What is the concept of game design?
Game design is a subset of video game production that refers to the application of imagination and design to the creation of a game for entertainment or education. It entails developing engaging stories, characters, goals, rules, and challenges to guide interactions with other characters, users, or items. Click here for more info.
Game design is a fun, rewarding, and multi-faceted profession with a lot of job opportunities. However, becoming a game designer is a difficult task. Passion, perseverance, and patience are needed!
Troy Dunniway, an award-winning AAA game designer and executive at major studios including Microsoft, EA, and Ubisoft, discusses what it takes to be a good game designer.
What is the role of a game designer?
A game designer is the person who is in charge of bringing a game to life. They are usually a combination of a writer, an artist, and a programmer.
Troy, who has shipped over 100 titles on almost every platform and genre, says, “It’s a multidisciplinary work that always allows you to understand a little bit of everything.”
“It’s not just about having fun and coming up with new ideas. You must understand not only how to apply your ideas to a variety of different, and sometimes conflicting, areas of game design, but also HOW to design, WHAT to design, WHEN to design each element, and WHY you are designing what you are designing.” For more info about graphic design click here.
“Each game contains a variety of gameplay systems, mechanics, and features that all work together to provide players with a fun and engaging experience.” You must be an outstanding storyteller with some creative talent in addition to technical skills.
“The environments, maps, and levels that players engage in are at the core of most games and player experiences,” Troy says. “These are the beautiful places that catch our imagination, places we love to discover, often fight through, take on difficult quests as we adventure, and finally slay the evil villain in the hopes of saving the Universe from some awful fate.”
“Learn how art and game design converge and what art skills you’ll need to do your job well to progress from a ‘good’ to a ‘great’ artist. Art and visual skills are important not just for ideation and concepting, but also for a variety of other purposes beyond just looking nice in the end product.”
Responsibilities vary depending on the size of the studio, but they may include:
- Storyline, character backstories, and dialogue development
- Gameplay, rules, and a scoring system are all being created.
- Choosing the appropriate level of difficulty
- Creating user interfaces and settings
- Design of the level and the universe
- Digital retouching
- rendering of an image
You must also be an excellent communicator who can clearly articulate a narrative or message that will engage and inspire your player to take action. You must be able to articulate clear ideas, persuade others to accept your ideas, and give and receive input.
“You must learn not just how to have an idea, but also how to validate and articulate it to your teammates so that they can help you develop it on time and under the constraints you will face.”
“As a game designer, you are normally in the centre of everything, and most people believe they know how to make games,” Troy continues, “which means that almost everyone on the team, as well as outside the team, will definitely want to offer comments, advice, and input on your work.”
Marketing knowledge will also help you succeed in this role.
Troy, who has worked on titles such as Rainbow Six Vegas, Munch’s Oddysee, Mercenaries, Age of Empires 3, and Command & Conquer 3, adds, “At the end of the day, the product has to make money.”
Opportunities for jobs
Getting a great position in the industry necessitates a lot of effort and commitment. Of course, the reward is being able to make video games for a living!
You’ll need some technical skills and creative ability, as well as an understanding of how to create something that’s interesting, attractive, monetizable, and addictive to players.
Since this is such a diverse industry, you will be expected to wear a variety of hats. Your work concentration in a broad studio may be narrower than in a smaller studio with a few employees. A team of 5-10 staff, for example, would function very differently from a team of 1,000 or more, such as Ubisoft or EA.
It’s also worth noting that just because you research game design doesn’t mean you’ll become a “game designer.” There are a variety of jobs to choose from, and with technology advancing at such a rapid pace, new jobs are constantly being developed.