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What Is Game Design: Simple Guide

Can you imagine a movie made without a director? Probably not. Actors, cameramen, and screenwriters can be incredibly talented, but the picture will fall apart if there is no single vision and leadership. The same goes for game design. You can collect the best developers, artists, and other professionals, but if there is no good game designer among them, then your game will be just a set of levels and characters.

In this article, we will explain what game designers do and why you can’t make good video games without them.

Game design: The basics

What is game design? If we talk about this term in general, it means creating a game with a certain vision. The task is to create a detailed game world with rules, basic mechanics, and processes. 

But what about game designers? Let’s continue comparing the gaming industry with movies. What is a director doing? They bring the idea to life with the help of the team. The same movie plot can look completely different in the hands of various directors. It’s all about vision and presentation. The director chooses how to show the story and controls the acting and shooting. Director has their own approach with each specialist.

A game designer does the same. They are responsible for delivering the idea to gamers. The game designer improves the gaming experience and makes the game attractive. They communicate with developers, explain their vision to artists, select suitable mechanics, etc. But most importantly, they follow the game’s big idea and know exactly how it should look to catch players’ attention.

Such a specialist should understand all areas and stages of game development, at least at a basic level. They should also be able to convey their vision and point of view to a specialist of any profile. A good game designer also knows trends, understands the audience’s needs, and loves games. After all, if you don’t play, how can you create a good experience for gamers?

Basic skills:

  • Knowledge of design principles;
  • Ability to analyze and operate analytics data;
  • Understanding game balance and the ability to create and manage it;
  • The ability to see the whole picture;
  • Strong communication skills.

A game designer is responsible for harmonizing the technical and creative sides of game development.Terms like game designer and game artist may trick some people into thinking it’s the same person. Alas, it’s wrong. Let’s break it up for you. In simple words, the game artist is responsible for the game’s looks and feel, while the game designer’s primary force is driving the project and creative management operations in creating a video game.

What is a game design document?

If a game designer is like a director, then a game design document (GDD) is a set of a script, storyboards, a list of locations, etc. It is a complete guide with all the information for creating a game.

There is no single standard: GDD is different for various game design companies. The document may contain concept art, suitable mechanics, goals, objectives, a general plot, character descriptions, and other data. It is also possible to include the selected game engine and technical details for a future video game. Every project begins with the GDD. But in reality, this document is constantly changing during development. And the task of a game designer is to monitor the integrity of the overall idea.

Directions of Game design

Game design is a complex process affecting all levels of development: game developers, artists, screenwriters, designers of various profiles, and other specialists. There are several types of game design.

System Design

It is a framework for the future game. System design describes the rules and calculations on which the game world will rely. You can’t miss this stage: it’s present in every game. And, of course, it is best to entrust it to professionals.

Content design

If the system is a frame, then the content is the filling. It can include characters, objects, locations, missions, riddles, and tasks. The more entertaining the content, the more players will be involved in the video game.

Level design

It is one of the most challenging areas. Locations should be original, complex, and also intuitive. A competently designed level leads the player through the game and tells where to go next. Also, level design should immerse the gamer in the atmosphere of the game world.

UI/UX design

Your game can be amazing, but if the player is uncomfortable interacting with it, you should not expect a high score. Instead of making players get used to confusing controls and complex user interfaces, a well-balanced UX/UI design provides them with a pleasant user experience while playing your game. This increases player engagement and keeps them playing for longer.


It is hard to imagine a good video game without a thorough plot and text. This section includes the script, game tips, information, and other in-game texts. However, narrative design isn’t just about the plot and text. It’s also about the overall user experience while completing quests or ending up in various game scenes. Story development is usually handled by a narrative designer and writers. The game designer can control the overall direction.

Sound design

This part covers all the audio effects in the game, from weapon sounds to an atmospheric soundtrack. Of course, you can create a gaming project without sound. But why ignore such a powerful tool? The purpose of sound effects is to bring the game characters, places, and narratives we play with to life. Sound in games is a task for a separate team, but it’s always great when a game designer cooperates with them.

Game design process in Stepico

OK, now that we’ve covered the basics let’s talk about how the process looks in practice. First, we are working on the core of the future game. It is a clear statement of the idea, a basic algorithm, and a set of mechanics. Why are we starting with this? When you have an idea, there are several ways to implement it. But once you choose the type of video game and mechanics, all further work will be based on this choice.

Basic prototypes

An important part of creating a game is prototyping. Developers can implement core mechanics without unnecessary UI. The most successful options go to the next stage of game development. Prototypes help evaluate ideas and select those that best suit the game.

The art style and setting

We usually test several styles before starting development. For example, if we are making an ancient strategy, we can try several options for the setting: Greece, Rome, Egypt, etc. And then, together with you, we choose the one that best suits the game.

Game development

Further development takes place in several directions at once. The writers work on the story, the artists draw the characters and objects, the designers create the levels, and the developers work on the code. The game designer controls the whole process keeping the big idea in mind. This approach allows us to reduce the time for game development and conduct intermediate testing.

Testing process

The further steps are a series of testing and editing. We constantly test and improve the game until we get the best result. We can add new mechanics, plot twists, and details, but everything relies on the original idea described in GDD.

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Benefits of our game development services

Over many years of work, we have developed a clear algorithm for implementing ideas in bright and exciting gaming projects. Depending on your needs, we offer solutions based on our extensive experience.

Analytics and Research

Trends and gamer expectations are a significant part of game development. And this is not only about the gaming industry but also about popular trends in cinema, music, fashion, technology, and other spheres. For each project, we conduct an all-encompassing market analysis considering the target audience.

Flexible pricing models

With Stepico, you can choose the cooperation option that suits your budget. We offer full-cycle development, help with individual stages of game design and development, or offer a dedicated team for your purposes.

Expert team

In Stepico, we have more than 200 savvy specialists in game development, design, graphic user interface, scripting, etc. No matter how large your project is, we can find a team of experts that fits all your requirements.

Blockchain technology

Want to create a cutting-edge game? With Stepico, it is possible! We have successful experience in integrating blockchain technologies and creating games with NFT objects.

Quality Assurance

Each video game goes through strict quality control and multiple stages of testing. We check and refine the project until it is fully debugged. We also provide support in the future, maintaining the game at the proper level. 

Choose the right game design company

Creating a game is a complex multi-stage process where you should know how games are created. And the game design runs like a red thread throughout the entire development. Careful attention to detail, a well-thought-out plot, and fascinating mechanics: all this turns the video game from an ordinary one into the one you want to play again and again. And to achieve this effect, you need a strong team of specialists.

Create an impressive project with Stepico services. Contact us now and take the first step toward the game of your dreams!

Professional Resources:

Choose Stepico and step into the future!

Andrii Titov - Chief Executive Officer
Specialties: Game development, mobile (Android/iOS development), customer communication, team management.
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