A game may be ported to other operating systems and platforms for reasons including drawing more attention to it and obtaining even more profits. The game makers and the game porting companies can port a game to PC or personal computers (from consoles) to ensure that those who like or need to play games on the computers can also access and play them effortlessly. For example, the well-known and popular game GTA V was ported to computers after its initial buzz and popularity on consoles subsidized. Soon after the porting, the game was able to recapture its top and leading position.
How Hard Game Porting is?
Porting a game to another platform is not an easy task. Whenever a game is ported, a unique version of the game is created. All the different platforms on which the developer launches a game add to the total workload of the professionals. The workload is not only for the present but for the future as well. Also, developers cannot react to complaints or suggestions quickly when they launch a game on many different platforms. They also need to test the patches and the updates on the different platforms before they can release the game.
Computing technology has advanced and porting a game to computers is not easy. For instance, the older titles with 30fps speed cannot run on the newer 60 fps platforms. Also, a game that is 5 or 10 years old may not look as good and cool on screens with 4K resolutions. Sometimes the source code of the original game may be lost entirely and there is no possibility to rebuild and launch the game for another platform. Developers may have to develop the entire visual portions again or may have to rebuild the games meticulously for the newer engines in many cases.
Apart from the above-given hardships porting a game may also be problematic due to reasons related to sales. For instance, the gaming companies will have to manage the new communities, contact the new YouTubers and set up new descriptions, art, and advertisements for selling the game on the new platform.
Main Stages of Porting a Game to a New Platform
The process of porting ensures that a game can be played on another platform for which it was not originally created. For instance, porting a game to a PC will ensure that a game meant for consoles can be played on computers as well.
There are distinct stages of porting a game, described in the brief below –
- Planning and Analysis: A game is often ported not by the original developers but by specialist game porting companies. Because the new developers and professionals do not know the original architecture of the game, they must be provided with all the data so that they can analyze it. Planning the porting process may also involve analyses. It is important to know which of the functions should be changed and updated for the new format and which ones should be removed.
- Coding: The process of coding may require obtaining and importing the source code, making the changes, and transferring the gaming features and experience to an entirely new platform. The process requires expertise and the direct intervention of the developers. If the original game was developed in game engines including Unreal Engine or Unity, it can be ported quickly and easily. The world-class engines have all the necessary features that can be provided for porting a game to multiple platforms. Games created on these big game engines can also work on different platforms without any problems. The different platforms may have different requirements for the size and quality of the models. The porting specialist and the developers are required to do these adaptations of the gaming assets.
- Testing: A game that has been ported to a new platform may also have certain bugs that need to be fixed. The task can be especially arduous, as the new developer team may not know the working of the original game. However, a porting specialist is responsible for recognizing and eliminating all the new and old errors.
- Best Practices for Game Porting: Porting a game can be a challenging task for all developers and game porting companies. It may require months or even years of challenging work. Below are some best practices of game porting that can provide effective, sustainable, and valuable results while porting a game.
- Creating sustainable codes: Good planning and forethought can ensure that you would be able to release your game for multiple platforms rather easily in the future. For instance, a game development company can use multifunctional gaming engines such as Unreal or Unity so that they can easily port a game to a new platform in the future if they want.
- Modernizing the controls: Just like the software, the hardware may also undergo changes over a period. Therefore, it would be improper to use features associated with the older hardware (the hardware present when the original game was released) in the newer porting versions. Creating features for the older hardware may deteriorate the experience of gamers. Game developers should emphasize building features for the new hardware and devices.
- Using the latest SDK: Many times, the use of outdated software can cause different errors. In such a scenario the developers may not be able to locate the cause of the errors. Therefore, it is important to update to the latest SDK (software development kit) version.
- Being attentive to performance: A game is popular based on its performance in most cases. Game porting companies and developers need to strike the right balance between load and quality for the new platforms.
- Running all the requisite tests: Porting a game may take months. However, quality assurance and quality control should never be compromised. It is important to run all the tests to ensure that the game is free from bugs.
Most game development companies may outsource game porting to specialized game porting companies. It is a cost-effective way to derive much greater profits from a game and to make it popular again at a very marginal cost. If you have game porting in mind, you can reach out to leading professional game porting companies. The best in the business have all the specialized and advanced technology, skills, expertise, and resources to speed up the porting process and produce quality results.
Yuriy Denisyuk is Game Production Lead at Pingle Studio. He’s responsible for successfully managing the Game Production pipeline. Yuriy is this lucky person who plays the best games for work in order to keep up with trends and create new ones. He likes writing and reading Manga, fantasy, and professional literature in his free time.
This post was last modified on October 27, 2022 4:40 PM