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· written by Juha Paananen

How Many People Do You Need to Make a Game?

When you start thinking about making a game, the question is bound to come about: Can I make my game by myself, or do I need an extensive team to get it done?

While there isn’t a straight answer to this question, we’ll cover all angles in this article.

Whether you have a team of friends who want to dive into game creation or are looking to build your first game solo, we’ll discuss which scales of games exist and the types of people involved in game making.

How many people does it take to make a game?

The good news about game development is that it’s possible for a single person to create their own game. However, it’s unlikely a single developer could make a game with the scale of Red Dead Redemption 2, for example.

For a single game maker, you’ll want to plan on scoping out your game beforehand. You can do this by choosing specific tools and being specific when defining and planning your game.

If you make the scale of your game too big, you run the risk of not finishing, having to create each rule yourself, and design the game — it can be a lot.

Small teams and indie game teams

The beauty of indie game development is its inherent freedom. As an independent developer or team, you're not tied to a larger publisher who owns your work. This gives you the creative flexibility to develop the game you envision, rather than adhering to someone else's guidelines.

Perhaps you're part of a group of friends with a fun project in mind, or maybe you're participating in a game jam — a gathering of developers who try to create a game within a specific timeframe.

Working in a small team, you'll likely share various roles and responsibilities. Wearing multiple hats is often the norm rather than the exception in indie game development. While this can be challenging, it's also an incredible opportunity to expand your skills

Big games and AAA game studios

When it comes to big games — the blockbuster titles you've likely heard of or played, like "Zelda" or "Fortnite" — these are the products of Triple-A game studios. The sheer scope and detail within these games require a significant amount of work, making them expensive to create.

Unlike smaller game teams, the members of AAA game studios typically have to specialize in areas of game development. One person might be creating and designing the roads and greenery while another is creating and designing the animals.

Despite this, the teams work efficiently in these studios. The collaborative nature and the structured environment make Triple-A studios fantastic learning environments, particularly for those new to the industry. Here, you can observe and learn from the workflows contributing to the creation of world-renowned games.

How professional do you have to be to make games?

You don’t have to be professional at all. Of course, making a game will take dedication, long hours, and hard work like anything else. But that might be the only “professional” part about it.

You can make games as a hobby or just for the sake of learning it — which are both reasonable reasons to start! And if you want to make it as an art piece, you can do that too.

Otherwise, another reason why people start making games is because of the money. While you can make money designing games, people starting out would benefit from working in a large team and gathering professional skills before making their own game.

What roles do game teams usually contain?

Smaller teams might have to share some of these roles while bigger games might actually expand on these roles. In general, these are the hats you’ll wear when making your game:

Game Designer: A game designer is responsible for devising the game's concept, mechanics, and rules. They determine the game's narrative, its characters, and the environment, making sure everything works together seamlessly. It's their vision that guides the game from an abstract idea to a playable product.

Programmer: Programmers are the technical backbone of game development. They write and manage the code that makes the game function, whether it's enabling character movements, managing AI behavior, or dealing with physics and collision. Without programmers, there would be no game to play.

Artist: Game artists bring the world of the game to life. They're responsible for creating all visual elements of the game, including character designs, environments, props, and more. Depending on the game, they might work in 2D or 3D, pixel art, or hand-drawn designs, crafting the game's visual identity.

Sound Designer and Composer: Sound designers and composers handle all things audio within a game. They create sound effects, and soundtracks which add emotional depth and character to the game. Try to imagine a game without sound effects or music.

Quality Assurance: Quality Assurance (QA) teams are the game's gatekeepers and assist with polishing. Their role is to test the game quality at all stages of development, looking for bugs, errors, or anything that affects the user experience.

Project Manager or Producer: Project managers or producers oversee the entire game project, making sure everything runs smoothly. They manage timelines, allocate resources, and bridge communication for the team to ensure the projects get completed on time.

Marketing: The marketing team is responsible for promoting the game to its target audience. They devise marketing strategies, create promotional materials, and handle public relations. Without marketing, a game won’t make it to the mainstream light.

The crucial component of making a game

The last and most important part of making a game is having fun. Whether you’re on a big team or making a smaller game with your buddies, having fun is a requirement for all scales. Not only will it keep you interested in making a game but it will also have a positive effect on how your game turns out.

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