Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The games industry, in just a few decades, has risen from the position
where games were often created by teenage coders working in their bed-
rooms to the point of being run by huge, multi-national publishers, which
fund the development of games that often use the skills of a hundred creative
individuals and can have budgets of millions of pounds. Skill levels and
sophistication have grown in response to the developing hardware and the
changing market.
Thousands of individual game titles are released each year that vary in
style, size, platform and target market. Game players' tastes vary so much that
games are almost impossible to aim at a broad demographic (the elusive 'mass
market') but must be treated as a large series of niche markets. Gamers
themselves vary from the hardcore and highly skilful to the very casual
gamers who like to play accessible puzzle games on their lunch-break or as
a way of relaxing. Game writers must not only bring their skills and experi-
ence to bear, but must understand the niche they are writing for and the type
of gamers who make up that part of the market.
Games were once a market dominated by a young audience - originally
seen as the domain of children, not adults - but as that audience has grown
older, many of them still want to play games and consequently the demo-
graphic has broadened immensely. The average age of the game player is
around 30 and rising slowly all the time. Even people who were not children
in the early years of the industry are getting into games now that a much
wider choice is available, and on platforms that they feel comfortable using.
The expansion of the market is not restricted to an increase in geographi-
cal territories and the advent of the new generation of home consoles and
computers.There are new and developing outlets for games coming along all
the time, including web browsers, mobile phones, PDAs and interactive
All game development has restrictions: some are budgetry and time con-
straints, others are dictated by the conventions of the game's niche and yet
others are the limitations of the hardware, such as low memory or lack of
graphical sophistication (mobile phones, for example). There is no point
trying to write an epic story with a huge cast of characters if you only have
64KB of memory to accommodate the whole game, for example; but being
aware of the restrictions helps you to plan how to work within them and
become part of the industry's expansion.
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