What kind of game do you want to build? Maybe you want to develop an arcade game with the ultimate gaming experience. Or, how about one that has the sort of villain who would make Darth Vader look like Santa Claus. Your arcade game development should be clean enough to reveal the full scale of your story. Also, it should show off the best of new gaming technology. Thereby you position your game as something more than just another arcade thriller.

While game development has drastically evolved over the years, the better part of the overarching principles has remained relatively the same. As such, the experience video game companies gathered from building lots of successful games is still relevant in today’s fast-paced world. Hence, an aspiring app developer should find all the necessary information in this post to set off on a fantastic journey of bringing ideas to light.

Just a quick reminder, you won’t have all the answers, and great work is usually the product of great teamwork.

Teamwork is Key for Developing an Arcade Game

Indeed, developing a great arcade game takes more than a few good ideas, amazing graphics, and some coding skills. With a great game like Pacman, a team of programmers, artists, designers, and engineers had to put in endless months of work and surmount countless creative and technical obstacles. Only then could their game move from a simple idea to an arcade game.

With the continuous complexity of games as technology advances, the need for teamwork has only increased. Generally speaking, even the best mobile games are so sophisticated, with too much happening simultaneously. It could easily overwhelm a one-man-developer.

Step 1 – The Storyboard

Usually, your idea, once validated, would be put into the design face. Here a design coordinator, graphic designing, and some software and hardware specialists. In this first step, also called the storyboard stage, a team of designers convert your gaming idea into an outline with game details.

This outline contains the necessary details that would make your arcade game more coherent. It includes game rules, a character cast, occurrences at different stages of the game progress, and any particular hardware or other requirements. On the storyboard, details hashing takes place, thought through to enable assignment of specific tasks of the development process.

This should take no more than a few weeks. However, the following step – the initial design steps - can stretch for five to twelve months, depending on the scope of your arcade game.

Step 2 - Painting Pixels

arcade game

At the initial stage of the design process, game character sketches are developed by artists using a special video game device. With a joystick, these artists combine colors and pixels in the different forms to a video screen. With this approach and device, they get a good idea of how the created video characters will look upon completion.

The simplicity of this process doesn’t call for sophisticated programming at this point. Therefore, great artists are not necessarily, computer wizards. The rest of this stage is completed by the hardware specialists who get busy conveying the earlier outline into technical aspects. At this point, different details like the needed memory, computer components, and microchips necessary for the game to run successfully come up.

For example, when you press start on your gamepad, the arcade game must be able to jump into action simultaneously. The game cannot call up the necessary information from its memory with the correct hardware designs.

Step 3 – Programming

But pictures, pixels, and microchips alone do not make arcade games. The game only gets exciting from real action playable on the screen. And that is the domain of expert game software design specialists. From the edgy corners to the thrill of the chase, game actions as the result of lines of code written to execute them.

Different programmers get assigned to a different aspect of the game by the program coordinator. One programmer works on character animation, and others work on game sounds. A third would code special effects and explosions.

Remember, all these aspects of arcade game development writing involve code written in a particular programming language. It could be either C++, as in the case of the Unity engine or any other convenient language. Some prefer using assembly language, the binary code used to give computers direct instructions.

The programming isn’t over until the development of two vital programs. These are the “diagnostic” and “attract mode.” The diagnostic checks the entire software and hardware components to ensure all operations are in order. Whilst the “attract mode” caters to the game when it’s not in active play – including the action sequence, game’s name, high score leaderboard, and how-to-play hints.

Step 4 – Testing & Iterating

After the completion of the design and development process (which may take months), the game testing begins. This process involves placing the game among other arcade games for unsuspecting players to play. Here you determine whether players like the idea on the first interaction.

With this test, you can tell whether the game will be a hit or not. Also, the game is then tweaked and modified based on the different feedback from the game.

Step 5 – The Decisive Test

arcade game

Through this testing, developers also set the game difficulty at the optimal level for the average user to last a reasonable time on the game. You don’t want a new player to "die" in five-seconds from the start. At this point, the brainstorming, designing, testing, and iterating comes to an end.

However, all these steps don’t guarantee that the game will be a hit. That depends on the impressions of the arcade players. Therefore, arcade game development and any other game for that matter must take careful consideration of what the players think and value.

Tips from the Pros: Bring your Idea to Arcade

One thing you’ll find more difficult than beating a game is developing one. It is very uncommon to see a novice to build a successful one. This is why both individuals and companies with game ideas and concepts trust expert game developer studios to help bring their insights into the arcade games hall of fame.

However, here are some basic things anyone who wants to dabble in the world of arcade game development needs to know:

Acquire as much knowledge as you come about computing.

  • Learn how to code in assembly language.
  • Train yourself extensively in creativity and ideation.
  • Get used to long hours of hard work.
  • Be very cooperative and a good team player.
  • Learn to enjoy the journey instead of dreaming about the pot of gold at the end.
  • Perhaps most importantly, exercise patients as your game gradually come to life.

Learn More about Developing Your Game

It’s true these steps and tips cover a great deal about building an excellent arcade game. However, there is still a lot of details about the nuances of developing and pitching groundbreaking arcade games. To learn more, follow this blog to ensure you receive subsequence articles on this topic. For those who have an arcade game idea and need expert developers, you are in the right place. Please contact Stallion games to find out how to proceed.