The Do’s and Don’ts of Game Design for Beginners

Teenage Boy Wearing Headset Gaming At Home Using Dual Computer Screens

For those who are just entering the field of game design or who are just now learning that the field exists, it can be an exciting time. Even if you’ve developed a number of games in the past, there are some best principles to follow to ensure your game is easy to develop and that it’s a success with customers. 

What is Game Design? 

Game design is the end-to-end creative process involved with developing the foundation of a game. Writing the storyline, creating the characters, developing the missions, and thinking of items to include in the game all fall under the design process. Game design is often confused with game development, which involves writing the code of a game, but game design is the first foundational step. 

Is Game Design an Actual Career Path? 

Many people often wonder if game design is actually a sustainable career path in the long-term. Once established in their career, a game designer can make as much as $111,916 on average per year. On the high end, a game designer can make over $500,000 yearly depending on the location, company, and projects they work on. Therefore, game design is certainly a real career path and one that can provide lucrative earnings. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Game Design

Whether you have designed a number of games in the past or are working on your first game now, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to game design that should be used: 

  1. Do focus on the user experience

When it comes to designing a game that attains cult popularity status, focusing on the user experience is a must. Rather than throwing all of your attention into designing the items of a game, think about how a person playing will interact with those items. Will it be easy or frustrating? Will the player have to develop a skill in-game before using that item? Consider questions such as these when designing your game in order to address the user experience. 

  1. Do take time to brainstorm your game

Creating a storyline with relatable characters from scratch is a challenge. This is why you need to take the time to do proper research ahead of time in order to build the foundation for your game. Assuming your game is based around the time of World War Two, you should conduct deep research into what cities looked like during that time, what public sentiment was, and more. 

  1. Do run test trials with players

While you won’t actually have a game for players to play when designing your game, you can still pitch them the storyline. Gather a group of players from your target niche and tell them about the story you are developing, along with the characters, to see if it piques their interest or not. 

  1. Do market your game adequately

Even the best game will flop if it has not been marketed properly. As a game designer, it’s also your job to create a game that can be marketed easily. Partner with marketers throughout the design process and inquire as to the best way to design a marketable game.

  1. Don’t neglect the user interface

While focusing on user experience is an absolute must, it’s important to not neglect user interface. Think about how players will actually play the game and what type of learning curve will be required. 

  1. Don’t over exaggerate what the game is about

One common mistake new game designers make is exaggerating the story of the game from the description. You naturally want people to develop an interest in your game that drives them to play it but be sure not to catfish potential players by lying regarding what the game is about. 

  1. Don’t publish a game that is incomplete

As a new game developer, never publish a game that isn’t complete yet. Make use of beta testers who can spot bugs in your game so that you can go back to the drawing board to fix them. 

  1. Don’t make everything in your game pay-to-play

Finally, don’t make everything in your game pay-to-play, especially if your game is advertised as being free. Make players work to earn items rather than giving it to them if they give you their credit card. 

The Bottom Line

Game design is now easier to get involved with than ever before. With many educational instructions offering courses for game design, more exposure is being given to the field. With that said, designing a game from scratch is no easy task and requires a strong understanding of human psychology. Use some of the above do’s and don’ts as you begin to design your game in order to bolster its success. 

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