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japro

Can I be a game designer and a programmer at the same time?

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japro    887
Hi,

so I was watching some of the GDC vault presentations and in one of them (can't remember which one) about game design, the lecturer said something along the lines: "As game designer you have to come up with ideas that are as crazy as possible, the programmers will tell you what is feasible and what is not early enough.". This got me thinking, because I as a hobbyist am usually the whole "design team", the designer, the programmer and the artist. The moment I start developing a game Idea I also think about the feasibility. Do I have experience with the required technology? Will this work out from a performance perspective? Am I able to produce the required art so it at least looks/sounds ok? So very often if I try to stay realistic with my Ideas I end up being [url="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8367315/were-redefining-what-a-game-is-making-platformer-with-pixel-art-and-chiptunes.jpg"]this guy[/url]. In the worst case I might end up missing an opportunity to make something unique only because I fell into the trap that the programmer in me tells me: "something like that hasn't been done before and there is possibly a performance/complexity/whatever reason for it".

So is being a programmer something that holds you back as a game designer? Or is it a good thing for "us amateurs" since it makes it more likely that we are actually end up making the game?

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Tom Sloper    16040
[quote name='japro' timestamp='1312648784' post='4845474']
1. Can I be a game designer and a programmer at the same time?
2. is being a programmer something that holds you back as a game designer? [/quote]
1. Yes, of course. Especially if you're doing a game all by yourself, then you must do both functions.
2. No.

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Caldtem    323
[quote name='japro' timestamp='1312648784' post='4845474']
Hi,

so I was watching some of the GDC vault presentations and in one of them (can't remember which one) about game design, the lecturer said something along the lines: "As game designer you have to come up with ideas that are as crazy as possible, the programmers will tell you what is feasible and what is not early enough.". This got me thinking, because I as a hobbyist am usually the whole "design team", the designer, the programmer and the artist. The moment I start developing a game Idea I also think about the feasibility. Do I have experience with the required technology? Will this work out from a performance perspective? Am I able to produce the required art so it at least looks/sounds ok? So very often if I try to stay realistic with my Ideas I end up being [url="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8367315/were-redefining-what-a-game-is-making-platformer-with-pixel-art-and-chiptunes.jpg"]this guy[/url]. In the worst case I might end up missing an opportunity to make something unique only because I fell into the trap that the programmer in me tells me: "something like that hasn't been done before and there is possibly a performance/complexity/whatever reason for it".

So is being a programmer something that holds you back as a game designer? Or is it a good thing for "us amateurs" since it makes it more likely that we are actually end up making the game?
[/quote]

I hear more often than not that everyone needs to contribute beyond just design in order to get a project done. Whether this entails taking part in the actual creation of the game beyond design I do not know, as I am sure there are other tasks to be handled as well.

This paragraph directed towards larger scale games. I am of the opinion that a game shouldn't be designed by just one person, it should be a collaborated effort between multiple people. For one person to make all of the design decisions on a game without any input from third parties is a very dangerous path to travel. If like minded individuals can get together, know the pros and cons, and come to an understanding of what would work best before giving it a shot, more success would be had. I see too many times that people want to be Lead Designer using their ideas as absolute, but people shouldn't be so narrow minded. Being a designer should be enough. Find a premise to start from, get the people together to brainstorm and flesh out a concept, then continue on with the proper steps towards turning the concept into something more. Using a collaborated effort you may also encounter the possibility of having people that are more experienced in certain areas of the design, thus providing more knowledge to the overall design, helping it come together from the start.

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wildpins    40
Do or do not, there is no try. Contribute what you can, and always compete with yourself. You want to know a little about everything, instead of a lot about a little bit. Don't specialize unless you unionize. Oh and the road of game developer is hard and rocky, so don't expect a light weighted trail. If you make it through your life as a game developer, you will become successful in it.

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japro    887
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1312653014' post='4845487']
[quote name='japro' timestamp='1312648784' post='4845474']
1. Can I be a game designer and a programmer at the same time?
[/quote]
1. Yes, of course. Especially if you're doing a game all by yourself, then you must do both functions.
[/quote]
Well, obviously, when I make a game on my own and It isn't a complete ripoff of something else, then I have also designed it... I meant more in the abstract sense. Should I be "using" the mindset of a programmer when designing the game. I even tend to reverse the whole process and think about what kind of game I could possibly make given the code building blocks I have lying around my drive.

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DarklyDreaming    367
Depends. You have to separate the roles - programming and design cannot be interlinked too closely. Now, looking at it from a programming perspective it's certainly valid to make a game from the pieces you'll find lying around - hell, as a design experience that could be quite interesting. Just remember to put away all the nitty gritty details of programming when you are designing the game and get back to thinking like a player :-)

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Tom Sloper    16040
[quote name='japro' timestamp='1312678895' post='4845621']Should I be "using" the mindset of a programmer when designing the game.[/quote]
Of course you shouldn't design anything that you as the game's programmer know you can't do. Don't put a wall between the two parts of your brain.

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roninworkz    102
Yes, you can be both. You can even be an artist as well, if you feel like you can commit to developing your skills. Understanding the technical nature and limitations of both programming and art will make you a better designer.

Back in the early Pleistocene, there were arcades full of video games that were designed and programmed by one person. :P

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inavat    317
This is like asking: "Can I cook both the entree and dessert?"

At a large restaurant (a game development studio) there will certainly be different people for each role. At a small, mom&pop restaurant (amateur/indie game developer) there might just be one person fulfilling both roles.

Some people are good at one or the other. Some people are excellent at both. Typically, if you can afford it, you'd prefer putting a specialist in each role, so that he/she can concentrate on one type of task and so that his/her on-the-job learning will be very focused. If you can't afford it, then you don't have an option. It's either do both or do neither.

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Gamer Gamester    140
I think being both programmer and designer is actually the ideal setup. It gives the designer a more intimate intimate relationship with the medium (and as a programmer, it's much more fun making my own stuff!).

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