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What Is Game Design: Simple Guide

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Can you imagine a film made without a director? Probably not. Actors, cameramen, and screenwriters can be incredibly talented. But if there is no single vision and leadership, the picture will fall apart. It’s the same story with games. 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 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 to compare the gaming industry with movies. What is the director doing? He brings the idea to life with the help of his team. The same 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. And with each specialist, he speaks his language.

The game designer does the same. He is responsible for delivering the idea to gamers. Не improves the gaming experience and makes the game attractive. To do this, he communicates with developers, explains his vision to artists, selects suitable mechanics, etc. But most importantly: he follows the big idea of the game and knows exactly how it should look to be interesting.

What a game designer should be able to do

what a game designer

As you understand, such a specialist should understand all areas and stages of game development, at least at a basic level. And be able to convey his vision and point of view to a specialist of any profile. A good game designer also knows trends, understands the needs of the audience, 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
  • Communication skills

A game designer is responsible for harmonizing the technical and creative side of game development.

What is a game design document 

Game design document

If a game designer is 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, which has all the information for creating a game.

There is no single standard: GDD is different for different game design studios. 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 game. Any project begins with this list of ideas, characteristics, and conditions. But in reality, the GDD is a document that 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

Directions of game design

Game design is a complex process that affects all levels of development. It involves developers, artists, screenwriters, designers of various profiles, and other specialists. Depending on the sphere, there are several types of game design.

System Design

It is a kind of framework for the future game. System design describes all the rules and calculations that the game world will rely on. You can’t miss this stage: it is 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 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 player in the atmosphere of the game world.

Interface design

Your game can be amazing. But if the player is uncomfortable interacting with it,  you should not expect a high score. UI is present in any game and affects the impression of it. It should be informative and intuitive for the player. The interface is a task for a  UI / UX designer. But the game designer is partially involved in this process.

Plot and texts

This section is also included in the GDD, although the word “design” is not in its title. But it is hard to imagine a good game without a plot and texts. This section includes the script, game tips, information, and other in-game texts. Story development is usually handled by a narrative designer and writers. The game designer can control the overall direction.

Sound design

This sphere covers all the audio effects in the game, from weapon sounds to an atmospheric soundtrack. Of course, you can create a project without a sound. But why ignore such a powerful tool? 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

Game design process

OK, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about how the process looks in practice. First of all, 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 game and mechanics, all further work will be based on this.

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 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 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.

Benefits of our game development services

game development benefits

Over many years of work, we have developed a clear algorithm for implementing ideas in bright and exciting projects. Depending on your needs, we offer solutions based on our 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 conducted a 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, or offer a dedicated team for your purposes.

Expert team

In Stepico, we have more than 160+ specialists in development, design, graphic user interface, scripting, etc. No matter how large your project is, we can find a team of experts that fits all 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 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 is something that runs like a red thread through the entire development. Careful attention to detail, a well-thought-out plot, fascinating mechanics: all this turns the game from an ordinary one into one that you want to play again and again. And to make it you need a good team of specialists.

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

Professional Resources:

Choose Stepico and step into the future!
Andrii Titov
Technical lead and video game enthusiast. CTO at Stepico
March 2, 2022
Choose Stepico and step into the future!
Andrii Titov
Technical lead and video game enthusiast. CTO at Stepico

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