistakes discussed in this article have made several game developers to be unsuccessful in their careers. So, be cautious and keep your head high so that you don’t fall into the same trap. The best way to avoid making the common mistakes is through learning how to build games from the experts. Who knows? You could develop the next big game in the industry.
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