Multi-platform gaming has been on the rise in recent years. The benefits of multi-platform gaming are well-known to gamers, as they don’t have to choose which device to play on and can play with friends across different platforms.
Other factors such as the massive investment in new projects that were made in previous years, the new facilities offered by the platforms to create cross-platform content, new tools such as Photon or Playfab that facilitate the creation of cross platform games, plus the segmentation of platforms (PC, mobile, consoles, streaming).
The most relevant point is the tiredness of the development team after 2-3 years of development of the same game, when they release it for a platform they don’t want to invest more time working on the same project in a very tedious process that doesn’t add much creative value to the project, but is rather focused on meeting platforms requirements.
So, game porting allows small, medium and big game studios to expand their presence across different platforms, reaching a bigger audience and therefore making their game more visible.. Which in today’s crowded market is essential. In addition, getting the game on relevant and quality demanding console platforms like Xbox and PlayStation, also provides a distinctive image of quality product.
However, porting is a complex process that can take several months, depending on factors like target platforms, coding language, and visual assets.
What is so complicated about game porting?
Porting games can present challenges, and it requires a lot of knowledge, skill, and experience to properly optimize a game for each console. To avoid potential issues, it’s recommended to follow the main principles of game porting and partner with an experienced game porting company.
The complexity of porting games varies depending on the project. Some games are easier to port than others, but larger and more ambitious projects may require modifications to various aspects of the game, such as 3D modeling and animation.
Regardless of the project, each game is unique and presents its own set of challenges. Even seemingly simple projects may require modifications to ensure compatibility with specific consoles, but without proper knowledge of the underlying code, it may be difficult to identify and address potential issues.
For a company looking to port a game to multiple consoles, it’s essential to work with experienced professionals who can guide the process and ensure a successful outcome. With the right expertise and approach, game porting can provide numerous benefits, including expanded user bases and increased revenue opportunities.
Important Stages of Game Porting Process
To successfully port a game to a new platform, it is essential to analyze the game thoroughly, including its code, assets, and the game engine used to create the original version. This in-depth review allows the porting team to understand the game’s complexity and anticipate any challenges that may arise during the porting process.
Outsourcing partners are often hired to carry out ports, and they may not have access to the original development team’s knowledge of the game’s architecture. Therefore, analyzing the game in detail is critical to ensure that the team porting it is familiar with every aspect of it.
Depending on the platforms involved, the port may require changes to the control scheme, UI elements, and even code to function properly on the new platform. Anticipating these difficulties early on can help mitigate issues down the line.
Determining which functions should be updated for the new format of use and what should be added or removed from the game is also crucial in the analysis process. In short, this comprehensive analysis of the game is the crucial first step in evaluating the resources and the time we will need to give an approximation of the scope of the project.
For instance, on Brave Zebra, when evaluating a new porting project we ask to get access to the project source-code and Unity or Unreal project. That allows us to understand how well organized the code and the project is, its size, the amount of third party plugins used, the amount of classes with more than 1.000 lines, usage of patterns or level of spaghetti code, etc. Additionally, we don’t accept projects mainly created with Blueprints or similar.
Porting a game from one platform to another often requires adjustments to the code, especially when dealing with older games or outdated game engines.
This can involve rewriting large sections of the code to ensure compatibility with the new platform’s hardware and processes, such as graphics processors and memory usage. If the game engine used does not support the new platform, developers may need to rewrite thousands of files to fit the new platform’s specific APIs.
However, modern engines like Unity and Unreal Engine 5 are designed to support multiple platforms, making the porting process easier for modern titles. On the other hand, remasters, which are common ports of older games to newer platforms, can be particularly challenging due to the outdated game engines they were developed with. While the time between original release and porting has decreased, adapting the code to each platform’s unique challenges remains an inherent challenge in the porting process.
In Brave Zebra we can be your porting partner even from the beginning of the development, accompanying the development and leaving it ready to run on other platforms, and thus avoid these setbacks of rewriting entire code.
We can monitor your project and give you guidance and best practices during the development so that when the time comes to port the final version, everything is well prepared and the process is more agile.
Assets and Performance balance
One of the most critical aspects of game porting is performance optimization, as it can be difficult to balance both graphics and performance without encountering bugs or issues.
Developers may need to adjust visual assets such as 3D models and textures to ensure satisfactory performance on less powerful platforms such as mobile devices or Nintendo Switch.
It is essential to maintain the visual identity and atmosphere of the game while ensuring it runs smoothly on the new platforms. As we mention in the first step, through extensive research and analysis of the project are crucial to identify and solve the challenges associated with each platform.
Ultimately, the goal of porting a game is to provide the best performance and visuals possible without compromising each other too much.
Game porting is a complex process that requires rigorous testing to ensure the game functions properly work on the new platform. QA is essential to prevent unexpected interactions, bugs, and lags.
Testing is needed for various aspects such as control schemes, user interface elements, visuals, performance and platform requirements. Ported games may contain legacy bugs that need to be caught and resolved through testing.
It’s easy to miss mistakes in a product and so it’s common (almost a must) to outsource game testing services too. It’s important to pay attention to compatibility, performance and platform requirement tests to ensure the game meets the parameters of the new platform.
It’s important to note that quality requirements on console platforms are really high, as they only want top quality games on their platforms, which differs greatly from releasing on PC and mobile. That means that the game has to be greatly polished before shipping on consoles, and even bugs created by legacy code that weren’t a problem on PC or mobile, might need to be fixed.
So, if you are looking for an approved PlayStation, Xbox or Switch platform partner to port your games, we’re here to help you every step of the way and make sure your game runs perfectly on your desired platform.
Contact us today to discuss your project and find out how we can work together to take your game to the next level.