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Buyers Guide

Last updated: October 01, 2023

Mobile Game Development

A recent study by Newzoo indicates that the mobile game app market is expected to grow by 13.3% by 2021, reaching a little above $80 billion in revenue. This report also shows that the gaming market, despite being highly populated, is one of the rapidly growing industries. Why? Because everyone has a smartphone and free time.

On average, 72% of smartphone users play some sort of mobile games on their phones. It is no wonder everyone wants to create a game app after reading those astonishing figures. If you’re new to this field, you might be wondering:

  • What are the basics?
  • What technologies should you use?
  • What different types of games can you make?
  • What is the best way to build your own mobile game app?

In this guide, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about building your own mobile game app and how mobile game development works. Whether you’re thinking of mobile game app development for iOS or Android, follow our guide for easy-to-follow instructions on how you can accomplish that.

Getting Started With Mobile Game Development - The Basic

The first step in developing your mobile app is the idea phase. Figure out what type of game you want to make. It can range from hyperactive games like Flappy Bird to full-fledged mobile games like PubG. How complex do you want your game to be?

Once you’ve figured that out, the next step is making a list of all the things you might need. Unlike usual mobile apps, mobile game development requires game engines. Game engines are specialized frameworks that focus on developing mobile games and provide all the services you need to do so.

You still need to have all of the necessary items to make sure you're ready to get started:

A Laptop/PC: Mobile phones do not support game engines, so you will need to install them and use them on your laptop or PC. You should also make sure which game engine you want to work on before purchasing a PC or a Mac because most game engines don’t have cross-platform compatibility and can only work on one platform.

Smartphones: Yes, you read that right. You need multiple smartphones. Your mobile game will be played on various models and smartphones, so it’s only natural that for your testing, you’d need various smartphones.

App Developer Account For iOS & Android: If developers want to submit apps to Google Play or Apple App Store for review and approval, they need a developer account. However, payment models vary between the two App Stores. A developer account with lifetime validity costs $25 for Google Play Store, unlike the Apple App Store, which charges a yearly subscription of $95.

Graphic Design & Animation Tools: Graphic design assets such as characters, background animations, and so on are fundamental in any game app development process, so the right tools are essential. For some game apps, the graphics are created using Adobe Photoshop, followed by advanced tools for telling the storyline.

What Types Of Game Apps Can You Develop?

You can develop and publish different types of games on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The list of app categories you can choose from is quite comprehensive, depending on the time, resources, and complexity you can handle.

The Google Play Store lets you publish the following categories of game apps:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Board
  • Card
  • Casino
  • Casual
  • Educational
  • Music
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Role-Playing
  • Simulation
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • Trivia
  • Word

Apple allows you to publish the following kinds of games on its App Store:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Board
  • Card
  • Family
  • Music
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Role-Playing
  • Simulation
  • Sports
  • Strategy

Developing Your Mobile Game App – The Process

Let's break down how mobile game apps are created so that you can go from concept to launch efficiently.

For making your game app, we have outlined an easy 6-step process that includes:

1- Develop A Plan:

Benjamin Franklin once said, failing to plan is planning to fail. Although he said it under a different context, the concept still holds when developing your mobile game. A good plan is indispensable regardless of the circumstances. A mobile game app is no exception.

With a comprehensive plan in place, you’ll have a blueprint of your entire mobile game development journey processes. This will make managing and designing your game effortless. In this one planning document, you will find everything you need to inform game development companies.

Here are some of the essential questions you should answer in this document:

  • What type of game are you making?
  • How many characters will there be in the game?
  • What will the visual graphics be like?
  • What will your monetization strategy be?
  • What would you do to make the game app more appealing to users?

2- Choose Your Approach:

While creating gaming apps still involves a lot of coding, the availability of game engines and mobile game development companies has made this process considerably easier.

If you’re a coding guru and think you can build a full-fledged mobile game on your own, you can. However, if you’re not from a technical background, you can either opt for a games engine or have one of the established mobile game development agencies take care of all the manual work for you,

3- Take the First Step:

Next, kick off your project. The overall project’s tone will be set with this step, so it is the most important one. At this stage, you might be tempted to start off with a bang. However, it’s important to start off small and ensure your operations are kept as simple as possible. Things can get complicated fast, making it hard for you to manage the process in the future.

The first step is to design your game levels. Put in writing the rules you wish to govern in your mobile game. After that, finalize your characters (main and supporting) and their details. Lastly, complete the user interface, including menus, settings, and controls in the game.

4- Time to Create Your Graphics Assets:

Start creating all the elements that go into making a mobile game app include a basic characters style, your background style, and anything else that's needed to make it run smoothly.

If you are making a simple 2D-based game, go with Photoshop if you're doing it yourself. When it comes to 3D, you may have to use a more advanced graphic design tool, such as Maya or 3Ds Max.

It may be better to hire a game development agency to assist you if you are not proficient at this task. After all, we’re not all designers.

5- Finalize Gameplay:

Your game can be ready once its basic structure is prepared, at which point you can consider the details of how you want your app to be crafted as user-friendly and appealing as possible.

Achieving seamless and engaging gameplay is the only goal of this stage.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the graphics of the game are smooth and no pixelation features at all.
  • Get rid of all the complex actions in the game, and keep the controls easy to handle.
  • Take out all boring bits in your storyline. Make sure your story stays engaging.
  • Make sure that there are no glitches in the game by testing every aspect.

6- Take the Final Leap of Faith:

It's time to launch your game once everything has been set up. You must release your game app on the designated date if you have decided on a specific launch date for the game. You can still develop your game app if certain elements aren’t ready. Then you can update it later on with the features you want.

You should also remember that it takes time for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to review your app, so factor that in as well. It is important to submit your game apps to be reviewed at least one month before the launch date to make sure it gets approved on time.