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Table of contents
Game Development Life Cycle
Idea/Story Phase
Conceptual Analysis Phase 
Planning Phase
Team Building Phase
Concept Design Phase
Development Phase
Testing Phase
Pre-Production Phase
Main Production Phase
Sales and Marketing Phase
Frequently Asked Questions 
Are games developed only for entertainment purposes?
How is Game Development different from Software Development?
Why is this model preferred for Game Development? 
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Game Development Life Cycle Model

Author Vidhi Singh
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Ashwin Goyal
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Recently Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for approximately $69 billion. Well, that’s huge! It straight away reflects how important and significant the gaming industry has become. 
It has developed a long way from a simple snake game to immersive gaming consoles involving AR(Augmented Reality) and VR(Virtual Reality). 

So, in this article, we will go ahead and describe various phases of Game Development called as Game Development Life Cycle. 

Game Development Life Cycle

Whenever software is developed, it goes through a whole Software Development Life Cycle. Games can also be considered software, but have a specific aim of offering a lot of fun. The challenges faced during developing a game are slightly different from the ones during general Software development because this Game Development Life Cycle Model was proposed to overcome those challenges efficiently and systematically. 

There are different stages in a specific order.  

Idea/Story Phase

The idea or Story of the game is the actual background of our game. The background is about the idea of conveying even the smallest detail of the story of the game. It should specify the requirements and needs in the game document. It's the actual prototype of the game, which has covered all the ideas. The group of ideas is called Game Concept/ Game Story. 

Conceptual Analysis Phase 

This phase is about analyzing the deep requirements of the game. It involves the formation of a feasibility study before actually starting the development. It is suggested to be very careful in this phase and not neglect even the pettiest concerns as it significantly affects the project for the later phases. Some major aspects that need to be thoroughly analyzed are as follows: 

  1. Scope and skills of the game 
  2. Technical abilities 
  3. Legal, organizational, and cultural issues and figuring out their solutions. 
  4. Costs and pricing 
  5. Oher specific requirements

Planning Phase

In the previous phases, all the needed information is gathered and studies are done which are required for game development. It involves creating a project plan(or say blue print) of the game. Following are the basic subtasks of this phase: 

  1. Making a list of all the tasks
  2. Scheduling the duration and timing of each task 
  3. Deciding the workflow, test plans, and test cases
  4. Preparing documents/charts of the flow of the tasks 
  5. Deciding the flow of submission of tasks
  6. Taking care of bug fixing and final submission of perfect product

Team Building Phase

In order to start development, a team is required. This phase involves forming a team. The members of the team are selected as per the game’s requirements such as programmers, designers, testers,  etc. 

Basically, there are specialized people for all roles. These roles include Programmers, sound designers, graphics designers, etc.  

Concept Design Phase

Concept Design is also known as Game Design. It is considered to be the core of the game. It involves creating a design prototype of the idea or concept. Basically, bringing the story to reality. 

A Game Design Document is created before starting the development of the game. This document describes all the virtual designs and ideas in a blueprint format. Elements of Game Design are:

  1. Game Data  
  2. UX/UI design 
  3. Game Mechanisms 
  4. Game Properties/Powers/ Objects 
  5. Level Design
  6. Game Characters
  7. Sound and Music 
  8. Animations/VFX 
  9. Game Support and future enhancements

Development Phase

This phase involves starting the development of the actual idea decided in the first phase and described in the Game Design Phase. 

Several sub-tasks of this phase include:

  1. Selecting Game Engine and the plug-ins, frameworks, modules, and platforms that support it. 
  2. The lead Programmer has the responsibility of checking on the progress and quality of the product. He is also supposed to ensure the following of Game Design documents and architecture. 
  3. Art, animations, VFX, visuals, collision, physics, sounds, scene/level management, AI, dynamic object spawning and destroying, loading and unloading resources, shaders, rendering, garbage collector handling, CPU&GPU usage, game load, multi-platforms supports, advertising integration, virtual goods implementations are complex tasks. They come under the responsibility of the developers, sound artists, graphic designers, etc.

Testing Phase

Testing is a phase that involves reflecting back upon the developed product. It is as important as Game Design(which means very important). 

It is testing the actual end-user experience in relation to our product. It is an interactive and repetitive process of the same screen flow input and expecting the output from the user for the quality of games. The process is more than just playing the game at the workplace.

Quality Assurance under Bugs Tracker Report and Testing team work mainly with two documents, namely Test Plans Documents and Test Cases Documents. 

Testing methodologies usually used by the team involved in this phase are Interruption Testing, Functional Testing, Module Testing, Load Testing, Performance Testing, Memory Testing, Compatibility Testing, Compliance Testing, Behavior Testing, Network Testing, and End User Experience Testing, etc.

Pre-Production Phase

It is a technique to ensure successful production. It is also called Alpha/Beta Release. It is done to track real-time bug/ user experience. 
It is nice knowing the actual user experience and user acceptance related to the game so that even if there is come issue after the testing phase, it can be identified before the main production. 

So, in case, some concern arises, it is rectified and the product is prepared for final production, the next phase.

Main Production Phase

Here, in this phase, the game is deployed properly and made live for common people. It also involves preparing notes, privacy policies, and terms and conditions for product usage in a document sort of structure. 

Not only this, other things like trailers, short videos related to the game, and credits are prepared in this phase. 

Sales and Marketing Phase

This phase starts after the final release of the product. 

The marketing team focuses on and analyzes the data report of the live game, and produces the report of the user experience. They also check the reviews and ratings given by users, related to the game and also provide appropriate answers to the queries of users, in short boosting up the hype around the game. They also work on increasing the profit and revenue. 

They also communicate other issues to the Quality Assurance team and other departments. 

Basically, they have the responsibility to attract more players to the game.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Are games developed only for entertainment purposes?

No, games were primarily created for entertainment, but nowadays they are used in domains like education, business, and health care. 

How is Game Development different from Software Development?

The multidisciplinary nature of the game development processes that combine Artificial Intelligence, art, sound, and human factors, makes the software game development task different from traditional software development. 

Why is this model preferred for Game Development? 

This model is preferred the most because of its property of division of huge tasks into smaller ones. Breaking them into parts makes it easier to design and develop and at the same time assures the quality of the product. This ensures the production of high-class products. 


This article extensively discusses different phases of the Game Development Life Cycle Model.

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