A huge part of the gaming community is not always discussed when talking about your favorite parts of a game, but is an underlying part of everything in a game nonetheless. The world of gaming could not exist without game design, and for some of us, game design is a huge fuel for our interest in gaming. Game design covers everything from the beginning conceptualization of the game to the work of the physical design all the way across the board of what truly makes the game. For those of you interested in game design, read on to see how this aspect of the gaming world works and how you could find work within the game design community.
Game design sounds simple enough when you think about it; it’s coming up with a game concept and then working to make the game look and act like what you’ve come up with. In theory, it’s quite simple, but in practice, it is a remarkable amount of work. You are, essentially, tasking yourself with creating a world, and not just any world, but a world where the elements of gaming (adventure, fantasy, and many others) are present and workable. Of course, if you really get into the world of game design, there will be teams of people who know what they are doing in terms of design aspects, but when you’re just starting out, especially if you’re planning on working on your own in any way, it’s important to realize the scope of designing a game. Every little thing must be taken into account to ensure the game is everything you want it to be.
A good place to start when it comes to learning as much as you can is looking into free and easily-accessible courses on game design. You can check out places like Skillshare (a website where all sorts of people share courses about their areas of expertise), look into college courses you can audit, or even dive into Youtube and search for game designers there. You can also go analog and hit the books to get some good basics on design practices. Wherever you choose to get your information, just remember: you can never be too well-informed. You might learn something which doesn’t fit your style of game design or you might even learn something which becomes obsolete (this is the way of any growing industry), but educating yourself is always a good idea.
Game design incorporates so many different aspects of technical programming and designing. It includes but is not limited to working on characters, gameplay, interface systems, dialogue, and physics. Along the way, you will run into bugs and glitches and constantly test out what you have so far to see how it is going, what is working well, and what you need to work on for the rest of your project. It can seem like an endless process, especially when you’re looking at it from the outside, but have faith: once you get into it and take the time to work through all areas of game design, it will start to make more sense. If you keep at it, the steps will become easier until it gets to the point where you do a lot of it quite seamlessly. The process will always be a bit complex, but as you get used to it, you will be able to focus less on the technical process and more on the joy of creating a game.
One very important thing to remember is that you do not have to go it alone. Sure, you might start out by yourself, researching and practicing, but as you get into it, don’t be afraid to reach out to other game designers whether it’s in person, on LinkedIn, or through any other online platform. It might seem like a daunting task to reach out to a stranger and ask for advice, but remember, the worst thing they can say do is say no. What’s more, when people are really passionate about what they do, they will love the opportunity to share their craft with you, so odds are, you will find some really talented game designers who are more than willing to share their knowledge with you. These connections will also be the perfect first step in looking for a career in game design.
In the end, sure, game design can be a bit of a daunting concept, but if it’s really something you’re passionate about, the hard work will be worth it. Eventually, it won’t even be that hard. There will always be a lot of work to be done, but in the end, you will have an amazing set of skills and be able to look back on your work with pride, knowing that you put the time and effort into a very intense area of game work.