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The best tips for becoming a great game designer or artist

Posted by Jason on September 6, 2017 at 7:55 AM

Being a good game designer takes a lot of work. It can be exhaustive, downright stressful and pure insanity at times, but knowing the ins and outs of game design can only improve your video game career. We will be going over some tips and tools for you to advance as a video game designer. These tips are designed to aid in your creative process, so that when your game is released, it has the appeal necessary to achieve success amongst the gaming community.

-Build off of others works. Work with pre-created art to experiment when designing the general look for your game. You'll be making plenty of revisions along the way, and other artists can be a wonderful source of inspiration.

-Figure out the underlying message behind your game. Is the game strategy based? Mystery? Horror or first person shooter? Having an idea from the beginning will help you narrow down the game and fine tune the details. Additionally, picture your game as a collection of many games that come together. This will help when designing engaging content.

-Be sure you can easily summarize your game. The game should be designed in such a way that it is simple to talk about. Make sure the game has a solid combination of mechanics, story and themes, and be sure the overall presentation is excellent. A well established brand for your game will go a long way.

-Work with a team, but efficiently. Make sure everyone has a clear goal and work towards it. If you need to have a group meeting, keep it short and concise.

-Work on the go. Taking a walk, going to the park, or the daily shower can make for an excellent brainstorming session. These types of environments are proven to enhance creativity, so keep that in mind if you find yourself in need of new ideas.

-Everyone has their own creative input. When working with a team, remember that each person has their own ideas for what the game will/should be.

-Calculate every sound, graphics, mechanics and skins etc. that you'll need for your game. Do this early on, it will really aid in the creative process.

-Find good mechanics and stick to it. If there's a really great mechanic that has been used before, go ahead and use it. Nothing wrong with that.

-Test, test, test. Be sure to run through the game multiple times. Be sure to use numerous players when doing so, often each player will have different play styles that may bring to light a specific bug or area that needs improvement.

-Keep it simple! Great games aren't necessarily complicated.

-Keep records. Save the sketches, early artwork, alternative designs. These may come in handy later on and make for great presentation tools. Also, don't be afraid to try out different types of artwork within the game, keep going until you find something perfect.

-Always comment your code/work. This will make sure that no piece of code or number is forgotten. How and why something works can be overlooked with enough time, so be sure that everything is noted.

-Make sure to not overdo it. Again, keeping it simple is key here. Many artists have ruined otherwise amazing designs by adding too much. Play the game and be sure that you enjoy it.

-Play that game from a designer's point of view. Break down every action, graphics, physics and gameplay, find the hidden meaning.

-Coding, marketing and artistic talent go a long way in the game design industry. Figuring out these areas will be crucial for your success.

-Trust your players. They are the voice of your consumer base. They know what a good game is and what isn't.

-Make a good story. Addicting games may be fun for a while. But a good story is the difference between a masterpiece and "just another game".

-Understand that once you release the game, you no longer control the reception. It's no longer yours, its for the players.

-Put your head down. Creating a game is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep working and building your game until the work gets done. There's not a lot of good to come out of simply talking about the game.

-Design from the player's perspective. Figure out where the player will go and what they will look at when playing your game. Designing from the player's point of view will only help you create a highly engaging, entertaining game.

-Set a goal and stick to it. The quality level is up to you, but make sure that you meet your expectations, at the least. Compromise if you need to, but never settle for less than your initial goal. This has a huge impact on the finished game, so make it a good one.

-Think about player rewards. Each gamer enjoys being recognized for their in-game accomplishments. Its doesn't have to be anything too lavish, but don't forget that rewards make the gamer feel more in touch within the game.

-Edit out the tedious work. No gamer likes doing long, monotonous tasks for seemingly no real reason. Keep your game free from any of this. Remember, the game should at the very least be fun.

-Be careful with promises. Hype is a big part of video game development, but be careful. We've all heard the stories of studios promising more than they can handle and getting left in the dust. Make sure you have realistic expectations that you can deliver on so players can trust you as a studio. You're doing this for them too you know.

Being a game designer is a lot of work. But these tips will surely help you on your journey to amazing game design. With the future of gaming looking brighter and brighter, along with the addition of many studios making some pretty great games, it isn't hard to see that the video game industry is growing at a rapid pace. You'll definitely be competing for job placement, but there's no need to worry. Video games are evolving beautifully, and there will always be a place for a video game designer.

Categories: Gaming and other topics, Game programming tips