There are many similarities between the process of creating an animated film and that of creating a video game. Concept art is a key component of video game pre production, and technology and software that are used for CGI animation is also used for gaming (i.e: modeling, rigging, lighting, motion capture etc…)


The biggest difference between linear animation and video games is the latter’s interactive nature. In order for the user to control the game, the characters and environments must be programmed to respond to a defined set of interactions. Most games are programmed in C++ and Java. This also means that, rather than being pre-rendered, the animation in video games has to be created “on the fly” – a computationally intensive process. The balance between fluidity of motion and impressive graphics is an important aspect of game development.


Pre-rendered animation is sometimes used for cinematics. An in-game cinematic (or cutscene) is a sequence in a video game over which the player has no or only limited control. They are used to advance the plot, strengthen the main character’s development, introduce characters, and provide background information, atmosphere, dialogue, and clues. Pre-made videos used in video games are referred to as “full motion videos” or “FMVs”.


Like most media today, video games include productions of all scales. An epic game such as “GTA V” was 5 years in the making, cost over 265 million dollars and involved over 1000 developers. On the other side of the spectrum, some independently produced games (indie games) are created with very small teams or even by a single individual.

– Anna Pinkas