Just like developing games for any other platform, mobile game development is an intricate multi-phase process that involves diligent work and an iterative approach. It can depend on the game’s scope and genre, but generally, mobile game development follows a set number of stages to ensure high-quality results.
The approach can depend on the development team’s preferred method of developing games, where more or less time is spent on individual phases or there is an entirely different methodology. Generally, there is a baseline process that the industry follows, one that the Magic Media Mobile team adheres to. It works fantastically for us and has been tested countless times within the gaming industry as a whole.
Conceptualization and Planning
Before any work on a game begins in earnest, it’s critically important to tease out what the game is. At this early stage, it’s vital to settle on its genre, game mechanics, story, characters, and other foundational building blocks for the title. While some of these aspects will almost certainly be subject to change during later phases, a plan needs to be established first.
This helps the team understand market viability and feasibility – Can this game be delivered within the allotted time frame? Is there room on the market for it? Could this game be successful in the current market? This is particularly important for mobile games. The mobile gaming industry is filled with innumerable casual games, so it’s essential to find out your title’s place in this loaded market.
Once the core aspects of the game have been settled on, the next step is to start designing them. This includes storyboarding concepts and creating a design document as a single source of required information for the project. Prototyping is common during this stage as well. While certain mechanics and features may sound feasible in theory, it could be a different case in practice, so it’s important to create a proof of concept. This is critical to understanding if the game will work on the whole and if its various features will intermingle.
During this phase, the game begins to tangibly make sense and become playable over time and multiple iterations of its mechanics. It’s common for features to be cut during development for a variety of reasons, including resource management and budget. Testing takes place as well during development to ensure that the game mechanics are working as intended, though the bulk of testing takes place during its dedicated phase and later periods of development.
Testing and Optimization
Testing aims to ensure that every aspect of the game is functioning correctly. Any issues found by the team are reported to the development team so they can work to resolve them promptly before the game is released to the public. Though it’s common for bugs to slip through the cracks, most game releases have their major game-breaking and progress-impeding issues resolved before launch.
Optimization is especially important in mobile game development. Due to the sheer range of operating systems and devices available, mobile games need to be optimized to ensure they run smoothly across a full range of devices. Without proper optimization, performance issues and bugs are all but guaranteed to arise for players.
Testing traditionally has its phase as outlined, but its presence reaches further than just the main development phase. Up to and after your game’s launch, testing teams commonly work to quash outstanding bugs and solve any new issues that crop up once the game is in players’ hands.
Once a game is completed, it’s time to prepare for release. Before this, there’s generally a significant marketing campaign to capture the attention of the game’s target audience. This is usually comprised of trailer releases, screenshots, gameplay demonstrations, and sometimes even live streams with developers where they deep dive into certain mechanics and features. Though the majority of the work has been completed at this stage, significant work goes into promoting the game and its release on storefronts like the App Store and Google Play Store.
The post-launch period can vary wildly depending on the game. It’s commonplace for mobile games to receive further content updates to add to their lifecycle and patches to resolve outstanding or emerging issues. The game’s performance must be monitored, as this can be a huge factor when evaluating its future. Future content updates, paid and free, or even full-blown sequels or successor games can depend greatly on the success of the initial title.
For all your mobile project needs, whether it’s full-cycle game development, co-development, art, or dozens of other services, be sure to get in contact with Magic Media today, and let’s create magic!