Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a of programming game. Please forward this error screen to 188. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the programming aspect of video game development.
For a broader overview, see Video game development. Game programming, a subset of game development, is the software development of video games. Professional game development usually begins with a game design, which itself has several possible origins. Occasionally the game development process starts with no clear design in mind, but as a series of experiments. Programmers are often required to produce prototypes of gameplay ideas and features.
A great deal of prototyping may take place during pre-production, before the design document is complete, and may help determine what features the design specifies. Prototypes are developed quickly with very little time for up-front design and mostly act as a proof of concept or to test ideas. They are not expected to work flawlessly, but are developed to try out new, sometimes exotic, ideas. Though the programmer’s main job is not to develop the game design, the programmers often contribute to the design, as do game artists. The game designer will solicit input from both the producer and the art and programming lead for ideas and strategies for the game design. Programmers often closely follow the game design document.
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As the game development progresses, the design document changes as programming limitations and new capabilities are discovered and exploited. During production, programmers may create a great deal of source code to create the game described in the game’s design document. Along the way, the design document is modified to meet limitations or expanded to exploit new features. The design document is very much a “living document”, much of whose life is dictated by programmer’s schedules, talent and resourcefulness.
While many programmers have some say in a game’s content, most game producers solicit input from the lead programmer as to the status of a game programming development. The lead is responsible for knowing the status of all facets of the game’s programming and for pointing out limitations. With today’s visually rich content, the programmer must often interact with the art staff. This very much depends on the programmer’s role, of course. The formal quality assurance testing process, performed by professional game testers, begins well into game development. Final tasks include “polishing” the game, such as programmers fixing occasional bugs—from minor to catastrophic—that may arise during the last phases of testing. Game developers may have a beta testing period, but the definition of such varies from developer to developer.
Often a beta contains all of the game’s features, but may have a few bugs or incomplete content. When the game is deemed complete, it is said to have “gone gold” and is shipped off to the publisher. Depending on circumstances, the publisher may then subject it to its own quality assurance or may begin pressing the game from the gold master. Once a game ships, the maintenance phase for the video game begins. Programmers wait for a period to get as many bug reports as possible. Once the developer thinks they’ve obtained enough feedback, the programmers start working on a patch. The patch may take weeks or months to develop, but it’s intended to fix most bugs and problems with the game.
Most modern games take from one to three years to complete. The length of development depends on a number of factors, but programming is required throughout all phases of development except the very early stages of game design. In addition to IDEs, many game development companies create custom tools developed to be used in-house. Some custom tools may even be delivered with the game, such as a level editor. Game development companies are often very willing to spend thousands of dollars to make sure their programmers are well equipped with the best tools. A well outfitted programmer may have two to three development systems and multiple monitors dominating their office or cubicle. Once the game’s initial design has been agreed upon, the development language must be decided upon.