creation-1

How video games are created. It must be Magic.

How video games are created reminds me of the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz”. It plays every year during the holidays. Everyone in the “Land of Oz” is in awe and wonder of the “Great Wizard”. He is the ruler of the land, all-knowing and all-powerful.

wizard-of-oz
              “We’re off to see the Wizard”

Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin-man, and the Cowardly Lion all trembled in fear as they stood before the great wizard. But when Toto pulled back the curtain, it revealed a man, not a wizard. A regular guy who governed the inner workings of the “Emerald City”.

The wizard/man knows how to get things done. He runs the machine which produces the smoke, the image, and the thundering voice. He watches over the citizens in the “Land of Oz”. He helps the people of Oz because he knows how to get things accomplished even behind a curtain.

magic
             “Is it real or magic?”

I have often wondered how video games are created from start to finish. How do creators of video games blend powerful stories with amazing graphics? In this post, I pulled back the curtain to reveal its not magic. It’s people with imagination and hard work that make video gaming possible.

I have an article about jobs related to video games creation. Check it out. https://gamingwithgrandpa.com/jobs-in-video-gaming-its-a-living


How do they do it? 

1. Background: 

  • Video games are played at arcades, on televisions or personal computers, and as handheld portable games.
  • Video games use cutting-edge technology to provide fast-paced entertainment.
  • Statistics stated that 70% of all children in America have home video game systems.
    children-playing-video-games
                         “It’s a family affair”
  • Over four billion dollars are spent annually on video games and all the accompanying accessories such as controllers, consoles, and the game themselves.

2. History:

  • A precursor to video games was pinball machines which were introduced in the 1930s.
    pinball
    “How things have changed”
  • In 1971, a video arcade game was produced called Computer Space.  It was invented by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Computer Space was the first real coin-operated video game.
  • The next video game Bushnell and Dabney introduced was the phenomenally successful arcade game called Pong.
  • With the success of Pong, Bushnell and Dabney started Atari and in 1975, they introduced a home version of Pong.
    Pong
                   “My first video game, Pong”
  • When personal computers became available, computer games were created.
  • In the late 1980s, the CD-ROM was introduced. These disks could hold more information on them. It allowed the development of more sophisticated, interactive games.
  • In 1995, digital video disks (DVDs) were first produced for home computers. They have a storage capacity over twenty times greater than CD-ROMs. This revolutionized computer and video games.

3. Design:

  • The design is the key aspect of making all video games.
  • It is typically done by a team of skilled computer programmers, writers, artists, and other game designers.
    computer-programmer-1
            “It takes a team”
  • During this phase of development, designers generate the game’s specifications, which includes game type, objective, and graphics.
  • Once the type and objective of the game are determined, it will usually fall within six categories or genres.
  • The different genres are fighting, shooting, strategy, simulations, adventure, and run, jump and avoid (RJA).

4. Raw Materials: 

  • The most important raw material for creating video games is “Imagination”.
  • Storage medium (DVDs and CDs made with hard plastic such as polycarbonates).
  • CD/DVDs have a thin layer of aluminum or silver coating and a protective, clear acrylic coating.
    DVD
                     “Make it, then play it”
  • Plastics are also used to make the accessory pieces that some computer games require. In each of the plastics used, a variety of fillers and colorants are incorporated to modify its characteristics.
  • Typically, computer games are packaged in highly decorated plastic containers.
  • Digital versions can be downloaded from various sources like retail stores or websites.

5. Manufacturing Process:

                                                                                                                                                           A. Creating the story: 

  • First, we need to write a story with characters, a setting, and a plot.
  • Writing also includes the objective of the game and guidelines for playing the game (Ex. Game’s manual).
    storytellers
             “The Story begins with Imagination”
  • The story is transferred to storyboards (one-panel sketches pinned to a board).
  • Preliminary drawings are then accompanied by story dialogue and character description.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        B. Capturing the action with art:                                                                                    
  • Once the game type and storyline are created, the game’s format is determined. (Format is what the player sees when playing the game).
  • Different formats include platform, top-down, scrolling, isometric, and three dimensions (3D).
    3D-Art
                 “Art plus Life equals Story”
  • The artist will add drawings to a storyboard. This will include how the characters will move in the game.
  • Pictures are created by using a computer with converted graphics.
  • Life-like images are made by filming live action with real actors which are then electronically digitized.
  • The background of a game is created by using both converted and digitized images.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              C. Recording dialogue and sound             effects:                           
  • Dialogue and sound effects are recorded in a sound studio using various audio techniques.
    sound-effects
        “The Games Speak to us”
  • Once recorded on digital audio tape (DAT), the sounds are computerized by a synthesizer (A computer that specifically alters and translates sound into data).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         D. Writing the program:           
  • Once design elements are finished, programming and coding begin.
  • The first step is to draw a flowchart (shows the progression of the computer program).
  • A variety of programming languages are used like C++, Java, or Visual BASIC. This is done by a team of programmers. This alone can take several months to complete.
    blackboard
        “Back to the blackboard”
  • To speed up the coding process, developed algorithms are modified and adapted for a new game.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 E. Testing:                                                                                                                                                       
  • Testing helps reveal fundamental design and programming problems.
    testing
           “We got to get it right”
  • Testing may be done by programmers themselves, professional playtesters, or the general public.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            F. Burning the disks:                                                                                                       
  • When programming is completed, the game code is transferred to a
    burning-disc
    “BURN BABY”


    master compact disc.
  • The master disc is used to produce thousands of copies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  G. Packaging the game:                                                                                                                                     

  • The finished game is then sent to a packaging line.
    Video-game-packaging
         “Time to head to the store”
  • It is then placed in a container and shrink-wrapped with plastic.
  • The games are now ready for shipment.

6. Quality Control: 

  • The transferring of a computer game program to a compact disk, or DVD, must be done in a clean, dust-free environment.
  • Other visual inspections are done at various points in the manufacturing process.
    Quality-control
      “Want the best, we got the best”
  • Random samples of the finished disc are tested to make sure they are working properly.
  • Checks are made to ensure the game meets the required specifications.
  • At the end of the manufacturing random samples are checked to make sure all necessary components are included.

7. The Future: 

  • Computer game programming will continue to become more sophisticated as available hardware improves.
    the-future
                    “The future is now”
  • DVD technology is revolutionizing the gaming industry.
  • It allows a greater amount of information to be included in a game’s program.
  • This will improve the artificial intelligence routines, graphics, and special effects.
  • Video clips are included to make the games more interactive.

Resource: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Video-Game.html

More additional information is available from “Action Arcade Adventure Set” by Diana Gruber, “Inside Electronic Game Design”
by Katz, Arnie, and Laurie Yates, and “The Ultimate Game Developers Sourcebook by Ben Sawyer.

In researching how video games are created, I learned so much. It can take hundreds of people (writers, designers, drawing artist, programmers, etc.) to create one single video game.

By working together with a vision, they produce a technological miracle called a video game. To begin playing, I just slip in a disc to my gaming console or download it from a computer application or a store website.

Then it’s gaming time.

gaming-time
                             “LET’S DO IT”

Some will say it’s not magic or a miracle making a video game. It’s just a group of people working together using modern technology with a common goal.

And they are right. The magic is not the technology or the people themselves. It’s the people coming together with a common idea, working as one, and producing an amazing product for our joy and entertainment.

That’s the Magic!!!

THE-MAGIC
       “Video Game Artistry, simply beautiful”

Thank you for reading this post. If you have any comments or insights on how video games are created, please leave your reply below or email me at johnny@gamingwithgrandpa.com

It’s time to play the “Wizard”.

 

“Let’s Game”

johnny, the Grey Wolf, watcher of the woods.

“Two hearts beating as one as we howl at the moon, to my dear wife, Cindy.”

21 thoughts on “How video games are created. It must be Magic.

  1. wow this information is so insightful. You know when I was a child I use to want to create a ballroom dancing video game and had not thought of how this is done.

    Now I feel better equipt with how games are made. So do I need to contact different developers should I want to have a certain game like ballroom dancing?
    Just curious

    • Hi Thabo,
      I think this is a great idea, “Ballroom Dancing Video Game”. I know there are a lot of dancing video games available today. (Ex. “Dance Central, Just Dance, or Just Dance Kids”).
      The developer for “Dance Central” is Harmonix. “Just Dance” was developed by Ubisoft Milan and Ubisoft Paris. “Just Dance Kids” was developed by a Japanese studio, Land Ho!.

      Just google video game developers. You should get a list of game developers. I would then contact them and present your idea. You never know what may happen.

      Good luck.

      johnny, the Grey Wolf.

  2. This post effectively breaks down a complex process. It certainly does take the magic out. The history and development of the technology really brought me back to my childhood (think pong!). Good read.

  3. When I was younger used to be interested in how videogames were made as well. Mind you back then video games were not as hot as they are now. If I had known that they were going to do this popular I think I would’ve invested some time in learning how to create video games.

    My son is now interested in doing the same thing. I think he has more of a chance of learning the way technology works then what I would be able to do now.

    The information provided here is quite extensive which is really nice because due to the popularity of this industry, this type of information is hard to come by.

    Great post.

    • Hi Jagi, 

      When I did the research on this subject, I had no idea what went into creating video games. It is magic. 

      I think that is great your son is interested on making video games. Younger kids today pick this technology up so quickly. Most kids today grew up with this stuff. It seems natural to them. I hope you son looks into this. You never know he may create the next mega-hit video game.

      What kind of games does your son enjoy playing? 

      Thank you for your comments, Jagi, 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, watcher of the woods. 

  4. It’s interesting to see how games are created. I knew there was a lot that went into making video games, but not really to this extent. And with the rise of artificial intelligence and the way that’s advancing, I bet the process of creating games will become even more complex.

    I still can’t believe how far gaming graphics have come along within the last 10 years alone. Imagine what the process of making them and what they’ll look like in 10 more years!?

    • Hi Nate, 

      It is good hear from you. The research about creating video games surprised me too. It takes a lot of people to make video game. It amazing me that so many people can come together to create such an awesome product. Some of the games today are beautiful. The graphics are stunning and so realistic looking. Some of the storylines are better than a lot of Oscar-winning movies. In video game play, I am in the movie. I love it. 

      I am looking future to the new technology in the gaming industry. I really want to try the virtual reality games and systems. Star Trek ain’t got nothing on this. 

      I really appreciate your time and thoughts, Nate. 

      Want games do you play? Also, could you give me some feedback on the black background, thanks. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, watcher of the woods. 

  5. It’s definitely magic to get a behind the scenes look on how our video games are created. I actually grew up dreaming of creating games, but since I decided to take up the writing craft as my main gig, the video game designing dream kind of fell to the wayside.

    However, if my urban fantasy book series sells well, who knows? Video games may very well be in the future and it would be awesome to have input in it, so the dream is still alive, nonetheless. The process was interesting, especially when it came to the format and storyboards, where images of my own work ran through my mind. 

    • Hi Todd, 

      Part of creating good video games is good stories. Well, they are for me. Good storylines give games more depth and provide the player with an adventure. It’s like being part of a movie. 

      How long have you been writing? Sounds like an urban fantasy book series would make a great video game. What is the name of the series? It seems like the dream is still breathing. Todd, I would keep this option open. You never know you may be part of that gaming magic. 

      I really appreciate your comments, Todd. 

      What games are you playing currently?

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, watcher of the woods. 

  6. Great information here. I am now understand better how my favorite games can be exist in my personal library at home. Also, I think you there are market research involved in the video games making. Gaming is a big entertainment industry, so I’m sure that every game developer company need to test their market before launching their games to public.

    • Hi Alblue, 

      I appreciate your thoughts. Video game creation is interesting stuff. I was amazed at what all goes into the making of video games. Also, I was surprised by the number of people it takes to accomplish this. It is truly magical to see so many people coming together as one to form a finished game. 

      I am sure companies test the markets before hitting the stores with their products. 

      What kind of games do you have in your personal library? 

      I just started playing “Assassin’s Creed Origins”. The graphics are beautiful. The story takes place in ancient Egypt. Pretty cool stuff. 

      Thanks for stopping by Alblue. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods.   

  7. Hi

    I found your site very interesting, your breakdown on how video games are created was a good read. I liked how you started with the wizard of oz reference to help paint the picture of what you were about to dive into.

    So many of us play video games and don’t really think about what it really takes to produce these games that bring us pleasure, escape from reality and more.

    This topic was an enjoyable one since i grew up playing all types of games and it was very insightful to be able to take a peak behind the curtain and discover the true magic behind video games.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Ronald, 

      Thanks for taking the time to offer your thoughts. 

      I thought the reference to the “Wizard of Oz” fit perfectly for this post. You are right, most of us don’t think about how things are made. When I did the research on this, I was amazed. There are so many things and people involved who help create the games we play today. 

      What kind of games do you play now? 

      I am currently playing “Assassin’s Creed Origins” and “Spider-Man”. 

      I appreciate your comments, Ronald. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods. 

  8. Thank you for this detailed post. You really brought back some memories. I started in gaming at really young age and my PC had only floppy disk. So when my cousins bought their first PC with CD ROM i was really jelaous because they could play most of the games I could not.

    It is amazing to see that today we already have VR consoles and just 30 years ago we had dial up connection and 10 MB computer games.

    Thank you.

    Strahinja.

    • Hello Strahinja,

      I appreciate your time and thoughts. How times have changed. My first video game was “Pong”. That tells you old I am, a 62-year-old kid. 

      I have done a post about the VR systems of today. They are amazing. Not only can you play games, but you can do virtual traveling, shopping, or take history lessons in your living room. 

      The advancements in video games are mind-blowing. I am looking forward to what the future brings in the gaming industry. 

      Do you still play video games? If so, what are you playing?

      I just bought “Spider-Man”. Looking forward to playing the superhero. 

      Have a good day, Strahinja.

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods. 

  9. When I was a kid I was so curious that how can a DVD loaded so many things and  I never thought about how video games are created before, I didn’t notice that need so much effort to create a game.

    After I read this post, all the magic has been taken out of my mind. 

    I believe that the game creating progress will become more complex in the future cause the VR technic is continue growing now.

    • Hi Eden, 

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a reply. When I did the research I was surprised what all goes into making a video game. Also, the amount of people involved was amazing. It is a pretty cool process. 

      I agree the future for video game creation is unlimited, especially with virtual reality advancements. It won’t be long before we will be playing a “Holodeck” in our own living room. 

      I appreciate your comments, Eden. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods. 

  10. To a person who is noob with computers, it is really like magic. You know, that feeling of awe and wonder how the thing works. Although computers and video games are two different things, there are similarities how the software operates. They are series of instructions, couples with blinking bulbs of different colors powered by electricity and commands. Works like magic, like how good you explained the thing here in your article. Good job and I am looking forward to reading more entertaining articles from you!

    • Hi, again Gomer,

      I am so thankful for all the time and effort you put into replying to my posts. It is very helpful. It does feel magical when you think about what all goes on when creating a video game. Also, the number of people involved is quite a feat in itself. Some many minds coming together as one is truly magic. It’s hard to get two people to agree about one thing but to get hundreds of people on the same page is hard to believe. 

      I hope to provide more informative and entertaining articles in the near future. I am working on one now about the combination of “Looney Tunes” characters and video games. I would love to play the “Bugs Bunny” in a video game. We will see what I discover in my research. 

      Have a good day, Gomer. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods. 

  11. I’ve never really thought about what a complex machinery there is behind producing video games. I’m starting to realize why so many video game companies go belly up when a game fails to succeed. This process most cost insanely amounts. But I do appreciate people taking the risk though. I imaging myself sitting at home when I’m old, not feeling alone because I can play video games online with the rest of the world. Go video games. 

    • Hi Miss Momo, 

      Thanks for your comments. Yeah, it is quite the endeavor to create a video game. It reminds me of the movie industry. It takes so much money, time, and people to provide these forms of entertainment for us. You are right, a lot of video game companies don’t make it. You never know what is going to be the next big blockbuster game or the next flop. 

      I love the imagery of you playing a video game with people from all over the world no matter the race, gender, age, or culture. I hope the future of video games brings us closer together instead of ripping us apart. 

      I appreciate your thoughts and time Miss Momo. Maybe someday we will meet in the virtual gaming world. 

      johnny, the Grey Wolf, Watcher of the Woods.  

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