How to Develop a Successful Gaming App in 6 Stepsby@tkirimava
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How to Develop a Successful Gaming App in 6 Steps

by Tatsiana KirimavaOctober 13th, 2021
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Creating a great game is not easy — it is crucial to keep tons of detail in mind. In this industry, an ultimate success formula doesn’t exist. Most stories you’ll hear will be super diverse. Some will even strike you as genius or “weird”. The thing is, so many factors will be different in your situation, the idea will and should be unique, your experience, budget, and overall intentions will influence your journey, and, eventually, your end product. Game development certainly takes a lot of decision-making. Whatever task you choose to start with and to focus on will determine your way. Read on and I’ll tell you why.
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In the world, as we know it now, there is no way someone can go about their day without a trusty smartphone that has tons of apps on it. Those apps are created with different ideas in mind; some help with self-organization, some represent businesses or make staying in touch easier. But actually, most of the applications are games.

But why are they this successful?

It’s fair to assume that the secret to popularity is the variety. Games are an unlimited space for one’s fantasy, and there is an option for everyone on the mobile app market. Fortunately, most games are free, which makes them very accessible. Being one of the highly entertaining ways of spending time, mobile games manage to come on top of the ‘most widespread forms of gaming’ statistics.

Worldwide Consumer Spending on Games. Source: App Annie

Creating a successful product is not easy — it is crucial to keep tons of detail in mind. In the beginning, you could go a couple of ways, and, actually, there isn’t a wrong one. In this industry, an ultimate success formula doesn’t exist. Most stories you’ll hear will be super diverse. Some will even strike you as genius or “weird.” The thing is, so many factors will be different in your situation; the idea will and should be unique, your experience, budget, and overall intentions will have an influence on your journey and, eventually, your end product.

Game development certainly takes a lot of decision-making. Whatever task you choose to start with and to focus on will determine your way.

What Are the Key Things to Think About While Creating a Mobile App?


Here you decide who to create the game for. Kids, professional gamers, or even a super neutral game for everyone — the choice is yours.


Usually, you don’t have to settle for a genre at the start. The gameplay will eventually cause the game to fit into one of the genres organically.


What are the features of this game? How does one play exactly? What rules does it have?

Game setting

Everything regarding the story, environment, and characters: this is the game’s worldbuilding.

Graphic style

This decision should be based on your taste, current trends, the idea behind the game, or the things your business tries to achieve. Don’t forget to appeal to your desired audience.

Gaming platform

You need to decide where to publish your game. You have many options: Android, iOS, Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Windows PC, Mac, HTML5 WebGL, Facebook, etc. The choice should be made according to your objectives.

Game promotion

Decide which promotional channels to use and what it will take. Things to keep in mind: ad campaign budget, SMM, SEO, services of bloggers, marketers, and ASO specialists.

Monetization strategy

This is where you can think over your ways of getting profit if that is a part of your plan. You have many options here, so carefully consider your best bets.


Obviously, you need a source of finance for your project. Whether that would be your own savings, a network of investors, crowdfunding, or sharing the expenses with your publisher — choose wisely.

Game engine

Surely enough, you can’t do without a good game engine. Choose the well-trusted tools.

As an example — Unity is great for both simple 2D and complicated 3D projects.


Finding a group of people who are just right for your project is crucial. Look for a team that would be willing to put their knowledge and experience into the game. When everything is done correctly, all of the details are taken into account, and insignificant moments are not dwelled on, the result will meet the highest standards.

How do you choose what to consider first? Pretty easy. Ask yourself, what is your initial inspiration for the project? The answer should be your go-off.

Maybe you want your game to solve a business issue, maybe you got an amazing idea, or even just want to make some money; why not? Then, it’s better to start with the setting, theme, characters, and graphics style in the first case; the concept that is built up with things like graphics style and target audience in the second case; and with market research, prototype creation, and testing in the last one. Ultimately, these first choices will naturally define most if not all of the other aspects.

Every game will be unique in the way it originates and succeeds.

What Are The Different Types Of Gaming Apps?

Let’s get a look into the game types. We will talk about them in terms of complexity first.

Casual and hyper-casual games

These games can be characterized as simple — both regarding the setting and graphics and the skill required from the player. There has recently been a tendency for mid-core games with rich settings to become simpler. The clicker games, for example — little to no entry threshold, easy to start and stop playing any time.

Mid-core games

These are also easy to get started in, though there still is a training segment; a rich setting is what makes them different too.

AAA-level games

AAA-level (“Triple-A”) games are designated for advanced players. Succeeding is not that easy and takes a certain amount of gaming time. There usually is a training segment, but frankly, it’s not enough to master the game. These games are also quite demanding in terms of hardware resources. Let’s look into the details and the existing game genres. There is a lot of them, the most popular ones are:

Action games

These games feature first-person control. The main skills required from the player are fast reaction speed and action planning abilities. Many stealth (based on trying to go unnoticed) games have become popular within this genre, just like adventure games and shooters. Things like Resident Evil, GTA, The Walking Dead, etc., are great representatives of the genre.

Role-playing games

Also known as RPGs, these games center around the player, who has the option to control one or a couple of characters. The main idea is that those characters’ stats and skills can be upgraded over playing time. Monster Hunter Stories, Sproggiwood, and Almost a Hero are some of the examples.

Puzzle games

Just as the name suggests, the objective in a game like this is solving a puzzle. Whether it is just a bunch of separate puzzles, or a complete storyline, which moves forward by means of puzzle solving. Some of the examples would be Tangram, Flow Free, or 2048.

Strategy games

Here the main skill required is strategic thinking and planning. Usually, the player has to allocate given resources in an efficient way in order to achieve a certain objective: eliminating rivals, building a castle, or infecting the world like in Plague Inc.

Simulation games

This is a type of game that is based on the imitation of certain actions. Car races, kitchen, car service, or farm-themed simulators — just a tiny piece of what the genre has to offer.


Named accordingly, these games include different types of platforms. Little islands and other “landscape” objects are supposed to be jumped on and interacted with. Overcoming obstacles, cliffs, and pits, collecting various items, and defeating enemies — are all parts of the gameplay.

Music games

As the name suggests, these are based on the music element. Usually, you will need to dance, or play an instrument or even sing — the main goal is to stay on the beat.

Educational games

These are aimed at the player being educated while spending time on gaming. They help acquire new skills or learn new information.

Board games

Virtual analog of the real deal. Things like chess and backgammon.

Best Game Engines For Developing An App

It is never easy to write code for an app from scratch. To solve this problem, you will have many game engine options that are supposed to help. Moreover, by using one of them, working with databases becomes much easier to deal with. The choice of a particular tool will depend on things like graphics, programming languages, logic, physics, 3D development tools, and interface solutions. Here are a couple of modern game engines:

  • Unreal Engine 4 — a popular tool used for mobile, PC, and console game development. UE4 is delivered with a ready-to-use base project in the engine, a set of tools for virtual and augmented reality for game development, and a sufficient online game creation manual. Unreal Engine offers a multitude of opportunities for the creation of any game of any form and complexity level.
  • Unity — one of the most used platforms in the world. Around 45% of the world’s game creators choose it. Similar to UE4, Unity gives you the tools and opportunity to create projects for multiple platforms. It also has a built-in editor and camera, which helps with convenient navigation in the created world. Unity offers an extensive list of possibilities for 2D and 3D game development. It supports a lot of popular 3D applications like 3ds Max, Softimage, Cinema4D, Maya, and so on.
  • Cocos 2D-x — a tool with an open-source code, distributed with comprehensive instructions and community support. It is used for 2D games development for different platforms with OpenGL for visualization of optimized graphics. Cocos 2D-x is recognized for great efficiency and works with Swift and Objective-C languages. Additionally, it uses SpriteBuilder for a graphic design creation environment, where you can come up with game prototypes.
  • CryEngine — an engine for game development, created by the German company Crytek. This one is usually used for 3D game development for all platforms. The tools allow you to create first-person shooters and other advanced games using C++, Lua, ActionScript, and Visual studio.
  • Corona SDK — a free tool for mobile game development. This one enables the developer to create 2D games and apps for a variety of platforms. Corona SDK and Cocos 2D-x use the same rendering engine — OpenGL. It also provides an inbuilt library of scenario and transition management, Corona editor, and Text plug-ins and uses the Lua programming language when it comes to scenarios, which makes the development with the help of this platform even more straightforward.
  • GameBuilder Studio — another game engine. With the help of this one, you can develop the project and publish it on a variety of platforms. It has a 2D system of bone-animation Spine for better app integration. With GameBuilder Studio, you can mix and match animations on the go, using game actions. GameBuilder Studio is built on a 2D rendering engine with an open-source code known as Starling.
  • ClickTeam Fusion 2.5 — this visual scenario engine has been on the market for a long time. It is oriented not only on mobile game development but also on websites. Android and iOS development, though, will require an extra buck with this one. The only thing setting the engine aside is the supportive online community.

How To Develop A Successful Game App

Now, let’s talk about the stages a project goes through, from the initial idea to the final publication.

  1. When the starting point is determined and a project plan is ready, a new stage begins — the pre-production or preparation stage. It consists of the compilation of documentation, business plan and project plan, concept, design and budget discussion, and lots of other details. Now, it is important to pay attention to every aspect since this is the core for your success. The budget and business plan will clarify the financial side of the project: expenses, revenues, and profit, whether your monetization strategy is suitable, etc. The design is also a crucial aspect because it’s the face of your project. It is known that imagery is the first thing people pay attention to. So It is in your best interest to captivate them. The bad design may destroy even the best idea — that’s why it is better not to skimp on the design founding.

  2. It’s important not to forget about monetization methods. There are many options as to how to make a profit off a game.

    • One of the most popular ways to go is in-game purchases. The game itself might be free, but in-game resources (like game currency, special characters, or artifacts) don’t necessarily have to be.
    • Another trusty method is advertising. There are various places and methods for incorporating it: banners, notifications, full-screen ads, loading screen apps, etc.
    • Freemium versions. Freemium versions of games start off as free-to-play or as demos. Later, when the free segment is over, the player has to pay to continue.
    • Premium versions. This method implies that the basic or standard version of the game is free. Although they usually are totally playable, the functions are still limited. Therefore, the app suggests a premium version that has perks a player would find attractive. This method allows you to make the full version desirable by either making the game so good people want more or by offering to remove ads, reduce cooldowns, etc.

  3. After the pre-production is done, you get a prototype or a demo version. If, at this stage, the idea is still appealing and relevant, you can go ahead and enter the next stage — the production. Although, if there is any hesitance, it’s better to make a new, completely satisfactory prototype, rather than spending resources and finishing up something that is not worth your attention.

  4. Production is the most labor-intensive and time-consuming stage. The bulk of the job has to be done in this phase. Most financial expenses concentrate here too. At this time, the prototype is being filled with all of its features, details, and final content, bumping the demo up to its full potential. A number of teams start working at the same time: developers, designers, PM, animators, sound effect teams, and so on.

  5. When the production stage is done, you should end up with a beta version of the game. It still is not the final thing, but you’re already close to the release. The main chunk of work now is on the testers. They have to test the product carefully, reveal the bugs and mistakes, suggest improvements, test the product on different devices, and so on. It’s crucial to notice the little things. You might think they’re insignificant, but attention to detail is super important for a successful product, including the things like:

    • Simplicity — the control elements shouldn’t be complex. An easily understandable user-friendly interface will prevent the player from giving up too early or not playing the game at all.
    • Design — the imagery should be of high quality and aesthetically pleasing.
    • Music — should be fitting in terms of genre and mood. Although, be careful not to make it too distracting.
    • Glitches and bugs — obviously, these mistakes should be prevented to the possible extent in the final product. Otherwise, the player won’t be able to fully enjoy the game. Extensive testing on a multitude of devices should eliminate most of the mishaps.

  6. After all of that, the game undergoes the finishing revision. And, finally, those lengthy stages and tons of effort come to a consequential conclusion — the release. The result is the final game version, which is available for people to find in stores and start playing.

Although, even after a successful release on the market is over, the work isn’t done yet. Many games require constant support, updating, and promotion — everything to captivate the customers and expand on the market.

If every stage is done with adequate attention to detail, be sure — the result will be totally worth it.

Now you know all about the process of making a game app, along with the monetization opportunities.

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