I am not sure why people come to this forum all the time with no technical knowledge, never made a game before and want to build grandiose sandbox revolutionary MMORPGs right from the start.'Twas always so.
Back when I started on these forums, MMORPGs were still a niche hobby, mostly the preserve of people who used to play MUDs. So everyone on here wanted to make RPGs, which were the most complex popular game of the time. We tried to discourage them but with limited success.
But it's like that famous Ira Glass quote. "All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit." They come into game development seeing the top games and that's what inspires them. Why would they want to make Pacman? But very quickly they get discouraged by the gulf between the kind of thing they want to make and the kind of thing they are currently capable of making.
The answer is going to be different for everyone, because not everyone has the same degree of patience. Some will be more discouraged by having to make 5 prototype games first, while others will thrive on that experience.
Design is really not the same kind of activity as development.It's a bit of a false dichotomy really. You have a whole spectrum of tasks which range from high level to low level:
- Coming up with an idea for a game
- Deciding on the features that will contribute towards that idea
- Drawing up precise specifications for a feature's gameplay and presentation
- Deciding how to organise the feature's gameplay in terms of tokens and values within the game
- Deciding how to implement the gameplay behaviour to change those tokens and values
- Using the relevant programming language to instruct the computer on how to run the planned implementation
Architects may not construct the final building, but they don't just have ideas of what they want - they have to create detailed and precise plans and probably a scale model as well.
Web designers don't merely come up with ideas for what they want to see; they break out the tools and make the HTML and CSS for the site.
Fashion designers don't just draw a picture of the clothing; they have to learn pattern making, draping, cutting, and make wearable prototypes.
Sound designers don't imagine the noises they wish to hear and write them down; they open up their audio software and start manipulating samples.
Graphic designers don't just decide on what they want to see; they open up Photoshop and they create it themselves.
So I don't know why game designers often feel that their type of design often just means coming up with ideas, maybe writing them down, and eventually letting other people work out all the details and create the implementation. That's not what a designer does. Design is development, just the more abstract aspects of it.