Here are the distinct phases I nearly always follow when I create a game.
Phase 0: Destruction (1% of the time)
I start form one of my old game and I delete everything that won't be useful.
And I correct the thousands of bugs ^^.
It's like launching a tornado in sim city!
- The game launch, no crash at all.
- We can navigate in the menu (even if they aren't final)
- When the game is launched, we see a least a map.
In this part, I must rethink of all the existing code and improve it.
It allows me to have a strong base code.
Phase 1: Basics (9% of the time)
I add the basic gameplay elements of the game.
(Like the inventory in an RPG or troop selection in an RTS)
- Building a strong core for the game, with all the needed elements.
- Having a basic AI able to handle the basic actions.
- Heavily test everything to avoid later problem.
In order to test everything, I add random AI, lots of them.
Even in stupid situation that may not occur in the final game.
It's a part I like because we can imagine our game and we can see his birth.
It's also the part where most of my games are stopped, here’s why:
- We clearly see what the game can be, so if we don't see how to make it fun, it's better to stop.
- We see that the game we want to make is too big for us.
- We see that a game is not as original as we think.
Phase 2: Beta (80% of the time)
Most of the game design elements are added and working.
The aim is:
- Having a HUD allowing to do all the implemented elements.
- Having a first version of tutorial / story.
- To be able to play a full game.
- To show the game.
Placeholder graphics and audio remain if they don't block the game.
In this part, we see our dreamed game be true.
It's really an exciting part, even if our design evolve from our dreamed game.
Phase 3: Polish (90% of the time)
Everything is improved.
- A perfect game that can be sale
- Final graphic and audio
- easy to handle HUD
- Final tutorial and history
- The game is equilibrate
In this part, I ask lots of people to test the game.
Use feedback to improve the game and then ask to someone else.
(Asking several times the same people give less result)
It's the only part I don't like.
The game is nearly finished, and I can see that my game is great.
But I'm the only one... And this phase take lots of times.
Now that the game is 180% done I can start to sell it ^^.
(Polish phase is as long as the first 90% of the game)