4 THE GAME PRODUCTION HANDBOOK, 2/E
developer might have more than 100 people working on a console game based
on a well-known movie license.
Regardless of the size of the team, scope of the game, the budget, or other
variables, a basic framework exists for the overall production process. The pro-
cess can be broken down into four broad phases: pre-production, production,
testing, and post-production. Within each of these phases, several goals must be
accomplished before moving on to the next phase. The successful completion of
each phase directly affects the successful release of the game.
1.2 PRODUCTION CYCLE
Figure 1.1 serves as an overview of the basic production cycle. Specific game
production tasks, such as recording voiceover, creating character models, and
debugging multiplayer code are not indicated, as these tasks will vary from proj-
ect to project. The diagram depicts the general goals of each phase and how the
success of each phase builds upon the completion of the previous phase. As you
can see, detailing the project plan in pre-production is important as it provides
a solid foundation upon which to build the game. A project that does not define
a plan in pre-production is likely to encounter several problems that could have
been avoided or prepared for in advance.
It is important to note that this diagram outlines a very basic view of the
game production cycle and that some games, especially as the stakes get higher,
will go through an iterative production process with numerous production cycles.
FIGURE 1.1 Basic game production cycle.