Ever wondered how to make a video game? If you’re an avid gaming fan, marketing video games, or sourcing voices to bring your games to life, then you likely need the scoop on how to make a video game. Well, before reaching staggering success, making video games starts with a simple idea that becomes a fan favorite with a little time and patience. But how is achieving that same level of success possible in today’s vastly saturated gaming market?
At Voice123, we believe you never stop learning, whether through audio, video, or gaming projects. So, in this post, we’ll explore what games are, how to make video games, and what they cost to make.
Video gamers – start your engines!
What is a video game?
A video game is an electronic or computerized game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a device, such as a TV screen, computer monitor, or mobile display. These games are often rich in graphics and sound and can range from simple text-based environments to intricate virtual realities. Video games create unique environments and gameplay experiences for players to interact with AI-controlled characters or other players’ avatars. They also include single or multiplayer functions in genres like action-adventure, role-playing, first-person shooters, platformers, puzzles, simulations, strategy, sports and racing, horror, fighting, music/rhythm, survival, roguelike/roguelite, and battle royale.
Making video games involves creating diverse experiences for players. They can explore, build, and develop skills through community interaction. Role-playing games like Tomb Raider offer immersive storytelling, while StarCraft is a real-time strategy game that requires critical thinking. Here’s more on how to make a video game.
How to make a video game
You can make a video by following this 10-step plan.
- Define your game idea.
- Research game concepts for inspiration.
- Create game design documents.
- Choose a game engine and tools.
- Implement a version control system.
- Execute gameplay mechanics.
- Improve AI interactions.
- Improve graphics, sound, and voice overs.
- Enhance your user interface.
- Use alpha and beta testing.
Here’s more on each one.
1. Define your game idea
Consider how the genre, theme, and target audience affect your game’s concept, identity, and focus. This helps you create something unique that appeals to audiences. For example, to target fantasy genre fans, create a magical world with mythical creatures and epic quests.
2. Research game concepts for inspiration
Research helps you understand what works in games similar to your own. Then, you can guide your design decisions by incorporating player expectations and industry trends. For example, analyze survival games like Minecraft and The Forest to learn more about gameplay mechanics and challenges
3. Create game design documents
Your documents must detail the game’s characters, levels, and aesthetics, Including concept art, character backgrounds, and level layouts. In a racing game, you can specify different vehicle types, race tracks, and power-up mechanics in your documents.
4. Choose a game engine and tools
Pick a game engine that aligns with your project’s needs, then become more familiar with game development tools. These save time and effort by handling numerous technical aspects. Unity offers a user-friendly environment and extensive resources for beginners creating 2D platformers.
5. Implement a version control system
You can use Git to track game code changes and assets and aid in team collaboration. Version control ensures project stability and allows multiple developers to work on the same project simultaneously. Git also manages code changes and asset updates among team members.
6. Execute gameplay mechanics
Develop and fine-tune core gameplay mechanics, so they’re enjoyable for players. Well-implemented gameplay is the heart of your game and can make it more engaging and entertaining. In a strategy game, carefully balance unit abilities, costs, and interactions to create strategic depth.
7. Improve AI interactions
Design and implement AI behaviors that replicate human-like decision-making. This enhances the game’s challenge and immersion. Effective AI provides dynamic and engaging experiences for players. In a stealth game, create AI routines that make enemies search for the player, realistically reacting to sound and sight cues.
8. Improve graphics, sound, and voice overs
Use vibrant graphics, sound effects, and voice overs to create immersive gaming experiences. Just think of Matthew Mercer’s versatile, mysterious voice as Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 6 and Espio in the Sonic franchise. You can enhance your video games by using the voice over pros on Voice12, who can create vocal magic for any video game project.
9. Enhance your user interface
Optimize the user interface to ensure it works seamlessly on different platforms and with various input methods. A user-friendly UI enhances player accessibility and satisfaction. For example, you can ensure intuitive touch controls and responsive UI elements for a mobile puzzle game.
10. Use alpha and beta testing
Conduct alpha testing with a small group to identify initial issues. Later, you can involve a larger audience in beta testing to gather diverse feedback. With testing, you ensure your game is free of critical bugs, plays smoothly, and meets player expectations. In a multiplayer game like World of Warcraft, stress-test servers during beta testing to ensure stability.
How much does it cost to make a video game?
It costs from $1,000 to $100,000 to make smaller indie video games, between $1 million and $10 million to make mid-sized games, and over $100 million or up to $1 billion for AAA high-end games. Some of the most expensive video games ever made include Red Dead Redemption 2, which cost $540 million; Cyberpunk 2077, which cost $316 million; and Grand Theft Auto V, which cost $265 million.
Free-to-play (F2P) games have customized costs. Their initial development costs are lower, but they need substantial investments to produce high-quality assets with effective marketing strategies. Fortnite and League of Legends are two successful F2P games with diverse budgets and significant profits. Fortnite was developed with $300,000 but made over $10 million when it was released, while League of Legends cost $12 million to make but generated almost $1 billion in its first year. Now that you know the cost, let’s look at timing.
How long does it take to make a video game?
It takes a few months to a year to make small indie games, one to three years to make mid-sized games, and three to five years or longer to make high-quality, complex AAA games. Also, post-launch support and updates can continue for months or years after a game’s release. PC or console games take years to develop, while mobile games and apps can be developed in a few months.
The video game Duke Nukem Forever holds the Guinness World Record for the longest development time at 14 years and 43 days. Clockwork Aquario holds the Guinness World Record for the longest time between the start of a video game project and its release, at 28 years and 81 days. But the real question is, how can you make a video game for free?
How to make a video game for free
To make a video game for free, choose a game engine like Unity or Godot with free versions and tools. Then, opt for free assets like 3D models, textures, and sound effects from online platforms like OpenGameArt and Kenney.nl. You can use free online resources like tutorials, forums, and documentation for coding. Next, prototype your game concept to refine it in a short time. Use free or open-source software like GIMP or Blender for art and music creation, and consider platforms like itch.io to publish your game for free or even receive donations from players who enjoy your creation. With a little determination and resourcefulness, you can learn how to create a video game for free in half the time.
Final thoughts on how to make a video game
So, making video games is a process that takes time, effort, and money. But with the right tools and resources, just about anybody can create a successful video game. But be sure to define your game idea, research game concepts for inspiration, create game design documents, choose a game engine and tools, implement a version control system, execute gameplay mechanics, improve AI interactions, improve graphics, sound, and voice overs, enhance your user interface, and use alpha and beta testing.
And whether you need a Southern Twang for a hero like Joel from The Last of Us or something more sinister like Mark Hamil’s Joker voice, you’ll find awesome vocal talent on Voice123. Or opt for our Managed Services, where our team helps you get the job done from start to finish.
So, are you ready to hit the street button on your next video game?
It costs up to $250,000 for lower-end games and between $50 million and $300 million or up to $1 billion for higher-end AAA games. Grand Theft Auto 5 cost $265 million to develop and publish.
Simple mobile or app games take between a week and a few months, while PC console games take up to 5 years. The longest time to create a game was 14 years and 43 days for Duke Nukem Forever.
You can use free tools like AppsGeyser or Stencyl to make puzzle or side-scroller games without coding and Unity to make 2D and 3D games.
First, study the gaming market; second, define your game idea; third, create your gameplay; fourth, assemble a skilled team; fifth, write the gameplay code; and sixth, create assets like visual art, sound, and voice overs.