Game Plan

Before starting, I need a game plan. Every software project should have one, so I’m going to fight the urge to jump in and start coding and actually put a rough project plan together. I’m not concerned about a business plan at this point, but a high level plan of action for leading me through the long and complex task of developing my first video game in nearly fifteen years.

Since I’m going to spend much of my time learning game design and the various technologies needed along the way, I’ll need to leave enough wiggle room to adjust and change this plan as I go. Given this need, I won’t include any dates in my plan but simply list the high level tasks I’ll need to complete. Additionally, I suspect that these items will not necessarily be sequential. I may be able to work on several in parallel and some of them will need to be revisited many times during the duration of the project.

  1. Setup Development Workstation and Environment

    1. Select and install a Version Control System
    2. Select and install a reliable backup system
    3. Select and install development tools (compiler, editor, tools)
  2. Write a Design Document

    1. Describe the basic game idea
    2. Define the game play (players, enemies, goals, etc)
    3. Define game engine requirements (view, player movements, controls, save & load, etc)
    4. Sketch graphics ideas (players, enemies, world levels, scenery, etc)
    5. Define sound requirements
    6. Licensing mechanism, demo vs licensed version
  3. Simple Game Engine Prototype

    1. Get a very simple version of the game working with developer graphics & sound
    2. Test that game engine idea will support game requirements
  4. Develop actual Game Engine

    1. Refine / Refactor Prototype Engine?
    2. Implement all required game functionality
    3. Implement all extra screens (load/save, help, options, demo screen, intro screen)
    4. Test, Test, Test
  5. Acquire professional graphics and artwork
  6. Acquire professional sound effects and music
  7. Installation Package
  8. Play Testing and Beta Testing
  9. Final Touches
  10. Release

Over time I’ll revisit this project plan to fill it in, refine it and hopefully improve my process along the way.



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4 responses to “Game Plan”

  1. […] mework Game Plan Update This weekend I worked on Section 1 of my Game Plan. While seemingly not a huge step in the process, it is step one. I certainly can’ […]

  2. […] As I progress through my Game Plan for developing my first computer game, I’ve been keeping a journal of various game ideas. I recently reviewed what I had and noticed a trend: all were based on my past experience playing games. The listing included “cool features” from games on various platforms, but none of the ideas were distinctly Mac. They could all be implemented on other platorms or consoles. Not that this is necessarily bad, but the reason I want to make Mac games is because I like the Mac platform. I like to work inside the distinctly Mac environment. […]

  3. Brian Yamabe Avatar

    FYI, I just finished reading “The Indie Game Development Survival Guide”. It’s a great book that covers most, if not all, aspects of microISV game development.

    One part of your project plan that you don’t show and I hope you haven’t forgotten is the marketing. From all the other microISV and small business blogs I’ve read (especially Steve Pavlina’s), marketing will be the key to your success.

    Good Luck,

  4. Jon Trainer Avatar


    Thanks for the tip. I do have “The Indie Game Development Survival Guide” on my list of books to read. It’s probably the next one I’ll tackle, though I’m in the middle of one right at the moment.

    I follow Steve Pavlina’s pretty regularly myself and I’m a big fan. I’ve not forgotten marketing, it’s just not on the project plan. The project plan is really focusing on the development process. In fact, this site itself is really the start of my marketing effort.

    Thanks again, Brian.