required and precise details about how the game will use the technology avail-
able on a particular platform. Games are often developed on a number of plat-
forms simultaneously, requiring separate teams and a co-ordinator to ensure a
3) Storyboarding. Storyboards are collections of drawings and technical instruc-
tions that describe each scene of the game.These may include full motion
sequences that introduce the story, or continue it between the periods of actual
gameplay.This is one way in which the games industry is becoming increasingly
competitive with Hollywood.
C. Development stage
This stage involves the development of 3D models and texture maps that will
make up the worlds of the game and the animated full motion video sequences.
The game code will be developed at this stage, potentially including a 3D
engine for generating polygons, shadows and textures in the game scenes, as
well as the code for Artificial Intelligence that the interaction of objects and the
movement of the characters. A `tool chain' will combine the different codes in
an executable sequence.
D. Final preparation
Refining the game, including optimisation of the game code for the fastest possi-
ble running speed, potentially reducing the polygon count, optimising the game
logic, adjusting the clipping planes which restrict the image content depending
on how `far away' the user is from an object and culling, leaving non-visible
objects or elements unrendered until the user is almost `within sight' of them.
E. Post-development stage.
This stage will generally involve product testing, acquisition of Entertainment
Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating, marketing, advertising and distribution.
The development of video games is an expensive business. A multitude of costs
have to be covered such as console licensing royalties, advertising, salaries for the
production team (a typical game may employ forty people for a year or more),
other licensing fees, operational costs and so on. In costing and pricing games,
companies take into account the short lifespan that most games enjoy.
Personnel and roles
A variety of different roles and personnel will be necessary to create a hit game. 2D
Artists make textures for landscapes and skin-textures for characters, and usually work with
Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and The Gimp. 3D artists make models for games using software
such as 3D Studio Max and SoftImage. Animators bring the drawings to life in 3D and 2D
games, initially making a model in 3D Studio Max or SoftImage and later applying anima-
tion techniques to it. Level designers create the game world and its architecture inside a
2D/3D level editor. Many game engines come with their own inbuilt editor. Programmers
are fundamental to the team and may use a variety of proprietary and other languages,
105 These are the standard steps for creating a big-budget title. It is not suggested that culture heritage
organisations would have the time or resources to develop games to this scale, but it may be useful
to learn lessons from the `masters'.