Video Games have slithered into the modern culture without anyone really noticing, to be honest. Once they were considered as revolutionary pieces of software, and nowadays they have become such a common sight that people still believe they’re as easy to develop as Pac Man was at the time.
Sidenote here, Pac Man was not as easy to develop with the technology available at that time.
But regardless of the change of internet culture, and the access to as much information as we could possibly imagine, there are still a lot of misconceptions about game development and game developers in general. Most people believe that almost all of the work goes into coding the pieces of the game together and making sure that it plays out quite well as an end product.
However, the reality is that coding is not the most integral part of video games. It’s the design, the writing, the animations and of course the game mechanics in general. Very few people know that developing games does not require hours upon hours of coding, it’s actually quite a small amount of work for a whole project.
In this article, I’d like to discuss the misconceptions about game development that are currently surfacing all over the internet, but mainly Reddit. Let’s find out what everyone believes to be, and what it really is.
The hardest of the hardest jobs is design
One of the most important aspects of every video game is to stand out as much as possible. Even if it is part of a franchise that has released three or four iterations of the same game, it’s absolutely essential that the new game has some kind of new feeling to it. If it is impossible to do so through game mechanics, then developers usually do this through the various aspects of design.
However, it’s not like people can simply draw a character and the developer will simply build them through code. No, the characters first need to be created in accordance with the game’s theme. This requires unimaginable levels of creativity, which some of us may not posess. Once the character has been created, it will be time to create them in a 3D Model so that the developers can grab onto it and place it inside the world.
One of the more modern trends is to create the 3D design which is “adaptable”. This means that the 3D design has several focal points where it all comes together. These focal points are later assigned to a “Studio Suit” as I like to call them. This is for the motion design, which you’ve probably seen through Avatar (The Movie) or Total War Rome 2. The focal points are captured through the sensors on the Suit and assign every part of the 3D design to the person wearing the suit. This helps with capturing much more natural movements and facial reactions from multiple characters and sometimes takes coding out of the equation completely. All it takes is to capture thousands upon thousands of instances, assign variables to them and then it’s simple If statement in the code.
Misconceptions about Random Number Generators
For the second misconception, we need to visit a slightly different game industry than video games in general. Let’s take a look at the games of chance, where people spin the reels and hope to win some kind of money.
I mean online gaming for money of course. Although it’s like the black sheep of the game industry, it is still a viable topic of discussion to find out just how these games are developed by software providers and various other outsourcing companies.
Once again we see the importance of design here as well. Every software provider knows the exact methods to stand out from the rest of the industry and tries to push it to the extreme. But all in all, the endgame is if the player can get a fair chance of generating an income from playing these games.
That much is decided by the code and the algorithms that are implemented in the game. In this case, code plays a much larger role than the design simply from a profit standpoint.
My experience only revolves around looking at what Australia online casino games providers have to offer. And in the world of online gaming, it sometimes isn’t relevant to assign a specific software provider to just one country, but I still like to give credit where credit is due.
So, what is the misconception about these games? That they are rigged. I’m joking, of course, that’s a completely different topic that doesn’t involve anything tech.
No, the misconception is about the Random Number Generators that are used in the development of these games. More specifically, the algorithms that developers use to make the game come alive.
You see, many players believe that all of the symbols that appear during spins have specific RNGs attached to them and that they are completely random and can display millions if not billions of options on a player’s screen.
Well, that’s true to some degree, but not fully. The reality is that developers, as well as designers, spent countless hours making various combinations by hand. That’s right, the people behind these games create specific combinations of symbols that lead to a win for the player. It’s not completely randomly generated. That would make the game almost impossible to win and immediately lose all of its players. The essence of attracting players is giving them a fair chance of winning something.
So, the way that developers do it is they create thousands upon thousands of symbol results and give them a specific identification number. They then compile these numbers into a database and create a specific algorithm that notices the percentages assigned to these combinations.
For example, a jackpot would have a 0.000002% chance of happening while a combination that leads to no profits would have a 50% chance of happening. The algorithm restarts itself after every press of the button and takes into account all of the possible combinations it could display. That’s why they say that you can’t necessarily get a jackpot in 100 spins if the probability is 1%.
Whenever you press the spin button and watch the animation of the spin play out, that is when the algorithm is calculating what result it will display for you once the animation is over.
It’s quite a clever design, and most importantly a User-Friendly one.
That’s all I have to offer
This is all I have to offer from the experience I’ve had with interacting with this industry. I’ve witnessed how the development process happens and have gone along with some of them in order to write a compelling narrative and sometimes even wrote a few lines of code myself.
There are definitely a lot more misconceptions about the video game industry, but this is all that I’ve experienced so far in the technical aspect. Other misconceptions touch things such as marketing, sales, and various other aspects which I believe are not very relevant here on Hackernoon.