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How to Make a Mobile Game – Beginner’s Guide

Want to create your own mobile game? Not sure where to start? You’re in the right place! It’s normal not to be completely clear on where to begin. There are different points to take into account and remember.

👀 To make things easier for you, we’ve put together 5 tips on how to make a mobile game, so you can get started smoothly. 1, 2, 3, go!

📌 How to Make a Mobile Game #1: Define Your Game Concept

This first step on how to make a mobile game may seem obvious to you, but know there are a few things to do even if you already have a clear idea of your game concept, that is, the type of game you want to make.

Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Brainstorming: Which games do you enjoy playing? Which elements of those would you keep?
  • Market Research: Are there any similar games on the market? What are the main popular games? Are there any evident gaps to fill?
  • Unique Selling Point: What is it that makes my game unique? What is my vision of the game? (this will help to brief developers, artists)
  • Game Design Document: What are the detail of your game mechanics (art, style, target audience)?

💡 These clarifications and decisions should happen at the very beginning. You need to know where you are heading. The team who is going to help you will have to be on the same page too.

📌 How to Make a Mobile Game #2: Be Clear on Your Budget

Budget is another important aspect of your project. Making a mobile game can become quite expensive!

How much does it cost to have a mobile game made?

It depends widely on factors like the complexity of the game, the technology used, the team size and location, the features… But, how much does it cost to make a mobile game, approximately? A simple 2D mobile game can involve as little as one or two developers and its estimate cost can range from $5,000 to $50,000. A 3D mobile game however implies higher costs from $50,000 to hundred thousand dollars, or even millions of dollars if it requires advanced graphics, features and a much larger team.

What should my game app budget account for?

Costs related to making your mobile game include:

  • development hardware;
  • software licenses;
  • artwork and design;
  • marketing and publishing;
  • team outsourcing.

💡 It’s important to carefully consider all factors involved and create a detailed budget plan before you start, and to then stick to it. For doing that, do some research on the costs of tools and resources you’ll need, and prioritize as best you can.

🔍 Is it possible to make a mobile game for free?

Technically, it is possible by using free resources online… But you’d probably end up with a low-quality outcome. If making a game entirely for free is tricky, some low-cost and even free tools/resources such as Unity, Unreal Engine or Game Maker Studio are available. You can decide to use open-source software, free no-code app builders to keep costs low.

how to make a mobile game

📌 How to Make a Mobile Game #3: Refine Your Game Development Basics

After defining your game concept and budget, here comes the most exciting (and probably complex) part: developing the game! Don’t worry, the game development learning community is supportive. If you’re new to these skills, you’ll find plenty of resources from online tutorials and forums to get some knowledge and guidance, including from Apple and Android.

Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Choose a game engine for development;
  2. Start programming (i.e. Java, C#);
  3. Define graphics and sound design;
  4. Optimize your game for mobile devices (screen size, performance);
  5. Test!

📱 Does your game app target children?
🔍 If so, you should read this guide, as specific legal requirements apply to children.

📌 How to Make a Mobile Game #4: Plan for Launch and Marketing

You need to promote your game, so people get to learn about it! Common practice, of course, is to make your game app available on the App Store or Google Play Store. You’ll also have to define your monetization strategy: do you want to offer a paying app or a free app but showing ads?

In terms of marketing strategy, define who your target audience is and how to reach them. You can consider social media, use email marketing or paid advertising to promote your app.

💡 Getting ready to launch your website for promoting your game? Check out this website launch checklist!

Finally, get people in the industry to talk about your game: bloggers, influencers

📌 How to Make a Mobile Game #5: Make Sure Your Game Follows the Law

Last, but not least (as this step is often overlooked!), your mobile game must be compliant in order to avoid legal issues down the line.

Legal (and app stores!) obligations

According to major privacy laws around the world such as the GDPR, if you collect personal data directly or indirectly, you are required to disclose this as well as further detail in a privacy policy. It informs users of which personal data is collected, processed, stored and/or shared by your app.

This is also an explicit requirement in guidelines by the Apple App Store, see our guide here to learn more.

💡 If you don’t have this document in place, you will get rejected from app stores. Google Play and Apple App Store are companies that are subject to privacy laws, which means you are violating their terms if you don’t comply.

Protecting your product

Intellectual property refers to creative inventions (design, image) used in commerce. It can be protected in law by patents, copyright and trademarks, and applies to your game too! Consider registering your trademark and copyright to protect your game’s name, logo, and creative elements like the code and graphics. You can display notices in the opening screen or settings menu that indicate that your app’s content is protected. 💡 On a different note, be careful not to infringe any other games’ intellectual property (i.e. copyrighted music or images).

Finally, don’t forget Terms of Service or End User License Agreements (EULA). They protect you (the owner) by setting legally binding rules on how users can interact with your product/service. They are a crucial document as they cover things like user conduct, scope of the license, restrictions, intellectual property, disclaimers, and limitations of liability.

Don’t risk being rejected by app stores

Generate a privacy policy for your game app

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