Making a game for a smartphone is quite a complex and complicated project. A good idea is only the beginning and between it and the finished product there’s a lot of work and details that you cannot even imagine. In this article I will try to summarize the experience that we gained while making our first game for iOS / iPhone.
The idea. This may be the hardest or the easiest part of your project. If you have an idea for a game you must log into App Store and see what the situation is. It may be that someone has already thought of your idea and produced it. It may even turn out, in the worst case scenario, that there are many games that incorporate your idea. It is advisable to carry out a similar survey in the stores for other mobile platforms like Android and Windows Phone. It is likely that someone is currently transferring an already established game for other platforms for iOS. And yet - even if many of the elements of your idea for a game already exist, do not despair; continue to the next step.
Best of the best. Download the most popular games for iPhone and play them. See what makes them so popular, what they are good for, what they give to the consumer. Note the strengths and weaknesses that you find in them. Try to be objective. Of course, it is not possible to play all the games, because in the top 100 most popular applications about 50 percent of them are always games. And it is also likely that the presence of games will increase further. So determine what genre your game would be and focus on the games of this genre. You can easily see the different genres in the App Store.
The study. Continue with your research - what profit model do your competitors use, at what prices do they sell - you must specify a price limit for your game, how long have the other games been on the market? Find all this out and calculate your budget. Why is it important to do this at the beginning? If you're not a big studio, which is almost 100% certain to be true, then it means you do not have a large budget. It would be very hard to start making your game with enthusiasm and zeal, only to realize after 2-3 months that everything is over, because you have no money. In addition, you must have a plan for your returns on investment, even if you are a group of several friends who want to make a game and everyone participates, contributing their skills and time.
The next thing to decide, after selecting the genre of your game is to see which of the possibilities offered by iPhone you will use in your game: how the game will be oriented - portrait or landscape; what actions you will take for the control of your game and the diversification of the gameplay - how you will take advantage of the touch screen of the phone and the built-in gyroscope. If you have studied your competition well, the answer to these questions will not be quite so difficult. And one recommendation - follow the originality of your idea. Do not copy blindly and develop when you see a better implementation of some elements of your idea.
The team. It may seem that I am stating the obvious, but I have to mention them. You need great programming. There is no software without bugs, but you will certainly not succeed if your programmer/s/ is/are now learning while creating the game. Even the best idea, if implemented shoddily and if the game constantly has problems, is doomed to failure. Nobody wants to have the game closing because of a bug right at the most interesting place, for example. The design must be… distinctive. No matter how elaborate the game is at the program level, if it is not visually different from other games, then its chance to make an impression greatly decreases.
As regards sounds - do not overdo them. This is a game that will be played on the way to school, work, on the subway. Among people. Make the sounds nice and highlighting the experience, not noisy and annoying, requiring necessarily to be muted.
Level 1. Critical level. To save yourself a lot of effort, make one level. Do not throw yourself into making many levels. The first level will teach you how to combine all the above elements. Initially make a scenario for the level, a conceptual design and then go over again what you want to happen in it and how. Finally, add the sounds. The first level is like a promo-episode of a series - you test your idea on it and see how it works out, whether it really is what you imagined. Ask a few people you know, who are not part of the project, to play the first level and see their reactions, take into account their comments and recommendations. Thus you'll have a preliminary test of the quality of your game. Now is the time to set things up and to clarify the concept of the game, to polish up the main details. Put service screens, the settings screen, the screen between levels and everything else that you will use later. If the game "survives" its first level, then you can proceed boldly and confidently forward.
The script. Since this is your first game, it would be better to have the whole scenario of the game. It is highly likely, that after making the first level, you’ll change a lot in it. You might also change details in the work process. But you must know what you want to do. Do not let everything develop in the course of the work. There will be changes, but you must have a predetermined direction so as not to wander constantly.