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My article on Game Design, for Gamedev


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#1 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 07:28 AM

Note: The following is opinion-based rather than completely fact-based.

Game design is the process of trying to figure out what works well in a game. In the case of commercial studios, they probably go by their own opinion or what they think will sell well. In the case of indies, the best thing to do seems to be:

1. Go by your own opinion of what works well, just make sure it's polished!
2. Ask for peer feedback of the idea on Gamedev.
3. See what other games are doing.

Often when discussing Game Design with people, you will get into debates. For debates, the one thing you want to keep in mind is the list of Logical Fallacies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies, and keep them in mind and point out when your opponent commits them, which they probably will. All but the most experienced debaters do. However, some of the most experienced debaters of all I have seen use Reasoning. To me, Reasoning is being able to appeal to a person and possibly even commiting a few Logical Fallacies in the process. The inexperienced debaters commit Logical Fallacies on a regular basis, the experienced people try not to commit them at all, and the extremely experienced debaters are so cunning, they know the rules and how to bend/break them when it comes to Logical Fallacies, and can backpedal their way out of anything.

Which gets me to another point in general:

An inexperienced or experienced person should follow books and tutorials, and not go off-track, for best results.
An extremely experienced person can go off-track, because they know when to break the rules of Game Development and when not to.

There are many facets involving Game Design, and I will list some of them:

Art - For art, it is best to follow tutorials to learn. There are a lot of fallacies involving art. People mistakenly call any sort of pixel-based art Pixel Art, when high-resolution Pixel Art is just called Raster Art.

Programming/Technology

Music - Music is harder to make than art, in my opinion. You have to write the music, then compose the music. Those who don't write the notes out and play by ear instead seem to make mistakes in their music more often than those who don't.

Sound effects - Sound effects are easy to make. They can be programmed, designed, or recorded.

Writing - Writing is one of the most subjective aspects of Game Design. In book writing, there are certain rules to follow involving proper writing and format to submit to publishers. In game writing, anything goes, you just have to remember you are writing for a game and not a book. Be careful about writing a lot for your game, because the more writing you have, generally the more content you will need for the game.

On Game Design Documents:

A game design document is extremely useful even when you aren't part of a team. I used one once for a game and followed a schedule and made the game exactly on schedule because I pushed myself to complete the schedule objects. This avoided feature creep and did something which was rare for me, completing on-time.

Getting hot in game development:

People who do stuff off and on do worse than people who do stuff constantly. People who do stuff constantly get "hot", a sports term for becoming extremely good at something. There are people who have programmed constantly for 9 months who can beat my programming experience off and on of 13 years, because they are "hot" at the moment.

Game Design is beautiful but in my opinion, it is also an extremely subjective madness. I have a lot of experience when it comes to writing, game design, and game development, but I still produce things such as writing that the community doesn't like. I feel qualified for writing this forum post because I have 13 years hobbyist game development experience and am in college for Game Art & Animation, but I realize, this doesn't make my opinions fact. I also know somewhat about the process of debating because I've been doing it as a hobbyist sport for years.

I'm not really interested in writing a book right now, just this article. But I will write more articles if you want me to, just name the subject.

What I wanted to achieve with this article was to teach and to introduce a few not-talked-about concepts of mine, which are open for discussion.

Sponsor:

#2 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 837

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 10:28 AM

It's a good thing you said these were opinions. This is my opinion, always say that even if 99% of what is written was gleaned from research. At the same time, you didn't lead into what your explanations were going to be, and I'm not sure if what I was reading was meant to be a list of topics... Art, Programming/Technology, Design Documents, and Getting Hot [Designing]. I can't really imagine how you wanted to structure that on my own.

 

 

So after I finished reading, I am lost. You mentioned Art, I understood after reading you meant graphics, but then you said music is harder than art. I had to gloss over again to understand, because if someone says music I think, "Category: Art - sound - composed - made with..." subconsciously.

 

I think what I missed most is found in the article Title, it advertises it'd be about game design. I expected to read explanations that somehow related everything to game design but in the following:


Sound effects - Sound effects are easy to make. They can be programmed, designed, or recorded.
.

What I am reading is "this is how hard it is to make sound effects" whatever those are.

 

Ah, another chance for me to bring up the "curse of knowledge," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_knowledge

 

It could be that you threw a big lasso around everything you wrote below, believing it'd be self-evident how it connected. For an uninformed reader you're going to need a shorter rope. That also means a shorter article may be more appropriate as well.


I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.


#3 Mario D.   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 11:23 AM

I'm confused on the thesis here. I'm looking for some insight on game design and I'm not getting it.

 

You talk about:

  1. What game design is.
  2. Making sure you know your different kinds of logical fallacies
  3. Some stuff about how art, sound design and programming is.
  4. Game design documents
  5. And, getting hot in game development.
  6. Oh and something about writing a book.

There are way too many subjects to put in one post to create any meaningful insight.

 

At first I thought, "This is obviously something very introductory, I'm not getting insight because I know these things already..." But there are are things you assume your readers should know (if this is supposed to be some introductory text). For example, assuming they know what a game design document is or what feature creep is.

 

 

But I like to think this is for other people who have some experience in game design. And if that's the case, well...

  1. Game design can't be "the process of what works well in a game." That is such a broad statement that says nothing about what game design is. Creating game art can be the process of what works well in the game (in terms of theme, palette, mood, etc) as well as programming can be the process of what works well in a game (in terms of code library choice, engine compatibility, and much more)
  2. Game design somehow has something to do with your ability to identify logical fallacies?! I mean sure they are nice to know but it doesn't make you a better game designer to beat somebody in an argument...it makes you a better debater.

There is a bunch more things I wish to identify but I guess its best summarized like this: The title of this post was "My article on Game Design" and the only real part that addresses game design was the first paragraph and numbered list. And that paragraph doesn't say anything, its too broad.

 

 

 

I know it was just your opinion but usually opinions are posted to present an argument and start a discussion but no argument is presented. Usually opinions like this are trying to tell people of the experience they've had and why that's true but there is never a "this is why..." kind of statement or any kind of specific experience imparted here.

 

Entire books are dedicated to "what game design is" it's too hard to summarize it in a forum post.

 

Usually opinions like this are posted to present an idea to see what other people think and not necessarily trying to create a discussion, just a critique. That's what this is. I hope my critique was useful in someway, if not, lets discuss that.


Edited by Mario D., 26 October 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#4 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:33 PM

I will also add my own opinion. Your post is kind of messy. I didn't get what is your point.

Your definition of Game Design not really the one you can usually find on Internet, and you seems to be talking more about economic plan (what will/won't work). And I also disagree with the most part of your article.

The fact that it's your opinion and is different is good, but your justifications and explanation are too shallow, either there is not enough to debate, or it's not linked enough to Game Design. Particulary for the art and music section.



Music - Music is harder to make than art, in my opinion. You have to write the music, then compose the music. Those who don't write the notes out and play by ear instead seem to make mistakes in their music more often than those who don't.


You are talking about music in general, not especially in Game Design, so why is it here?

Also, you first compose the music and then you write it, not the other way. (except if for you, composing mean playing )

There is also the lack of formatting (no underline, no bold, no sub-title)

In conclusion, I will say nearly the same as the two answers above : Too confusing, not focused enough on Game design as the title says, too shallow. Sorry if my opinion seems a bit rude, but I hope it'll help you. (maybe)

#5 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:28 PM

There are actually some very good posts here from others, and what they tell me is that my view on what makes a good article is narrow. I wrote what I thought was pretty good information, but my view on what good information is is just too narrow. That's what I take from it, but I will also listen to other's observations. I'm sorry that you had to read all this and not enjoy it a bit more.

#6 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31135

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 10:22 PM

Regarding terminology, programming, art, programming, design, etc, are all aspects of 'Game Development', not 'Game Design'.
Game design is only, that - design. The person making the music, or the art or the code, is a game developer, not a game designer.

#7 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 05:38 AM

Regarding terminology, programming, art, programming, design, etc, are all aspects of 'Game Development', not 'Game Design'.
Game design is only, that - design. The person making the music, or the art or the code, is a game developer, not a game designer.


I'd definitely like to assume you know what you are talking about, but I once argued this exact thing and lost.

Game design is the game development process of designing the content and rules of a game in the pre-production stage and design of gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters during production stage. The designer of a game is very much like the director of a film; the designer is the visionary of the game and controls the artistic and technical elements of the game in fulfilment of their vision. Game design requires artistic and technical competence as well as writing skills.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design

I don't think neither of us are completely right here :(.

#8 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31135

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 06:11 AM

 

Regarding terminology, programming, art, programming, design, etc, are all aspects of 'Game Development', not 'Game Design'.
Game design is only, that - design. The person making the music, or the art or the code, is a game developer, not a game designer.


I'd definitely like to assume you know what you are talking about, but I once argued this exact thing and lost.

Game design is the game development process of designing the content and rules of a game in the pre-production stage and design of gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters during production stage. The designer of a game is very much like the director of a film; the designer is the visionary of the game and controls the artistic and technical elements of the game in fulfilment of their vision. Game design requires artistic and technical competence as well as writing skills.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design
I don't think neither of us are completely right here sad.png.

That quote doesn't say anything about programming, art, music, etc. "Designing the content" in the pre-production phase is purely a descriptive and scheduling task. Likewise for designing gameplay, environments, characters etc during the actual production phase.

From these initial designs, programmers will actually implement the gameplay. Concept artists will create illustrations of environments and characters (which may be iterated on with feedback from the game designer), and 2d/3d artists will then actually create the 2d/3d art based from these concept illustrations.

These artists and programmers will then work alongside the designer to refine and iterate the content according to updated designs.

 

Within the industry, a game designer is typically a pretty specific title. It's not used to refer to programmers, artists, musicians, project managers, etc... It's used to refer to the people who's full time job is working on the designs. There's then several specializations, such as the lead (organizational), the level designer, combat designer, puzzle designer, etc...

However, anyone at all who works on a game in any capacity, is called a game developer. If you're at a "Game design school", they'll typically teach you to dabble in all the professions and call yourself a game designer, but that's their own choice. It's not how most companies work.
 

The Disciplines section of that wikipedia page is bunk. UI design and Audio design are not a sub-categories of game-designer, they're distinct professions.


Edited by Hodgman, 27 October 2013 - 06:13 AM.


#9 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19064

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 06:18 AM


Within the industry, a game designer is typically a pretty specific title.

In Japan, "designer" titles are usually used for various types of artist, otherwise agreed completely -- just wanted to note the exception. smile.png

 

In Indie development however, it's quite common for a designer to also take on another role such as art or programming, but this is still commonly thought of as a single person taking on multiple disciplines rather than actually being part of the same job.



#10 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 06:31 AM

Got it, Hodgman. My college teaches Game Design, which is not what I chose as my major, but I know they pretty much teach all other elements in the Game Design major as well. I think it confuses the students, in fact, into thinking that this is common in the industry, to be a Game Developer, whether or not it should.




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