Game Stack Blog

Twitter icon

Tips and Tricks from ID@Xbox: Making Your First Console Game

 

As a marketing manager for ID@Xbox, I get a small glimpse into the hard work that goes into game development and no two experiences are alike. From single dev projects to multiple studio teams, the ID@Xbox program runs the gamut and it can be hard trying to figure out the right approach for bringing your game to console platforms.

That's why our team at ID@Xbox is here to help and we decided to put together some tips and tricks from developers going through the same experience to share their collective knowledge. Without further ado, let's stop hearing from the marketing guy and hear directly from developers about their games, their first console experience and advice they would give to creators working on their first console game.


Featured Developers

Anvil, Button City, Inkulinati, Lightyear Frontier, Loot River, Mad Streets, Project Wingman

Anvil

Anvil_JPG.jpg

son-won-ho_CROP.jpg

Wonho Son, Producer

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
Working on console for the first time was very difficult, but it was something that I have always wanted to do, so I am very happy to be working on this project. I love shooter games and roguelike games. I love to play with friends. I think it is a blessing that I get to develop something that I love.

What do you hope people get from your game?
I'd love for players to have a blast. I hope it will be a fun and pleasant experience, not a difficult and troublesome experience. I hope players will regret, swear(?), and laugh, all the while playing Anvil. Anvil is a shooter that is faithful to its original gameplay, and we've added roguelike and multiplayer co-op into the equation. We now have a game that anyone can enjoy in a stable environment.

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously?
I don't think I'm in the position to give out any advises. If Anvil is a success, then I'd be more than happy to give out hundreds of advises.


Button City

ShandiinYazzieWoodward_CROP.jpg

Shandiin Yazzie Woodward, Co-Founder and Art Director

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
With our first console release, it feels like the studio is taking a major step forward. We've enjoyed the challenge of upping the polish in our game to meet the level of quality that's expected from a console release. It's also exciting to think that we'll be on a platform next to large franchises that I grew up playing.

What do you hope people get from your game?
With Button City, we want players to have a cute and wholesome experience about friendship and community. We created a cast of lovable characters that we hope players can connect with to explore deeper concepts like family dynamics, gender norms, disability, and mental illness. The game also uses humor and colorful visuals to create an optimistic coming of age story where players can feel like a kid again.

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously?
Don't underestimate the time it takes to get a game ready for a console release. The entire process is more than getting your game to use the controller and run on the system. You have to account for the time you spend communicating with the platform holders, reading documentation, creating content for your storefront, and tons of unexpected tasks that all add up.


Inkulinati

Inkulinati_logo_BGg_JPG.jpg

Dorota_Halicka_CROP.jpg

Dorota Halicka, Art Director

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
Amazing! We've been playing games for so looong, and to finally see one of our own appear on a console feels a bit surreal. We can't wait to see what players world-wide will say about our game once it's out in the real world. The prospect of that is both exciting and frightening all at the same time. It's a good feeling though. One of a kind!

What do you hope people get from your game?
Well, apart from the usual things you want people to get, i.e. be it laughter, entertainment and good times, we also hope that people will see that the medieval times were not always that serious! Our game is inspired by 700-year-old drawings on medieval manuscripts. And those that drew them had one-heck of an imagination and sense of humor! Our ancestors were hilarious, and although times change, bum jokes are timeless. There's something beautiful about that…

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously?
The best advice we can give is speak to the lovely people at Xbox and see if you can work on something together. Don't release your hard-made trailer all by yourself. Speak to the Xbox people and see if they can post it for you on their sites too. Speak to them well in advance, and great things can happen. Doing things last minute always leads to unnecessary stress and heartbreak, and no one wants that!


Lightyear Frontier

ID_CROP.jpg

Joakim Hedström, CEO of Frame Break

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
Very exciting and a little bit scary. Anyone can put their game online but releasing on console means you've passed through various quality checks and approvals. It's a mark of quality and encouraging, at the same time it means we have high expectations to fulfil.

What do you hope people get from your game?
In one word: Satisfaction. Like any farming game, it's satisfying to expand your farm and watch your work come to fruition. However, we also want the gameplay itself to feel satisfying. Too often in this genre, the gameplay is just a means to an end, very simplistic and noninteractive (e.g. "press A to water plant"). With Lightyear Frontier, we want every part of the farming process to feel engaging and fulfilling. The first time you press the triggers to spray water in an arc over your crops, you'll get what I mean.

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously?
It's not hard to make a game technically work with a controller. However, getting it to feel good by making the best use of the button layout is a slow and iterative process. There are always setups that will make the game feel more intuitive and snappy, you just have to keep playtesting to find them.


Loot River

loot_river_JPG.jpg

LootRiver_headshot_CROP.jpg

Miro Straka, Developer

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
It's very nice and very scary. I have never worked on anything this ambitious before. Luckily I have great people working with me, Superhot Presents helping us, and a family that supports me.

What do you hope people get from your game?
Ideally, it would teach people a little bit of spatial thinking, through a painless playful process, and perhaps give them a hope that they can, in real life, shape and transform the world around them.

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously?
I am not sure it's appropriate for me to give advice about this, as I haven't shipped the game yet, but maybe one thing that feels very different to my previous experiences and took quite some getting used to: Don't be afraid to ask the Xbox team for help. They are really great, and more than anything they want you to succeed in building the best version of your game and will help you in any way they can. Also you can switch your ID devkit to retail mode and play video games on it, which is really nice.


Mad Streets

Mad_Streets.jpg

Dennis Opel, Creative Director

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
It was always my dream to make games my way, so its an incredible feeling knowing that I was able to accomplish this and also have people believe in myself as well as the concept. I wanted to do it about 10 years in the industry but it wasn't my time. But the struggle has been far harder than I thought it would be. But since I'm older and wiser, I approached it carefully and over a long period of time instead of rushing things!

What do you hope people get from your game?
I hope they just pick up and play and experience what we have been putting together. I'm actually super critical with my work and what I show people. But I'm happy to say it also cracks a smile on my face and I still burst out in laugher when playing. That's all I want everyone else to experience…. if they find it as funny that is 

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had?
Plan well but be flexible. I was married to the concept and ideas at first, but over time I let it become what it wanted to become. True story. I tried so hard to mold the game into something that felt unattainable because of the new physics system we created. In the end, we didn't fight the system we created, but instead accepted what it was and where its strengths were lying so the goal was help it shine more, even if it meant a change in the game's own heart.

The other thing is get a small community, and pass them builds. There's about a dozen people who really support us with some of the best feedback we get. And these are coming from a consumer's point of view. And they know what's the best to bring out of the project, alot of times even more than us developers. I hold this value super high now and am grateful I woke up to it instead of clinching the project too close to my chest!


Project Wingman

Abi-Rahmani_CROP.jpg

Abi Rahmani, Lead Developer

How does it feel to be making your first console game?
Wow, just wow. We've never realized Project Wingman would ever reach this stage ever. To this day it still feels surreal that it has reached this far in development. We've had such great support from everyone involved in the project along with Kickstarter backers all the way to Microsoft and Humble with the additional support to push the game onto this stage. Thank you so much!

What do you hope people get from your game?
We hope that the amount of hard work we've put in to Project Wingman really shows. And I hope people gain an appreciation of the genre I've come to love and inspire further works.

Any advice for other creators who are working on their first console games? Things you wish you had known previously.
Honestly, if you think your game will ever make it on to this stage. Start thinking about it what needs to happen quite early. Not only that it will help your game in the long run, it will also make the process much more seamless and painless. While we weren't sure back then to what extent Project Wingman will go to back upon the creation of the game, having the early thought of controller support and framework on how a console game typically operates certainly made the process easier.


Check out Microsoft Game Stack to hear more stories from developers and all things game development from Microsoft! 

From the Game Stack blog

Improving developer inner-loops with C++ Modules

Article // Oct 12, 2021

In this blog we show how to create a small game project, analyze its components, modularize it, and execute.

Game developers everywhere: welcome to Windows 11!

Article // Oct 4, 2021

Windows 11 was made for gaming, with new features designed to help creators take their creativity to new heights.

Unique Capabilities added by the Simplygon UE4 Plugin

Article // Sep 22, 2021

This blog details what unique capabilities our UE4 plugin has to offer your game production.