game design tips - Level Design

Game Design Tips & Secrets


So that makes you a game developer. First of all, congratulations! Game design and development is a wonderful opportunity for creative self-expression, and you should be proud of it. It’s a lot of work, but you decided to give it a try. That’s great.

Use these game design tips that we have consolidated for you as tips as a useful guide on your journey into game design. These concepts they explore will help you understand some of the key elements in game design.

You don’t need to follow all of their advice on your first project, but these tips will become more valuable as your work grows.

game design tips - level design
Game Design tips – Level Design

When you think about games, you will usually think of gameplay and game design one being the bases for the other. Most people also think that both of them are easy to do and achieve, and that it just comes about having good ideas and that’s it, but today we’re focusing on the more obscure and challenging secrets of game design, often overlooked, but if correctly used will be the key to creating unique games that people want to play.

Game Design Tips Overview

  1. Alignment with game hook
  2. Keep the controls intuitive
  3. Wow Factor
  4. The size of characters
  5. The game world
  6. Excessive focus on fun as to reach a gameplay utopia.
  7. Familiarity
  8. Balance
  9. Did you hear that? The importance of sound and music for your came
  10. Design for the player not for you

Let’s dive in enhancing the view about these clear success objectives for games.

1. Alignment with Game Hook

We have already looked into the concept of game hook and understood that it is all the elements of the game that can make it unique and singular, and able to bring the attention of potential players, over other games.

It can be a story, a character, a mechanic or the beauty of the game. Hooks are the elements that make the game attractive to players. It is what grabs the player’s attention or the “hook” that keeps them in the game.

When you start creating your game design, you should always be working totally aligned with the game hooks that you have defined, as to guarantee a consistency of both. If you and your team fail to do so, then the game will have some gaps between what you were somewhat promising or communicating to the players and what we will actually deliver. This could eventually generate some frustration into the player and generate a negative movement towards your game that would eventually make it harder to be successful.

Game Design Tips – Game Hooks

2. Keep the controls intuitive

The game’s control system is related to the user experience and affects how efficiently and easily the player can learn the game. The control system also determines the player’s progression through the game. Therefore, making the game controller and keyboard/mouse functions as comfortable and easy to learn as possible is no small feat.

If you want to learn more about setting up controls (and as a bonus, animations) for your 2D project, we have placed below a very interesting video from CouchFerret‘s; for a tutorial on creating responsive controls.


Also, read the Gamesradar article “The Most Ridiculously Complex Controls in Gaming” for a fun explanation of some of the too weird controls.

3 – Wow Factor

Surprise, excitement, amazement or how we call it the WOW Factor are elements rarely discussed in games, yet they are essential to the long-term success of any game as to avoid it to become boring. The reasons for this lies deep in the inner working of the brain and how it reacts to things that are not changing and not representing something that challenges its capacities.

It is also the secret to turning new players into lifelong game fans. Surprising and inspiring players can create an emotional connection with the game. Creating this connection is key to making great and successful games.

Your objective should be for players to get hooked on your game and keep coming back for more. Without this emotional connection, players will quickly get bored of the game, stop playing, and eventually delete the game to make space for others more refreshing games.

This results in zero replay value and retention, and zero profit. (And get you a bad name as a game developer).

Challenges + Emotion + reward.


But when emotion and rewards are added to the mix, you get a memorable and interactive experience. Players will want to continue to discover and surpass their previous scores to see what rewards and special bonuses await them. The element of surprise and wonder is key to keeping player interest. This game design approach to gameplay, characters, level design and even the user interface can be used to create an emotional experience.

As games are interactive media, it is very easy to elicit an emotional response from the user. The combination of sound effects, music, character expressions, text, movement and colours can emotionally engage the player and keep them engaged in the game. Consider how you can develop these elements with the theme and art style of the game in mind. For example, you can add interesting sound effects or background music to match the pace, mood or theme of the game. If it’s a racing game, adding a fast, adrenaline-pumping beat will resonate with players. If it’s a spooky platformer, you’ll want spooky background music and eerie sound effects when you find objects or when platforms fall. In this way, adding surprise and excitement to a game requires a lot of fine-tuned ingenuity.

Surprise in game design


Characters are another powerful element. Using characters can do a lot of things. Characters can add emotional depth to a game and act as an effective reward system. During the game design process, a number of unlockable characters can be added, with animations, effects and unique facial expressions that match the theme of the game.

Rewards can surprise and impress, but also strengthen the emotional connection with the player. Unlockable characters and unlockables can be used to create a highly satisfying reward system.

Coins, points and praise (a kind of underused reward) can also be effective. Praise can be given in text or voice when a stage is completed or a bonus item is found.

Animations and cutscenes can also be used to celebrate the completion of a level or as a prelude to a fun new challenge.


Wonders through power-ups


Hidden and power-up elements can make the game amazing ( or absolutely destroy it). Hidden game elements ( portals, areas, powerups, etc= also add significant replay value to the game. Players will enjoy exploring new areas and new game amps, new power ups and orbs, as well exploring new, and unseen worlds. It’s a fascinating and fun surprise that will immediately increase the positive perception of the player about your game.

Nintendo games excels at using the power-ups to surprise and impress with its gameplay. A good example is the mushroom power-up in Super Mario World, where by eating a mushroom, the player will be transformed into a low level Mario character. You can also get extra points.

Creativity is important in game design. Make your game fun with features that attract players.

Game Design Tips - Game Characters
Game Design Tips – Game Characters

4 – The size of the characters.

Size should not be overlooked in game design. Character size is not always the same as the size of the character.

A common mistake is to make characters too big. Game characters should be well proportioned. Do not make them larger than necessary. If the characters are too large, it not only gives the impression that the game is unfinished and unprofessional, but also distracts from the real experience of the game.

It is important to achieve this early in the game design process.

A good way to determine if a character is too big is to compare it to classic games such as Mario. All you need to do is import all the screenshots of the game into image editing software such as Photoshop or Illustrator and compare them with other popular games.

Mario is a classic and a great benchmark. You can also compare it to popular games of different genres. If you notice any differences, simply resize and save again.

You can read a good view on it in this Kongregate’s article Design Tips for In-Game Character Proportions

Game Design Tips - Character Size
Game Design Tips – Character Size


5. The game worlds

One of the secrets of game design is to create universal laws in your game that are always applying to the overall aesthetics of the game.

The look and play of your game is greatly influenced by these universal laws. For example, all buttons should have the same color. Particle effects are similar for similar objects. This consistency makes the game less complicated and more natural. Try to maintain the same style and appropriate themes throughout the game.

The goal is to make your game as consistent and cohesive as possible and avoid overusing multiple color combinations or wild texture.

You should always pick an art style and stick to it as if your lifes would depend on it.

Ask yourself the following questions: ” What colours and combinations best suit my main characters and my theme?”

Take the time to research different colour schemes, consider the possibilities and plan everything out.

Getting inspiration from other places

You can also look online for inspiration for your game design – check out Google images for interesting game world references.

You should always keep a folder with all the references that you should be using for your game world ( and game characters or other game references needed to build a consistent game).

You can create pinterest boards also to keep their your references and interact with potential players what they like the most.


6. Excessive focus on fun as to reach a gameplay utopia.

Making games fun is something that can have two meanings totally different, and that could have very different impact on our game and the expectations that we could have for it.

The point here is that there are many kinds of “fun” in games. Fun can be experienced through an immersive story and memorable characters, but it can also be linked to interaction with the game. Fun can be created using a design style that evokes an emotional response or engages the player.

In the video above, Jonas Tyroller shows how simples modification can make a game more fun.

You can also find a deeper explanation of these concepts in a very interesting article from iD Tech’s article on what makes video games fun.

game designs tips - what makes a game fun

Video games are fun. Here’s why, and how they hook us.

https://www.idtech.com/blog/what-makes-video-games-fun

7. Familiarity

Familiarity is another important aspect of game design. Aside from being a unique game, it is also important that the game be familiar to players. Most of the most successful games are based on basic mechanics that have been popular for some time. Most of games in the last years, were not the first in their genre, but they used common approaches that the players can resonate to and feel confortable.

Familiarity is one of the secrets of game design because it makes the game easier to master as the player is not starting from zero. If designed in this way, anyone can start playing the game right away, without any special training and without suffering the frustration of the learning curve. It is important to design games that are easy to understand and control but hard to master. Games nowadays can’t afford to be too complicated and to be abandoned by the players.

Aim for a game that is unique, yet familiar to players.

Game Design Tips

So how do you create a unique yet familiar game?


The best way to do this is to use the “Research, Inspire & Improve” method. This is the formula that has been in the industry almost from its beginnings.. There are three basic steps to this method. First is research: explore the game store and look at all the top games that are similar to the type of game you want to create. Take a not of all of them with what you like and what you don ‘t like of the game.

Next, In the research part, try to understand from all your opinions on the game, if some of them could affect the capacity of the game to perform well in the market by enjoying the game, or if in the opposite direction. Analyze the games to figure out what parts of each game work well and what parts don’t. Download and play all the games and take notes. Write down everything you notice about the game. Pay specially close attention to the different elements of the game, from user interface, characters, backgrounds, and gameplay to sound effects, through other business related elements as ad placement, monetization techniques, and much more.

The third step is to think of new possibilities you and your team could have to improve the game concept based on all the previous analysis findings. This could include ( and not limited to) additions, replacements, deletions, or all three.

Think about what features or elements could be added or replaced to make the game better. Consider what different improvements or changes could be made in all areas of the game. Keep brainstorming until you have an entirely new game concept that is unique yet approachable.

We like to call this last step as arithmetic of ideas. As ideas can be added, multiplied, rested, divided a lot of operators that have to be taken in account when designing the game.

8. Game Balance

Although a lot of people think on the creative of game design, in our hand of the work, we actually think that, although a creative work, it is more related with controlling everything that comes into the game design document, from graphics elements, to level of mana or magic that has been assigned to the game..

Nothing is more painful than feeling crippled or disadvantaged while playing. Weapons that don’t do consistent and adequate damage, levels that are visually distracting, and enemy AI that can’t be tamed are all evidence of game imbalance.

Gameplay balance is one of the biggest challenges for game designers, and for good reason. What may be unbalanced in one game may have exactly the desired effect in another project, depending on the type of game being created. Perhaps the best way to test the balance of a game is to have others play it and get feedback. Game balance could be been as countability of all the elements that will apppear in the game.

Game Design Tips, Game Balancing Course

Game Design Tips, Game Balancing Course

Game Design Tips – video from Jonas Tyroller above, where he offers tips on how to balance your game

The ultimate secret to game design is finding the perfect balance of difficulty, challenge, and fun. All great games achieve this perfect balance, or what we might call the “Zen Balance” element. Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Sonic the Hedgehog are good examples of this.

Think of the game balance in game design on a scale. One is a boring, easy game; the other is extremely difficult to beat. The goal is to design a game that falls somewhere in between. If you can do that, you can create the perfect balance of excitement that will keep players engaged for a long time.

New game makers often tend to be biased to one side or the other. They either make the game too easy or too difficult. Neither is fun for the player. You don’t want to design a game that is too easy and you will quickly get bored, or too difficult and you won’t have fun playing it.

Unfortunately, it is easy to make this mistake, especially if you are the only one testing the game. The problem many creators have is that they know their game so well that when they try to test it themselves, it is difficult for them to accurately judge the difficulty of the game. This is why testing by beta testers is so important. It is the only way to determine where your game falls on the “zen balance” scale. Always test your game with more than one person to ensure that the difficulty level of your game is appropriate.


Remember to surprise and inspire people to become emotionally involved in the game. Keep the size of the characters to a minimum and try to make the game world as cohesive as possible. Your game concept should be both approachable and unique. And always test your game rigorously to find the best game balance for your game.

9. Did you hear that? The importance of sound and music for your came

Most of the times, music and sound are only noticed when they are not there, or if they are included, in such an awful way, that you have to note it.

Whether you’re making a hypercasual game or a fully immersive AAA game, the right sounds at the right time with right music for the right mood are a very important part of the gaming experience. Sounds and music can even serve as implicit guidance to the player, help them navigate through levels or give them clues about the outcome of their actions.

Most importantly, sound and music design sets the mood and atmosphere of the game.

10. Design for the player not for you

One of the biggest problems that usually game designers have is that they are working for the game that they would like to play, and not the best games that the game’s potential audiencie would like to play.

While sometimes this way of proceeding can generate successful games ( although we could leverage on divergent opinions here), most of times when you are making the game that you would like to play, then the game could be going in the wrong direction directly from the beginning.

To avoid this, generate frequent builds of your game and organize some focus groups with people in your team, students, family or other set of representative players. Let them play your build, collect their opinion and try to act on improving the game design into the direction pointed by the focus group.

This will help you moving aways from the game that you want to so, versus the game that your players will want to be playing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, game design is a complex and constantly evolving process that takes time, effort, and testing to perfect and that should always take player feedback into account.

By following the tips provided in this article, you will be on your way to creating a successful game, but don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you and learn how to create an enjoyable and engaging gaming experience for your players. The secret is to iterate frequently as to learn learned lessons and especially by interacting with your players. No game designer will be good if he has no experience in making games that were played by actual players.

Thanks for reading!

Don´t hesitate to leave your comments below as to help us create a vibrant community.

Roles in Game Development game designer

Learn the roles that you can find in the games industry, starting with the game designer: Roles in Game Development: The game designer

In the video game industry, there are many roles that are necessary for the development of a game. One of the most important, and often overlooked, roles in game development is the game designer. The game designer is responsible for creating the concepts and ideas for the game and the game’s core gameplay mechanics. They work with the team to come up with a plan and make sure that the game meets the expectations of the players.

The game designer is responsible for the vision and overall design of the game. They work with other team members The game designer must have a good understanding of video game mechanics and programming in order to create a game that is both playable, visually appealing as well as fun and challenging.

The game designer’s job is to create and develop the world of the game, and they work closely with the programmers and artists to bring their ideas to life. He doesn´t have to be the one that have the concept idea behind the game, but rather the person that coordinates the development of the initial idea into a full blown game.

The game designer also work with other members of the team designing other important aspects of the game like:

  • the gameplay and levels for the game.
  • Creating the rules of the game, as well as its architecture.
  • Working with the programming teams to manage the overall specs and technical requirements of the game code and files, Memory and hardware requirements.
  • Ensure that the game’s artistic vision is carried out.
  • Collaborating with writers or writing the story, plots, characters, visual designs, and layouts and adapting it to the game through narrative design.
  • Validating and iterating on the game fun factor through playtesting both internal and external.
  • Work with testing and playtesting teams to address design problems and solve them
  • Work with the producer to make sure the game is on track schedule-wise and budget-wise.
  • marketing to create a game that will sell well to the correct audience of gamers.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at how to become a videogame designer and the tasks that he is entitled to perform during the game creation process.

Roles In game development: The game designer – Table of contents

What is a game designer?

A game designer is a professional within the video game industry who creates the concepts and gameplay of a video game. They are responsible for developing the ideas that make up a video game, and work with other members of a development team to create a playable product. The game designer’s responsibilities may also include creating level or environment designs, writing dialogue, and working on the game’s story.

Video game design is a relatively new field, having only emerged in the late 1970s when personal computers became widely available. Prior to this time, most video games were designed by programmers who also handled all other aspects of game development. As the industry grew, it became increasingly difficult for one person to handle all aspects of game design, so the role of the game designer began to emerge.

Roles in game development: The game designer

The game designer is one of the most important roles in game development. This person is responsible for coming up with the ideas, the rules and the structure of the the game and creating the design document that will be used by the rest of the team to make the game.

They need to have a good understanding of what makes games fun and be able to come up with new ideas. They work with artists and programmers to create a functional and entertaining product and to make sure that the game can be made according to their vision.

There are many different roles in the game design process, and one of the most important being the game designer, only one of them. 

Creating video games is a collaborative process, and it takes many different people with many different skills to fully design a video game. In small casual games it is possible for a unique role to manage the overall process, but in most of situations will not happen, and different roles in the game design space will have to present as to guarantee the quality of the game design.

It’s a challenging, but highly rewarding role, and if you’re interested in becoming a game designer, this article will teach you everything you need to know.

A game designer is usually the person who first comes up with the idea of the game, which is passed on to the programmers, who then create the game mechanics.

The game design process

When designing a videogame, the process is typically started by creating a game design document, or GDD. This document outlines all the aspects of the game and is used as a guide for the developers. The game designer will start by creating a concept, which is then fleshed out into a more detailed design. This includes determining the gameplay, story, and setting of the game. Next, the designer will work on creating a prototype to test the gameplay. Once it is finalized, they will work on polishing and balancing the game before release.

1. Conceptualization

When creating a video game, the conceptualization process is of utmost importance. This is where the designer maps out the basics of the game, from its core mechanics to its overall feel. The conceptualization phase can last for weeks, months, or even years, and it’s during this time that the designer must ask themselves some essential questions. What kind of game do I want to make? What’s my target audience? How will players interact with the game?

Once these questions are answered, the designer can start fleshing out the details of the game. They’ll create mockups of how the game will look and play, and begin testing out different mechanics to see what works and what doesn’t. This process is known as game development, and it’s essential for ensuring that the final product is as good as it can be.

2. Prototyping

Prototyping is an important part of the game development process. A prototype is a rough version of the game that allows the game designer to test out new ideas and gameplay mechanics. Prototyping helps to ensure that the final game is fun and playable.

The game industry is constantly changing and evolving. To keep up with the competition, game designers need to be able to prototype new games quickly and efficiently. In order to do this, they need to have a strong understanding of game design principles and mechanics.

3. Level Design

A game level designer is a person who creates the layout and design of the levels in a videogame. This involves creating both the aesthetic appearance of the level and the gameplay mechanics within it. The level designer works closely with the game’s artist, programmers, and producers to create a level that is both fun to play and visually appealing.

The process of creating a videogame level generally starts with brainstorming ideas for potential levels. Once an idea has been selected, the level designer will start creating a mock-up of the level using basic geometry. This mock-up will be used to get feedback from other members of the development team, and to help determine things like enemy placement and puzzle solutions.

Once the mock-up is finalized, it is turned into a game design document (GDD).

4. Iteration

Iteration is one of the most important aspects of game development. By iterating, or repeatedly testing and refining a game’s design, developers can ensure that players have a fun and engaging experience. The game industry has embraced iteration as a key part of the development process, and many games are released in an unfinished state so that they can be improved through player feedback.

Designers must constantly balance the need for iteration with the need to release a finished product. Too much iteration can lead to delays and missed deadlines, while not enough can result in a game that feels unpolished or unfinished. Balancing these competing needs is one of the biggest challenges faced by game designers.

The increasing complexity of modern video games makes iteration even more important. With so many moving parts, it’s difficult to get everything perfect on the first try.

5. Playtesting

One of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of game development is playtesting. Playtesting is the process of testing a game with actual players to find and fix issues. This is done early and often to ensure that the game is as fun and bug-free as possible by the time it’s released.

A game designer’s work is never done, and playtesting is a vital part of ensuring that a game is ready for release. Many bugs can be found and fixed with careful playtesting, saving time and money in the long run. It’s also a great way to get feedback from players on what they like or don’t like about a game.

Playtesting can be done in many different ways, but the most common method is through focus groups or beta testing.

6. Balancing

One of the most important – yet often undervalued – aspects of game development is game balancing. This involves adjusting the game’s elements in order to create a well-rounded and enjoyable experience for players. A good game designer must be able to not only design a fun game, but also make sure that it is balanced. Balancing a videogame can be a difficult task, as it requires tweaking many different variables in order to achieve the desired result. There are many factors that need to be considered, such as the strength and speed of enemies, the amount of health or damage players can deal out, and how easy or difficult it is to complete each level or objective.

Balancing a game can be a time-consuming process, but it is essential if you want your players to have a good experience.

7. Polishing

No game is ever really finished. Even after a game has been released to the public, it can always be improved with some refinement and polishing. This is especially true for videogames, which are often complex and require a lot of work to get just right.

This is where game designers come in. They’re the ones who take a game that’s already been developed and make it shine. They add new features, tweak the existing ones, and generally try to make the game as enjoyable as possible.

This process is known as game polish, and it’s an important part of any game development cycle. It can make the difference between a good game and a great one.

That’s why most games undergo a period of polish after they’ve been completed but before they’re released to the public.

8. Finishing

Finishing a game is a very important milestone for any game developer. It’s the moment when all of the hard work that has gone into the game finally comes together and players can see and experience the end result.

There are a lot of different aspects that go into finishing a game, from polishing up the graphics and gameplay to finalizing the game’s narrative. A game designer is responsible for making sure that all of these elements come together in a cohesive way.

The game development process is a long one, and it’s important to not lose sight of the end goal. A GDD (game design doc) can be a great tool to help keep everyone on track and make sure that no important details are missed.

Finishing a game is an exciting time, but it’s also important to stay focused and make sure that everything is done properly.

Game Design Documentation

A game designer is responsible for the overall design of a videogame, from the mechanics to the story. In order to create a well-rounded and cohesive game, they need to document their ideas. This is done through a game design doc (GDD), which is a comprehensive overview of the game.

The GDD outlines all aspects of the game, from the story and setting to the controls and mechanics. It also includes concept art, screenshots, and any other relevant information. This allows everyone on the development team to have a clear understanding of the game’s vision.

The GDD is updated as the game progresses, so it can reflect any changes or new ideas. It’s an essential tool for any game designer, and it’s what allows them to bring their vision to life.

Why is a game design important in game development?

The game design plays an important role in the game creation process. The game designer works closely with the programming team to make sure the game’s mechanics work effectively, and he also works with the artist to ensure that the game looks great.

Before the programmers are able to work on the game, the designers must first create a plot and characters, and they must work closely with the artists to create a look and feel for the game.

Roles in Game Design 

A game designer is the creative visionary behind a videogame. They develop the concepts and ideas that make up the game, and work with other members of the development team to bring them to life. The game designer is responsible for creating a “game design document” (GDD), which outlines all the major gameplay elements and mechanics of the game.

The role of a game designer is not always glamorous, but it is one of the most important positions in game development. Videogames are a complex medium, and it takes many different people working together to create a successful title. The game designer is at the heart of this process, and their vision is essential to making a great game.

Below are some of the roles that can be part of the game design process in a game production:

Game Designer

Game designers work with the art team to create environments for a game, like houses, dungeons, or cityscapes. Game designers can also design the gameplay. In a platform game, for example, you’d be designing the jumps and obstacles players will face, perhaps designing a new type of vehicle. You’d also be working closely with the art team to create assets, like characters, enemies, or other in-game objects.,Game designers can also be tasked with developing the gameplay of a level. In a genre like platformers, you’ll be designing a large part of the challenges that players of the game will face.

Associate Game Designer

Junior / Associate Game Designers are mostly programmers. They write the code.,This is a pretty tough role for a beginner. There’s no doubt in this, but the game designer’s job is to check if the code is clear enough.,They need to check if the mechanics are working, if the code is easy to read.

Level Designer 

This person is not just responsible for designing levels. They’re also in control of the design and the flow of the game. They also work on the balance between gameplay and story.

This is an all encompassing role for the level designer. They create levels and worlds for the game. Their job is to make sure that the gameplay fits the game mechanics and that the game has a good overall look and feel.,This is a pretty broad role that encompasses everything of level design and gameplay. So, this is a role that you have to play and learn yourself.,,They are the people responsible for the look, feel, and design of the levels. Not to mention, they create the assets for the levels.

The role of a level designer is to put together a level for your game. While it’s up to you to come up with the overall layout, and you’ll need to be flexible in your knowledge and skills, it’s important to have the technical skills to be able to implement your ideas.

swimming pool with green palm trees
Roles in Game Development: Level designer Photo by Mo on Pexels.com

Levels require a good understanding of a multitude of disciplines, from modeling to texturing to lighting and rendering.

As you might imagine, you’ll need to have a lot of knowledge of industry standard technologies, including 3D modeling, texturing and lighting. You’ll need to be able to work within the poly and texture budgets for your game.

You’ll need to be able to create scenes that are visually pleasing and able to convey your gameplay. Since you’ll be creating a lot of 3D models, you’ll need to be able to sculpt and retopologize them into a beautiful, game-ready scene.

Level designers work with the art team to create environments in a game. You’d be designing houses, dungeons, or cityscapes. You’d also be designing the gameplay. In a platform game, for example, you’d be designing the jumps and obstacles players will face, perhaps designing a new type of vehicle.

Just as a narrative designer will be in charge of the narrative experience for a game, a game designer can work with a narrative designer to create that experience.

This means that you’ll be working with the narrative designer to create a compelling experience for players through the game’s story. This could mean creating a compelling main menu experience, or a rewarding cut-scene experience, or even working with the narrative designer to create a compelling boss battle.

Since you’ll be creating the narrative experience for players, you’ll need to understand how players respond to narrative and how to create a compelling experience for them. This means you’ll need to have a thorough knowledge of story structure and character psychology.

Since games are interactive, you’ll need to understand how players can affect their experience with a particular mechanic and how to implement them.

Gameplay Designer 

This is the role in charge of designing the gameplay of the game. He makes sure that the game is set in the right direction and that it’s fun to play.,A gameplay designer is the one who creates the rules of the game. He’s in charge of creating the core mechanics, and making sure that the gameplay of the game is balanced.,Gameplay designer’s job is to create the rules of the game and to make sure that the gameplay is balanced.,This is the most important role in the game design team. If the gameplay is unbalanced, players won’t enjoy playing the game.

Technical Game Designer 

They create the tech tree, the stats, the AI, the game mechanics.,They also create the game’s art assets.,They design the UI, the HUD, the menus, the way the player interacts with the game.,In the bigger studios, they create the art for the game, but usually only a small amount of their time is spent on it.

Gameplay testers / qa / designer role in game development

They’re the ones testing the game. They play the game and try to find all the bugs. It’s their job to make sure that the game is ready and stable.,They are constantly testing the game to detect bugs.,Check for the game’s stability, make sure that the game doesn’t crash (or that it doesn’t crash often).

Videogames Writer 

photograph of a vintage typewriter on table
Roles in Game Development – Game designer Story writer – Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

The writer is the person who will be able to express that vision. He will take the design and make it an interactive story for players.,He’ll write the narrative part of the game. He will guide the whole story, writing the dialogue and giving direction. He will also be in charge of the script-writing part of the game.

Many of the best game writers are independent contractors or freelancers who work on games full time.,You can make a good living as a freelance video game writer.,Many game writers do it for the love of the game, and they often work in the industry for most of their lives. Many freelancers work for a company as a first job in the industry, then move on to self-employment.

Narrative Designer 

This is the guy who takes care of the story, the main characters, the lore. The guy who’s going to give the game its personality.,They have a good eye for the story. They know what they want and it shows on the gameplay. They design all the characters and the lore. They also design the main characters and the game world.,They are usually hired as freelancers, or as leads in the development of a game.

Game Director / Creative Director 

The one who’s responsible for the vision, the big picture (that’s what they call it), and the direction of the game. In the bigger studios, the creative director is the person who holds that role.,,The Creative Director is your guide in the studio. He’s the one who has high expectations and wants to see the game succeed; and he’s the one who makes sure the game is completed on time and the quality is good. He’s the one who makes sure the team is cohesive and working well together.,,The creative director is in charge of the creative and technical aspects of the game. He’s the person who is responsible for creating the game’s art style. He also helps out with the overall look and feel of the game.

Music designer

The music is a huge part of the game. It’s the soundtrack of your game. Although this is usually done by hiring freelance music composers, it is important to have someone that is able to pilot how to adapt the music to the pace and requirements of the game.

That’s why it is so important that it fits with the style and theme of the game.

We’re talking about the music that the player will hear.

black and silver mixing board
Roles in Game Development – Music design – Photo by Stephen Niemeier on Pexels.com

System Designer 

The System Designer is the person that builds the game world from scratch. You could say it’s like the Game Director for the level design. Only the world is the game. You can’t even play the game without it.,Game Designers usually focus on gameplay. The System Designer makes sure all the different parts of the game fit together (the gameplay, the game world, the story, etc.), and that all of them are coherent.,They make sure that the game world is fun enough to play.,The System Designer creates everything that can be seen in the game. This includes the game levels, characters, gameplay mechanics, and the game world. The System Designer defines how the game world works.

photo of green circuit board
Roles in Game Development – Systems design – Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Monetization Designer 

The Monetization Designer handles all business stuff related to the game. They take care of sales, marketing, player stats, etc.

Multiplayer designer

The Multiplayer Designer creates all tools that are needed for multiplayer games. He can also take part in customizing the flow of the game throught the different menus, and work with the level designer to create the levels needed for a good multiplayer experience.

Character designer

If you want to know what is a Character Designer, then you’re right here.,This person will be working with the writer to create the characters of the game and then with the concept artist to create game concepts of the characters as to check the consistency of the designs with the world, with the design and game mechanics, and with the audience that has been defined for the game.

Art director

Although not a role associated with the game design, the Art Director is a crucial part of the game design process as to guarantee the visual coherence of everything being done by the game design team, and it fits the artistic vision that has been defined for the game.

,Art Directors create the look and feel of this game. They manage the creative and design and design of all the assets of the game. They will afterwards also manage the creation process that will add to the game the actual in-game characters and environments.

UX / UI Designer 

The UX designer does the UI.,They are the ones that use the game mechanics to create a more friendly user interface. They design the UI that looks good, works well.,The UI designer is responsible for the UI of the game. They make sure that the game is easily understandable and navigable, and that players don’t get lost.

What to study to become game designer

There are many different paths one can take to becoming a game designer. One of the most important things you can do, though, is to study the art and science of game design. This involves learning about the various elements that make up a videogame, from the story and characters to the gameplay mechanics and level design. You also need to be familiar with the software used to create games, such as Unity or Unreal Engine 4.

A good way to learn about game design is by reading game design documents (GDDs). These documents outline all aspects of a game, from its mechanics and story to its levels and controls. By reading these documents, you can get a better understanding of how games are made and learn from the mistakes and successes of other designers.

Roles in Game Development: Game Designer
Roles in Game Development: Game Designer – Sutdying Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Find Game Design Jobs

As the videogame industry has continued to grow, the demand for skilled game designers has exploded. But how do you go about finding a job in game design?

The first step is to get yourself familiar with the terminology and process of game development. Start by reading up on game design theory, then move on to studying various engines and tools. Once you have a basic understanding of how games are made, look for any opportunities to put your skills into practice. Create small prototypes or mods, or take online courses in game development.

The best way to find work in the game industry is through personal connections. Get involved with local gaming communities and meetup groups, attend conventions and festivals, and network with other professionals in the field. It’s also important to build up a strong portfolio showcasing your skills and experience.

If you are looking for game design jobs, then you came to the right place. We list the top game design jobs and game design careers.

External Youtube References

The Four Types of Video Game Designers – Game Design Specializations

What is a game designer?

Board game design

What does a Game Designer REALLY do?

Ways to come up with great game ideas

Sometimes great game ideas can be tricky. So here are 12 ways to get your creative juices flowing.: 25 Ways to come up with great game ideas for great games

In this article we will explore 10 Ways to come up with great game ideas for great games that will help you level up on your creativity and develop better ideas into games.

Since everyone likes a good top ten list, I thought I’d put together a list of my ten (currently, twelve!) favorite ways to come up with new game ideas.

Some of these methods are the result of our own empirical experience through the games that we have been developing over the course of the last years.

Ways to come up with great game ideas
Ways to come up with great game ideas – Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

25 Ways to come up with great game ideas table of contentes

1. Play lots of games!


This may seem obvious, but a number of game designers I met had barely played any games. If your knowledge of games is limited to minesweepers and solitaire,then, you won’t have much knowledge about what games work well in today’s market.

But remember: play all kinds of games. New, old, good, bad. That way you will quickly learn different mechanics and recognize what works and what doesn’t in a game.

Maybe there is a particular part of the game that you really like. You may be able to develop this and create a game based entirely on that idea.

Alternatively, try combining two of your favorite games and see what you can create.

Ways to come up with great game ideas
Ways to come up with great game ideas – Games

 2. Be Observant of the World

Creativity is about finding new and innovative ideas. It is often associated with thinking outside the box. However, creativity can also be found in the world around us.

Creativity can be nurtured by observing the world around us. By looking at what people do and how they interact with each other, we can find inspiration for new ideas.

One of the best ways to increase your creativity is by observing what people do in their day to day lives. This can be done by going out into public spaces like a mall or a park and just watching people go about their business.

3. The Use of Constraints

Constraints can be a powerful tool for creativity. They can help you think outside the box and generate more ideas.

Some examples of constraints are time, space, materials, colors, time in history, and subjects. They can be used to generate creative ideas in writing or any other form of art.

Creativity is often considered as a process that doesn’t need any constraints because it should be limitless. But this is not always the case. Constraints can provide a new perspective on your work and help you generate more ideas to solve the problem at hand. .For example, when you’re brainstorming how to save the environment, having no constraints can be a problem because there are too many potential solutions. When you set up rules for submissions like “no more than three words,” it prevents people from coming up with hundreds of long and difficult-to-say ideas that would take time to filter out.

4. Seeking Input  

Creativity is a key component in any work. It is the process of generating new ideas and novel ways of thinking, which can be used to solve problems. We should always seek input from others to increase creativity.

The best way to improve creativity is by having an open dialogue with others. People who are creative often talk about their ideas with other people, as this helps them get feedback and new perspectives on their ideas.

5. Use an Idea Log

Idea logs are a great tool to use when you need to generate new ideas. They can be used at any time, and they can be used by anyone.

An Idea Log is a list of questions that you ask yourself in order to get your brain thinking in different directions. An idea log is typically compiled of key words or phrases that are intended to inspire creativity.

The act of journaling, or writing down thoughts and feelings, has been proven to be an effective way for people to manage their emotions and improve their mental health. Journaling also promotes creativity because it forces the writer to think about things in a different perspective than they would have before writing them down on paper.

Ways to come up with great game ideas
Ways to come up with great game ideas – idea log

6. Mind Map It

Mind mapping is a diagramming technique that helps you brainstorm, organize and visualize ideas in a creative way.

Mind Maps are a tool that has been used for a couple of years to manage creative processes, it can help you solve problems and come up with innovative solutions. One way to increase creativity is by using mind mapping techniques, because it can help you think in new ways and find new solutions to problems.

There are many different ways to do mind maps, but the basic idea is the same for all of them: You start with a central idea or question, then branch out into related thoughts or ideas connected by lines or arrows. This allows you to see your thoughts in a visual way that

Mind mapping can be used in any domain where brainstorming is needed, including education, business planning, creative thinking, problem solving and decision making.

Ways to come up with great game ideas
Ways to come up with great game ideas – MIndmapping

7. Research

Research is a powerful tool that can help you generate creative ideas. The more you know about your topic, the more creative ideas you will have. It is the foundation for creativity and innovation.

Research can be done in many ways, from reading books to watching documentaries to asking people on the street, but it all boils down to one thing: understanding what you are trying to create before you create it.

8. Look for gaps in the market


It can be helpful to look at the games that are currently available and start thinking about what is missing.

What audience or groups are being left out of the games that you like to play or would like to create a game for? What group sizes and dynamics are not represented by the games available?

Is there demand for more single player games, games for groups of ten or more? What about games for children with learning disabilities?

Try to think outside the (game) box.

9. Look at other markets and industries


Many ideas and lessons can also be gleaned from other markets. For example, look at different entertainment genres such as games, music and movies.

Video games often feature save points, power meters, inventories, different difficulty levels, and even a final boss. Many successful games spawn sequels.

DVD movies include features such as chapters and extras.

Perhaps there are things we can learn from other industries and apply some of their great aspects to videogames.

10. See things from different perspectives


Games are also a great opportunity for players to take on roles they wouldn’t normally dream of. Instead of playing the role of a knight in shining armor, they are asked to play the role of a villain or a monster.

‘Burgle Bros’ is a cooperative game in which all players are thieves, working together to rob a bank. The game takes players out of reality and into a fantasy world, where they can act in ways that would be unthinkable in the real world. This is really exciting and engaging for many players.

11. Get Active in the Gaming Community

Gamers are a creative bunch. They have to be, in order to stay on top of their games.

A study by the University of Rochester found that gamers were better than non-gamers at problem solving, spatial reasoning and generating ideas.

Gamers have an advantage when it comes to thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. They may not be able to use their creativity in other areas like copywriting, but they can use it to generate content ideas for their projects or clients.

Interfacing with them will allow you to think about games in a differentive way, or to see limitations for certains for which there is a high interest, which will allow you to generate new ideas for.

12. Focus on a Genre

The most common way to increase creativity is to focus on a different game genre. and see what new ideas we come up with.

The more you will be able to know the genre, the better you will understand its flows and limitations, which will in turn transform into ideas that will allow you to create new extended mechanics or games that will resonate with different types of video games.

13. Pick a Theme to Explore

When thinking about game ideas, you also need to go further and explore specific themes.

Narrowing down the genre or theme will help you get a clearer idea of the game you want to create. Small things can make a big difference to the shape of a game.

For example, a simple shooting game can be made more interesting with a space theme. Adding that little touch will spark your imagination.

Once you have a solid concept, you can add more elements and eventually you will have a great game idea.

14. Start-Off with a Character

Another effective way to get stuck in the creative process is to think of a character first. Deciding on the main character first can make it easier to develop ideas for the game.

You can brainstorm around this one core element until the concept is complete.

The main character can be a person, a creature, an object, or a specific location. Once you have a solid character, consider the many possibilities.

Think about how your character will interact and react. Consider different themes, issues, and gameplay around the protagonist.

15. Draw Inspirations from other Mediums  

Games are not the only media in which you can find inspiration. You can also find inspiration in other media, such as film, television, art, music, and books.

What are your favorites? What aspects resonate with you? Look for elements in other media on which to base your game ideas. It can be anything. A cool concept or action scene from a movie or series, a beautiful piece of art, a great song or its album cover. Inspiration is everywhere if you look for it.

15. Take a Break of making videogames

It is a common practice to take a break from work and do something else in order to get new ideas. It can be drawing, reading, playing, or even making video.

Creativity is the key to coming up with new ideas for games.

Video can help us relax and focus on something different for a while. And then we can come back refreshed and ready with new ideas for our game projects.

17. Read the Latest News & Reviews

Looking through the latest industry news and game reviews can also help generate game ideas. online publications such as Gamasutra, Polygon, IGN, Touch Arcade, and Indiegames.com are great sources of information to gather An excellent source of useful information.

The better you understand what players like and don’t like, the more quickly you will be able to come up with game ideas.

Make it a habit to keep an eye on the latest trends. To stay on top of gaming news, download an RSS feed reader app like Feedly or Pocket.

You can also add interesting game development blogs to your RSS feed. The deeper you can get into the gaming scene, the more effective you will be.

18. Just Start & Game Ideas will Flow

If you can’t think of an idea for a game, you can still do it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your own expectations of what you should earn. In these situations, creating a “practice game” can take the pressure off of you and allow you to be creative.

Don’t be obsessed with creating the perfect game, just mess around a bit and the wheels will start turning and more and more ideas will come to you. Just pick any type of game and play with it. You may happen to catch the perfect game. You never know.

If you get stuck, try one or all of the tips above. Making games should be fun. If you can’t think of a game idea, take a deep breath, exhale, and relax. Play lots of games, observe, try different brainstorming methods, do research, work within your limitations, and remember that new ideas will always come.

Remember that creativity is about connecting things and becoming more open and aware.

19. Watch and participate in game contests/Jams


Watch for game design contests and game jams.. Perhaps one of them will catch your interest and you might decide to design a game and enter the contest. If you do, your game might get noticed, and maybe your game will be published.

You will be also forced to get new ideas based on the theme and the expectation off the contest and jam. Since most of themes are very short in time and are happening regularly around the world, they are a good way to nurture creativity.

20. Look for inspiration wherever you are


Ideas can come from anywhere. Wherever you find them, you need to be prepared to suck them up.

Videogames are usually played indoors, but if you go outside, you can find many interesting ideas waiting for you in nature. Animals interacting with each other, trees blowing in the wind, or anything else you can think of.

Sitting in front of a computer or game console is not the only way to get good ideas. You have to get out and about. Do something different. What do you notice? Talk to people, pay attention to their conversations, and explore the world around you. Be open to any suggestions.

21. brainstorming


There are many brainstorming techniques for generating lots of ideas.

Here are some of them.

  • Write down everything that occurs to you.
  • Write down each letter of the alphabet and come up with an idea associated with that letter.
  • Think of the worst videogame idea you can think of. Now turn this around and see if these and the opposite ideas can work.
  • Remember, when brainstorming, write everything down. There are no bad ideas. Even the craziest ideas can lead to something interesting.

22. Could it be a game thinking


If you are talking to someone and they say something, you can comment, “That could be a game.”

Any idea can be a game concept in its own right.

I take note of such ideas as they arise. Many of them will never see the light of day, but some of them may later evolve into something special.

  1. stop thinking about video games
    We know this is completely contrary to the other suggestions above.

But stepping away from what you are doing and not thinking about it for a while can help your brain relax and relieve some of the pressure.

Doing so can sometimes lead to solutions to problems found in existing games or ideas for new games.

BONUS IDEAS.


A few more ideas were considered and added to the original list here…

23. Learn more mechanics


The more mechanics you are able to use or to understand how to apply in game, the more ideas you will have to apply in new games. Mechanics are the bricks of games, and the more you have on your toolbox the more possibilities will open for you when trying to create new games.

You can learn then by applying rapid prototyping concepts, like trying to make one game a day for 30 days and look at the results. There are plenty of documented cases, of game creators that have tried it with very good results.

.

24. “What-if” Thinking


Think “what if.” What if the earth had no gravity? What if we had legs where our arms are and vice versa? What if we were pets and animals ruled the world?

Think about your own “what ifs.” What if you could turn one of these scenarios into a game? What would it look like?

This is another great way to think outside the box.

When and where do the best games ideas come up? What is your favorite ideation technique?

Ways to come up with great game ideas
Ways to come up with great game ideas – Boards Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

25. Copycat – Improve

We have left for the ent, one that is used a lot through the industry ( Especially on mobile) , although now one will tell you that they are using it. It is the copycat/improve loop. Take a game and copy its main ideas and its main mechanics and adapt them to your story and your assets. Try to improve some of the elements to differentiate them from the original game.

We don’t recommend this, because it is already very difficult to differentiate with a unique and original game as to be trying with a copied game.

But it could be a good tool to explore new possibilities and leverage on new mechanics or new ways to tell a story, build a world, and get some inspiration to cherish new original ideas.

What are you going to do next?


Once you have an idea for a great game, it’s time to turn it into reality. The best and fastest way I’ve found to do that is to develop a vision for your game so you can constantly look back and start making a prototype to check if is really fun.

Also, take in account that there is an arithmetic for ideas, they can added, subtracted, multiplied and divided, so you can play around with them until you have something unique and innovative.

What do you think about these 25 ways of being creative? Do you have one that we didn’t listed? Then consider sharing it with the community through the comments sections on this post.

Check our blog for more interesting articles.

How to balance your Game

How to balance your Game: A case study on Game Balance

In this 2016 GDC session, game designer and educator Ian Schreiber presents a summary of his college-level course in game balance, examining the major topics covered in the syllabus and a set of assignments that can be used to further build balance skills by putting the theory into practice.

Part of the information on this topic can be found on the free course https://gamebalanceconcepts.wordpress.com/

How to balance your Game table of Contents

GDC Talk Video

How to balance your Game – A course about game balance

A course about game balance GDC talk Transcript

All right so I would like to start off with a question how many of you, your school, has at least one course offering in game design, okay, pretty much everyone, or at least a lot of you. Now. Let’s talk about specialized topics within game design.

design how many of you have an offering

How many of you have an offering in serious games or persuasive games or games with the purpose or something fair number of you? How many of you have something related to game? Writing, like narrative world-building, fair number of you how many of you have an offering in game balance so lot smaller. So in some of you are like a sort of like an actual class dedicated to that now. I’ll just point out: I mean every game project.

Not every game.

Project is a serious game, but we have a lot of those. Not every game needs a serious amount of game writing you know, but we have a lot of those pretty much. Every game needs to be balanced in some form arouser at some point, and we don’t have a lot of those, so maybe at least for those of us with game design programs that go beyond 101, maybe we should all think about doing this.

That’s what this is about so case study in how I teach it so this was my first iteration on a full 10-week game balance course back in 2010, it’s still up there online.

It’s released under creative commons license. Anyone who wants to mind it for anything useful can feel free to do that without having to ask permission. This is from the first page of the syllabus of my most recent iteration on the course I think.

All courses where the topics build on each other should probably have a tech tree in it, so students can see all the things that they learn and how they level and I also think every games rigging, game degree curriculum with prerequisites or tracks, or course sequences should probably be laid out like this I, don’t know if anyone’s doing it like that, but you might want to think about it.

tracks or course sequences should

So I’ll just put that over there on the left side in one piece and let’s unpack this a bit and walk through kind of what I put in this course, so we start off with some critical vocabulary. Just laying out basic definitions like what do I mean when I say game balance.

How is that different from pacing or tuning reminding everyone what a system is and what positive and negative feedback loops are? What we mean when we say that a game is deterministic or solvable, especially since that starts getting weird when we get into solving games of chance and rule symmetry and asymmetry. This is where we set the boundaries of the course for or what exactly the scope is.

the course for

When we talk about balance and by the way, I just love- that a word cloud is the first thing that comes up when I google the word vocabulary, it’s just so meta.

So how I define game balance for this class is creating game balance is creating the appearance of fairness in a game, and appearance is really important here. It’s about player perception as much as reality, because as game designers, we are crafting an experience, and it’s that experience that matters so balance is part, math part systems and part psychology.

We do this for several methods, one is designer intuition or experience the game designer chooses to make certain things a certain way, because it feels right to them.

Another is playtesting, you create a rapid prototype play on your own or with friends, observe and make changes based on any rules exploits or weaknesses that you find play. Testing is another thing that everyone has to do and there’s few very few courses offered in that’s a different presentation in the summit.

A third method is analytics, taking actual data from games and using statistical analysis to draw conclusions about how it’s actually played.

A fourth method is mathematical, modeling, using math to understand the relationships between all the numbers in the game in order to choose the most appropriate ones most of the focus in this course is on learning mathematical tools to do this modeling and also building spreadsheet proficiency.

the game in order to choose the most

So students can use these to solve problems in present solutions. We also spend a lot of time. Well, we spent some time on analytics because that’s widely used, it’s very useful now I want them to encounter that as for building their own intuition and building their own clay testing skills: we do that through practical exercises, where they analyze the balance of an existing game or do balance on a game of their own.

It is Also needed to point out to students that on the very first day that math is a skill it can be learned like any other and the whole concept of a person being good at math or bad at math is just an american cultural myth.

There’s been a ton of research showing that so therefore, this will not be a valid excuse in this class to say: oh I’m bad at math. Therefore I suck at this. Every student can get this if they apply themselves and so far that has turned out to be the case problem so once everyone’s clear on the scope of the class and everyone’s been given the chance to drop.

the class and everyone's been given the

If this isn’t what they thought it was, then we start off looking at numeric relationships, because just saying I have 5 hit points left is meaningless. Unless you know there are other things, do zero damage, or occasionally one or if things are doing one to five damage or things are doing a thousand damage, it’s all about how numbers in the game relate to each other, so we examine linear and identity relationships, triangular and polynomial relationships and exponential and logarithmic relationships, and also change up relationships like how if a player is getting stronger in an rpg through polynomial growth and monsters are also scaling polynomially than the relationship with the monster path between the player power and the monster power will be linear, not polynomial. Things like that. We also examine resource flow diagrams, like your storm ends, wonderful machinations tool, just because it’s a great way to visually show, relationships between numbers and I also have the class play cookie, clicker and mechanically. It’s just a very pure implementation of the relationship between numbers. You have cookies that are increasing at a rate of cookies per second, and then you use your cookies to increase your cookies per second, but at less efficient rates of exchange over time. That’s pretty much. All the engine of the game is it’s also important. Historically, as the game that really popularized the idol game genre- and this is controversial among my students- they generally hate me for introducing them to this game, if they haven’t played it before, because once it’s totally addicting and yet it’s really stupid and you’re fully aware of how stupid it is that you’re clicking on cookies and that’s all you’re doing just to increment it counter and it’s stupid.

that's all you're doing

But you get addicted to it and continue to do it anyway. So really it’s a game about self-loathing and which is one of the prerequisites to being a game designer, which is why I keep it in here from there. We look at a special case of numeric relationships, which is resource systems and economic systems, because those come up a lot in games. We cover the bits of an economics 101 course that are directly relevant to games. Things like how supply and demand would affect prices in an mmo auction house how inflation affects those prices and different straddle strategies for handling inflation in a game, economy and interplay. Our trading and the differences in how that works between closed and open game economies, and also various auction and interplay or trading systems, which are a lot more common in euro games than in video games and I. Encourage them to play euro games that have strong trading or auction mechanics here like settlers of catan or modern art. After that, we have enough tools to get into our first reel in the frenches game balance project where we talk about games where better stuff cost more.

game balance

I giggle ii refer to this as transitive relationships between the various game elements and one of the purest examples and the one that I examine a lot. Just because of my personal experience in the industry is tcg’s like magic, the gathering or hearthstone. You have a cost to put a card into play and then the card has an effect and more expensive cards are more powerful and what you’re doing is putting all of the cost limitations and drawbacks, and also the powers, abilities and benefits in terms of numbers scale. So that the card is balanced if the value of its cost equals the value of its benefits- and you can put this into a spreadsheet where each mechanic has its own column each row has each row is its own card and there’s one column that just contains some math function that incorporates all the other columns and spits out a number that tells you if the card is balanced or not, and if not, how far off it is in which direction very powerful technique. I actually just talked about this in the map for programmers tutorial an hour and a half ago.

actually just talked about this in the

If you want to look that up on the vault later, so one of the projects here is for students to take an existing game with transitive, mechanics and analyze it to find the game objects like the cards or whatever that are the most powerful, the weakest and the most balanced and then compare that in their math with the generally accepted wisdom of the games community.

So at this point now, we’ve taken things as far as we can balancing games based on skill, but we haven’t done anything involving mechanics of chance. Yet so now we dive into basic probability specifically how to calculate independent probabilities like die rolls where each roll doesn’t affect the odds of future rolls and dependent probabilities like drawing a card from a deck where each card draw does affect the probability of future card draws.

If you know what was removed so this is basically taking a probability 101 class extracting the parts that we use in games and ignoring the rest, although I do make sure they encounter things like the monty hall problem. Just so, they understand that probability isn’t always intuitive I also go over ways to do. Sanity checks like probabilities are always between 0 & 1, adding up all the non-overlapping non-overlapping outcomes should always get you one exactly because probability is very easy to screw up.

& 1

If you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re, not careful but most of the time, if something goes wrong, it goes wrong enough to fail a sanity check, so it kind of has its built-in debugger, which is nice. This stuff actually doesn’t take that long to cover just a week or so, but I throw another week up playing some dice and card games in class and analyzing them like the strategy between behind bluff and liars dice or which side has the natural advantage in one night ultimate werewolf or any other relevant games that I’ve acquired recently.

I throw

Now at this point, my students know how to calculate exactly how fast they’ll go broke in vegas and then I deliver some bad news, which is probability, doesn’t actually solve everything for two reasons. The first is that humans socket probability. We generally find it unintuitive. Even if you do your odds calculations correctly as the game designer a lot of times, they will feel wrong to players. The great sid meier even talked about some of his experiences with this at a keynote here in gdc back in 2010. So you also have to learn about not just how to calculate odds and probabilities, but also cognitive biases, to explain why people get intuitive probability wrong and when they do, and we talk about game design strategies to compensate for your players being buggy. And this is also a great time to revisit games like liars, dice and poker to learn the difference between just doing the math and actually using psychological mechanics like bluffing and interestingly. Another thing

that we mentioned here for the first

that we mentioned here for the first time is ethics, because whether we should be honest with our you know, should we be honest with our players and do the probabilities of the way they we say we’re going to or should we you know fudge our die roles to conform to and reinforce our players flawed understandings of probability.

Basically, is it okay to lie to our players or not that’s something worth thinking about, and I mentioned this here, because we normally don’t see matters of professional ethics emerging as a key topic in a math class. Second thing that goes wrong with probability is that, even if we’re honest and our rent, our random number generators are not physical, dice and cards are generally imperfect and not fully random.

Any pseudo-random numbers generated on a computer, of course, can’t be random at all, and it’s worth understanding a little bit about how these things work. So you can predict how players could exploit these random systems to gain an unfair advantage, whether it be through cheating at vegas or at a high-stakes esport, or just coming the save files of a single-player rpg to gain an unfair advantage. Now I could switch this next topic with the previous, but I like making sure that students don’t come to rely too much on probability before realizing its limitations. But after I do that I cycle back to a couple of other useful,

probably

probably the tools specifically monte carlo simulations and markov chains now monte carlo, is just repeating a random trial, a few thousand or a million times, and seeing what happens and then through the law of averages, your results should be pretty close to an exact mathematical solution.

If there is one and monte carlo solutions are useful because they’re easy there’s no math required. You just make a spreadsheet or sometimes do some light scripting they can be used in situations where calculating calculating the exact solution is impossible or too unwieldy and slow, or if the student just doesn’t know how to do it. Monte carlo solutions also work as a useful sanity check. If you do have an exact solution.

If you solve a probability, question both ways and with monte carlo and with math and get the same answer, then it gives you a lot of extra certainty that you didn’t make a mistake. Markov chains, on the other hand, are useful for solving some very specific types of game design, problems that involve repeating something where the results of one thing affects the results of the next recursively as an example. Consider a board game, monopoly and if you’re trying to figure out which properties are the most or least likely to be landed on in order to compute the roi for the purchase price of the properties, you could do that with a monte-Carlo simulation just start at go and roll to d6.

A bunch of times go to jail when you roll three doubles in the roads of stuff like that, but you can also treat this as a set of states where each state is a combination of what space you’re on and how many times you’ve rolled doubles.

jail when you roll three doubles in the

In a row- and you could build this transition matrix of probabilities between states take a column vector of probabilities of being in any given state at a time and multiply that by the matrix, a bunch of times and you’ll know after every single turn in the game.

What the possibility space is in terms of which spaces you might be on with what probabilities it’s a bit complicated compared to most of the other topics in the course and it’s limited to some very specific situations, but it’s very powerful for getting exact mathematical solutions.

For things that you couldn’t do any other way if you haven’t encountered this before there’s a blog on a website called data, genetics com that has an analysis of games like candyland and chutes, and ladders, and things they’re very helpful primers on that kind of thing. So now we’ve covered non-random, transitive, mechanics and also probability.

The next thing we do is smash those two things together to learn how to balance transitive, mechanics that have a random or situational element to them.

how to balance

This is something that most students will have run into already in their earlier design: analysis of a tcg or similar game. What do you do when a card with a card when it says you only get some benefit in a particular situation like only if you’re fully healed, or only if the opponent has more than four cards in play or something, and the short answer is that you come up with some kind of reasonable estimate for how often that benefit would trigger, and you treat it as a probability, no different from saying fifty percent of the time you get this benefit or whatever.

answer is that you come up with some

So probably the purest instance of situational balance, I’ve seen is in tower defense games and I like to have the students play and analyze desktop tower defense 1.5, specifically it’s old enough that many of them haven’t played it before it’s historically important as one of the games that popularized the genre and almost everything in that game is situational.

You have some towers to do area effect, damage which were great when enemies are clustered together, but not when they’re spread out towers that only hit flying or non flying enemies or other towers that can hit both but are less powerful towers that do no damage at all and just boost the power of the towers next to them, so it all depends on where you put it and so on. The value of everything depends on the board state

and what kinds of enemies are in the

and what kinds of enemies are in the next wave and what kinds of towers you make, and if you really want students to go all-in for this, you could even have a tournament see who can use their analysis to build the best tower load out and give your excess gdc swag to the winners, then we take the stuff that we learned about numeric relationships and transitive systems and put that together with probability again to examine reward systems and advancement in progression and pacing.

This includes things like random loot, drop tables and rpgs, so that you can make sure the player doesn’t get the ultimate sort of awesomeness +5 as a random drop in the first dungeon. We also look at progression systems like leveling curves, how many enemies you have to kill to gain a level on average. How long is that expected to take in playtime so you’re trading, off danger for time for advancement and also looking at advancement into story, which is a reward in and of itself and then bringing in human psychology and how a lot of little rewards spread out?

Provide more impact than a single big reward and how rewards on a random reinforcement schedule are more powerful than a fixed schedule. Stuff like that. If you want to place more emphasis on this, you could easily make this a semester-long project where you take a game like an old-school day rpg and go through all the encounter and loot and level charts and tables and use math to predict how long it will take a player to grind through each area when they level up and how often and generally winners the player receiving some kind of reward and then cross-referencing that reward schedule. With the most and least memorable events in areas in the game,

in order to understand from a

in order to understand from a mathematical perspective where the enjoyment of the game is coming from, this is also another place where professional ethics comes up, because reward schedules come up a lot in social and mobile games, and also in the gambling industry as ways to psychologically manipulate players to pay money or continue playing and there’s the question of whether that is okay, and if so, where do we cross the line into unethical behavior? And what ads do we as game designers? Do about it next up, we take a look at the reverse of probability, which is statistics and probability. You know the nature of the randomness and you use it to predict the what the actual data will look like like the results of a die roll in statistics. You see the results and you use those to try and derive the nature of the randomness that they arose from. Statistics is a bit harder than probability, because it’s just as unintuitive just as easy to get wrong and there’s fewer sanity checks to alert you to being wrong. You know there’s some people that have this saying that numbers don’t lie, but in reality the data are always trying to trick.

people that have this saying that

You they’re very mean so once we learn some basic statistical tools like mean median standard deviation, standard errors, the z-test statistical significance. Then we dive into analytics to learn about what kinds of numbers we should record for a game and how we would use the results to determine whether the game was balanced or not.

Fighting and brawling games and mobas are great with this, because you have a ton of characters that all have to be balanced against each other in ways that don’t easily lend themselves to being analyzed purely through math formulas and spreadsheet that relate them to one another. One exercise I like to do is give them is to come up with metrics. Have them come up with a metrics plan for a game that they’re working on themselves like, if you you might be working on some small passion project like a like a simple board game or something. But if you had a few thousand play tests and we could record any data, you wanted give me a question that you’d want to know the answer to and then list what data you would collect to get an answer to that question. And then, how would you interpret that data to get an answer like what would a positive or negative result look like, and this is yet another place where professional ethics is discussed in regards to metrics driven design? If you find out, for example, that changing a certain number or mechanic, or whatever leads to greater revenue, but also reduces player, enjoyment such as might be the case with mechanics that hold your players, accounts for ransom or that create intentionally, create pain, points that can only be removed by paying money.

mechanics that hold your players

Is that something that’s good? Is that something that’s unfortunate but necessary, or is it something that’s a breach of professing professional ethics as a game designer and, as with other ethical questions raised in this class I? Don’t give any answers or opinions I just point out that these are things that a game designer should be thinking about and forming an opinion about, because if you don’t, then someone else will make that decision.

point out that these are things that a

For you. The last thing we cover in the class is in france ative mechanics, that is things like rock paper scissors, where there’s no concept of better or more powerful, because it all depends on what your opponent is doing. Something is strong against one thing and weak against another, and this is where we get into the fields of linear, algebra and game theory dealing with payoff, matrices and nash equilibriums to solve these kinds of problems.

Mathematically I think it’s pretty fascinating, that you can ask a question, like suppose, we’re playing rock-paper-scissors, but if I win with a rock, it counts double. And if you win with the rockets just normal and we’re playing to best of ten, you can actually use matrices and systems of equations to come up with a solution of exactly how often both of us should choose each throw and how big of an advantage. This is for me you know, so this is some of the matheus tedious math that I cover in the class and, frankly, it’s not all that useful in a lot of games, because it’s a very pure and it’s very work intensive. But there are a lot of games where that have some kind of intransitive relationships.

have some kind of intransitive

Any situation where you might use terms like hard counter or soft counter, which would include units and rts, is characters and fighting or brawling games or mobas character classes and mmo’s decks and strategies and tcg’s all kinds of things like that, and so like markov chains. I. Don’t think that game theory is used a lot in the field, but I do find it to be a really fascinating tool. That’s very powerful in the right situation, so I want my students to encounter it.

So one thing I want to point out here is that actually playing games either in class or as homework or maybe home play is really important in this class. Math is not always intuitive if you just write a bunch of equations on the board, but if you can see it in action. It’s a lot easier to grok. What’s going on, it’s also useful to provide context that the concepts we’re learning here are useful and can be applied directly to analyze games or solve real-world balanced problems in all the years. I’ve been teaching. This I have not once been asked the question: when will we ever use this? So students are seeing the theory and the application at the same time that helps keep the students engaged plus they love playing games as part of a course requirement, and it lets me introduce them to a number of games that I wouldn’t normally be able to get them to play otherwise, so that lets me add to their personal game canon as well.

time that helps keep the students

Another thing this class lends itself to really well as pvp mechanics having students compete in some kind of game, balance or mathematical analysis test, where the final answer isn’t clear, isn’t obvious, and there are multiple layers of potential analysis. I have players either play on their own for a high score or play against each other in class in a tournament and I usually modify these games slightly both to simplify the constraints, so the analysis space isn’t as huge and also to prevent the students from just using google to find optimal strategies.

I also try to find a ver games that can be solved in a spreadsheet, because spreadsheet eating skills are really important for game designers and for game balance in particular. So this serves as a good practice for them. Cookie, clicker and desktop tower defense. I’ve mentioned already, bable bable was actually presented here by eric zimmerman last year and it’s been a wonderful in-class exercise.

already

For me, korto minuet is a game designed by jason rohr. That is a pure game theory problem with, and there I had to do some very heavy changes to that, because two elements of the original game are real money. Gambling, which is required and also satanic, seems so I had to remove those things.

Obviously pig is a traditional dice game. That’s a great example of calculating probabilities and goku is an intransitive game from the secotan series of rpg rpgs. We could just look all those up and and probably figure out. What’s going on with that another important topic: that’s distributed throughout the class is how to use spreadsheets because the vast majority of game balance problems can be solved in excel and I want students to be strongly proficient in spreadsheet. I divide these things up and introduce them a few at the time. Each a few at a time each week using the ones that are relevant to the problems that need to be solved that week I go into a lot of detail with this, mostly just pointing out features in excel that are useful and then asking them to use.

Those features in their design work for the week we cover formatting to make the spreadsheets look more readable and usable various types of graphs and charts that can be used to visualize data. How to comment your worksheet properly, the same way so the same way that you would have to comment your code, how to use formulas at a very basic level, doing sorting and data validation, dealing with multiple worksheets and how to format them for readability and usability.

that you would have to comment your code

Dealing with all the different ways to fill or copy and paste to save time and showing them a wide variety of useful functions of which there are too many to list in this slide. One notable exception here is I: do not get into writing scripts such as vb script in excel or the scripting language that they have with google sheets, because 99 times out of 100 it isn’t necessary and it just makes things way more.

it just makes things way more

Complicated and I get a lot of programming students that tend to default to writing script rather than learning to think in spreadsheets. I want students to be able to think in terms of formulas here not code.

A typical case is a student who will write a thousand line script to implement an ai to play a game and then all have to walk through it with them line by line to show them how to do exactly the same thing in about 50 cells. Instead greatly condensed and way more readable, the class also lends itself to multi-part projects that are longer-term.

One is designing doing a design analysis of an existing game or part of an existing game. I’ve had students do the math to derive the design, thinking behind hearthstone, dominion netrunner and a number of other card games figuring out the relationship between costs and benefits and then creating a new 5 to 10 card. Mini expansion for the game with cards all focused on a single mechanical theme that requires the student to invent a new mechanic and then figure out how much it costs.

This kind of thing becomes particularly awesome in cases where I happen to know the designer of the game that the student is analyzing in a lot of cases. Designers are particularly amused that their own creative work, their own commercial work, is being used as a class assignment and they’re usually very happy to be available for questions from students, though, in my experience, the students are usually too intimidated to take advantage of this in the future I’ll probably organize a required q&a or something like that. The other benefit is that, in some cases, I’ve been able to actually send the student work to the designer for consideration in using their expansion as part of a future release.

I've been able to actually send the

Having a professional design, credit for a class project is a kind of holy grail for the student in my class. It has not happened yet but these things are slow and the possibility is there for students working on other games or for a different class or just on their own passion projects analyzing their own games from a balanced perspective and creating mathematical models to improve the balance of their game is also, a useful way to go about this, or just give them tagged, aim to balance. I created a game called harmony that I presented before it’s a very simple tcg with just four mechanics, and the goal is to balance those mechanics with each

other

other starts off completely broken intentionally, and students have to figure out how to relate these things to each other projects in this class are super important, but to practice these skills on real games, because it’s one thing to say make a game as a project, it’s another to say now.

Balance second I’ve also been working over the past couple of years to document. Everything in this class and I now have the first draft manuscript for a complete book.

The first draft is done and I will be talking to publishers here at gdc and shortly after so, if you want to run a class like this, and you can wait a year or so to get it into your curriculum, I should have a textbook ready for you before too long in the meantime feel free to use what’s available on game balance. Concepts, even if it’s an earlier iteration and feel free to write me after the show, if you have any questions about it or anything thanks for listening and now, I will be happy to take a couple questions hi as a game designer actually run into this issue.

hi as a game designer actually run into

A lot in that I too, am usually running adverse sorry as a programmer I’m. Usually writing a lot of code and I’m trying to code my way around the things you’re talking about with the spreadsheet. It occurs to me that actually, probably one of their advantage in doing so much design through the spreadsheet is it probably creates a natural limitation as well to the scope.

So does it am I correct and that actually probably helps to prevent scope creep released um within ourselves? I would say that probably is true. So the question is would learning to do things balance in spreadsheets as opposed to code. You know limit artha limit. This helps to limit the scope of complexity. I think that’s definitely would be true. You know usually I have to usually I have to go the other direction in that trying to get them to stop using code in the first place and just getting them to sink in spreadsheets being able to think in terms of formulas in terms of relationships between mathematical things: if you’ve got something- and you know a algorithm- that’s super super complicated, then analyzing. It is very difficult and if something is too difficult for you to analyze, that’s too diffident it’s too complex to be put in the game.

So, yes, do you ever talk about logic and how logic can connect to balance when it comes to design? Okay, yeah. Can you uh? Can you clarify what you mean by logic, because that’s a very large term? Okay, so I often with my students realize that they don’t understand the logic generally of maybe the puzzle or challenge that they’re putting together and then, when it comes to balancing that experience in the game like what’s the difference between level, one and level, two in the difficulty, because they’re not following they’re, not they’re, not thinking through the logical problem, they’re having trouble just putting their head around. What is the balance, then, of that player?

the balance then of that player

Experience, okay, so we’re talking, you know: do students have difficult I, do I, go into game logic and understanding these mechanics and how they relate to each other. You know, because if students don’t understand how the mechanics of the game work at a core level, then it’s kind of hard to figure out how the numbers work. Is that correct? That would yes, but also the more sort of formal concepts of logic. Like spatial reasoning versus you know the different types of lot- okay, different types of logic in the current iteration I- don’t do that as if you’ve noticed there’s a lot that I am covering. That hasn’t been a problem for me in my experience.

I think a lot of it helps that I’m at rit, which has a very technical focus, so I get so students understanding some kind of propositional logic- and you know lambda calculus and things like that, like they get exposed to that through their computer science classes anyway, for a less technical group.

Usually, my biggest challenge is getting them to be able to have the mathematical thinking to understand at a just an intuitive level, how different numbers affect each other, and so logic would certainly be a part of that. But I’ll take one challenge at a time. Hi I work with a lot of teenage students 40 to 70 last week and I was wondering for a mini course for that age range.

hi I work with a lot of teenage students

What concepts do you think he would start them on so so this is yeah as you’ve noticed. I call this a math class. That’s cleverly disguised this game design, that’s kind of how I pitch it to other people here. So the one thing that I found is interesting is that, even though we get in some pretty heavy math, because it’s contextualized in games that students already understand and can already play, the math is, you know it has meaning and all of a sudden you don’t really like the prerequisite for this class in terms of what math you’ve encountered in the past is basically you know: can you solve an equation? You know from algebra one. If you know how to do that, I can scaffold everything else.

that

On top of that, I would certainly take some of the more challenging parts like linear, algebra and and game theory out, or at least greatly, simplify it or just say you know. This is something that exists. It’s a lot part. You know it’s a bit harder. It’s beyond the scope of this course. You know this is for a audience of of younger younger children and teenagers. You know, but most of this it’s you know it I. Usually it’s not the actual mathematical skills and it’s the challenge.

It’s usually it’s just building up the mathematical reasoning and intuitive, which do you think it’s actually like the most important concepts, or that you should start in like you’re like okay, I got 10 hours of you. What are you thinking about right, so I would say for yeah if you only have 10 hours how? How would I you know, pick the most important concepts in this class and that’s a good question I, would say: I would go through. You know the I would go through numeric relationships and I would go through the balance of tcg’s. Just because it’s you know it’s very, very, it’s very related to like algebra, so so kind of build on those skills that are probably going to be age, appropriate at that range.

It and- and you know, and it lets you you know, and it relates it to games that a lot of them are playing right now already. So, thank you.

That’s helpful, okay, I’m, not sure people are going to be about, but I’ll keep answering questions until someone tells me to stop. I have two questions so first very simple: how long?

two questions

How many hours well, of course, and how many hours are the students represented forth at which level is given this course? And the second question is we have quite similar course, but we have taken the point of view that you can explain everything taking the point of view of game theory, you want to go.

You made games against nature to introduce probability and you can choose a game negotiation to explain other topics?

What do you think about this point of view, because I understood that you’re just taking game theory on only at the informant nam translated choice system? Yes, so let me repeat that back because I’m not sure I quite got that so the first question is just you know how long this is taking like how many hours this is a in this current incarnation.

are certainly things in there that I

You know for the and for the second question you were asking about. The whole question is in the course well, given the whole. The whole content that you have given is is taken a different point of view from game theory.

For example, if you, when we introduce public vt, went reduce poverty, I’d games against the nature and thing like that, so my question would okay. Well it’s what you came to only only at the end, okay, so yeah.

The reason I do game theory at the end is partly because it ties together a lot of other things we’ve been doing in there, so it kind of requires you to understand a little bit about probability, a little bit about transitive, mechanics and how they relate to things.

You know, there’s all these a little bit about human psychology and just the idea that you know we can try to model like the human brains. Aren’t always mathematical. You know and bringing all you know, and also just encountering things like matrices and matrix multiplication in when we talked about markov chains. So all those things kind of are prerequisites that lead up to this.

That’s part of the reason why it’s at the end of the course that I talk about game theory, the the other side of this is yeah I mean like I, said it’s not something. That’s widely used in the field as a tool, and you know- and it certainly has a lot of limitations to it.

and it certainly has a lot of

I just think it’s kind of neat and and certainly you’re, absolutely right, though, that you know even game theory doesn’t always predict human behavior and that that is worth mentioning in that section. I think that’s it and I do mention that if you’re once you’re games get sufficiently complicated, where you need game theory in order to you know, figure out things and you’re working on things on multiple levels, it’s probably too complicated for someone to actually solve it.

you're once you're games get

Intuitively anyway and player behavior is going to diverge from optimal math, but you could at least use that to write a good, ai.

Okay, thank you, okay and I’m being told to stop. So.

Thank you all

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How To Design A Videogame

How To Design A Videogame: A Step-by-step Guide in 2022

So you want to design a videogame? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced game developer, there’s always something new to learn. In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire process on how to design a videogame, from start to finish. We will finish with a list of resources on where to get more information about the game design process.

Step 1: Keyword Research and Analysis

When it comes to designing a video game, one of the most important steps is to research the keywords that potential players might use to find your game. This involves analyzing popular games and looking at what keywords they used to attract players. After you have identified the most important keywords, it is important to use them in your game title, description, and other marketing materials.

Step 2: Choose a Genre and Concept

Choosing a genre and concept for your game can be a difficult task, but it’s important to choose something that will appeal to your target audience. There are many different genres and concepts available to video game developers, so it’s important to select one that will fit the style and tone of your game.

Some popular genres include action, adventure, puzzle, simulation, racing, and strategy games. It’s also important to choose a concept that is interesting and unique. If your game is based on a popular movie or TV show, make sure the concept is original enough to stand on its own. 

Step 3: Create a Game Design Document

In this step, you will create a game design document. This document will outline the game’s mechanics, story, and overall design. It is important to keep in mind that your game design document should be flexible, so that it can be adapted as the development process progresses.

To start, you will need to come up with a concept for the game. What is the game about? What are the main objectives? Once you have a good idea of what the game is about, you can start to flesh out the details.

Your game design document should at least include some of the below listed elements: 

1. The Game Title

2. A description of the game

3. Genre:

4. Setting:

5. Characters:

6. Plot:

7. Game Controls

8. Game Mechanics

9. Gameplay:

10. Challenges

11. Game Technology

Step 4: Work on the Game Flow

The fourth step is to work on the game flow. This is the sequence of events in the game that the player follows from start to finish. The game flow should be easy to follow and ensure that the player is always moving forward. It should also be fun and challenging, keeping the player engaged throughout the entire experience.

Step 5: Balance the Game

A good videogame has a well-balanced gameplay, which allows players to have a good time. In order to achieve this balance, it is important to consider a few factors, such as the difficulty level, the length of the game, and the type of player.

Step 6: Polish and Publish!

In the final step of designing and creating your video game, you must polish and publish it! There are a few things you must do to make sure your game is as polished as possible before release. This includes making sure all graphics, audio, and gameplay are working correctly, as well as ensuring that all marketing materials are complete and up to date. After all of these steps have been completed, your game is ready to be released to the public!

How to design a videogame resources

Game Design Process: Designing Your Video Game by Ask Gamedev

Part 1

This video reviews a video game design process that will help you validate that your game concept has merit. You will learn how to research a game market and evaluate the competition so that you can differentiate your game design. These are the game design processes that we’ve seen the biggest and best game development studios in the world use to validate their ideas.

Part 2

This video, continues the series on game design process. It will show you how to conceptualize and differentiate your game design’s vision, how to define your design priorities, and how to communicate your vision so that you can gets others on board with your plan.

Basic Principles of Game Design by Brackeys

Game Design Process or 13 basic principles of gameplay design

Gameplay is messy, frustrating, and full of contradictions. It often demands that you create something that is guaranteed to succeed. This requirement leads to a ready-made solution. That means a solution that has been done before.

On the other hand, it also means it must be distinctive and stand out from the competition. This can lead designers in conflicting directions.

And each solution must be within the scope of project resources. Add to that deadline pressure and strategy changes from the management team.

Hup, hup! We don’t have time to analyze the previous paragraph! We have titles to send out! It doesn’t matter that we don’t have the tools, we don’t have time for that! Didn’t you know?

Game design is like building a hull to steer a boat. If you jump out of an airplane sewing a parachute, you can set the pace of the work. The horse is never in the foreground. You put the horse and the cart side by side in a race and see who wins.

How To Design A Videogame

Directions


The first three principles have to do with guiding and directing the play experience. Even though this medium relies heavily on personal and interactive discovery, it is still an artistic medium.

The importance of artistic direction should not be underestimated. Just as a painting guides the eye, a book guides the image, a film guides the story, so too must a game guide interactivity.

  1. focal points

Don’t keep the player guessing as to where the focus should be. At the same time, it is the designer’s job to always allow for secondary themes, but always have a clear main focus. This applies to both the visual and intuitive aspects of gameplay.

Examples of level design
Creating a clear line of sight.

Examples of system design
Clear action points and goals during gameplay and user experience.

  1. Anticipation

We need time to let the player know

  1. Inform the players about changes

Inform the players about any changes. This short step is between anticipation and the actual event.

It is important that you maintain a hierarchy of notable changes.

One rule of thumb is that of rarity. If a particular change occurs 100 times in an hour, an announcement may not be necessary. However, if that change occurs five times throughout the game, many visual cues may be needed.

This principle is so obvious that it can be taken for granted and overlooked. Make sure you know the right changes that the player should notice at the right time and moment.

Example of a level design
When a player character enters a ship, a “drop” animation is triggered on the NPCs.

Example of a system design
On-screen notifications when quest requirements are met (e.g., “Kill 10 goblins for Farmer Bob”)

Behavior


The next four principles deal with a very important aspect: behavior. This addresses the conscious and subconscious expectations of the player. General design theories are addressed here, such as player choice, rewards, and payback. These principles are also addressed more broadly so that they can be applied to other types of design, such as UI and story.

  1. Realizable events and behaviors.

All events and behaviors should be consistent with the logic and expectations of the player. All actions, reactions, consequences, emotions, and transmissions must withstand the player’s acceptance test.

Level design examples
Place destructible objects near exploding objects. This way, the explosion looks more realistic.

System design example
Weak enemies run away when the player has the advantage.

UI example
When the player’s mech dies, the HUD elements are affected.

Story example
After the dragon is defeated, the villagers’ expressions brighten and they react positively.

  1. overlapping of events and behaviors

If only one change occurs at a time, the dynamic is lost. Determine the number of events that occur at a given time.

Level design example
Provide the player with the ability to build from a list of appropriate structures.

Example of system design
The linebacker points and tells his teammates, the defensive end takes over, the quarterback points and shouts football jargon, and the crowd cheers loudly because it’s third down. All of this happens before the snap.

UI example
Points are awarded for each kill, which are listed on the screen.

Story example
Multiple storylines are at the forefront of the narrative experience. Example: the king is dying, the war is ongoing, an heir has not yet been determined, and an unknown saboteur is staging a military coup.

  1. physics

The main logic of the player is within the known possibilities of physics. Think of gravity, weight, mass, density, force, buoyancy, and elasticity. Use this as a starting point, but do not limit yourself to it.

Example of a level design
Make sure the hole in the ground is the right size for the right purpose. Whether it is as part of the level ascent or simply for aesthetic reasons.

Example of a system design
When a vehicle hits a concrete wall, a spark-like particle effect is created.

UI example
The user interface theme is based on the scrapbook element. In this case, the animations such as transitions and highlighting follow the physical properties of the paper.

  1. Sound

Ask yourself, “What is that sound?” What sound does _______ make when it happens? “Does it sound appropriate?” “Is the sound necessary?” “Is the sound an asset or a hindrance to the experience?” Even if the player’s eyes are closed, the sound alone should have the desired effect.

It is debatable whether this principle should be included because sound design and gameplay design are considered separate areas. However, I included this principle because sound is so important and often neglected. The more you consider sound, the better the experience will be for the player.

Examples of level design
A fly in a swamp makes a sound when it approaches the camera.

System design example
A proximity system that changes the volume of the sound effect depending on the distance to the game object.

UI example
Only visually striking graphics are accompanied by sound effects so as not to disrupt the auditory experience.

The next three principles individually address other important design elements.

Progression

  1. pacing

Consider the sense of urgency, the speed of events, the ability to concentrate, and the frequency with which events repeat. Spread out the moments of concentration, mixing and varying the tension as much as possible to achieve the right effect.

turned on red and green nintendo switch
How To Design A Videogame – Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Example of a level design
An area with expansive views and an area with a sense of enclosure.

Example of a system design
Use long, strong attacks and short, light attacks.

Environment

  1. spacing

Understand the space within the screen and the world, recognize the spatial relationships between elements, and consider the effects of changing that space.

Level Design Example
Lay out the right amount of space for the right number of enemies to act properly.

System design example
When an AI character moves through a constricted space, the walk loop will stop if the AI character does not move forward to express that the character is “waiting” to move through the constricted space.

Method

  1. linear design and component decomposition

Linear design is a solution to a problem as it is. All solutions and possibilities have the same institutional value. This method leads to creative and spontaneous solutions, although concentration can be lost.

Component Breakdown systematically categorizes all solutions and forms a logical hierarchy. This method can limit innovation, but it ensures that the main objectives of the design are clear.

This principle does not mean that the designer must choose one or the other. During development, there will be times when one method is more appropriate than the other.

For example, in pre-production there is enough time to determine the sequence of events. However, if there are changes after pre-production that the publisher absolutely must make, linear design can quickly provide an acceptable solution.

Level design example
It is common to block out the geometry of a level early in development and adjust small areas of the same level to implement ideas that come to mind later.

Example of a system design
You can either identify all the major systems (combat, AI, input, etc.) and gradually fill in the details of the various levels, or you can design the first few levels and extract possible systems based on a linear game experience.

Foundations


The last three principles represent the foundations of gameplay design and are listed in order of importance. This should not surprise anyone.

  1. player

How will the player be involved? How will the player engage with everything they have designed? Think about how the player can contribute to the experience, not just through device input. If it’s a good idea and you get it right, but the player doesn’t engage with it, change it or scrap it!

Level design example
An environment that expects players to jump out of their skin.

System design example
Build development to make the player feel empowered, determined, fearful, etc.

  1. communication

Do the right team members have the right understanding of the goals? Do the right developers have a clear understanding of the solution? Even if it is a good idea, if it is not communicated properly, it will most likely be perceived as a bad idea.

Level design example
Using elements of the environment to force the player to move in the right direction.

System design examples
Using visual cues to teach players when to punch and not kick, jump and not slant, etc.

  1. remedies

Ask yourself who you are addressing, “Does this appeal to the audience?” you should ask yourself. This applies to the player, the audience, your fellow developers, the publisher, and the marketing team. If it’s not a good idea, you don’t have to keep working on it until it becomes a good idea or is replaced by something better.

Examples of level design
It’s not fun to drive on the road, but it is fun to drive on the road while being chased by government secret agents.

System design example
Hitting is fun, but it’s even more fun when the camera shakes on impact.

Game Design Process | Essential Steps for Beginners by Game design with Chris

This video will explain the Game Design Process and some key Game Design Process Essential Steps. Anyone interested in Game Design for beginners, game design theory, game design pillars, game development or game dev will be able to take away good video game design tips.

Working in video game development can be very rewarding, yet it takes work learning about game design. If you are pursuing a game design career, trying to learn how to be a game designer, game design tips, or game design essentials, this video is for you.

As game designer or game developer you will need to master: game prototyping, game play testing, game brainstorming, game research, and everything related to video games.

Follow these game design steps in your game creation process to get started with game development for beginners.

Conclusion

Designing a videogame can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be on your way to creating a masterpiece!

Don´t forget to comment your progress or to task any question in the comments of this artcile. For more content related to games, check our home pAGE

Game Design Summit 2019 - Video Recap

10 tips for creating a game tutorial

One of the main problems of modern game development/design is how to teach the player to actually play the game, without having to read boring manuals. In this article we will look at some insights on creating a game tutorial for your game.

Tips for creating a game tutorial contents

10 tips for creating a tutorial for your game

With any game, you can learn how to play, and Plants vs. Zombies is an interesting case study in how to make “hardcore” strategy content accessible to casual gamers. Previously, the game industry had incorrectly concluded that casual gamers simply weren’t interested in certain game genres. Plants vs. Zombies not only appealed to casual gamers, but also avoided alienating veterans. While George Phan acknowledges that there are many factors that contribute to achieving this kind of mass appeal, he believes that most of the success can be attributed to the area in which he invested the most time: presenting a way to learn how to play the game.

In his talk at GDC 2012, How I got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs Zombie, George Fan (Designer of the game) setups the bases for some interesting advices as to get the player engaged with the game without dying in the intent.

The following points are a summary on the 10 techniques he uses to better teach game mechanics to players, using specific examples from Plants vs. Zombies to illustrate these concepts.

1) “Integrate the tutorial into the game”.


If you give players a choice, they will almost always skip the tutorial. Most of times, this is because there are a lot of terrible tutorials out there. Players often refer to the tutorial as “the part of the game before you get to the fun part.”

This concept is a call to stop thinking of the tutorial as an isolated part of the experience. The goal is to integrate “learning the game” into the game experience so seamlessly that the player has no idea where the tutorial ends and the game begins, or if there is a tutorial at all.

A Game Designer/Developer should strive to integrate learning features into their games. This can be done by integrating fun and learning into the game, as opposed to a model where fun and learning are separate and the game part is seen as purely reward.

2) It is better to “do” than to “read.”


As a medium for conveying information, there is a trade-off between play and text. Text is richer in information and easier to produce, but “doing” is more fun and memorable.

There are some exceptions to this “rule” and sometimes games should be avoided if the content can be conveyed more effectively in another medium, but in general terms, games are usually the best solution for mastering certain concepts in depth.

Game developers refer to the “mechanics” of a game as the way in which actions can be performed in the game, but they need to be to connected to the learning objectives of the game mechanic, thusway, creating an engaging and educational experience.

3) “Spreading the lessons of the game mechanics.”


The more a user is immersed in an experience, the more time they are willing to spend learning. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you start with a tutorial that only shows the bare essentials, and then patiently and gradually build up the knowledge, the learning effect will be exponential.

4) “You should only do it once”.


The essence of this rule is that by making them do a certain behavior, you motivate them to do it for the first time. Not much to add here, but flashing lights and animated arrows are the most efficient way to convey an action.


5) “Use fewer words”


The basic rule for Fans is “maximum 8 characters on the screen”. Remember that this is advice for practice texts, it’s different for texts for stories.

There are a number of reasons why brevity matters.

There’s psychology at work here. Miller’s Law The magic number seven, plus or minus two: concise text that can be understood at a glance keeps your flow from stalling.


The simplest rules are the easiest to remember.


If the text is too long, people won’t be able to read it.


Instead of explaining too much and endearing yourself to players, it’s better to leave breadcrumbs and make players feel like they’re being clever by connecting the dots, which makes for a better experience.
You may have noticed that all of the fan tutorial rules are 8 characters or less.

6) “Use discreet messaging whenever possible.”


Fans are encouraged to communicate passively, i.e. messages are displayed in a way that does not interrupt the game.

Creating a game tutorial – Use discreet messaging whenever possible

There is a subtle difference between hint banners and pop-up dialogs. Usually, a pop-up interrupts the player’s activity and prompts them to take action. Often, this type of communication is about directing the player’s attention to other aspects of the game.

Passive communication not only avoids interruptions, but also allows the player to stay on the screen until the desired action is performed.

7) “Use Adaptive Messaging.”

Creating a game tutorial - use adaptive messaging
Creating a game tutorial – use adaptive messaging


Resisting the urge to provide guidance up front, Fan avoided explicit instructions as much as possible. Instead, he preferred to give hints and allow the player to explore and discover. By adapting and responding to players’ needs, Plants vs. Zombies is able to support new players and avoid frustrated veterans. Players will quickly stop listening to you if they feel you are smarter than the tutorial.

Multiple levels of hints can be a bit daunting for developers, but from the user’s perspective, this minimizes the amount of tutorial. Measuring how much scaffolding is needed is also a good benchmark for evaluation.

8) “Don’t make noise.”


Regardless of how you communicate with users, the text of your tutorials should always be immediately relevant and targeted. If you pollute your communication channels with jokes, backstories, or character introductions, you run the risk of being ignored.

Fan, in his talk, mentions that he experimented with the dialog box as a means to the tutorial’s end: first, because it requires an extra step to introduce a character, and second, because it presents information of very different importance in one system!

The second problem is that you have a system for information of very different importance. Even if the goal is to integrate the tutorial into the game, It is best to have a system that is exclusively for communicating the tutorial.

9) “Teach with pictures”

Creating a game tutorial - Teach with pictures
Creating a game tutorial – Teach with pictures – Photo by 祝 鹤槐 on Pexels.com


The more solid the visuals are, the less you have to teach. You need to be able to look at a game object and immediately understand what its function is in the game. Depending on the subject, it may be more important that the game graphics “look good” than that they are realistic.

10) “Use what people already know.”

Creating a game tutorial - Use what people already know
Creating a game tutorial – Use what people already know


Players bring all their previous life experiences into the game. For example, it’s common knowledge that zombies are dumber and slower than normal humans, so why tell the player that?

Every game has its own unique challenges, and the way we solved them in Plant vs. Plant is unique. For example, in educational games, you rarely have the luxury of spending hours completing Plants vs. Plants’ adventure mode. This is a very time inefficient way of learning.

Conclusions

There is another game designer which a recognized knowledge in the games industry George Huang’s that discusses on how games rules interact with each other. Most of his lectures were built on the universal and powerful idea of passive communication with clear and concise references to scaffolding.

The most important rule for learning games is that they can be communicated most effectively in the middle or at the end of the game, after the players have become engrossed in the game.

If you have any comment our doubt don’t hesitate to leave your question or doubts in the comments section of this post. If you want to read more interesting content, check out our blog.