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Process of Making Video Games: Overview for Beginners

Love video games? Ever consider a game designer career? Learn the process of making video games for computers & consoles to learn if this job’s right for you.

If you’re an avid video game player, you probably can describe exactly what it’s like to play a brand-new video game.  You can easily describe the thrill of seeing the beautiful scenery and characters displayed on your television screen.  You can describe the pleasure in immersing yourself in an intricate world of choices, action, and consequences. 

You can explain the gratification received by completing a difficult level or winning a game in its entirety.  However, can you detail the work and effort that was required to create all of this?  The answer is probably “no.” 

The truth is, while many Americans can describe, in detail, their favorite video game, most are stricken silent when asked how these details were created.

What Goes Into Making Video Games

Video game production is one of the most difficult, technical, and time-consuming endeavors in existence today.  Many agree that video game production is more complicated than filming a movie, composing a symphony, playing an instrument, or writing a book. 

While these endeavors are difficult in their own ways, video game production requires a greater attention to detail and a more complete understanding of the millions of intricate elements that come together to create an excellent video game.

A video game designer must be an artist, a computer technician, and a creative storyteller all-in-one. A game with beautiful graphics and no story line will fail. 

Similarly, a game with a creative story but subpar graphic images will disappoint consumers.  All these elements must be combined in perfect synchronicity for a video game to succeed.

Making Video Games For Beginners

If you pride yourself on your creative abilities and have a passion for video games, you may be considering a career as a video game designer or manufacturer. 

This career field is expected to grow by one third every year for the next ten years, if not more.  As such, it is a highly lucrative career choice and one in which individuals can find great success. 

Video game designing entails many intricate steps, including:

  • Concept: Before anything can be created or programmed, a video game designer must come up with a great concept.  This concept may be anything from an imagined world to a historical event.  Great concepts are the foundations for great video games (Learn more about a video game designer career)
  • Story: Immediately after the concept is imagined, the suggested storyline is created.  While gamers do have a great deal of command over the choices made in video games, most games have small achievements that must be made to succeed in a greater story arc.  These story elements must be created in detail before designing the game.
  • Artwork: Many game designers begin by painting, sketching, or using a computer to design elaborate visual spectacles that will shape the general look of the video game.  The Halo game series for Xbox started with conceptual paintings that detailed the imagined world of the game.  Colors were specifically chosen for the landscape, characters, and equipment used throughout the game.  Different levels were designed in different locations, and each location was artistically rendered before production of the game began.
  • Programming: Video game makers use highly-technical computer programs to assist them in dealing with the millions of computer codes required to produce an advanced video game.  Layers and layers of texture, color and images are incorporated into the finished product.  Animation is required to make the characters movements look realistic.  The artistry required in modern video game production is astounding.
  • Bug Work: Before video game testers get their hands dirty, the designers must play through the game and work out any “bugs,” or mistakes, that might have gone unnoticed.  Story inconsistencies, poor graphics, or too-difficult scenarios are examples of video game bugs.

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