It’s time to create the game app you have been thinking about for a while now. The technology exists to make it a reality, regardless of your level of programming expertise. However, numerous considerations go into how to make a game app. Will it be a single or multiplayer game? Should you use 2D or 3D graphics? What game engine should you use? How will you design the levels?
It turns out that no matter how big or small a game is planned to be, successful creators follow the same proven development lifecycle to produce the best game possible. This lifecycle consists of a pre-development phase focused on design, an iterative development phase, and post-development activities that ensure your game reaches its target audience.
Follow These Steps to Create Your Game App
Design the core mechanic of your game.
The pre-development beginning of every great game starts with a great concept. In the gaming world, the basic design element is also known as the core mechanic. It is the fundamental building block upon which players experience the game. For example, players in Tetris slide and rotate a falling block shape with the goal of filling in as many rows at the bottom of the puzzle as possible.
This core concept is what differentiates the game and makes it a fun and unique user experience. A great core mechanic will grab players' attention and cause your game to stand out in the crowd.
Next, choose the type of game and the target platform(s) it will run on. Graphics are a key contributor to these decisions. Use 2D graphics in platformer games and side scrollers. Alternatively, 3D graphics provide a much more realistic experience, such as those used in first-person shooters; however, this will add more complexity to the overall project.
Regardless, the graphics will influence the game design and underlying technology decisions. You must also determine whether your game runs on mobile devices, PCs, tablets, or video game consoles.
Research and validate the idea with potential users.
You’ve got your core concept and game mechanic in mind. The next step is to validate the idea. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Do some research and see what similar games are out in the marketplace.
- Play some existing games in the genre.
- Look for games with similar mechanics to find out what you like and don't like about them.
- Survey the competition and gain insights into how big the potential market is for your game.
Another method is to get early feedback on your design from gamer friends and interested parties. Give them the elevator pitch for your concept and gauge their level of interest. Ask them what would make them want to play or what they find interesting about the idea.
These methods give you essential feedback you can use to refine your ideas. (See step 9 for more on feedback.)
Create a game design document
While it may be tempting to skip this step, there is no substitute for writing down your design. It forces you to think through all of the main elements of how to make a game the way you envision it.
The document also captures the research and validation you performed that led to this direction and offers helpful context to have later when fine-tuning. Include a brief project overview in your design document and important game details. Don't forget to include a description of your target audience.
Select your development platform
Game development platforms provide most of the capabilities you need to build a game out of the box. Animations and collision detection between in-game objects are examples of standard game functions. The specific features in your game help drive the platform choice.
Some people have used no-code tools like Bubble to make simple web apps like Wordle or an online level maker. However, Bubble is best suited for web apps. Games that require higher performance and 3D graphics may use a game engine such as Unity or Unreal Engine. A third option is to build the game from scratch in a programming language such as C++ or C#. While this gives you the most flexibility, many games leverage existing patterns and building blocks already available on one of the platforms.
Building an MVP or prototype version to start
This step begins the development phase that uses an agile approach to developing your game. The goal of the first iteration is to build the smallest viable working version possible. This slim version lets you and others start playing and engaging with the core constructs early. Use feedback from the prototype and subsequent iterations to mature the game over time, leading up to the final product.
Bubble makes it easy to create a working prototype using its powerful, no-code editor. It has numerous capabilities that make your job easy. Connect your app to a database, visually create responsive user interfaces, and define event-based workflows. See how you can easily create a trivia app using Bubble.
Test extensively before launch.
Test, test, and then test some more, from both a quality and useability perspective. Your users will thank you for it. Also, verify that the game is fun to play. Notably, user-testing no-code apps don't require you to be a software developer. For example, automated testing of Bubble apps is made simple with Preflight’s no-code testing platform.
Testing is an essential task that will help make gamers keep coming back.
Deploy your game app.
This step begins the post-development phase, where you launch your game and refine your concept. You have built and tested it, and it is ready to go out into the world and the hands of gamers. For each target platform, follow the steps to deploy your game and publish it on your platform of choice (mobile app stores, Steam, itch.io).
Start marketing on relevant platforms.
Marketing is critical to get the word out there to your target audience. Create a trailer and post it on your target platforms. It helps to have a playable demo even before the general availability. Be sure to optimize the app before promoting the game across social media and app store deployment.
At a minimum, this requires researching keywords, performing conversion rate optimization (CRO) and A/B testing, and tracking that data so you can make further improvements if needed — which brings us to the next step.
Solicit user feedback and iteratively make improvements.
Garner gamer feedback through a commonly used technique called playtesting. You can also post polls on social media and create in-app questionnaires, feedback forms and surveys. And don’t forget to respond to player feedback. It will help build interest around the game, especially when players see that improvements are being made based on the discussion.
Keep iterating and improving the game — you'll be glad you did.
By following these basic steps on how to make a game, you can let your imagination run and start building that game app you’ve been envisioning.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more.
Millions of users are building and launching businesses on Bubble — many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raised $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs who are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.