Video game development

Process of developing a video game / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Video game development (sometimes shortened to gamedev) is the process of creating a video game. It is a multidisciplinary practice, involving programming, design, art, audio, user interface, and writing. Each of those may be made up of more specialized skills; art includes 3D modeling of objects, character modeling, animation, visual effects, and so on. Development is supported by project management, production, and quality assurance. Teams can be many hundreds of people, a small group, or a even a single person.

Development of commercial video games is normally funded by a publisher and can take two to five years to reach completion. Game creation by small, self-funded teams is called independent development. The technology in a game may be written from scratch or use propriety software specific to one company. As development has gotten more complex, it has become common for companies and independent developers alike to use off-the-shelf "engines" such as Unity or Unreal Engine.[1]

Commercial game development began in the 1970s with the advent of arcade video games, first-generation video game consoles like the Atari 2600, and home computers like the Apple II. Into the 1980s, a lone programmer could develop a full and complete game such as Pitfall!. By the second and third generation of video game consoles in the late 1980s, the growing popularity of 3D graphics on personal computers, and higher expectations for visuals and quality, it became difficult for a single person to produce a mainstream video game. The average cost of producing a high-end (often called AAA) game slowly rose from US$1–4 million in 2000, to over $200 million and up by 2023. At the same time, independent game development has flourished. The best-selling video game of all time, Minecraft, was initially written by one person, then supported by a small team, before the company was acquired by Microsoft and greatly expanded.

Mainstream commercial video games are generally developed in phases. A concept is developed which then moves to pre-production where prototypes are written and the plan for the entire game is created. This is followed by full-scale development or production, then sometimes a post-production period where the game is polished. It has become common for many developers, especially smaller developers, to publicly release games in an "early access" form, where iterative development takes place in tandem with feedback from actual players.

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