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5 Obstacles Many Game Developers Face

This is about the different obstacles that developers face all along the way during the production and developing of a video game.

Chris Grasso, Blogger

November 12, 2013

4 Min Read

Building a video game is not unlike crafting an intricate mural, nuanced symphony, or blockbuster movie. Modern day game developers have more powerful technology at their disposal than ever before. That being said, the demand for high-quality media—such as 3D models, original soundtrack, art, and so on—is growing every day.

A truly great video game hides the complicated marriage of logic and art behind the scenes, but developers are well aware that even the slightest hiccup could delay production. Whether developing a game or designing plus size wedding dresses keeping on timeline is essential. Here are # obstacles many game developers face that many other professions face.

Lack of Art

Many people pursuing a career in game design usually have a much more extensive background in programming and technical skills. It's not the most difficult thing in the world to create pixel art or graphics for 8- and 16-bit engines, but amateur visuals pale in comparison to work done by experienced graphic designers and artists.

You might have a winning strategy for gameplay mechanics and the elegant code to make it happen, but a well-programmed game is nothing without striking eye candy to back it up. If you're really stuck in a bind, you can go the Grandma's Boy route and just change model colors for different NPCs, but you might want to consider hiring a professional to handle your textures, backgrounds, and concept art.

Reinventing the Wheel

Some developers feel like it's a cop-out to take someone else's work, like codes or 3D models, and use it in their own game. There's a prevalent 'purist' ideology that everything you design needs to be your own original work. But be warned—going through and building your own physics engines, models, codes, and more will set you back a considerable amount of time.

If you want to gain a more thorough understanding of what happens behind the curtain, so to speak, then Godspeed brave programmer. But if you're faced with a tight deadline or want to finish a product quickly, your best, safest bet is to just use the tried and true system hundreds have used before. You can still create an original work even if it's built upon a foundation someone else laid (see: the Unreal Engine).

Working to Scale

Chances are if you're designing a high-end game with tons of dynamic lighting, particle, and physics effects, you're already the proud owner of a powerful computer. Even if your game is beyond photorealistic on your supercharged processor, you've got to remember that not everyone is going to have access to the same level of hardware as you do.

If someone tries to play your game online and experiences reduced frame rate and choppy graphics, chances are they're going to think there's a problem with their internet connection and start looking up information about dsl to improve their experience. You can keep your fancy design, just remember to give options that won't overload your player's computer.

Producing Quality Audio

Audio production is a separate art in and of itself. Some novice developers are surprised to discover just how intricately complex in-game audio can be. You've got to keep track of sound effects, voice overs, ambient sounds, music, and more.

This relates back to the 'reinventing the wheel' dilemma; Do you simply find stock audio and royalty free music, or do you work with a team of foley artists and composers to develop something unique that players will only hear in your game and nowhere else? If you have the time and the resources, invest in a professional audio production team.

Business Sustainability

Once you conceptualize the scope of your game, take a few days to carefully plan your business model. Will you generate revenue simply on one-time purchases like in the console industry? Will you offer your game for free and turn a profit via in-game purchases? Or do you strike some happy medium in between? Try and understand who your target demographic is and what they'd be willing to spend on your product, and how often.

Producing your very own video game is no easy feat. But with patience and careful planning, you might produce the ground-breaking title of your generation.

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