How Are Special Effects Created for a Video Game?

Special effects (Visual effects or VFX) are vital in developing video games because of their level of illusion. These are visual tricks or illusions used mostly in games and movies to replicate imagined events in a virtual world or a story. The development of effects for the game takes place in several stages – from game design or concept to integration into the engine. The efyxer links programmers, game designers, and artists or combines all these qualities at all stages! 

What problems, besides teamwork, are waiting for on a large project? A constantly changing engine and design, technical constraints, extreme lighting, and calculator players. How to optimize effects while maintaining their beauty, clarity, and sufficient frame rate? Will the players see what you want to show them?

Depending on the project and artistic direction, the VFX artist needs different skills to work and options for building the process of creating an effect. If you plan to develop a new game, then vfx outsourcing company Starloop Studios is the perfect option for the best visual effects. 

The Creation of Video Games

To create video games, you generally have to go through 3 main stages:

  • The concept
  • The production
  • Post-production

1. The Concept of Video Games

The design phase is very attractive for many profiles, often the most creative such as Game Designers, for example. In fact, in a production environment such as a video game studio, you more often start with market research. This means that the production teams study the products that have worked in the past. Thus, they assess the needs, the target audiences and make a profitability forecast. In contrast, in an independent production environment, such as a small studio or a group of freelancers, designers are more free to create original video games. It also implies greater risk-taking.

The Overall Idea and the Pitch of the Game

The overall idea is defined according to several values:

  • the genre of the game,
  • is it a unique game or inspired by another,
  • is this an existing license,
  • the mechanics of the game,
  • the planned platform (s) …

These are the parameters that will define the scope of production. The answers to these questions will give a general description of the game. This will serve as a reference throughout the production. It can also be used to seek funding and investments in the form of a pitch or synopsis.

Once all these elements have been defined, a more extensive document is produced: the game design document. It includes the main mechanics of the game as well as all the elements specific to it. The Game Design teams are in charge of writing this first bible. The document also provides for a development plan, and sometimes a prototype is presented.

2. Video Game Production

Once the Game Design Document has been approved, the funding has been found, and the development plan has been validated by production, several trades get to work. From then on, the video game producer is the conductor of his video game creation team. We can also say that he is the project manager of the game for which he is responsible. He recruits his team, assigns them the tasks, and ensures that the elements are produced on time according to the milestones defined upstream.

The design phase of the video game is essential. Indeed, that’s when graphic design comes in. This involves different professions, including:

  • Character designer
  • Level designer
  • UI/UX designer
  • Emotion designer
  • VFX artist

Explosions, transformations, fire, water, magic, etc.: all this goes through the VFX artist, a specialist in special effects, particles, and moving crowds. Choosing the right VFX services is essential if you want the best game effects. 

Video Game Development

Depending on the engines and platforms, the video game development will take place in a different environment. Very often on Unity or Unreal Engine, two market leaders, the video game developer can also work independently. Finally, video game developers regularly work in a team. Communication skills and the ability to create readable and commented code are therefore essential.


At each stage of video game development, a test phase takes place. They don’t test everything at the end but rather module by module to spot bugs or errors as early as possible in production. This is where the video game tester comes in, who often comes from computer development. This technical background usually allows them to go further in their test and offer solutions or valuable clues when solving problems.

3. Post Production

It is the final phase which involves:

  • Alpha and beta tests
  • The deployment of video games
  • Marketing and sales
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