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.
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.
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.