Unit 1: Pre Production Techniques Assignment 1

In order to make a game you will need a computer, as video games are created on computers, even the ones made for consoles. You will also need a pretty good computer- but this depends on the game you are going to make; for example if you are making an mobile app type game, you will not really need a high end computer, but if you plan to make a high end game then you will certainly need a good computer with a very power graphics card.
The peripherals means the input software used to control video games, when developing a game you need to work around the hardware provided like Xbox and PlayStation controllers, if you want to sell a game on PC, you will need to create a control scheme with the keyboard. A well-developed gaming company like Nintendo can create their own controllers.
Dev Kits
Development kits are the hardware used to test and debug games for retail consoles; development kits cost a lot of money and can be loaned to game developers from a gaming company. For example if some game developers wanted to release a game on Xbox 360, they would have to get their hands on a development kit, this costs a lot of money-but can be loaned too. Xbox One now has a system which allows people to do this on retail consoles.

The Unreal Development Kit is a very popular development kit used by many game developers. You will need a pretty high spec pc to develop on this engine. The System requirements are a “desktop PC with Windows 7 64-bit or a Mac with Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later, 8 GB RAM and a quad-core Intel or AMD processor, and a DX11 compatible video card. UE4 will run on desktops and laptops below these recommendations, but performance may be limited.” The Unreal engine is free to create in, however it using the C++ coding language, which is not friendly for beginners.
Unity is a popular cross platform game engine, there is a free version of the engine, and a £20 a month development team version. A lot of Unity Engine games can be played for free on gaming websites like Y8.com. There are no royalties or per title fees, even on the free version of Unity. There are problems with Unity, these include performance problems, and no one using the engine gets to see the source code, so if there is a bug in the Unity engine, Unity themselves have to fix it.
Game Maker
Game maker is a gaming engine, it’s not as high end as UDK and Unity. It cannot do 3D games; it’s all based around 2D games. A lot of the app store games can be made with game maker, these games are sold at low prices, but if popular enough they can make loads of money.

Maya is a 3D computer graphics software program; it is used to create the 3D sprites which appear in games. This is a very important piece of software, as it specialises in the creation of 3D sprites, other game engines do have these features but they are not as well made than Maya’s features.

Steam Greenlight
Steam Greenlight is a community approval system, which lets people submit their games to see if they can sell them on steam, people vote for a game and then that game is sent to valve to see if it is appropriate for sale- if successful, it is “Green lit”.
ID@Xbox is a program on Xbox one which allows independent game developers create and self-release titles. The development kits used to develop these games, come at no cost, developers in the program get access to Unity and optional access to Unreal.
PSN is an abbreviation for PlayStation Network; it’s an online gaming service which comes with PlayStation consoles. It used to be free to use, but this meant that there was not as much money going into protecting its servers- so there were many hacking attacks; because of this, the PSN on PlayStation 4 is not free. PlayStation only people to sign up to a game developing program where you are allowed to self-publish on PSN; however you have to be in American Continent.
IOS is the operating system used by Apple mobile devices- such as the iPhone. There are many games for IOS; these games are usually pretty basic games which don’t use much memory- games like angry birds use IOS. There are problems with selling games on IOS, if Apple doesn’t like the game you have spent all your time on, they won’t sell it- so you get no income.
Android is an operating system used Android mobile devices, it doesn’t have the capabilities of IOS, so the games are usually of worse quality. Android games are sold through Google Play, and the Amazon store, this means that game developers have to submit their games to both stores- this is fragmented as both Google Play and Amazon are on Android devices.

Games don’t grow on trees, they cost a lot of money to develop and sell. When creating a game even the smallest of indie developers needs to think about their finance, and the financial risks that relate to creating a game.
Self- funding is when game developers develop games with their own money, this method of funding usually applies to small indie developers who make games in their spare time; the money that is being put into a game, would be coming from their day job; there is not much financial risk to this, but it will take much longer to create the game. You can make a gaming company with your own money, but this comes with a lot of risks. In order to put a team together to make a game, you will need to pay wages, bills, and for materials- this all costs a lot of money and if you run out of money, you could end up in serious financial trouble; but if you do create a great game and a video game publisher will sign you up and the money you will earn will be brilliant.
Indie Funding
Most indie developers are self-funded, as there are few sources of funding for them. Indie Fund is an organisation set up some indie developers, what they do is they help fund independent video game development. They do this to encourage the next generation of games developers, however they don’t just except anyone, game developers have to show Indie Fund their game- just a couple of screenshots, videos, and team members you work with.

Crowd Funding
Crowd funding is when an individual game developer, or group of game developers, come up with an idea for a game, but don’t really have the money for it to be made in a good time period. They post their ideas on websites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, any person can pitch in to fund their idea, and the users tend benefit by getting incentives such as early access to a game. Most users contribute a small amount of money to a project, but millions of people visit these websites so projects can be easily funded if they are popular. When they have been funded the money should be used on the project- you could get in trouble if you spend it on other things, but it is possible to cancel a project, in the event of a cancelation the money should be given back to the contributors.
Many games use the Unreal Game Engine, the Unreal Game Engine is free, and a lot of people create their own games with it. Unreal are giving grants to small game developers, these grants range from £5000 to £50000. This is a similar funding process to indie fund, you have to start creating your game, and then to apply for an unreal grant, you have to show evidence of a game in progress, and if Epic Games- the owners of Unreal Engine- like your game they might give it a grant.

Publisher funding is for practised game developing teams, publishers don’t want to take risks funding a game where the developers are inexperienced. If a team of game developers have a good track record, and a good demo of a game, then publishers will consider signing them. The Benefits of Publisher funding is they take away the financial risk from the developers. The negative side of publisher funding is that the publisher company will own your game, and they will take a large cut of the money from the game. And the team of game developers needs to meet milestones or the publishers might withhold payment or cut funding, the developers risk their company going bust if they don’t work hard enough.

Games take a long time to create, depending on the size and type of the game time periods differ. Small app games usually take 3-6 months to create, whereas games developed by teams could take 2-4 years to create.
Deadlines should be set by any type of game developer, you may think that it is not important for indie developers to set deadlines- but it is. Deadlines help all game developers, because they make the whole process of making games more organised; this also keeps developers motivated to complete their tasks. Games have a lot of different features, so they should to be split up into different tasks, and should have individual deadlines, for example the sound sections of the game, should be a separate task to the graphics; this allows teams of game developers to stick to their own task.
After the game is created, there are still many more tasks which developers need to do, for example fixing bugs, and play testing are very important tasks to do before the game is released. Developers need to set a deadline for this to be done, if they don’t and they have no time to properly play test the game, the game will more than likely get criticised for not being finished, and this means bad reviews, and bad sales. 

Availability of equipment
You cannot create a video without any technology and equipment, equipment needed to create a video game includes: a decent computer, access to a gaming engine, a good graphics card- depending on the graphics of the game you intend to make-, a storage device- preferably a hard drive-, sound recording equipment, sound recording and music software, art software, these are some things which be needed to make any type of game. When making high spec games with storylines, and amazing graphics, and voice acting, a lot more equipment will be needed; quality control will also be needed when making high budget games, for example disks can be ruined by dust particles, so in order to transfer a computer game made on an computer to disk, you will need to be in a controlled dust free environment- it takes time to find or create this environment. Equipment like game development kits can be loaned to games developers for a fee, but this loan is not forever.

Availability of personnel
Making a game on your own will take a long time, cost a lot of your own money, and will affect the quality of the game. In order to make a good game in a good amount of time, you will need a team of people working on the project. A game developer will have to find people to work with- if they don’t already know anyone- these people will need to be paid and will need some set working hours. You can’t just hire games designers, you need to hire artists, writers, musicians, and voice actors.
Timescales for clearances
When developing a game you need to think about how long the legal aspects will take, every game needs an age rating- it’s the law- the publisher of the game needs to fill in a form to get a PEGI rating, if the rating does not suit the games target market, the developers might have to make some changes. Delays in publishing is also a problem, and is a likely thing when working for a publisher. Other Legal things to think about include libel and copyright. Libel is basically when you are not allowed to cause any damage to individuals or businesses through the game you are making. Copyright is basically not copying other peoples work and putting it into your game.

My Time Management
If I were to start my own indie game development project- whether on my own, or with a few friends- I will need to manage my time. First I will create a plan which will show me what tasks I need to do, and what order to do them in. I will then do some market research, this is important because I need to know what the current expectations are with games- I could also use the research to see what games are popular- but this might take the passion out of the project,  successful indie game developers don’t design their game around what will make them the most money. I will come up with some thumbnail sketches, which will show the basic ideas of level design and characters, as well as game concept. When I start to create the game I will need to break down the tasks into different sections, for example I will spend a period of time working on level design, and another period of time on character design. I will also create a schedule, as an Indie game developer I would not really have a set deadline, but this doesn’t mean I cannot create my own deadline- this is good because it will motivate me to finish the game, and stop me slacking; I could also create some milestones to track how the project is going.

There are many different job roles involved with creating a game. These include:
Game Designer- The role of this job is to create the core features of the game, and then communicate them to the other people creating the game, so that they can design their roles with what the game is in mind.
Animator- The animator is the person who creates movement and behavior in the game. They create the way a player moves, and they also have to know how to lip sync with the voice acting.
Audio Engineer- The audio engineer’s role include, creating sound effects, recording voice actor, adding music, and creating a sound track.
Producers- The producers work with the game development team, to create a timely delivery of the game- and make sure it’s the highest quality possible.
Creative Director- The creative direction is responsible for guiding the whole look and feel of the game, they make decisions that affect how the game plays, looks, and sounds. They ensure quality of the whole production of the game.
Artists- The artists are responsible for creating the visual elements of the game, they are the ones who create concept art, and help create storyboards along with the writers, and help propose visual elements. There will be a lead artist who manages the artists and animators, there will be a games artist and a technical artist.
Writers- The writers are the ones who write the games dialogue script, this script will be read by the voice actors- or if there are no voice actors- will be programmed into the game.
Programmers- The programmer’s job is to design and write the code which runs and controls the game.
Marketing- The marketing team of a games role is to, first do market research and advise the developer’s expectations of the market
Voice Actors- The voice actors have to learn the script, they must also be good at having a range of voices available for many different types of characters, they should be able to create a voice which suites a written characters personality.
Level Editor- The level editor’s role is to create the architecture, landscape, objects, and background for each level of the game.
Size of team
The size of the games development team is important to how quickly a game is made, and how good the finished problem is, it all depends on how big on a game is being made. Grand Theft Auto took about 6 years to make with about 1,000 involved in the making of it; 365 are them are part of Rockstar North(the people actually making the game), but GTA is a huge game, so it is expected. Small indie games take years to make because they only have a small amount of people working on the project.
Skills and experiences
Being able to contribute to any part of making a game requires some skill, these skills might take years of practice, and all roles in making a game require some experience of video games. The more the experience the better- even if the games are not so great, it’s good to start on making flash games at a young age- for example one of the creators of (Edmund McMillen) Super Meat Boy has been making flash games since the early 2000's, in 2010 Super Meat Boy was released after years in development- it sold about a million copies and got really good reviews; the experience leads to something in the end- Edmund McMillen released all of his old flash games in a package called The Basement Collection.
A games designer should have experience with most or all of the major gaming engines. A programmer should know the code needed to build a game- for example C++.  Managers and producers should have experience running a game development project- if not; they should at least have experience of similar value in other sectors, and of course a passion for gaming. Animators and artists should have experience with the programs used to create their art and animation, for example Maya, Photoshop, and any other art software. And also an audio engineer must have experience with sound equipment, music development software, and some experience with Foley.
Resourcing a game development project is important because all the personnel need their software and equipment, it shouldn’t be expected of them to bring in resources from home, or pay for game engines, or software themselves; there are packages which game developers can purchase for a whole team- these usually cost more money, but come with extras features, for example the Unity engine is free, but there is a professional edition available from $75 a month (£49), as well as tailored enterprise solutions- this is for game developing organisations- but I guess it could be used by small teams of developers-but there’s only the matter of cost.

Making a game on your own will take a long time, cost a lot of your own money, and will affect the quality of the game. In order to make a good game in a good amount of time, you will need a team of people working on the project. A game developer will have to find people to work with- if they don’t already know anyone- these people will need to be paid and will need some set working hours. You can’t just hire games designers; you need to hire artists, writers, musicians, and voice actors. And everyone has to have fair pay and working hours, not everyone will want to work long unsocial able hours- like many indie game developers do; also it’s a good idea to invest in a work space.

It costs a lot of money to hire all these people, the cost varies on their role, and voice actors are likely to be on temporary contracts- so when they do their voice acting and then they go home- voice acting is quite a tough industry, but gaming. Other roles such as game designers and programmers will be on payroll for the whole game making process. There is plenty of free software out there for job roles like games designers and animators, but to get the best out of the software you will have spend some money on the developer packages of this software.
 A games development team might want an office of operations, this will cost quite a bit of money to rent, and will take time to set up operations in the work space- you will have to move computers and furniture into the office; or you could just work from home, many indie developers do this and keep in touch over social media like Skype, or speak on gaming microphone software like Team speak, bear in mind that these simple methods are only suited to small groups of developers- 1-4 people.
Team or Crew CV’s
Creating games can really improve a CV, each game you make should be put on your CV- it’s like moving from jobs- but unlike jobs people can find your work quite easily. This is good if you have made some good games, but is also bad if you have worked on a game which was a failure- but you cannot blame one person for a failure of a game. When writing a CV and looking for jobs in the gaming industry you should include every game published by you, even if they are rubbish flash games from years ago- the point of this is to show a passion for making games.
Development kits are the hardware used to test and debug games for retail consoles; development kits cost a lot of money and can be loaned to game developers from a gaming company.