Creation of a digital project is not a simple task. It involves taking an idea and turning it into an interactive digital experience, which goes through various stages that demand thorough planning, execution as well as refinement for the final product to meet expectations in terms of quality and engagement. In this article, we will delve into the seven main game development stages, providing a detailed explanation of each step and the key roles involved. We will also discuss common challenges, best practices, the importance of feedback, and future trends in the industry. Additionally, we will highlight Fgfactory’s extensive experience in entertainment software creation, showcasing our capabilities and achievements. For a comprehensive guide on what to consider during the creation process, refer to our video game design checklist.

Did You Know? One of the first known digital games made for a computer was created in 1952 by A.S. Douglas. It was a version of Tic-Tac-Toe called OXO, and was part of his Ph.D. dissertation on human-computer interaction at the University of Cambridge. This project marked the beginning of the long and fascinating journey of entertainment software creation!

Adapting Content for Audience Appeal

Understanding the preferences and expectations of your target audience is crucial in creating content that resonates effectively. By conducting thorough research into demographics, interests, and consumption habits, content creators can tailor their creations to align with audience expectations. This involves crafting narratives, visuals, and interactive elements that speak directly to the interests and values of the intended viewers.

Platform distribution for games developed by mid-size teams

Source: Unity Report 2024

Moreover, adapting content for audience appeal goes beyond superficial adjustments; it involves embedding cultural references, storytelling nuances, and visual aesthetics that authentically reflect the audience’s worldview. By doing so, creators can forge deeper connections with their audience, fostering engagement and loyalty over time.

The 7 Stages of Game Development Process

The 7 Stages of Game Development Process

Digital project creation is a structured process that transforms a creative concept into a fully realized interactive experience. Understanding game development stages helps creators navigate the complexities of digital project creation, ensuring a polished and engaging final product. The 7 stages of game development offer a comprehensive roadmap, guiding creators through each critical phase of creation.

From the inception of a concept that ignites the imagination to the strategic planning that lays the foundation, each stage brings forth essential tasks and decisions. This initial phase is where ideas crystallize into a coherent vision, setting the stage for the journey ahead. Each stage in this creative odyssey demands meticulous attention to detail, collaboration across disciplines, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. By mastering these stages, creators not only bring their vision to life but also craft memorable experiences that resonate with players worldwide.

Stage 1: Planning

From Concept to Vision

The first stage of the game development process is planning, a critical phase where the foundation for the entire project is laid. During these sessions, team members explore various concepts and themes without restrictions, allowing their creativity to flow freely. All ideas, no matter how unconventional or ambitious, are considered and discussed. This open-minded approach is crucial as it often leads to innovative and unique digital project ideas that stand out in the market.

Market Research

Once a pool of ideas has been established, the next step of the game dev pipeline is market research. Understanding the market is essential for the digital project’s success. This involves a thorough analysis of current trends within the gaming industry, studying competitors, and identifying potential gaps or opportunities. Creators gather data on what types of digital projects are currently popular, which features players find appealing, and what new trends are emerging. By analyzing this information, creators can better understand what players want and how to differentiate their digital project from others on the market. This research is invaluable for shaping the digital project’s concept and ensuring it has a competitive edge.

Navigating Player Preferences

The steps for making a video game require meticulous attention to detail, from initial brainstorming sessions to the final touches. Defining the target audience is another critical component of the planning stage. Knowing who the digital project is for allows creators to tailor its content and marketing strategy effectively. This involves creating detailed profiles of the intended audience, including demographics such as age, gender, and location, as well as psychographics like interests, gaming habits, and lifestyle choices.

Visual and gameplay references

The first step in the game design process

Image: References mood board for Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory.

Planning a game is akin to mapping out an epic journey, where every twist and turn must be anticipated. Understanding player preferences helps in designing a digital project that resonates with the target audience, increasing the likelihood of its success. By aligning the digital project’s themes, mechanics, and visual style with the preferences of the target audience, creators can create a more engaging and appealing product.

This adaptive approach not only enhances the project’s relevance and competitiveness but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within the team. Thus, the journey of creating entertainment software is a dynamic and iterative process, where creativity, technical expertise, strategic foresight, and community engagement converge to bring digital experiences to life.

Stage 2: Pre-production

Crafting the Blueprint

Understanding the game development pipeline is crucial for efficient and organized production. In the initial stages, pre-production shifts from foundational planning to meticulous preparation for actual implementation. One of the early pivotal decisions involves selecting the platform for entertainment software creation. This choice is critical, needing to match both the target audience and the technical requirements of the project.

Various platforms such as PC, consoles, mobile devices, and web browsers each offer distinct advantages and challenges. For example, PC and console platforms often boast superior graphical capabilities and processing power, while mobile platforms must optimize for battery life and touch-based interfaces.

The platform decision not only influences technical development but also shapes marketing and distribution strategies.

Game Documentation

Developing a detailed and comprehensive creative blueprint, akin to a Game Design Document (GDD), is another crucial task during pre-production.

This document serves as a guiding framework throughout the all game development stages, ensuring all team members share a unified vision. It encompasses intricate descriptions of mechanics, storyline, characters, levels, and other pivotal aspects. By providing a structured overview of objectives, progression systems, and features, the GDD offers clarity and consistency, steering the team’s efforts toward achieving the project’s goals. Crafting a compelling narrative and character arcs at this stage heightens player engagement and immersion.

Storytelling Mastery

Character concept art for the Jesus Christ game developed by Fgfactory

Image: Character concept art for the Jesus Christ game developed by Fgfactory.

A captivating storyline with well-developed characters can profoundly enrich the interactive experience, leaving a lasting emotional impact. Collaboratively, writers and narrative designers weave intricate plots that resonate with the thematic essence and gameplay mechanics of the project. Equally vital is the creation of characters that are relatable and dynamic, driving player investment in the unfolding narrative and interactive elements. This narrative foundation not only enhances the overall design of the project but also imbues the player’s journey with depth and meaning.

Stage 3: Production

Concept art

Concept art for the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory

Image: Concept art for the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory.

The creative journey through the video game production stage marks the genesis of a digital project, shifting from conceptual blueprints to the crafting of tangible assets and operational code. This phase is a collaborative symphony, where artists, designers, programmers, and sound engineers harmonize their talents to manifest the project’s vision into reality. To understand more about this essential part of the process, explore our article on how to make concept art for games.

Game assets design

Production stages of graphics assets for the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory

Image: Production stages of graphics assets for the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory.

Within the production stage development, artists meticulously sculpt the visual essence of the digital project, spanning the realm from 2D sketches to intricate 3D marvels. For 2D endeavors, this entails sketching and animating sprites, constructing immersive backgrounds, and forging user interface elements. In contrast, the 3D frontier delves into the art of modeling, intricately texturing surfaces, rigging complex structures, and animating characters and environments with life-like precision. To learn more about this process, check out our article on how to make 3d characters for games.

User Interface Design

Racer Club game UI developed by Fgfactory

Image: Racer Club game UI developed by Fgfactory.

The steps to making a video game include designing characters and modeling. Whether conjuring towering skyscrapers, crafting culinary masterpieces, or sculpting virtual realities, this odyssey from concept to manifestation celebrates human ingenuity and artistic brilliance. A well-crafted UI serves as the nexus of usability and player satisfaction, encompassing intuitive menu design that seamlessly integrates with the digital project’s overarching aesthetic.

Jesus Christ game UI developed by Fgfactory

Image: Jesus Christ game UI developed by Fgfactory.

At the heart of this creative tapestry lies the UI designer’s craft—an alchemy that transforms functionality into an art form. Responsible for crafting the menus, buttons, and interactive elements that guide players through the digital odyssey, UI designers meld intuition with visual storytelling.

Each interface element is meticulously designed to enhance usability and elevate player satisfaction, seamlessly integrating with the digital project’s overarching aesthetic to create an immersive experience that transcends mere gameplay. As the digital landscape unfolds, every stroke of creativity, every line of code, and every pixel crafted in the creation is a testament to the boundless imagination and collaborative spirit driving the evolution of interactive entertainment.

NFT Islands game UI developed by Fgfactory

Image: NFT Islands game UI developed by Fgfactory.

The game development life cycle resembles a complex dance, where each move brings the project closer to completion. The goal is to create an interface that is easy to understand and navigate, allowing players to focus on the interactive elements rather than struggling with confusing controls. UI design also includes the placement and design of HUD (heads-up display) elements, such as health bars, maps, and score counters, ensuring they provide necessary information without cluttering the screen.


Every part of the game development cycle is important for making a digital project successful. At its core lies programming, the bedrock upon which the digital realm is founded. Here, programmers imbue the project with interactive mechanics that dictate player movement, combat dynamics, object interactions, and beyond. The physics engine breathes life into virtual kinetics, simulating authentic movements and interactions, while AI algorithms imbue non-player characters with cunning behaviors and personalities, enriching the digital landscape with depth and intrigue.

Game development engines
Depending on the chosen game engine, e.g. Unity for mobile or WebGL games, Unreal Engine for desktop or console games, or a web engine such as PixiJS, ThreeJS, Phaser or others, developers determine the necessary workflow for components implementation, game mechanics and client-server architecture development, integration of the user interface and other components.

A streamlined game development workflow ensures that every team member’s efforts synchronize perfectly, like instruments in an orchestra.

Networking features are also made during this stage, enabling multiplayer functionality if the digital project requires it. Coding is a critical phase as it determines the functionality and performance of the digital project. It requires close collaboration with designers and artists to ensure that the digital project mechanics and visual elements integrate seamlessly.

Stage 4: Testing

Debugging Essentials

This is one of the crucial game development phases, shifting focus from creation to evaluation. Here, the digital project undergoes meticulous scrutiny to root out any issues, ensuring the final product is polished and primed for release. Testing is crucial to deliver a seamless and enjoyable experience, free from bugs and glitches.

During the stages of game development alpha beta, and even early versions undergo rigorous testing to iron out imperfections. Debugging kicks off this process, involving the identification and correction of bugs and glitches that could disrupt gameplay. Programmers and testers collaborate closely, delving into the project’s code and mechanics to pinpoint errors that might lead to crashes or graphical anomalies. Debugging is a continuous effort throughout development, intensifying during this phase to ensure every aspect, from core functionality to intricate mechanics, operates smoothly.

QA Testing Unveiled

Testing stages in game development pipeline

Quality assurance (QA) testing is another critical aspect of this phase. QA testers extensively playtest the digital project, engaging in various tasks to uncover issues and maintain quality standards. They rigorously test functionality to confirm all features perform as expected, assess performance to prevent lag or frame rate issues, and evaluate the overall user experience. Detailed reports from QA testers guide necessary adjustments and enhancements, refining the digital project to improve enjoyment and accessibility for players.

In addition, to these rigorous testing practices, incorporating mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques can help maintain focus and reduce stress levels during intense testing phases. Taking regular breaks and engaging in hobbies like music or art can provide a refreshing break from debugging sessions and inspire creative solutions to technical challenges.

Stage 5: Pre-launch

The pre-launch stage is one of the pivotal phases of game development, where the focus shifts from creation and testing to preparation for the digital project’s official release. This stage involves several critical activities designed to generate buzz, gather feedback, and ensure a smooth launch.

Soft launch

Releasing a demo version of the digital project is a key component of the pre-launch phase.

Why do a soft launch before the global release

Source: Medium Matej Lančarič

This allows players to experience a portion of the digital project before its official release, generating interest and excitement. A demo version serves as a powerful marketing tool, giving potential players a taste of what to expect and encouraging them to look forward to the full digital project. Additionally, releasing a demo provides creators with valuable feedback on the digital project’s performance and player reception. This feedback is instrumental in making final improvements and adjustments to the digital project, ensuring that it meets player expectations and functions smoothly upon release.

Marketing materials

Gameplay screenshots from the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory

Image: Gameplay screenshots from the Racer Club game developed by Fgfactory.

Marketing efforts ramp up significantly during the pre-launch phase. This involves creating and distributing promotional materials such as trailers, screenshots, and press releases to generate awareness and excitement about the digital project.

Social Media Marketing

Social media campaigns play a crucial role, as they allow creators to engage directly with the gaming community and build a following. Engaging with influencers and content creators can also amplify the digital project’s reach, as their endorsements and interactive elements videos can attract a broader audience. Effective marketing strategies help to create anticipation and drive pre-orders or early downloads, setting the stage for a successful launch. For more insights on effective strategies, read our article on social media marketing for mobile games.

Stage 6: Launch

Timeline from soft launch to global release

The launch stage is a critical stage in the game development process. This is the moment when the digital project is officially released to the public, and every aspect of the launch needs to be meticulously planned and executed to ensure a smooth and successful debut. Releasing the digital project on various marketplaces is the first critical step in the launch phase.

Depending on the target audience and platform preferences, this could include platforms like Steam for PC digital projects, the App Store and Google Play for mobile digital projects, or console stores such as PlayStation Store, Xbox Live, and Nintendo eShop.

The timing of the release is crucial, as it can significantly impact the digital project’s initial reception and sales. Coordinating the launch across multiple platforms involves synchronizing with the marketplaces’ submission processes and schedules to ensure the digital project is available simultaneously to a broad audience. A well-coordinated release helps maximize visibility and accessibility, attracting players from various platforms and regions.

Stage 7: Post-production

In the final phase of a video game, creators concentrate on enhancing the user experience and resolving any lingering bugs. Despite rigorous testing and a successful launch, new issues can arise as more players interact with the digital project in diverse ways. Vigilance is key, with creators actively monitoring player feedback and swiftly addressing emerging issues. This ongoing support involves releasing patches to fix bugs, fine-tuning interactive elements for balance, and implementing player suggestions to enhance overall satisfaction. By staying responsive and proactive, creators foster a positive community relationship and maintain smooth operation of the digital project.

Post-release lifespan of a game

Source: Cintᵀᴹ survey 2023 Unity Report 2024

Regular updates are another vital aspect of post-production. These updates serve to keep the digital project dynamic and engaging, preventing it from stagnating and retaining player interest. They may introduce new content such as levels, characters, and items, offering fresh challenges and experiences for players.

Engagement techniques in games to keep retention

Source: Cintᵀᴹ survey 2023 Unity Report 2024

Additionally, updates can introduce new features that enhance gameplay, refine user interfaces, and optimize performance. By continuously evolving based on player feedback and industry trends, creators sustain excitement and investment in the digital project.

Pro Tip Adopting an agile approach is crucial in digital project creation. By dividing the project into smaller, manageable sprints, you enhance flexibility and responsiveness. It’s essential to regularly review and adjust your plans based on feedback and testing results. This iterative process enables quick identification of issues, facilitates necessary adjustments, and ensures that the final product meets player expectations and market demands effectively. Flexibility not only enhances development efficiency but also maximizes the project’s adaptability to evolving needs and challenges.

Best Practices

The video game development process involves multiple stages, from initial concept to final release. Successful creation of digital projects hinges on a blend of creativity, technical prowess, and effective project management. Key practices include maintaining transparent communication, setting achievable objectives, and consistently testing and refining the digital project. Interacting with the player community and promptly responding to their input are also pivotal.

Developers estimate what multiplayer features players want

Source: The Harris Poll’s The State of Toxicity & Cross-Platform Play in Today’s Multiplayer Games: 2023 Edition. Unity Report 2024

Maintaining a well-balanced diet and regular exercise routine can significantly boost productivity and creativity during intense creation cycles. Taking breaks to enjoy outdoor activities or hobbies can also provide a fresh perspective and rejuvenate the mind for tackling complex programming challenges. Finding inspiration from diverse sources such as literature, art, or travel can spark innovative ideas that enrich the digital project’s storyline and gameplay mechanics.

Understanding the video game development phases is crucial for navigating the complex journey from initial concept to polished final product. Feedback plays a crucial role in enhancing and refining a digital project. Insights from players offer invaluable perspectives on what works well and what needs improvement. By actively soliciting and integrating feedback, developers can refine their creations to deliver a more polished and engaging experience.

Key Entertainment Software Creation Roles

Key Roles in the Game Development

Entertainment software creation is a collaborative effort that involves various specialists. Key roles include:


The game making process requires collaboration among designers, programmers, and project managers. Project managers oversee the entire creation process, ensuring that each phase progresses smoothly. They create and maintain the project schedule, manage timelines, and allocate resources, including team members, budget, and tools. Effective communication is a critical part of their role, acting as a bridge between different departments and facilitating clear and efficient exchanges of information. Additionally, project managers identify potential risks and make strategies to mitigate them, ensuring the project stays on track and within budget.


Artists are responsible for creating the visual elements of the entertainment software. During the game design process, they produce concept art to visualize the entertainment software’s look and feel, create detailed 2D and 3D graphics, and animate characters and objects to bring the entertainment software world to life. Their work sets the tone and atmosphere of the entertainment software, making it visually appealing and engaging for players.

Game Designers

When asking what is the first step in the game design process, it’s essential to recognize that brainstorming is the foundational phase, where the software team engages in creative sessions to generate a wide array of ideas. Game designers make the core mechanics that define how the entertainment software is played. They design interactive elements rules, controls, and objectives, create the entertainment software’s levels to ensure a balanced and engaging experience, and craft the narrative and character backstories to add depth and context to the interactive elements. Their primary focus is on ensuring that the entertainment software is intuitive and enjoyable for players, providing a seamless and immersive experience.


Frontend developers write the code that powers the entertainment software. The game dev cycle often feels like a rollercoaster, filled with creative highs and technical challenges. They implement interactive elements mechanics, physics, AI, and integrate various assets, including graphics, sounds, and UI elements, to create a cohesive and functional entertainment software. Creators may specialize in different platforms, such as Unity for multi-platform entertainment software, Unreal Engine for high-fidelity graphics, or web technologies for browser-based projects. Optimization is also a crucial part of their role, ensuring the project runs smoothly on the target hardware.

Backend specialists handle the server-side logic of the entertainment software, ensuring that multiplayer and online features work seamlessly. They manage databases that store player data and project states, and ensure reliable and efficient communication between the project client and server. Security is a critical aspect of their work, implementing measures to protect player data and prevent cheating or hacking.

Sound Designers

Sound designers create all the audio elements of the entertainment software, including sound effects, background music, and voiceovers. They integrate these audio elements into the project to enhance the interactive elements experience, ensuring high-quality sound production that matches the project’s aesthetic and mood. They also design dynamic audio that responds to in-app actions and events, adding an extra layer of immersion for the player.

QA Engineers

QA testers play the entertainment software extensively to identify bugs, glitches, and other issues. They ensure the project runs smoothly on all target platforms, checking for performance issues like frame rate drops and crashes. QA testers assess the overall user experience, providing feedback on interactive elements balance, difficulty, and enjoyment. They also conduct regression testing, retesting the project after bugs have been fixed to ensure that new issues have not been introduced.

The Future of Digital Project Creation

The future of entertainment software creation is exciting, with advancements in technology opening up new possibilities and new roles in production pipelines. Trends such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are shaping the industry’s future. Different video game stages require unique talents, from artists crafting stunning visuals to composers creating an evocative soundtrack. As technology continues to evolve, entertainment software creators will have even more tools to create immersive and innovative experiences.

Fgfactory Services

Various project shots developed by Fgfactory

Image: Various project shots developed by Fgfactory.

Fgfactory boasts a wealth of experience as game development agency with a diverse portfolio spanning 14 years. Throughout this period, we have honed our craft and built a reputation for delivering exceptional projects that resonate with players and stand out in the competitive market. Our journey in entertainment software creation has seen us tackle a wide array of projects, ranging from small indie projects to large-scale AAA titles, each presenting its unique challenges and opportunities.

Mastering the game development steps is essential for transforming a simple idea into a fully-fledged entertainment software. Our team of seasoned professionals brings a rich blend of creativity and technical prowess to every project. This combination allows us to push the boundaries of what’s possible in project creation, consistently producing projects that are not only visually stunning but also deeply engaging. We pride ourselves on our ability to innovate and adapt, ensuring that our projects meet the evolving tastes and preferences of players worldwide.

We have expertise in multiple app mechanics, encompassing hyper-casual, casual, and midcore projects. This versatility enables us to create entertainment software that cater to diverse audiences, from those seeking quick, enjoyable experiences to players looking for more in-depth, strategic interactive elements. Our understanding of these different mechanics allows us to design projects that offer varied and satisfying experiences, keeping players coming back for more. Contact us to start your project and bring your gaming vision to life.


Entertainment software creation is a multifaceted process that transforms an idea into an engaging digital experience through careful planning, execution, and refinement. Each of the seven main stages of video game development — Planning, Pre-production, Production, Testing, Pre-launch, Launch, and Post-production — plays a critical role in ensuring the final product meets high standards of quality and engagement. From initial brainstorming and market research to debugging and post-launch updates, each phase involves specialized tasks and collaboration among various professionals.

Understanding what are the stages of game development can help even novice creators navigate the intricate process from start to finish. By understanding and effectively navigating these stages, creators can make captivating projects that resonate with players and succeed in a competitive market.

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