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Introduction to Game Development By Ashish Amresh amresh@asu. edu Introduction to Game Development By Ashish Amresh [email protected] edu

Who Am I? o Lecturer, School of Computing Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering o Who Am I? o Lecturer, School of Computing Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering o Director, Gaming Certificate Program o Director, Camp Game Summer Program o Graphics Engineer, Ronin Entertainment n Star Wars Force Commander n Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon

Outline o Game Business Overview n Stats n Shape o Overview of Game Development Outline o Game Business Overview n Stats n Shape o Overview of Game Development Players o Game Companies n Developers and Publishers n Timeline n Examples

Random Statistics o 60% of all Americans play video games n In 2000, 35% Random Statistics o 60% of all Americans play video games n In 2000, 35% of Americans rated playing computer and video games as the most fun entertainment activity for the third consecutive year o Computer/video game industry on par with box office sales of the movie industry n $16. 35 B/year for U. S. Sales in 2009 o Development n Costs $3 M to $10 M to develop average game n Takes 12 -24 months o 100+ million Playstations worldwide n 43 million PS 2’s, 30 million Wii, 25 Million. Xbox o 400, 000 pay $12. 50/month to play Everquest

Hit-Driven, Entertainment Business o o o Entertainment, not packaged goods n Consumers say, “I Hit-Driven, Entertainment Business o o o Entertainment, not packaged goods n Consumers say, “I have to have the next War. Craft game from Blizzard!” n No one says, “I have to have that next razor blade from Gillette!” n Games generate o emotional responses - fulfill fantasies o escape from reality - stimulate the senses Causes of success are intangible “Quality is king” Consumers are smarter than often thought Hits are made by: n those who are: creative, instinctive, and who know what great gaming experience feels like n not by marketing executives

Business Models o Software developers and publishers n Money from game sales n Internet Business Models o Software developers and publishers n Money from game sales n Internet games o Initial game o Monthly fee o Console developers n Proprietary media delivery n Lose money on consoles (the faster they sell, the faster they go out of business) n Charge fee for each game sold o Tool developers n Create “engines” and “middleware” and sell to game developers o Contract services: n Motion capture, art, cut-scenes, audio, …

Online Growth o Grew from 38 million (1999) to 68 million (2003) to 120 Online Growth o Grew from 38 million (1999) to 68 million (2003) to 120 million in 2009 o Not just for PC gamers anymore o 24% of revenues will come from online by 2010 (Forrester Research) o Video gamers n n 78% have access to the Internet 44% play games online Spend 12. 8 hours online per week Spend 6. 5 playing games online Laird and Jamin, EECS 494, Umich, Fall 2003

Shape of Industry (1 of 2) o Hardware (ask): n Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Intel Shape of Industry (1 of 2) o Hardware (ask): n Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Intel o Software (ask): n Publishers o Electronic Arts, Activision, Sony, Microsoft, Infogrames, Ubi. Soft, Mindscape, Interplay, … n Developers o Electronic Arts, Sony, Microsoft (Bungie), Blizzard, Lucas Arts, id, Namco, Square, Valve, Raven, Relic, Red Storm, High Voltage, Outrage, 3 DO, …

Shape of Industry (2 of 2) o Similar to Film Industry n About 1 Shape of Industry (2 of 2) o Similar to Film Industry n About 1 in 10 titles breaks even or makes money n Sequels and franchises are popular o EA Sports, Sims, Star Trek, … n Few self-published titles n Fewer small developers as development costs go up o Internet n n Increasingly sales Updates Multiplayer versions of games Massively multiplayer games

Game Studios – Vertical Structure o o Developers Publishers Distributors Retailers o Much like Game Studios – Vertical Structure o o Developers Publishers Distributors Retailers o Much like a mini-Hollywood

Developers o Design and implement games n Including: programming, art, sound effects, and music Developers o Design and implement games n Including: programming, art, sound effects, and music n Historically, small groups n Analogous to book authors o Structure varies n May exist as part of a Publisher n May be “full-service” developers or may outsource some o Motion Capture (to replicate realistic movement) o Art and Animation (can be done by art house/studio) o Many started on PC games (console development harder to break into) o Typically work for royalties & funded by advances n Do not have the capital, distribution channels, or marketing resources to publish their games n Often seen that developers don’t get equitable share of profits n Can be unstable

Publishers o Fund development of games n Including: manufacturing, marketing/PR, distribution, and customer support Publishers o Fund development of games n Including: manufacturing, marketing/PR, distribution, and customer support o If developers are the “geeks”, publishers are the “suits” o Various specialties: PC only, PC + console, mobile, import, web o Publishers assume most of the risk, but they also take most of the profits o Console/PC publishers handle: n Production process n Quality assurance n Licensing n Manufacturing and shipping to retail n Sales n Consumer marketing and PR n HR, finance, investor relations, legal

Distributors o Get software from publisher to retailer o Originally modeled on book distribution Distributors o Get software from publisher to retailer o Originally modeled on book distribution o May resell to smaller independent stores and chains o Compete on price, speed and availability o Earn profit margin of around 3% o Becoming less important as the retail market changes

Retailers o Sell software o Started with mail-order and computer specialty stores o Shift Retailers o Sell software o Started with mail-order and computer specialty stores o Shift in 80’s to game specialty stores, especially chains (Today 25%) n EB Games, Game. Stop o Shift in 90’s to mass market retailers (Today 70%) (ask) n Target, Wal. Mart, Best Buy o Retailers generally earn 30% margin on a $50 game o Electronic download of games via Internet still in infancy n Big but not huge (Today 5%)

Developer and Publisher Relationship The Pitching Process: Prototype o Key game prototype features: Core Developer and Publisher Relationship The Pitching Process: Prototype o Key game prototype features: Core gameplay mechanic Game engine / technological proficiency Artistic / styling guide Demonstration of control / camera system n Example gameplay goals n n

The Pitching Process: Pitch Presentation o Key pitch presentation content: n Concept overview & The Pitching Process: Pitch Presentation o Key pitch presentation content: n Concept overview & genre profile n Unique selling points o What makes it stand out from its competitors n Proposed technology & target platform/s n Team biographies & heritage n Outline marketing information, including potential licensing opportunities

The Pitching Process: Design o o Game Design - focuses on intimate detail such The Pitching Process: Design o o Game Design - focuses on intimate detail such as: n Storyline n Control dynamics n Camera system n Level progression n Game features and functionality n Score systems etc. Technical Design - covers technical topics: n Graphics engine n AI routines n Audio system n Online capability and requirements n Peripherals/controllers n Development asset management/backup

The Pitching Process: Project Schedule & Budget o Schedule & budget must: n Be The Pitching Process: Project Schedule & Budget o Schedule & budget must: n Be detailed and transparent n Allow for contingency scenarios n Have several sets of outcomes for different size publishers n Be realistic

Deal Dynamics: Research o The stress was Publishers screening Developers o But points Developers Deal Dynamics: Research o The stress was Publishers screening Developers o But points Developers should research of prospective Publishers: Are they financially stable? Do they have global reach? Do they market / PR their games well? Is there a history of non-payment of milestones or royalties? n Have they canned many titles? n n

Deal Dynamics: IP Rights o Intellectual Property Rights include: Game name Logos Unique game Deal Dynamics: IP Rights o Intellectual Property Rights include: Game name Logos Unique game mechanics & storyline Unique characters, objects & settings Game Source Code including artwork & associated assets n Unique sounds and music n n n

Payment Negotiation: Overview o Current approximate development costs: n $4 -5 million for AAA Payment Negotiation: Overview o Current approximate development costs: n $4 -5 million for AAA multi-platform n $2 -3 million for AAA Play. Station 2 only n $1 million for A-quality single platform

Payment Negotiation: Royalty Negotiation o Royalties are percentage payments of profits made above and Payment Negotiation: Royalty Negotiation o Royalties are percentage payments of profits made above and beyond the recoup of development costs o Royalty rates are calculated the wholesale price of the product o Developer royalties can range from 0 percent for work for hire, to 40 percent for a self-funded AAA title.

Payment Negotiation: Milestones o Milestone payments represent the agreed rate of release for development Payment Negotiation: Milestones o Milestone payments represent the agreed rate of release for development funding o Developers will usually be given a lump-sum advance payment, with the remainder of the payments split into regular milestones payable upon delivery of agreed content

Moving Projects Forward o Most Publishers have a “Greenlight Process” n Use to determine Moving Projects Forward o Most Publishers have a “Greenlight Process” n Use to determine which projects go forward o Developers submit to committee at five, mostly independent stages: n n n Concept Assessment Prototype First Playable Alpha o At each stage, committee reviews: n Decides whether or not to continue funding n Evaluates market potential n Adjusts unit forecasts accordingly

Development Milestones: Development Timeline o Here are some example development periods for different platforms: Development Milestones: Development Timeline o Here are some example development periods for different platforms: n 4 -6 months for a high-end mobile game n 18 -24 months for an original console game n 10 -14 months for a license / port n 16 -36 months for an original PC Game

What’s Involved? o People involved lead designer project leader software planner architectural lead programmers What’s Involved? o People involved lead designer project leader software planner architectural lead programmers artists n level designers n testers n n n o Time involved n 12 -24 months (Will walk through what phase each plays a roll, next)

Game Development Timeline (1 of 5) o Inspiration n n getting the global idea Game Development Timeline (1 of 5) o Inspiration n n getting the global idea of the game duration: 1 month (for a professional game) people: lead designer result: treatment document, decision to continue o Conceptualization n n preparing the "complete" design of the game duration: 3 months people: lead designer result: complete design document

Game Development Timeline (2 of 5) o Prototypes n Build prototypes as proof of Game Development Timeline (2 of 5) o Prototypes n Build prototypes as proof of concept o Can take 2 -3 months (or more) o Typically done a few months in n In particular to test game play n Throw them away afterwards o Projects 1 -5 … prototype! n Pitch to Publisher

Game Development Timeline (3 of 5) o Blueprint n n separate the project into Game Development Timeline (3 of 5) o Blueprint n n separate the project into different tiers duration: 2 months people: lead designer, software planner result: several mini-specification o Architecture n creating a technical design that specifies tools and technology used n duration: 2 months n people: project leader, software planner, lead architect n result: full technical specification

Game Development Timeline (4 of 5) o Tool building n create a number of Game Development Timeline (4 of 5) o Tool building n create a number of (preferably reusable) tools, like 3 D graphics engine, level builder, or unit builder n duration: 4 months n people: project leader and 4 (tool) programmers n result: set of functionally tools (maybe not yet feature complete) o Assembly n create the game based on the design document using the tools; update design document and tools as required (consulting the lead designer) n duration: 12 months n people: project leader, 4 programmers, 4 artists n result: the complete game software and toolset

Game Development Timeline (5 of 5) o Level design n n create the levels Game Development Timeline (5 of 5) o Level design n n create the levels for the game duration: 4 months people: project leader, 3 level designers result: finished game with all levels, in-game tutorials, manuals o Review n testing the code, the gameplay, and the levels n duration: 3 months (partially overlapping level design) n people: 4 testers n result: the gold master

Other Development Milestones: Alpha Definition o At Alpha stage, a game should: n Have Other Development Milestones: Alpha Definition o At Alpha stage, a game should: n Have all of the required features of the design implemented, but not necessarily working correctly n Be tested thoroughly by QA to eliminate any critical gameplay flaws n Still likely contain a certain amount of placeholder assets

Other Development Milestones: Beta Definition o At Beta stage, a game should: n Have Other Development Milestones: Beta Definition o At Beta stage, a game should: n Have all content complete n Be tested thoroughly for bugs and gameplay tweaks n Be shown to press for preview features

Other Development Milestones: Gold Master Definition o At Gold Master stage, a game should: Other Development Milestones: Gold Master Definition o At Gold Master stage, a game should: n Be sent to the platform holder/s (where applicable) for TRC testing n Be sent to press for review n Be sent to duplication for production n Be backed up and stored

Development Team Size o As late as the mid-80’s teams as small as one Development Team Size o As late as the mid-80’s teams as small as one person. o Today, teams today ranging from 10 -60 people. o Programming now a proportionally smaller part of any project o Artistic content creation proportionally larger o See Gamasutra, (www. gamasutra. com) n Search for “post mortem” n Game data at bottom includes team size and composition

Development Team 1988 o Sublogic’s JET (early flight sim) n Sublogic later made scenery Development Team 1988 o Sublogic’s JET (early flight sim) n Sublogic later made scenery files for Microsoft flight simulator o 3 Programmers o 1 Part-Time Artist o 1 Tester Total: 5

Development Team 1995 o Interplay’s Descent n Used 3 d polygon engine, not 2 Development Team 1995 o Interplay’s Descent n Used 3 d polygon engine, not 2 d sprites o o o 6 Programmers 1 Artist 2 Level Designers 1 Sound Designer Off-site Musicians Total: 11

Development Team 2002 o THQ’s Alter. Echo o 1 Executive Producer o 1 Producer Development Team 2002 o THQ’s Alter. Echo o 1 Executive Producer o 1 Producer o 4 Programmers o 2 Game Designers o 1 Writer o 3 Level Designers Total: 19+ o 3 Character Modelers and Animators o 1 2 d and Texture Artist o 1 Audio Designer o 1 Cinematic Animator o 1 QA Lead and Testers

Development Teams for Online Games o Star Wars online (2003? ) o Development team: Development Teams for Online Games o Star Wars online (2003? ) o Development team: 44 people n 50% Artists n 25% Designers n 25% Programmers o 3 Producers o “Live” Team (starting at Beta, 6 months before done) n 8 Developers n 50 -60 Customer support (for 200 K users) n 1000 Volunteer staff (for 200 K users)

A (Larger) Developer Company Today o Designing and creating computer games is serious business A (Larger) Developer Company Today o Designing and creating computer games is serious business n Large budgets ($1 million+) n Large number of people involved n Large risk o Wisdom n Use modern software development techniques n Keep creativity were it belongs o In the design o Not during the programming

ASU’s Certificate in Computer Gaming n Six Courses that include a Capstone Project n ASU’s Certificate in Computer Gaming n Six Courses that include a Capstone Project n Specialize in Game Programming, Game Art or Educational Gaming n Open to all Majors at ASU and non-degree students n Come out with a complete understanding of the video game production cycle and the major elements in game design, 3/16/2018 41 production and art.

Certificate Structure o Core: n n n CPI 321 Introduction to Game Art CPI Certificate Structure o Core: n n n CPI 321 Introduction to Game Art CPI 421 3 D Modeling and Texturing CPI 422 3 D Animation and Rigging n n n o CPI 311 Game Engine Development CPI 411 Graphics for Games CPI 412 Cognitive Systems and Intelligence Agents n n n o CPI 111 Game Development I CPI 211 Game Development II CPI 441 Gaming CAPSTONE EDT 329 Games, Simulations and Virtual Environments RDG 440 Computer Gaming Learning and Literacy DCI 451 Design Research and Educational Gaming Programming: Art: o 3/16/2018 Education: 42