The Do's & Do Not's of Game Design

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  • Pehaps the points in this article don't translate to reality, but this article don't necessarily represent game design articles at large. But it does have a good amount of good points, it all depends on what game you make. This is not the be-all end-all of game design, it's one article, written by a journalist and not a designer.

    Writing music and developing a game are two very different things, believe me I do both. One is about recognizing pitch and having a trained ear, muscle memory and dexterity. game design, not so much. Game design is a lot of theory: psychology, behaviorism, most importantly logic. All do translate well into articles and other written media.

    Post-mortems are some of the most interesting articles I've ever read and there's tons of great information in them. Game design articles can contain great amounts of knowledge and tricks that you can learn of instead of running into the wall yourself and learning the hard way. There was a double fine "dev plays" episode featuring John Romero, it was amazingly interesting and I learned a great deal from it, you should def. take a look. I strongly disagree that you should not seek out prior knowledge, which is part of reading articles and consuming other kinds of similar media (video interviews with devs for example).

    That said, no one expect to be able to perfectly master a skill just by reading about it. Articles are a good tool, a very good tool I might add and will most likely aid you as a developer more than hurt you. It's not a substitute for practice and no one suggested as such. I believe every developer should read as much as they can but be smart about what information is useful for their game. Information is never not useful, eventually. So absorb it all for future reference.

  • Well, yes, it will definitely not harm, but you will not start producing better games after reading game design articles. Only practicing as much as you can: participating in game jams, hackatons, sketching your ideas on paper, writing game design docs, finding a game dev job, drawing game characters etc. - that will make you a better game designer.

    I'm also a musician - I can tell you music and games have a lot in common. Playing music is all about talent, translating your personality into the groove and melody and looots of practicing.

    Again, IMHO.

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  • I thoroughly disagree. As I've stated above, it will help but it's not a substitute for practice and skill. If an article talk about level design and what benefits certain tricks will have (for example: loop-backs, intuitive color schemes, flow etc.) then anyone who don't know those subtleties of level design will have to learn it the hard way instead of thinking "yeah that's right never thought of that" after reading an article on the subject.

    It might not work for you personally, but I strongly disagree with the notion to discourage people from reading articles on the subject.

  • Funny article. Although it strikes me more of an outlining of tropes sometimes. Tropes aren't always bad, sometimes they serve a good use.

    Of course, definitely good tips for immersion!

  • Is it possible to write a wonderful piece of music after reading a musical theory book or beats production tutorial? No - if a person does not have talent, but if you have a talent you'll be doing it just right without any books and articles.

    As a guy who have played the guitar for 15 years, and fiddling around with various music production programs, I must say that I agree. I used to create better and more original music before I started learning the theory. Now I am all tied up in scales and so on, instead of creating music from the heart.

    Though, I am not sure if the case is the same with game design. Game mechanics is something that has to be right, or else the game will feel clunky and unprofessional. Reading articles can prevent this from happening..

  • The most important skill for game designer is attention to details and ability to observe and understand mechanics of other games, understanding why it works or not. Modern free to play game design is heavily based on human psychology e.g. behaviorism. I would rather suggest reading some psychological studies in that area if you're interested in free to play.

    Another good technique to learn game design is trying to replicate interesting mechanics, visual feedback, rewarding systems, retention mechanics etc from other games 1:1 just for the sake of understanding, how it works under the hood.

  • "DON’T splash on my screen. I AM NOT A SCREEN! I’M A HUMAN! When it rains, this does not leave droplets running down the front of my vision. This is because I have a face, including a nose, chin and forehead. Concealed between these features are my eyes – two orbs that sit within the protective bonage of my skull, accompanied by the cleaning and dust-deflecting skinflaps of my eyelids. Were raindrops, or worse, splatters of blood, to become visible droplets in my vision, they would have to be on my eyes. I would respond to this by running around, screaming in pain and fear, clutching at my face and begging for help. You appear to be under the impression that I am a sentient monitor. Perhaps a screen mounted on top of human shoulders. I’m not one of these. I’m reasonably sure the character in the game isn’t one of these. So just perhaps can we please stop having splashes appear in front of our view? (Oh, and I’m also not a bloody camera lens, so can we also get rid of lens flare too? Kthnx.)"

    But Mario Kart 8 had it?

  • Great post, thanks for sharing

  • A great article! Seems the game designer needs to be a very passionate person, I totally got it after watching the Indie Game movie

  • my game design is poor , i got good ideas but not very good with design , i need someone to work with me

  • This is a good post! But the article is a little arrogant.

    A strong case can be made against all of those.

    Breaking the 4th wall isn't just done "to be clever" or "seem original" it can be a great part of the experience. You don't have to follow the "reality principle" dogmatically.

    Not having checkpoints can create a "save and learn and repeat" kind of monotony that kills any tension in a game and takes away any consequence of failure.

    Like playing in God mode all the time. And really does a toilet in a game need to operate? Are you being "clever and original" by making it do so any time past say Duke Nukem 3d?

  • Fun and interesting

    Thanks for sharing, I might use some of these advices later, even if I disagree with many points

  • Most of the points are really obvious, but I guess a reminder couldn't hurt, so thanks for sharing.

    However, there are a lot of controversial opinions too in this article, so I think it must be taken with caution.

  • The text mentionned little about Game Design. In that sense I would rather point out to obvious books like Theory of Fun and also The Art of Game Design which are great books.

    Also, I don't think you necessarily need to know all these rules to make really cool games. I doubt the young guy that created Titan's Souls par exemple knew all of this, yet he managed to created a pretty awesome game. I think there's a lot of creativity involved and also common sense.

    I think creating a game should be a matter of doing it the way you think its right for you rather than how the industry tells you it should be.

  • Good post, thanks for sharing

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