8 Tips for Making Good Game Designs
A good design is absolutely essential for a video game. It is the foundation on which the rest of the components are made. That is why being a game designer is such an important and responsible job in this industry. However, what is worth considering when creating your first project?
In this article you will learn:
Who is a game designer?
A Game Designer is the person responsible for the overall game design. It is them who come up with general concepts, mechanics, and all other elements necessary to start the actual production at all. Their task is to select ideas, prototype, pitch the game, write a GDD, and finally, to constantly communicate with the team and make important design decisions.
How to become a game designer?
Unfortunately, a head full of good ideas is not enough. Firstly, to design games, you need to know a little about their production. It is extremely difficult to accurately estimate the scale of a project and adapt it to the team's skills if you have no idea how long it takes to produce one level or a set of animations for a playable character. Even if the production team is given enough time, they may simply run out of budget. In addition, you need to possess the ability to express your ideas concisely and clearly, as well as a large dose of criticism, to be able to separate good ideas from the bad ones.
How to make a good game design?
Identify the unique features of your game
In the production of each game, one of its elements is given the highest priority. It can be a deep storyline, satisfying shooting, or the use of unusual technologies such as virtual reality. Determine what matters most to your game and give it your own creative twist that will make it stand out from thousands of other games.
Fun comes first!
Whatever decision you make, you must always remember about the gameplay. If the game is too realistic, it will become a frustrating simulator. If it is pretty but walking around is the only thing to do, the player will quickly get bored. If it has an intriguing plot, but a cutscene starts every two steps, we'll get a movie, not a game.
Don’t bite more than you can chew
A frequent problem with designing games is too much ambition. There is nothing wrong with aiming high, but you need to be realistic, especially when you are just starting your adventure with gamedev. Discuss your ideas with the production team - this way you will better assess their doability.
Sometimes simple ideas are the best ideas
Indie games are the best example of this. Many titles rely on a relatively simple concept with an interesting twist to make the gameplay more attractive. Thanks to this, the whole thing is simple and easy to learn. Too many systems introduce a lot of dependencies that are obvious to you as a designer, but may discourage a new player who has their first contact with the game.
Don't get overly attached to your ideas
Game development is an iterative process. Changes are an integral part of it. If you see that your idea is simply boring or does not work - do not hesitate to rebuild it thoroughly or even to scratch it off completely.
Sometimes the only way to evaluate an idea is to take the controller into your hands and play. At the conceptual stage, good game prototypes are worth their weight in gold: they allow you to see how the game will feel, they are the proof of concept proving the feasibility of invented mechanics, and they may also help to pitch the game to investors.
Know moderation in adding features
It's fun when games offer a lot of content and interaction. However, it is important that the existence of this content makes any sense - any changes and new elements are additional work. The extra work means more time needed, and more time means more money spent on producing the game. Make sure the change is good for the quality of the game and that your team can afford it.
When you spend months with your product, it's easy to lose track of its quality. As the creator of a game, you know exactly what your vision was and what needs to be done in order to proceed in the level - the player has yet to learn the rules, so they may do something completely different than they are supposed to. So send out test builds to your friends and family. Their fresh perspective will surely provide you with valuable feedback and allow to identify potential problems that you would never have run into yourself.
Designing games is often more difficult than it may seem. It all starts with a good design, without which it would be difficult to create anything - that's why game designers are so important. They have to define the form of the game, adapt it to the team's capabilities, and at the same time make it original. Look at the solutions used in other games, search for references, and find your own ideas to refresh the existing trends!
Don't be put off by the amount of work you need to do before even a single line of code is written! Watching how your idea slowly takes shape, and then entertains others, will reward you for all your efforts! This is the magic of creating video games! :)