Pre-production for video games can vary in duration, as it depends on multiple factors such as the size and complexity of the game, the available resources, the development team's experience, and the budget. According to industry experts, the average pre-production phase for a mid-sized video game can last from several months to a year.
During the pre-production phase, the development team will typically work on creating a concept for the game, establishing the game's design goals and vision, and planning the overall project. This phase is crucial for setting the foundation for the rest of the development process, as it involves a lot of important decisions that will impact the direction and outcome of the game.
One of the key tasks in pre-production is creating a game design document (GDD). The GDD is a comprehensive guide that outlines the game's design, mechanics, and vision, and serves as a reference point for the entire development team. The GDD is typically created by the lead game designer and includes information such as the game's setting, characters, story, and gameplay mechanics.
Another important aspect of pre-production is prototyping. This involves creating early versions of the game's key features and mechanics, to test and validate the game's design. Prototyping allows the development team to experiment with different ideas, identify and fix any problems, and make necessary changes before moving into full production.
In addition to the GDD and prototyping, the pre-production phase also involves creating a project plan and budget. The project plan outlines the development timeline, milestones, and resources required for each stage of the project, while the budget determines the amount of funding required for the game's development.
Once pre-production is complete, the development team can move into full production, where the majority of the game's assets, such as graphics, sound, and programming, are created and integrated into the game. Full production typically lasts several months to several years, depending on the size and complexity of the game.
In conclusion, the pre-production phase for video games is a critical stage that sets the foundation for the rest of the development process. The duration of pre-production can vary, but it typically lasts from several months to a year for a mid-sized video game. During this phase, the development team works on creating a concept, establishing the game's design goals and vision, and planning the overall project, including creating a game design document, prototyping, and creating a project plan and budget.