Developing your very own game – the dream of so many friends of the pixel. The development process for an entire game is extensive, and includes everything from finding an idea to designing, prototyping, and all of the various production and release phases. The special thing about Goodgame Studios: every day we work on making our games even better and produce new updates on an almost weekly basis. The development that goes behind a weekly update is almost the same as for an entire game. That’s why in today’s blog we’ll share with you how an update for one of our most successful title Goodgame Empire actually comes to life – this time for the Blade Coast event.
In the beginning was…
The idea! This can come from product management, a game designer, or from the player community – what’s important is that it shows promise and can be implemented into the game. The idea was for an event in which the player helps a queen in need by saving her kingdom from a band of pirates, and of course the adventure grows from there.
Straight to the drawing board
Once we’ve decided that an idea is good, we develop a concept for it. The game designers take charge of this. From the core game mechanics to the detailed game concept – everything that we think up and develop must also be documented. What kinds of challenges does the player have to face? What should the game world look like? Step by step, the designers construct a kind of ‘recipe’ for the artists, balancers, and programmers to follow when they do their part later.
We break down the development of our games into ‘sprints’. A sprint generally lasts one to two weeks. During each sprint, every team member focuses on achieving the goals they are set. Programmers, graphic artists, balancers, game writers – everyone has to pull together as we all work on the same update in parallel. The project managers coordinate the workflows to help this complex process run smoothly.
On your calculators, get set, go!
Once a concept exists, the game balancers can get to work. As you might have guessed from the name, their job is to make sure that the game is balanced. They use countless tables and diagrams to assign various values to the game elements. At the end of the day, they are the ones to decide how quickly the player can progress in the game, what and how many rewards the player will receive, and how difficult conquering the Blade Coast should be. It’s no simple task, and that’s why we have plenty of mathematicians here working as balancers.
From math to muse
What good is a game if you can’t even see it? The artists are the next important step in the process. They give the game the right coat of paint. First they come up with some sketches, which are then converted into vector graphics. The characters get their faces and the ocean map is filled with color. The pictures in this blog show you how the Blade Coast was developed, from the first drafts to the complete game interface. However, a game can’t just look good – it also has to sound good! This is where the game writers come into play. They find the words that will bring the picturesque landscape to life with a captivating story.
Kings of the code
The programmers are the ones who make the Blade Coast ready to play! They bring all of the already specified game mechanics, values, and graphics together into one feature. To do this, client developers must program the game client – the user interface used to play Goodgame Empire in the browser. Server development is closely connected to this. The server is the central computer which saves and calculates game data. When you attack a tower on the Blade Coast, you are doing that via the game client. The battle is simulated on the server, which sends the reply to your game client – and then you see if you were victorious.
Put it to the test
Once all the development steps are complete, our quality assurance team puts the Blade Coast under the microscope. The team tests the game from front to back and looks for errors that still need to be fixed. Trial, error, repeat – until everything works! This is how we ensure that the players can ultimately play the Blade Coast event without any issues.
All hands on deck!
Once everyone is satisfied, the update goes live! This is what we call it when the update is sent to and installed on our servers all over the world via the content delivery network. Millions of Goodgame Empire players can then set sail to save the Sea Queen’s kingdom!
Goodgame Empire isn’t only available on browser – players all over the world can also play on the move with our most successful title Empire: Four Kingdoms, where they can produce resources, wage wars, and join forces. Many elements are adjusted to make sure the game remains fun even on small smartphone and tablet touchscreens: the user interfaces are optimized for mobile, graphics and data sizes are shrunk, and the performance is enhanced. Last but not least, the app store guidelines are also taken into consideration.