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The game development process is a developing idea or activity from concept to completion, which includes defining requirements, conceptualization and designing the structure of a game, creating a product (a playable or executable file), and developing that product into a marketable or consumable software product, and iterating design changes.

Full cycle game development is a complicated process. It’s not as easy as it looks from the outside. You don’t just design a game, create some levels and then publish it. There are many steps to follow, big decisions to make, and things that need to be solved before you can start working on your game.

The development process can be divided into three main areas: pre-production, production, and post-production. During this period, different aspects of game design are developed through prototyping ideas with software such as GameMaker: Studio by YoYo Games, as well as working on different aspects of gameplay to create interactive work.

5 Key Game Development Stages: A Look Behind the Scenes

Stage 1: Formulating the game idea and an overall vision

The initial stage of development is to establish the game and software requirements. A vision statement (what the gameplay will be), high-level design, and a set of high-level features are established. For example, defining what type of game it will be (a platform, adventure, or shooter) provides a common vocabulary throughout development. Other aspects, such as gameplay features and levels, may also be defined. However, they must remain flexible in responding to changes that may occur during development.

Stage 2: Concept and pre-production

At this point, the vision statement is further developed into a vision document. The document is in written format and provides a narrative description of the game. It covers the game’s target audience, storyline, setting, and gameplay features. Aspects such as the theme and look may also be determined at this point.

The goal of this stage is to provide a blueprint to guide other areas of development (such as programming) while keeping an open mind for future design changes, as it must still be flexible enough to accommodate these changes.

Stage 3: Prototyping and design

At this stage, the game design is further defined. The high-level features are further fleshed out (such as its degree of freedom, playability, and whether it will be single or multiplayer). Feedback from several potential players is sought during the prototyping stage by having them play the game using different control schemes and input devices. In addition, various gameplay features are adjusted throughout development as it may become apparent that a particular feature was not quite what was expected or that gameplay rules need to be kept open in case future ideas come about.

The goal of this stage is to provide a good foundation for programming implementation. A playable prototype is developed that can be tested by end users to provide a further level of refinement and assurance that the game will meet the design requirements.

Stage 4: Production & testing

At this point in the development process, development moves into total production. The gameplay is fully implemented into the game, and all programming, sound, and artwork assets are added to create a complete game experience. Testing occurs throughout this time for new areas of content or new features to be continually refined until no more changes are required or the development cycle ends. This can take months, even years, for some products.

Stage 5: Post-production

Finally, the end product is completed and tested. A finalized version of the game is submitted to the client, who may update or refine the product before returning a finalized version to you. This process can be automated via batch files and other software tools such as makefiles that the client can then use to create a final build of their game.

Game design is a process of iteration, refinement, and evaluation. New challenges and problems must be solved at each stage to keep the development process moving forward. The solution to one design problem may produce new problems requiring further changes or adjustments to the previous work in order to produce an optimal outcome. These changes are made by iteratively creating prototypes, testing them with users, evaluating feedback, and refining the product until it reaches a satisfactory state that meets all requirements.

A proper design document is essential for effective game development as it details what the end product should be or do. This document is vital for several reasons, as it must be flexible enough to accommodate changes that may occur during development. A successor in design needs to be able to pick up where the previous one left off and have the freedom to create new content while still keeping it consistent with each revision. It is also essential that this document isn’t too long and wordy because it can become confusing and cumbersome during implementation. However, a simple or brief vision statement or design document at the beginning of the process, driven by a discussion with team members, can save time later in development by avoiding wasted time debating vague ideas that may or may not work.

An important aspect of game design is to create a vision for the end product using a framework called a Vision Document. The scope of the vision document is to give an idea about the game, the gameplay, and what features will be included. It describes why you are making the game, who you are making it for and how it will be used.

In addition, a vision document can define what type of game it will be (a platform game, adventure, or shooter) to provide a common vocabulary throughout development. This document should also include how you plan to make your game stand out from other games on the market and possible ways to improve or add things that may not exist in other games.

In conclusion, a vision document should include the following things:

Similar to the Vision Document, a Design Document is also essential as it details what the game will look like and how gameplay will be implemented. A design document also includes game control schemes and input devices. In addition, it defines what features will be in the game and any limitations on those features. This document should specify gameplay goals or objectives and milestones needed to complete before specific objectives are met. For example, “To have three levels” or “To have five different types of enemies.”

At each stage in development, iteration is crucial to keeping both design and programming moving forward productively.


Yuriy Denisyuk is Game Production Lead at Pingle Studio. He’s responsible for successfully managing the Game Production pipeline. Yuriy is this lucky person who plays the best games for work in order to keep up with trends and create new ones. He likes writing, reading Manga, fantasy, and professional literature in his free time.