Playing a video game is fun, absolutely no doubt about it. However, as cool as it would be, games don’t materialize out of the ether and wind up on a gaming platform. Games are the result of the hardwork from people who live, eat and breathe games. If you have ever wondered how these games get made, here is a quick fly-by of the main points of a game’s development cycle.

All games start out as ideas. Not just any old idea, they need to be particularly well thought out and formulated ideas. What is the core of the game? What can you do and accomplish? How do you want the player to feel while playing? Who are the challenges? What abilities should there be? All these questions need to be answered in the early stages since other people will need to see the original vision of the game. It all gets documented and is subject to change. This is how all our game ideas originate.

Once all the details are set, then there is a meeting about how to divide up the tasks needed to complete the game. Programming, design and art all need to work together and flesh out the idea into something playable. Often times, there will be placeholder material where regular art would go while some features get worked out. The image at the top is from an early build of Candy Dream. If you try and compare the above screen with the current Candy Dream game, you’ll notice many differences.

(This is one of the finished buttons for Hangman)

The moment that there is a working prototype of the game, we start play testing the game. From that point on, all the pieces begin to fall into place and the final version of the game starts to take shape. There could be more tweaks at this stage ranging from minor to major (hopefully minor) until the game resembles the original vision of the design document or however it has changed. The one thing we keep in mind during all the steps is, “Am I having fun?” If it isn’t fun or confusing, we’ll keep tweaking and changing things until we get it right.

There are more, little steps that need to be taken but this is the big picture stuff that happens for all of our games. For instance, after the game is released, we might change a thing here or there based on feedback from our growing community of Toy Studio fans that play our games.