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7 Mistakes that'll Make You a Better Game Designer - My Experience

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Hello friends,

I have gathered some advices I wish someone told me a long time ago.

I wrote an article about 7 mistakes that helped me become a better game designer and programmer. I wish to share them with you, tell me what you think, here's a link to the article : http://www.gameplaypassion.com/blog/7-mistakes-that-will-make-you-a-better-game-designer/

Here is a brief summary of the 7 mistakes I talk about in my article :

  • Excessively and Negatively Criticizing Other (published) Games
  • Designing a Huge Game That Has Everything in It
  • Focusing on the Plot From the Beginning
  • Overestimating Your (or your team’s) Technical Skills
  • Crossing Genres for Your First Game Ever
  • Comparing Yourself With the Big Guys In the Market
  • Recruiting People That Have No Interest In Making Games

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I found that to be an interesting read, but I far from agree with everything.


For start, I don't see how criticizing other people's games has much to do with how you're designing a game. Everything you say there is true - some people do like excessive focus on the bad elements of a game - but whether you criticize some game excessively or not, isn't really going to affect how you make your game.


The other thing is focusing on plot - ok, fair enough, some plots require big budgets and a lot of people to produce. (btw The Sims has plot... even if its not the most obvious thing ever, there's actually a lot of it). But you make it sound like any new game designer should not put in any plot at all, and instead just focus on the gameplay. Why? What's wrong with sprinkling a little plot here and there? Leaving a random element in your game that hints at something? There are indie games that focus on plots and are also successful.


Crossing Genres first time - this I disagree the most with. Gernes are little boxes that people build around games to unify them. There's nothing inherently different between designing a game that crosses over more than one of these boxes. Making a game that's fun to play should be the major goal. Fitting in a specific genre should not be a goal - it's just a type of property that is applied to a finished game. Sure some people go into designing a game by saying "I want it to be a cross between Genre X and Genre Y". Maybe that's not the best approach - but it gives you no more of an advantage or disadvantage than if you say "I want to design a game of Genre X only". 

The gameplay still has to be fun, interesting, and all the elements of a game still have to work together. 

Further still, if a game design evolves naturally - like deciding at some point into your game design that you should add an inventory to your FPS - there shouldn't be some rule that slaps your hand like you've done something wrong by accidentally putting in an RPG element into a FPS game.


Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject.


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